Motorola has been on a roll these days - churning out Android phones left, right and center. While the last Motorola mobile device that we reviewed was the high-end Motorola Milestone XT, the Motorola Quench XT3 that we are looking at today belongs to a different and somewhat contradictory niche - entry-level smartphones.
Off the bat, the Quench XT3 bears a certain resemblance to the recently-discontinued Google Nexus One, boasting a metallic gray body with rounded edges. The surface leaves users with a waxy feeling, but nonetheless, protects the phone from grime, scratches and fingerprints, leaving only the screen exposed. The device itself is considerably attractive, light and thin - definitely one that is able to slide easily into your pocket, back or otherwise, easily.
As gleamed from our initial inspection, it comes with a mixture of touch and physical controls, with a trackball thrown in for good measure. The physical buttons are used for making or ending calls; for the rest, look towards the touch interface.
As mentioned, despite having a touch screen, you can only make or end calls with the physical buttons and not by swiping or tapping the screen. Coming from a phone with no physical buttons, this was something that we had to get used to. But overlooking that, the front controls were responsive and well positioned. Generally, the screen responded faithfully to our swipes and taps, but surfing and screen transitions can appear to slow down slightly, though not to an intolerable extent. You can also choose from a few keypad layouts that best suit your typing finger posture by simply, swiping across the screen to run them through.
Those who have used an Android phone will find no problems diving straight into the Quench XT3. Aside from some minor adjustments to controls, the UI is largely similar to that of Android phones from other vendors like HTC or Samsung. Like the HTC Sense UI for example, users are also given screens or pages to customize with your own widgets, shortcuts and folders, albeit with only five instead of the former's seven.
A multimedia phone, it is not. Options for video playback are quite standard, and audio quality was definitely not the highlight here, offering a rather flat, bass-less and average performance. The camera is at best lackluster - in fact, the phone only sports a 3-megapixel camera with no auto-focus capabilities, a bar below the average 5-megapixel shooter usually found outfitted on new phones these days.
However, the LED flash throws quite a distance, and works well in dark places. Unfortunately, we noticed a distinct blue overcast in our images after using flash in well-lit indoor places. Generally, photos turned out rough on the edges, spotting noise and a lack of detail.
To add insult to injury, the physical camera button is a little too small and placed too near the end of the phone for our liking. Shooting feels cramped and not at all ergonomic, but safe to say, you can ultilize the on-screen capture button instead (yes, there are two ways to take a photo). Likewise with video capture: results weren't fantastic with us getting clips that were jittery and blurry.
When it comes to its battery life, the Motorola Quench XT3 was definitely not the cream of the crop. With a lower than average 1270mAh capacity, the phone chugged on for barely a day with 3G switched on (email and social media apps too), and a fair bit of calls and surfing.
The Motorola Quench XT3 is made for a crowd that requires a no-frills, productive and budget-friendly mobile phone. It ranks high on usability with its responsive buttons and screen, but as mentioned earlier, scores lowly on multimedia features and battery life. With a S$468 price tag, this affordable Nexus One look-alike is a good and pragmatic deal.