Phone, Smartphone, Notebook and Gadget Reviews and buyers guide
Phone Notebooks & Tablets Gaming Gadgets iPhone & iPad Shop Forum


Home > Android Phone Reviews > Motorola Charm


Motorola Charm

Editor's rating (1-5): rating starrating starrating starrating star
Carrier: T-Mobile
Manufacturer: Motorola
Discuss this product
Where to Buy

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 in Chief

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.

Motorola Charm

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.

Motorola Charm

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.

Motorola Charm


Deals and Shopping
Wirefly price (no rebate required):



Click to Select Product price:


Click to Select Product

What do we like about the Charm's hardware? The keyboard is great-- it has plenty of tactile feedback and domed keys that aren't slippery. Thanks to the widebody design, the keyboard is also quite roomy despite the phone's relatively compact dimensions. We find the Backtrack feature useful, but then we also liked it on the Motorola Backflip. The phone comes with both standard and extended batteries and an alternate back for the extended battery. Though there's not much difference in capacity between the two (1130 vs. 1370mAh) we appreciate the windfall. The Charm has decent battery life with the standard battery by Android and general smartphone standards.

Phone and Internet

The Motorola Charm is a quad band GSM world phone with EDGE. It has 3G HSDPA 3.6Mbps (sorry, no HSPA 7.2Mbps on this budget phone) on T-Mobile's US bands. As we've come to expect from Motorola, voice quality and reception are very good. The Charm gets better than average reception for a T-Mobile phone and -11db stronger reception than my Samsung Vibrant. If you live or work in a signal-challenged area, the Charm is a safe bet. Motorola's CrystalTalk Plus works well to filter out noise for outgoing voice and incoming voice is full. The speakerphone is better than average: audio sounds rich and quite loud.

The web browser is the usual excellent Android Webkit browser that handles desktop sites wonderfully and of course it works with mobile sites too. QVGA means you won't see a lot of a desktop web page without scrolling and pinch zooming. Page download speeds over T-Mobile's 3G network are good.

Given the large QWERTY keyboard, the Charm begs to be your messaging phone. It has Gmail, email including Exchange email, Gtalk, text messaging and MMS. There are a plethora of IM and social network apps available on the Android Market and you can use Motorola's own extensive set of tools for Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. We give the Charm a big thumbs up for messaging.

Performance and Multimedia

The Charm has a 600MHz CPU, so it's not going to challenge the Vibrant or T-Mobile G2 on specs. That said, it feels responsive-- and that's impressive since MOTOBLUR had a tendency to drag down performance on previous phone models with that software. The smartphone has an ample 512 megs of RAM and 512 megs of flash storage. It has a microSD card slot under the back cover (no need to remove the battery) and ours came with a 2 gig card.

Despite the nominally middling CPU, the Moto Charm was a champ at video playback for both locally stored high quality QVGA video and streaming video via YouTube in HQ. T-Mobile's network handles streaming well, despite the Charm's support for just the basic HSDPA 3.6Mbps 3G standard. Audio soundtracks were particularly pleasant and sounded loud and full. With many phones, I run for the headset after listening for 30 seconds. Of course there is a stereo wired headset included that plugs into the phone's 3.5mm jack, and the Charm supports Bluetooth stereo A2DP.

The Charm's camera is what you'd expect from a relatively low-priced phone. It takes OK photos via the 3 megapixel sensor with fixed focus lens and has no flash. The phone can shoot video that's suitable for MMS and playback on the phone, but you won't be running to post these on YouTube.

Motorola Charm


Motorola Charm

Video Review



If you're looking for a very affordable and compact Android phone with a QWERTY keyboard, the Motorola has its charms. Despite our complaints about the display and MOTOBLUR overwhelming the small home screen, the Motorola Charm is a solid messaging phone and a very affordable Android smartphone. The build is solid, the phone is distinctive looking and attractive and that keyboard is excellent.

What's hot: Very good keyboard, lots of social networking, strong reception and voice. Both standard and extended batteries are included.

What's not: Display is small and low quality, social networking overwhelms the tiny home screen.



Price: $49 with a 2 year contract after rebate, $269 without contract.



Display: Multi-touch capacitive color LCD. Screen size diagonally: 2.8". Resolution: QVGA 320 x 240 pixels. Has an accelerometer and the phone supports automatic orientation change and flip phone over to ignore a call.

Battery: Lithium Ion rechargeable (standard and extended batteries are included). Battery is user replaceable. 1130 and 1370mAh batteries included.

Performance: 600 MHz processor. 512 megs RAM and 512 megs flash storage.

Size: 3.9 x 2.7 x 0.5 inches. Weight: 3.9 ounces.

Phone: GSM quad band world phone with 3G HSDPA 3.6Mbps on T-Mobile's 1700/2100MHz bands.

Camera: 3MP with fixed focus lens and LED flash. Can shoot photos and video.

Audio: Built in speaker, mic and 3.5mm standard stereo headphone jack.

Networking: Integrated WiFi 802.11b/g and Bluetooth 2.0 +EDR.

Software: Android OS 2.1 Eclair with MOTOBLUR software. Full Google suite of applications including the Android Market, Google Maps with Navigation, Gmail, email, YouTube and GTalk.

Expansion: 1 SDHC microSD card slot.


All Phone Reviews
Smartphone Reviews
Android Phone Reviews
Windows Phone Reviews
HTC Phone Reviews
LG Phone Reviews
Motorola Phone Reviews
Nokia Phone Reviews
Samsung Phone Reviews
Sony Phone Reviews
AT&T Phone Reviews
Sprint Phone Reviews
T-Mobile Phone Reviews
Verizon Phone Reviews
Unlocked GSM Phone Reviews


All Tablet Reviews
Android Tablet Reviews
Tablet Comparisons
Android Tablet Comparisons



Laptop Reviews
Ultrabook Reviews
Laptop Comparisons
Best Ultrabooks



Bluetooth Headsets
iPhone and iPad Accessories
eBook Readers

iPhone Game Reviews
iPad Game Reviews

iPhone Case Reviews
iPad Case Reviews


RSS News Feed

About Us

Contact Us


Site Map