The Motosmart has a broadly similar specification to the similarly priced Sony Xperia tipo, but which is the wisest choice?
We've reviewed a few £100 Android smartphones this year, but the Motorola Motosmart XT389 is one of the first from a manufacturer most people might recognise. The Motosmart is currently available for nothing with contracts from £7.50 a month at Carphone Warehouse. It's also available without a contract for just £90.
The Motosmart has a broadly similar specification to the similarly priced Sony Xperia tipo. The matte black plastic case feels sturdy, and the back and sides have a grippy rubber coating. Most of the case is plastic, but the rear panel is metal and slides off for access to the removable battery and microSD memory card slot. The 3.5in screen is only 0.3in larger diagonally than the Xperia tipo's display, but it looks much bigger and the Motosmart XT389 is a much larger smartphone - although still compact by current standards.
Although both smartphones have a measly 320x480 pixel resolution screen, the Motosmart's display isn't as good as the Xperia tipo's. It's clear and bright, both indoors and out, but its colours aren't quite as vibrant and nor is there as much contrast.
Photos from the Motosmart's 3-megapixel camera are markedly better, though. The lack of flash on both models limits indoor photography, but the Motorola's shots are sharper, less noisy and have more saturated colours - all within the limits of the relatively low resolution, of course.
The 800MHz single-core processor inside both smartphones means that neither is a speed demon, but the one used in the Motosmart is slower than the Xperia tipo's. Benchmarks aren't always the most meaningful guide to performance, but the Android interface on the Motosmart also suffered from an overall lack of smoothess and responsiveness. A mere 165MB of built-in app storage could also be an issue for some, since the Android 2.3 operating system is limited in how much app data it can offload to a microSD card.
Anyone more interested in long battery life, however, will be well served by the Motosmart XT389. It lasted for an impressive 30 hours and 30 minutes in our video playback test, making it the longest-lasting smartphone we've seen.
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The Motorola Motosmart has superior battery life and a better camera, but it's frustratingly sluggish performance and so-so screen means the Sony Xperia Tipo just edges ahead. However, both pale in comparison to the Huawei Ascend G300 which remains our budget smartphone of choice.
Outstanding battery life; Good camera
Limited app storage; Sluggish performance; Old version of Android
£90 without contract
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