The MOTOFONE handset redefines wireless communication with high design, smart features and easy functionality at a low price. (…) the MOTOFONE enables even the newest phone users to embrace mobile communication with confidence and style.

I first saw them last month in London on Oliver Ueberholz hands and it immediately surprised me for it’s simple design and size! The best part was still to come, the price tag, apparently this gadgets sell by 20 euros in some european countries! Since they’re not available here in Portugal, I asked Colin to buy me one! I could write a long and sour post on why such equipment did get to Portugal, but I’ll refrain myself for now…

First impressions: the phone is slick and trendy, the screen isn’t a traditional one, it’s a EPD display, meaning it’s just black & white and only requires energy to update the screen.

In this post-feature era, when a product would reach the mark by adding extra-features, having a phone that does just what most of us really need: phone-calls (and SMS), is to say the least, refreshing! Incredibly I wonder how many people these days do use the extra features that come with the all-in-one top gear phone they just bought! And don’t get me wrong, I have an iPhone for some time from which I probably drain as much as I can, but that’s not the subject of this post, and I’m not the traditional user either.

The phone it’s (ridiculously) cheap: 2015 euros!, unlocked from a specific network! Its battery last long enough for a short trip – Colin charge it before we met in Copenhagen and I’ve use it without recharge for almost a week, impressive to say the least, no? (didn’t have much calls on that specific number but nevertheless).

All in all, the phone is impressive EXCEPT for the total lack of usability I’d say. It has been a long time since my last Motorola, but they haven’t changed much in User Centered Design! I see myself as one expert user, not the typical user, and when someone like myself finds it hard to interact with something, I guess it can’t mean good! For instance, on a mobile phone, its pretty common, almost standard in fact, that when see green, it means ‘yes’/’ok’/etc. and the opposite, red means ‘no’/’cancel’/etc. well, they have it all right but they still managed to introduce one extra key for OK! I found it extremely confusing and prone to error… still on keyboard design, the phone has one middle directional button, but with no clear cue, on what to expect on it’s different directions (axis)… The screen is limited, there’s no clear perception on what sits where and the text is limited to a short part of the screen turning vertical into horizontal scrolling.

All in all, I think it’s a great concept, but lacking in details! Since we don’t have them in Portugal and if someone want’s to poke on it, ping me!

UPDATE: apparently this same mobile phone has been on sale in Portugal, never seen it, but according to this, it has been…