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HolidayBuyer's Guide

One blog site called it "the phone that thinks it's a watch". We don't care. This is the Motorola we all know that gave the world the iconic StarTac and RAZR. We had the AURA into our Labs recently to lust over up close, though we got more fingerprint smudges than we bargained for on the US$2,000 luxury handset.

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One of the first things you'll notice about the AURA is its heft. If a stainless steel chassis, sapphire crystal lens and a Swiss mechanism that offers a silky smooth swivel motion aren't enough to get you interested, we don't know what will.

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You probably can't tell from the above picture, but the 1.55-inch (diameter of 480 pixels, 16-million color and 300dpi resolution) screen is actually not flat. What we really like about the display is that the colors are very rich and the convex surface feels like we're looking at a 3D screen.

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The keypad is made from aluminum and fits the metallic theme of the handset.

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Here's a closer look at the standby screen on the AURA. Note that the battery indicator and signal strength bars have been customized to fit the circular display.

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Likewise for the main menu, the functions are arranged on the circumference of the screen. The awkward part about using the control cluster is that the center button lets you scroll only up/down/left/right. In order to select a particular option, you'll need to hit the dedicated OK key on the left. This is a little different from the conventional directional control pads with a center OK key that most people are used to.

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Here's the coolest thing about the handset. You get to see part of the rotary system in action when you open the swivel phone. According to Motorola, the AURA has 130 precision ball bearings that drive the blade. It's like opening the door on a high-end luxury car, Motorola says.

You also can't tell from the picture, but the surface of the phone isn't entirely flat. If you run your fingers on it, you can feel the subtle textured pattern Moto says took nearly two weeks to "sculpt, etch and polish".

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