Wonderful review and impressions. It's about what I expected...but I still want to get one just in case.
Just got my MOTOFONE F3 from Tigerdirect, for $49.99 + $7.49 shipping. The phone is indeed a GSM 850/1900 dual band phone, and it worked just fine with my AT & T SIM card. Here are some pics along with a quick and dirty review:
The phone comes in a cardboard and plastic can, like a Pringles can. Included are the battery, back battery cover, AC adapter and an instruction sheet.
Here are some other gadgets for comparison. The phone is really really thin. The only thing thinner than it is my new 3G Nano...
The screen uses E-Ink, which is an ultra low-power display. The phone has an estimated standby time of 300 hours, which is pretty amazing, because of this. The E-Ink display is very bright and crisp in normal indoor lighting, and is backlit, albeit unevenly for low-light situations. The keypad is also backlit.
As you probably already know, the phone does not have menus in the traditional sense. When you power it on, the phone goes through three different languages and asks you to pick a number corresponding to which language you want it to function in. Then, you have to manually set the clock and date. There is a button at the top left which brings up the "menu" and allows you to:
Send a message
That's about the extent of it's functions. When you highlight each of these features, there is actually a voice prompt telling you the name of the feature. The ringtones are polyphonic, and there are seven of them. With the exception of number 2, which is a standard ringer, the rest are little medleys. The ringtones start off quiet, and gradually get louder. The phone also has a vibrate function. In the upper left and right hand corners of the display there meters for signal and battery level.
There are a number of advanced settings that you can access through entering various three digit codes: you press * * *, then three digits, then * and the top left button. It's kind of complicated, but once you set things the way you like them, you shouldn't have to mess around with it.
The phone does not have any memory for storing phone numbers. They are all stored on your SIM card. The phonebook presents numbers by last name first, and since it only displays six characters on a line, you have to scroll horizontally to see the whole name of the person you want to call. In addition, you cannot specify "home" or "office" or "mobile," numbers for a particular person.
I'm not much of an SMS'er, but I can see how frustrating it would be to read text on such a low-res display.
The phone feels very solid in the hand, and is very light. You can slip it in your front pocket and not feel it at all. The phone is made of plastic, and the battery cover feels kind of cheap. There is only one port on the phone, for the AC adapter, although there is a headphone icon next to it as well - I'm not sure what kind of headphone plug fits in there.
The phone also has a speakerphone, which I have not tested extensively. Reception seems to be very good, and voice quality is average.
Bottom line: A really small and sleek phone which will turn heads. Overly simplistic menu system, and low-res character display. If you're looking to spend $50 on an unlocked GSM phone, you're probably better off getting a v60 - which has more features than this phone.
I have a RAZR2 V9 and a Samsung Blackjack. I bought this phone mostly out of curiosity; I wanted to see what Motorola was working on for developing countries - kind of like the OLPC for cellphones. It's an interesting concept, but it probably could have been executed better. I will probably use it for outdoor activites where I might get slightly wet or dirty. With it's awesome battery life and good reception, I could probably take it camping or something and not have to worry about having to charge it.
PDA Hx: Palm V, TRGPro, Palm Vx, Clie T615C, Axim X5 400, h1945, h4155, i-mate JAM
Digicam Hx: Canon S100, Canon G2, Canon S400, Canon SD550, Canon SD700
MP3 Hx: Rio Volt SP100, Intel PAP 3000, Microboss CF, 2nd Gen 10GB G2 IPod, 1.5GB Rio Nitrus, 20GB G3 IPod, Silver 4GB Mini, 4GB Nano Black, 4GB Nano White, 3G 8GB Nano, 60GB Video
Cell Hx: SCH-3500, TP5200, A460, v60g, T610, v600, e398, JAM, i730, v276, Q, 700p, 3125, iPhone, BlackjackMot q9h, RAZR2 V9
V E N T I V E N T
Hm... I had a F3 for a while, and I think I can add some remarks to ventiven's review
The battery REALLY lasts long. And the fact that you can't fiddle with the phone helps
Reception is great - remember F3 has two antennas
And the screen is also wonderful, especially if you live in the target market of F3 - developing countries, most under the tropics.
very nice...probably gonna get one..but are you sure its 850mhz and 1900mhz? it says european version on the site and i dont think they use 850 or 1900 in eu
There is an American (850/1900) and an rest-of-the-world (900/1800) versionOriginally Posted by djnick
I got one simply out of curiosity. Interesting, and gutsy of Motorola to make something like this. Response from people has been mixed.
Most don't believe it's an actual phone. And most aren't able to work it. :-) The voice assist is essential in this case.
Especially for the target market.
would you mind sharing where you got yours from and how much?Originally Posted by ventivent
Nice review. Sounds like what I expected of it.
Where did you hear it was designed for developing countries, though? I don't think it was. Developing countries aren't very different from US and Europe in terms of mobile phone technology. Only difference is the way the UMTS standard and other 3G technologies are being introduced. 3G is still a bit rare there, and it'll take some time for it to catch up, but modern phones are what everybody uses today, everywhere.
The Motorola F3 was designed for people who are interested only in the communication feature of cellphones, and for people who get confused too easily with all the features we see in those phones nowadays.
Um........:Originally Posted by phattbam
That is all....Originally Posted by ventivent
My Geek Toy! <--It gets 10 MPG
Originally Posted by djdownhill
OMG.. my bad.. I just jump to the pictures and not really read the actual post. my apologies.. haha
No worries...Originally Posted by phattbam
I couldn't find a direct quote from Motorola as to the intention of it being designed for emerging markets, but considering the fact that it was initially released in India, then in Africa and finally the rest of the world, it gives a good indication of whom Motorola wants it to be used by.Originally Posted by Kaonashi
You are correct wrt your comment on 3g and the way it is deployed. 3G technology is not used much for video telephony, but is shaping up to becoming the lifeline for many. In fact, because of ridiculously high charges for internet access and usage in countries like South Africa, mobile service providers are reaping the benefits. It's cheap (compared to landline dial-up, which is still widely used here, and the initial cost of setting up ADSL), quick, easily available, and user friendly.
In SA alone, there are 2 HSDPA enabled networks, and two smaller EDGE-running networks that cover over 95% of the country.
Ah, I understand. Well, I was curious about it so I did a little research and found a hotsite from Motorola. Here: http://direct.motorola.com/hellomoto...nce/index.html
There are many interviews with the designers there, and it seems they did travel to several countries to get ideas. It looks like their concept for this phone is supposed to be a "phone for everybody". They made it simple and accessible so that anyone would be able to buy and use one, anywhere. The emphasis was plain communication, which is something that sometimes gets a little overshadowed nowadays, in mobile phones, I think.
So the way I see it, this product wasn't exactly placed as a phone for developing countries, but more like a phone for extreme conditions and that is also accessible for almost everyone. Developing countries have many different facets, also including urban ones that are used to and enjoy technology as much as other countries do. I live in Brazil, in an urban area, and the MOTOFONE was introduced here some 5 months ago. I've never seen anyone that actually bought one, but I hear some little jokes about it, from people who live in the cities. Some go as far as to call it things "Motovô" ("Motograndpa"), because it's an easy enough phone to be used by elderly people. I know that's kind of harsh, but now I see it has a broader appeal.
But thank you for your reply. It's nice to hear about someone from Africa. Were you born there? I'm curious about how things work there (cellphone-wise, as well).