When you're not making calls, you can use the integrated text and multimedia messaging features to keep in touch. The Flipout also offers instant messaging and you can sync the handset with your Gmail account and most POP3 services like Hotmail and Yahoo. The setup process through Motoblur is straightforward and we like the universal in-box. Corporate e-mail support will vary depending on your company's policies. We were able to use Outlook Web Access to sync our CNET Outlook mail.
Organizer features include all the basics like an alarm clock and time, a calculator, and a calendar. As you'd expect, the Flipout can sync with not only Google Calendar, but also other work and personal calendars. Deeper down, you'll find voice search, speaker-independent voice dialing, Microsoft Quickoffice, Wi-Fi, stereo Bluetooth, and all the usual Google apps like Google Talk, YouTube, and Google Maps with GPS navigation. We particularly appreciated the dedicated File Manager, which is a feature that too many previous Android handsets have lacked.
The Flipout comes with a nifty Phone Portal application that serves as a central place for transferring content between your phone and a computer. Though Android phones always have had this capability through the main Settings menu, we like the idea of a dedicated app with a more visual interface. You can transfer data back forth using a USB cable or Wi-Fi; we used both and didn't encounter a problem. When you're searching for Wi-Fi access, the Flipout comes with a dedicated app for locating and connecting to AT&T Hotspots.
As we mentioned, we weren't impressed with the Web experience on the small display. The browser itself is fine--you can create bookmarks, open multiple windows, and even use pinch and zoom multitouch--but you have to do a lot of scrolling to see a Web page. Also, unless you zoom in, selecting links on a crowded page proved to be a challenge. Keep in mind that the browser will default to a mobile page if one is available.
The 3.1-megapixel camera takes pictures in three resolutions. Other editing options, however, are limited to just a panoramic mode, a digital zoom, and photo tagging (either custom or by location). No, camera editing options don't always work wonders, but we'd rather have them than not. And don't go looking for a flash, either. The camcorder also offers three resolutions, but no other customization features. Your shooting time is limited by the available memory.
Photo quality is fine, but not excellent. Colors were a bit dim, and there was an excessive amount of image noise. Getting photos and videos off the Flipout is easy using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a USB cable, or a memory card. The Flipout has 512MB of internal memory and comes with a 2GB microSD card in the box.
The Flipout's media player will be familiar to experienced Android users. It supports album art and a shuffle mode, and you can organize tracks by playlist. It's nothing special, really, but it does the job. And just as with photos, we had no problems transferring music on and off the handset. AT&T also added its own AT&T Radio app and AT&T Mobile Video along with a dedicated app for MobiTV.
The Android Market, of course, offers access to many other applications and games. Alternatively, you can access AT&T's portal for more applications, though they will be specific to the carrier and may involve an extra fee. A few of the carrier's services like AT&T Maps,, and AT&T FamilyMap come packaged on the Flipout out of the box. You'll find Mobile Banking, Where, and Yellow Pages Mobile.
We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900) Motorola Flipout world phone in San Francisco using AT&T service. Call quality on our end was satisfying. Our conversations were clear, we didn't have trouble getting a signal, and we didn't detect any static or interference. Interestingly, you can only make calls when the phone is open.
The volume level was fine for most environments, though we could have used a boost when we were talking on a busy street corner. Our other complaint was that some of our friends sounded a little breathy. Their voices weren't distorted, but it almost sounded as if they were breathing heavily. On the other hand, we didn't detect excessive background or wind noise.
Motorola Flipout call quality sample Listen now:
On their end, callers said we sounded fine. They reported some background noise; a couple of people said that it was excessive. And to be fair, both problem times we were calling from a noisy place. Automated response systems could understand us, but we needed to be in a quiet place. Unfortunately, we weren't impressed with the Flipout's speakerphone. The audio was a bit distorted on our end, and some of our friends had trouble understanding us.
The data experience on the Flipout was highly variable (the handset supports the 850 and 1,900 3G bands). At times it took just a few seconds to open the mobile versions of CNET.com and Yahoo.com, but on other occasions it took well over a minute. The same was true for full Web sites. It could take as little as a minute for Airliners.net or almost 3 minutes. As we mentioned, video quality on the Flipout's small display isn't worth watching. Music quality also is unimpressive from the weak speaker, though a headset will offer a better experience.
The Flipout has a rated talk time battery life of 5.95 hours for 3G calls and 4.58 hours for 4G calls. Promised standby time is 15.71 days for 3G use and 15.21 days for 4G use. It has a tested talk time of 5 hours and 10 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the Flipout has a digital SAR of 0.67 watt per kilogram.