Home > Android Phone Reviews > Motorola Charm
What's hot: Good keyboard, lots of social networking, strong reception and voice.
What's not: Display is small and low quality, social networking overwhelms the tiny home screen.
Reviewed September 30, 2010 by Lisa Gade, Editor
You know that square phone trend? It's not over yet: just take a look at the Motorola Charm. Motorola has been taking design leaps with their Android smartphones, and the Charm takes fewer risks than the positively unusual Motorola Backflip on AT&T. When you look beyond the Charm's squarish good looks, it's a normal phone with a QVGA display and full QWERTY keyboard. Its greater than average width affords more room for the very good hardware keyboard, and the wide sides are easy to grip. The phone is available in two colors, cabernet and golden bronze.
The Charm is a low to mid-range Android smartphone that runs Android OS 2.1 Eclair. Froyo 2.2, the only newer OS version, isn't on many phones yet, so we're pretty happy with 2.1 on the Charm. It runs full blown MOTOBLUR, Motorola's user interface and system enhancements that focus on social media. Some folks love MOTOBLUR while others consider it a bit over the top with social network information overload. We're in the latter category but we're not complaining all that much since you can remove the social network widgets you don't use. What we don't like is the oddly low QVGA 320 x 240 resolution that's too small to accommodate the full MOTOBLUR experience. While it works decently on the Motorola Cliq XT, it's like the proverbial car stuffed with clowns on the Charm. The home screen is normally cluttered with MOTOBLUR, and on the Charm there's room for little else unless you kill some widgets. Those MOTOBLUR widgets are sized down to suit the Charm and thus they display very abbreviated (err, useless) social network messages.
In terms of hardware, the Charm has a 3 megapixel fixed focus camera, a GPS that works with Google Maps, WiFi 802.11b/g, 3G HSDPA 3.6Mbps, Bluetooth 2.0 +EDR and a 3.5mm stereo headset jack. Like the Backflip, it has Motorola's Backtrack, a trackpad on the back of the phone that allows for easier one-handed operation (you can disable the trackpad if you don't like it). That's decent hardware for a budget-priced Android smartphone. The build quality is very good and the Charm certainly doesn't look or feel like a budget phone.
That chrome-surrounded rectangle is the Backtrack trackpad.
Our only hardware complaint? The display. It's not just that it's a low resolution display, it's that fonts look jagged and icons look rough. While there aren't many QVGA 320 x 240 displays on Android phones (320 x 480 is the baseline with much higher resolutions on high end Android phones), we can tell you that the QVGA displays on the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini and X10 mini pro didn't look this bad.