Motorola’s newest Android phone, the Devour, is pretty. Its sleek body, aluminum build and fun slidey screen practically yell, “Pick me up! Play with me!”
And the first thing you’ll want to play with is Devour’s screen. The sliding 3.1-inch LCD can trace its design inspiration back to the T-Mobile Sidekick. It may not open with a flamboyant 180-degree spin but it’s fun to flick up and feels sturdy — there’s no hint it will snap if you push it open too hard.
That said, the phone is a bit heavy and bulky. Dudes: If you’re trying to carry this 5.9-ounce brick around in a pant pocket, it could get awkward (sagging is so ’90s). And ladies: It definitely adds a little unnecessary weight and a lot of unnecessary bulk to the standard clutch. Translation? You’d be better off leaving this leviathan at home on a Saturday night.
Operating the phone is wrought with issues too. The touch-sensitive navigation pad (square button beneath the display) is finicky. Sometimes it slides through screens and icons with precision, and other times it gets stuck on an app and simply doesn’t work. The same holds true of the touchscreen: Movement is jumpy and sticky. After mere minutes of use, the finger sludge that built up on the screen was just plain gross. No part of us wanted to put it up to our face to make a call.
But we did make some calls, and the clarity was decent, albeit with a slight echo. The phone’s UI made navigating calls a breeze. Web browsing is also quick and efficient.
With Motoblur (a proprietary skin Motorola slaps on some of its Android devices) twitter feeds, e-mail and news can be displayed directly on the home screen. If the screen were larger than 3.1 inches, this might be a cool feature. But trying to read updates that appear at less than an inch wide verges on painful and could result in — get ready for it — blurred vision. Blur offers five screens for icons and customizable content, but moving content between screens is difficult because of the fussy touchscreen. There’s just way too much hassle when dragging and dropping icons.
Devour has a QWERTY keyboard option (for when you tire of the miserable touchscreen), but despite its fairly large size, we found it hard to type on the keys. Pressing them down is difficult because the buttons are flush to the base. And the edges of the phone had a tendency to dig into fingers. Ouch!
This phone is not for the aspiring Annie Leibovitz. The 3-megapixel camera failed to take a decent picture; photos consistently appeared dim and unsaturated. There is a handy little button on the side for taking quick photos, but with such abysmal performance, we’d rather tote around a separate point-and-shoot.
Watching videos on the Devour is also severely crippled by that too-small screen. The speaker produces good volume and clarity, but squinting at choppy episode of Lost is just irritating.
As far as Android phones go, there are better choices out there — even from Moto. (The adept Droid leaps to mind.) The Devour, for all its outer beauty is ultimately just another pretty face without much substance behind it.
Pros, Slide-out screen is sturdy, satisfying. Easy aggregation of social networks. Attractive chassis and beautiful build materials.
Cons, Physical keyboard does not make up for atrocious touchscreen performance. Weakling camera. Good gravy, can someone get a crane to lift this heavy thing?
[via Wired.com ]