Stylish, slim, 8-megapixel camera, Android 2.3 Gingerbread and a 4-inch WVGA screen, the Motorola MOTOLUXE looks like a corker when you consider the £230 price tag. Marketed at the cost-conscious fashionista, the Motorola MOTOLUXE also has a social-centric UI and illuminated lanyard dock for a bit of extra pizazz. In an age of dual and quad-core though, the Motorola MOTOLUXE packs a humble 800MHz single core engine under its a la mode chassis. Will this cap the MOTOLUXE’s success before it even gets released or is this a genius move opening up high-end features to the masses?

Mototols MOTOLUXE Design

The Motorola MOTOLUXE's strength is its price-point and design. With an immediately evident solid build, it looks refined, sits comfortably in the hand and beats some more premium handsets such as the Samsung Galaxy S2 in terms of solid-appeal.

Motorola MOTOLUXE Montage: The Motorola MOTOLUXE Front, Back and sides.

Four capacitive buttons sit on the polished fascia below the screen along with an illuminated lanyard dock and a Motorola insignia. A micro USB port is on the left while a 3.5mm headphone jack and power button are up top. To the right is a volume rocker and a two stage camera button.

Motorola MOTOLUXE Montage: The Motorola MOTOLUXE Camera, battery and illuminating lanyard.

The reverse of the Motorola MOTOLUXE feels great thanks to its soft-touch texture. Housed on the back-side is the 8-megapixel camera and LED flash as well as the metal battery cover, only adding to the premium air surrounding the MOTOLUXE's build.

Motorola MOTOLUXE Screen

At 4-inches and with 800x480 (WVGA) resolution, a combination we've seen on many higher end handsets, however, the MOTOLUXE is one of two affordable handsets that spring to mind with a similar screen spec - the other being the Orange Monte Carlo.

Motorola Motoluxe screen size illustrated by a diagonal arrow.

The panel is nice and responsive and looks sharp. Colours are a little under-saturated and the image is ever so slightly washed out, though overall the picture looks good. Viewing angles are exceptional, though blues appear neon when viewed at an angle as with the Sony Xperia S.  

Motorola MOTOLUXE UI and Keyboard 

Long gone are the days of MOTOBLUR, the Motorola MOTOLUXE is lightly skinned, running on Android 2.3 with a custom ‘MotoSwitch’ UI. Focusing on bringing frequently selected apps and contacts to the forefront of your homescreen, it includes widgets that add value to the overall experience.

Motorola MOTOLUXE Social Graph Widget; Motorola MOTOLUXE Activity Graph Widget, Motorola MOTOLUXE Lanyard portWith up to nine home screens, Motorola is upping the ante in terms of potential number of widgets and shortcuts.

Profiles are also heavily integrated. Rather than just affecting simple elements like volume though, Motorola have emulated the HTC Sense profiles, enabling multiple home-screen set-ups (up to three).

The UI looks like that seen on the Motorola XOOM 2, sporting an almost Pan Am style retro American look. The apps drawer is vertically scrolling with the option to view just downloaded and recently used apps if you so wish.

The multi-touch keyboard included on the Motoluxe performs adequately, however doesn’t offer the predictive prowess of the likes of Swiftkey or the comfort of the ICS keyboard found in the market.

Motorola MOTOLUXE Camera

Megapixels aren't the final word in a camera's performance - you've just got to look at the new iPad camera for proof of that. In turn, we think Motorola overdid it with the 8-megapixel pixel-count.

Motorola MOTOLUXE sample shots taken on Carnaby Street

Images look good overall with decent contrast and saturation despite the white-balance and exposure being way off at times. However, you can see from the pictures above, the barebones of a good camera phone are there.

So if quality is passable - what's the issue? Terrible flash performance and user experience, that's what. The flash just washes the image in blue and is unusable. Having said that, we've been assured Motorola are working on a fix for this. In addition, if you want to take advantage of advanced settings such as the many focus modes for example, no less than 5 clicks are required to access them. With no touch to focus, targeting your subject isn't always easy and the fact that images take up to a minute to render thanks to the 800MHz engine and we’d have rather seen a solid 5 or even 3-megapixel module on the MOTOLUXE with a more intuitive UI and decent flash.

Motorola MOTOLUXE Sample shots, indoor, flash and night time

As far as video goes, with a max resolution of WVGA, output isn’t going to be top of the line, but this isn’t helped by the poor quality image with exposure being off and no continuous focus.

The Motorola MOTOLUXE's 4-inch screen looks great considering the phone's price-point. Videos at WVGA resolution and below play back smoothly and look good. Higher resolutions do stutter however.

Motorole MOTOLUXE Connectivity

For £230, you get a 3G phone with Wi-Fi, a GPS and 2GB of internal memory. Underneath the Motorola MOTOLUXE's back cover is a full-sized SIM card slot and a micro SD card slot expandable by up to 32GB.

GPS and Wi-Fi are solid as is call quality. Internet browsing looks good on the 4-inch screen and is for the most part smooth enough. That said, flash video does bring up a few stop-starts as do heavy pages.

Motorola MOTOLUXE Performance

From the offset, the screen transitions and general performance lag slightly. While functional therefore, for anyone after premium performance, the Motorola MOTOLUXE isn’t it. As for battery life, it should easily last a full day with medium use. Standby time is incredible, so use the MOTOLUXE sparingly and you can definitely cross the 2 day barrier.

 

Motorola MOTOLUXE Verdict

What you end up with in the Motorola MOTOLUXE therefore is a well-built smartphone for the masses. It doesn’t have the power or speed that higher-end devices have and the camera UI is a bit of a disaster, but when looking at the direct competition - the Orange Monte Carlo (ZTE Skate), with the MOTOLUXE's better screen, better camera and better build, despite a few glaring shortcomings Motorola's offering is definitely our preferred choice.