The race for affordable Android devices is on and most players including Samsung, LG and Motorola are in a bitter fight for conquering this segment. Be it an Android phone with physical QWERTY or simply an affordable full touch-screen, there are multiple options from each of these manufacturers. Motorola has the Fire and the Fire XT out in the Indian market recently, and we played with the Fire XT (XT530) for a day. Here, is a quick review of the latest Android offering from Motorola.
Motorola Fire XT (XT530) Specifications
- 3.5″ Full Touch Screen, 262k colours
- 320×480 screen resolution
- 800 Mhz Processor / 512MB RAM
- Android 2.3.4 (Gingerbread)
- 5.0 MP Camera, 0.3 MP front camera
- Bluetooth / WiFi / 3G
- FM Radio
- 150MB internal storage, microSD card expansion
- 84.3 gms weight, 11.9m thickness
- 1540 mAh battery
Fire XT – Design
Motorola Fire XT on first look reminds us of the Nexus One with a greyish body and touch buttons below the display, no trackball here though. The built of the Fire XT is a little curved and the device fits in your hand pretty well. The 3.5mm audio jack and power button are placed on the top of the device, whereas the micro USB slot is on the left.
The back houses the 5MP camera with LED Flash, volume and camera buttons on the right.
The body is mostly plastic with a metal housing that reveals a chrome border on the sides. The phone appears on par with its pricing, unlike the HTC Wildfire S, it won’t give you a very rich feel. The microSD card slot is under the battery and it can be a little tricky to remove the card given a weird stopper placement, growing some nails might help 🙂
The Fire XT530 is a well priced phone with a price tag that beats the Samsung Galaxy Ace and Motorola’s own Defy. While things look good on paper, the 800 Mhz processor and 512MB RAM fail to deliver a good experience. If the 320×480 resolution on a 3.5″ screen was not enough, the poor quality of the touch screen and display hurt further. The 262k colour TFT on the Fire XT looks dull to say the least and the touch screen is sluggish. You would notice the same in the video preview below.
The buttons below the display on the XT530 are touch enabled, but need a hard push like a physical button. Probably it is just our judgement, but having a touch screen that promotes effortless push and pairing that with a bunch of keys that look touch friendly but by all means need a hard push is a little contrasting. On multiple occasions we had trouble getting the buttons below the display to work. The problems look more software than hardware, we would expect software updates fixing the same.
We tried a few games and apps on the Fire XT and they work well. This certainly had more horsepower than the HTC Wildfire S and that shows in the performance. Motorola hasn’t done too many customizations on this device but you have a quick option to visit the Android market or to sort apps in a group (folder) as soon as you jump into the apps menu. The browser is stock Android and works well. The onscreen QWERTY though custom could have been much better. It gives haptic feedback on every-type and the key being pressed also pops-up, but typing fast on the same is difficult.
We played some videos on the Fire XT, standard definition .MP4 worked without any lag, however the device had issues handling a 720p clip. Even a 17sec 720p video locked when scrolling to forward or rewind the same. We also noticed that one accidentally ends up triggering the buttons below the display when trying to operate the touch screen.
The loud speaker on the Fire XT is loud enough, the output is louder than an average smartphone. Though the earphones are loud, they lack a bit of treble and disappointingly there are no setting options in the music player either. We like the output from the 5MP shooter on the XT530. While it isn’t earth shattering, it is a good performer at this price range. The video (standard definition) is also pretty neat. Here, are the camera samples:
Video Sample recorded from the Motorola Fire XT:
The Motorola Fire XT XT530 is an affordable Android device and on the specs side gives good competition to the likes of Samsung Galaxy Ace & HTC Wildfire S. However, the poor display quality and sluggish nature of the touch screen is a disappointment. Despite a good price point and spec, the Motorola XT530 fails to pack a great experience. What helps the Fire XT is the lack of good competition at this price point, but given the HTC Salsa has dropped below Rs 15,000 and the Wildfire S gives a much better UI / design, you have plenty of options to consider before jumping for the Fire XT.