Editors' note: In this review, we'll focus more on the Motorola Electrify's different features and performance. For more information on the smartphone, including design and user interface details, please read our review of the Motorola Photon 4G.
In early June, U.S. Cellular laid out its plan to release at least eight smartphones by the end of the year, and the carrier is living up to its end of the deal. The latest handset to join its Android stable is the Motorola Electrify. Available now for $199.99 with a two-year contract and after a $100 mail-in rebate, the Electrify is similar to the Motorola Photon 4G for Sprint and boasts a dual-core processor, a 4.3-inch qHD display, and an 8-megapixel camera, among other things. Its laundry list of features coupled with solid performance and compatibility with a number of accessories makes it U.S. Cellular's best smartphone yet, particularly for those who want a powerful device with the latest technology.
The Motorola Electrify is a dual-mode GSM/CDMA phone, so it offers world-roaming capabilities. The smartphone works on U.S. Cellular's CDMA network here in the U.S., and features an unlocked SIM, so once you travel abroad, you can purchase a prepaid SIM card to make voice calls and receive data. Other voice features include a speakerphone, conference calling, voice dialing, and text and multimedia messaging. The Electrify is 3G capable and can be used as a mobile hot spot for up to eight devices. Bluetooth 2.1, Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n), and aGPS are also all part of the package.
The Electrify runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread and integrates Google's apps and services, including Gmail, Google Maps with Navigation, Voice Search, Google Talk, Latitude, YouTube, and Places. The handset also comes preloaded with a number of useful apps, such as the Quickoffice suite, a task manager, and the Webtop Connector app, which can be used with the optional laptop dock. U.S. Cellular also loads it up with a number of other extras, including Zappos, IMDb, and Daily Perks, but the good news is that you can uninstall most of the bloatware.
The smartphone features an 8-megapixel camera with a dual-LED flash. The camera app offers a number of tools and settings, including exposure controls, different scene modes, effects, geotagging, and more. However, though it can play back 1080p HD video, at this time it can only record 720p HD video.
Picture quality was a bit disappointing. Photos taken in low-light conditions came out looking hazy with faint colors. The camera did better with outdoor shots, but videos taken indoors and outdoors both look washed out. You can share media via the phone's HDMI port or DLNA. The Motorola Electrify has 16GB of internal memory and an expansion slot that supports up to 32GB cards.