Motorola Motoluxe review: Motorola Motoluxe

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CNET Editors' Rating

2 stars Mediocre
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Attractive design; Large screen.

The Bad Weak hardware; No Android Ice Cream Sandwich; Camera is poor.

The Bottom Line Despite harbouring allusions of grandeur, the Motorola Motoluxe struggles to live up to its name. On the outside it's appealing enough, but the user experience is less than stellar and there are better phones out there for less money.

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Shamelessly aimed at fashion-conscious mobile shoppers, Motorola's Motoluxe has big ideas and lofty ambitions. The thin and alluring case design draws you in close enough for the phone to whisper sweet nothings in your ear about its 8-megapixel camera and large 4-inch LCD screen, but the beauty only goes skin-deep.

Once you get to know the phone, its shortcomings are brutally exposed. Instead of dual-core power -- which is slowly but surely creeping into the mid-range phone market -- the Motoluxe apologetically serves up a ponderous 800MHz single-core chip. What's more, the camera's large megapixel count makes the terrible quality of the photos it captures all the more disappointing.

At approximately £190 SIM-free or from £15 a month on a two-year contract, the Motoluxe isn't going to break the bank. But for that amount of cash, there are superior choices available.

Should I buy the Motorola Motoluxe?

If you value looks over user experience and form over function, then the answer is yes. The Motoluxe is all mouth and no trousers -- it has an under-powered CPU, runs an outdated version of Android and features an 8-megapixel camera, which promises much and delivers very little.

Motorola Motoluxe camera
The Motoluxe serves up a banquet of 8 megapixels, but the results of its camera are a dog's dinner.

While the phone's lush design and large 4-inch screen are to be commended, the lack of muscle beneath that rubberised chassis presents a real problem. The user experience is sluggish and unsatisfying, and Motorola's stripped-down MotoSwitch skin adds little value to the existing Android 2.3 arrangement.

Aside from looking reasonably attractive, the Motoluxe doesn't really excel in any other respect, making it a poor choice for Android devotees.

Motorola Motoluxe back
The rubberised casing is very grippy and means the phone is less likely to slip from your grasp.

Design

Motorola is being pretty vocal about how gorgeous it thinks the Motoluxe is, and I agree with the hyperbole to some extent. It may not be the thinnest smart phone on the market, but the Motoluxe is still a fairly svelte customer, measuring 9.9mm at its thickest point.

Although it boasts a 4-inch screen, the Motoluxe's frame is very compact indeed. Apart from the interface area at the bottom, there's not all that much of a bezel around that 480x854-pixel display. This gives the device similar dimensions to Apple's world-beating iPhone 4S but with a screen that's half an inch larger from corner to corner. Speaking of the display, it's bright and bold, showcasing a good level of detail and impressive viewing angles.

Motorola Motoluxe thickness
Just shy of one centimeter thick, the Motoluxe won't bulk out your pocket.

The Motoluxe is clad in a rubber-like coating, which improves grip and feels nice under the fingers. Here and there you'll also find metal components, which lend the handset a premium feel.

One of the things I really liked about the Motoluxe's design is the notification light, which is cunningly concealed inside the lanyard hole. This light pulses a different colour depending on the alert -- a text message will cause it to glow green and during charging a red hue is displayed. Although some may find the size of this light to be a little overbearing, I found it was more useful than some of the tiny, easily overlooked examples seen on other Android handsets.

Motorola Motoluxe light
The notification light glows a different colour depending on the type of alert, and works better than the dinky ones seen on other phones.

Processing power and internal storage

Although it's pitched as a mid-level handset, the Motoluxe offers bargain-basement power. The 800MHz CPU is disappointingly weak. It's the same speed as the one seen in the Motorola Defy -- a mid-range challenger from over a year ago.

With phones like the Huawei Ascend G300 offering 1GHz chips for less than £100, it's hard to see why Motorola would go with a less powerful variant in a more expensive device. The lack of power means that the Motoluxe rarely offers a user experience that lives up to its name. Navigation between home screens is appallingly sluggish and application multi-tasking is so painfully slow that I found myself deliberately using as few programs as possible to ensure smooth performance.

This lack of speed can also be attributed to the fact that the Motoluxe only has 512MB of RAM. Internal storage is equally lacklustre, with around 400MB on board -- of which, only 300MB is available to the user for the installation of apps and games. Because it's running Android 2.3, the Motoluxe is able to store some app data on the bundled 2GB SD card, but this doesn't entirely solve the problem.

Motorola Motoluxe apps
Storage space for apps is a meagre 300MB so you'll have to rely on the SD card, but you could still run short of internal memory.

Some data has to be retained in the internal memory, and if you're fond of downloading stuff from the Google Play app market, you may find that you run out of space sooner rather than later.

Software

Motorola is one of those handset manufacturers that still seems to have a lot of faith in Gingerbread . Like its companion the Defy Mini, the Motoluxe launches not with Android 4.0, but 2.3. I'd wager this is partly due to the weak nature of the processor, which would definitely struggle with the increased workload of Ice Cream Sandwich . Nevertheless, Motorola has stated that Android 4.0 will be coming to the handset in the fullness of time, but the lack of a solid timescale for this promise makes me more than a little sceptical.

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Where to Buy

Motorola Motoluxe

Part Number: CNETMotorola Motoluxe

Typical Price: £190.00

See manufacturer website for availability.