Motorola F3

My last gadget review of the Christmas period, as I don’t think a new set of golf clubs and a sofa can really be classed as gadgets.

I bought the Motorola F3 for a very simple reason – it was £8.99 from play.com, as a PAYG on Orange. I have a mobile phone, and I have a spare phone too, but this phone first caught my eye back in March, when it was reviewed by The Register. I was tempted when it was £25, because of the incredibly long battery life, and the innovative screen. Looking like an LCD, it is in fact a ClearVision display, only requiring power to change it, and visible in a broader light spectrum than normal LCD screens. And it also comes with a dinky rubber sleeve for free too – a first for a mobile phone for me.

Reviews abound on the web about the phone, here’s one for example, and I have to concur with most reviewers. The phone is great, the keyboard a delight to use, and if the battery life is as claimed over a week, this beats the two/three days that I’m getting for my Nokia 6300.

But the interface is just awful. My first mobile phone way back in 1995 had a better menu interface. There in fact isn’t a menu, you simply press the right key to select the following comprehensive options, which are also spoken to you – at least it makes it easy to dictate the options.

  • “Send a message”
  • “Read your messages”
  • “Call history”
  • “Change ring tone”
  • “Set alarm”
  • “Change time”

However, after this point you’re on your own, navigating a complex series of symbols and strange buttons. For example, the ‘enter’ button is an upward pointing arrow, not to be confused with the upward arrow on the cursor keyboard.

Text messages also appear on a single line of the six character display which has to be manually scrolled forward – imaging a 160 character message, you have to press the right arrow key 26 times to read the whole message!

Oh, and the ‘delete one character’, ‘delete the whole line’, ‘go back to the main screen’ and ‘turn the phone off’ is the same red button (and it’s the button to turn the phone on too!). This is reminiscent of Windows XP – Start Shut Option.

And registering with Orange – it was easier to get a car loan than to top the phone up with credit – no wonder people switch to a monthly plan, it’s simpler to set up!

So after all this ranting, what will I use the phone for. It will stay in my car glovebox for emergency use in case I’m stranded and my main phone is out of range or out of battery, and as it’s on Orange I’ll also use it for the Orange Wednesday offers. I may also use it if I ever need to teach usability to students, giving a fiver to anyone who can send a 100 character text message in less than five minutes!

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1 comment so far

  1. […] The rest of  my daily baggage is split between medical care, and those things which you never know you’ll need, until you need them.  Mouse, iPod sync cable, pen drive,  a book (always a book, I would hate to be stuck somewhere without a book to read), pens, iPod (two at the moment) and emergency phone. […]


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