Motorola Motofone F3 – An easy phone for the less phone addicted
Even though I’ve managed without a (usable) mobile phone for quite a while, it just has advantages to have one; you’re not always around a PC or regular phone. Before I get started, I’ve got something to explain; like I said I haven’t had a mobile phone for a long time. I doubt it’ll be much of a point, but my experiences with annoying interfaces might be not quite representable for the rest of the world, especially not those who are used to old & dorky Nokia’s or other phones with impossible menu systems.
When I started my journey for a new mobile phone, I’ve been looking at various company websites first, but I didn’t quite succeed there; most of the phones that are being advertised with are either brand new or just plain expensive. While I was simply looking for a cheap prepaid phone, I decided to give a couple of providers a shot and went to see what they had to offer.
The phone I saw as one of the first ones was the Motorola Motofone F3, a somewhat budget version of the SLVR, which, on his term, is somewhat of the alternative version of the Motorola RAZR – it doesn’t need the flipping a RAZR does. You can see the differences on the MOTOSTORE if you’d like.
A pretty interesting part of this phone is that it was completely designed with a new market, India, in mind. While most Indians haven’t even used a phone in their live, most likely, Motorola is trying to make it ‘their’ market as soon as possible, their economy is growing impossibly fast – a smart move of Motorola. With this market in mind they changed quite a lot of the phone, compared to ‘regular’ phones; no TFT screen was used because it’d drain too much power and it’s too big. A full report on all choices they made, combined with a lot of public relations consultants and some nice flash animations can be seen on the official homepage as well.
Instead of that particular conventional type, another screen was used; ‘E-ink’. The advantage of this screen is that it only uses power when the data has to be changed, elsewise it’s completely static, making it very interesting for mobile usage. Another pro is that the screen has a very high contrast ratio; it’s almost like ‘real’ paper. The drawback however, is that it doesn’t use ‘pixels’, but rather ’shapes’ like older and cheaper matrix screens do, giving you only limited information on the screen: two lines of 6 characters each and a bunch of icons.
The drawback of this limited information is that – somehow – you’ll only be able to read six characters at a time when reading or typing an SMS message; quite annoying when you’re writing longer words or if you’d like to look back at what you wrote earlier. In the menus and address book however, you will be able to see a little bit more, but still the second line is only used to display the ‘hotkey’ number of the entries: quite a waste of space on such a small display, they could really improve this point. Another point of improvement is the lack of capital characters; everything seems to be a capital, but actually your SMS is send all lowercase, full stops aren’t possible either, they appear as comma’s.
In one thing this phone rocks though; being small (9mm or 0.35inch), lasting long on one battery load (16 days max), being inexpensive and making phonecalls. The quality of the sound is pretty good, it’s hard to compare as it’s still a phone, not a music device. However, I think it wont be considered worse than any of the phones available right now to the public, especially not in the same price range. About the ‘inexpensive’ part; I bought mine (simlocked and prepaid) for just 35€ (46$), coming with 15€ (20$) worth of credits: not a bad deal for such a new and good-looking phone, you really don’t expect it to be this cheap when you see how high-quality the looks are; I doubt you’ll be able to break this phone easily.
Of course, as curious as I am, I started to wander on the web first to see what the global opinion of this product was and I was surprised there isn’t too much on the web about this phone yet, even though it was released in quarter four of 2006. The author of the website GearDiary posted a pretty interesting video (and written) review of this phone, showing how it ‘really’ looks rather than the spec sheet and computer-made photo’s, a video you must watch when you’re considering to buy this incredible phone. I agree pretty much on his statements; the one thing that looks a bit weak on this phone is the battery hatch, that one might break if you open it too often but besides that it’s super strong. For extra photo’s you could also take a look on MobileBurn, especially their Motofone F3 photogallery.
A last list of pro’s: cheap, strong, thin, expensive-looking, high readability on the screen, long lasting battery and ’simple’, in both menu structure, features and functions. A couple of the con’s: menu’s could use some work, limited information on the display, speeddial is limited to the first 99 numbers and you can’t reorder your address book and as a last one; poor SMSing and a lack of word suggestion.
Bottom line: You’ll most likely find this phone pretty decent if you’re looking for a nice, thin and inexpensive phone without having the need for a mp3 player, camera or video playback as it’ll do calling and SMSing perfectly fine. If you do want these features, you might want to look further instead; intensive messaging wont work too great without having a word-library in it and lacking a lot of data on your screen.
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