The Best Entry Level Phones – November 2012 (Part 4) - Motorola Motosmart

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The Motorola Motosmart is the cheapest in our test. Is it the ultimate value phone? We go hands on to find out

Speaker grill

Flip the phone over and at the back, just beneath the battery cover, you will find a fairly large speaker grill which manages to produce some decent sound when partnered with the supplied music app

Description: Motorola Motosmart

Limited "memory

The internal memory was quite low and we were getting ‘out of memory’ warnings after downloading a handful of apps. For games or apps in general that don’t support the move to memory card feature, the phone will struggle

Performance woes

Without running any benchmarks we could tell the phone was struggling to perform. However, some of the benchmarks we did run revealed results that were below the HTC. A possible cause is the limited internal memory and the CPU architecture used (ARM6)

Screen issues

The 3.5-inch screen shares the same resolution of the HTC and Sony, yet the display still seems more washed out and a little grainy in places. Not helped by the default wallpaper which showcased this a touch more

The Motorola Motosmart is the first device in the group to truly feel like an entry-level phone. The handset is well built and weighty when held in the hand, but its design feels dated compared to the other products, while removing the micro SD card - under the back cover - was also fiddly.

You have a large speaker grill at the back of the handset which did partner well with the supplied music app. In fact, for music purposes it was possibly the phone's main saving grace as audio was loud and punchy. However, booting up the device seems to take an age and then you're greeted with a display that despite being the same resolution as the Sony appears lifeless and washed out.

The Ul is using Motorola’s latest incarnation, running over the top of Android 2.3, so you can create custom folders for your apps and access your recent apps from the notification bar, but the scrolling speed when swiping the app list seemed sluggish at times. In fact, web browsing was a similar experience.

Similarly, at early phases of testing we were getting buffering issues in HQ mode in YouTube and llp sync issues were prominent in our test video. Benchmarks backed up our findings and it was remarkable that the phone was behind the HTC in every test despite having a faster processor!

The feeble internal storage was probably the cause of some of the issues as after a reset the streaming and video issues seemed to settle down.

As a result we had to constantly keep an eye on the memory and use the supplied task manger to close down running apps. However, even with a micro SD card you are still going to struggle to install apps that don’t support the move to SD card feature.

The three-megapixel camera was another simple point-and-click shooter and in terms of quality most shots lacked detail and focus; however, its video recording function was better than the HTC. The only other ray of light was the battery life, which was reasonable from a video playback point of view.

Head to head


The Motorola feels weighty and solidly built In the palm of your hand but it still emanates a retro design. The large speaker grill at the back paves the way for the slide-out cover and micro SD card slot which Is rather fiddly to remove.

Description: Motorola Motosmart


Limited to T-Mobile via Carphone Warehouse, but for your $16-a-month, you can choose from a number of different plans, such as 100 minutes or unlimited texts to UK numbers. You can pay an extra $8 per-month to get a 500MB data bundle.


Its large speaker and music app combined well to provide a decent sound experience, but otherwise the Android 2.3 OS (with little chance of an upgrade) Is partnered with sluggish performance (due to the lack of internal storage) and a poor display.

Battery life

From a video playback point of view the phone was not bad, and it managed to hold back 64 per cent from a full charge during our two hour video test, which was better than the more expensive HTC.


Its sluggish performance and poor screen paled against its rivals and mean we can’t recommend this handset.


Price: $143.95

More information:

Technical specs

·         Operating system: Android 2.3.6

·         Processor: MediaTek MT6573, single-core, 800 MHz CPU, PowerVR SGX531 GPU

·         Memory: 512MB RAM, 512MB ROM (micro SD card expansion up to 32GB)

·         Dimensions: 116 x 63.5 x 11.2 mm

·         Weight: 115g

·         Display: 3.5” (165 ppi pixel density), 320 x 480 pixels

·         Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.0, GPS, HSDPA, HSUPA

·         Camera: 3-MP rear (LED flash), no front option, VGA video recording


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