Motorola DEXT review: first look

Can Motorola's first Google Android-based handset, the DEXT, keep up with the rest of the crowd?

Motorola DEXT side-on view

Looks-wise, the DEXT doesn't do too badly. It's not the most beautiful phone we've ever seen but it's quite pleasing to the eye, even if the strange reverse Braille effect on the back of the handset and Batman-esque Moto logo that kicked in when the keyboard opened puzzled us.

That said, the keys are nicely spaced and contoured with the numeric aspect of things on the subs bench to save space that's where the ALT key comes in.

There's even a mouse pad to the left, although the bit in the middle is just for pressing rather than acting as a cursor.

Although this phone is primarily targeted at consumers who're into social networking, it's also got a lot to offer business users.

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After all, more and more companies are making use of Twitter et al to keep in contact with colleagues, partners and customers, so having one easy point of reference the universal inbox for all such communication could prove very useful indeed. Throw in emails and texts to the mix too and you have the Holy Grail.

All about the UI

The user interface is fully customisable, as you'd expect and users also have access to the Android Market and widgets to cater for their personal and business whims.

During our brief hands-on with the DEXT, we found the screen to be very responsive and thought the interface (Motorola has overlaid the core Android OS with its own MOTOBLUR technology) was innovative, eye-catching and very easy to use.

Things are ordered into categories dubbed: happenings (for keeping abreast of your contacts' social networking action), messages (does what it says on the tin), social status (type once, update many), news feeds and calendar (that blends work life with your Google calendar).

Contacts are also updated automatically, taking the grunt work out of keeping track of people who appear to change their mobile numbers as often as their underwear. It will also create links between people when it works out they're the same person from the mobile number or email address and so on, which is nice.

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