The budget Android smartphone market is a crowded place with handsets such as the LG L3, HTC Desire C, Huawei Ascend G 300 and Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 already fighting for dominance. From our time with the MotoSmart it's clear that it has a fight on its hands for budget dominance/survival. See also: Group test: what's the best Android phone?
Motorola MotoSmart review: Build quality
As always with Motorola phones, the MotoSmart's design has a slightly quirky unsymmetric look to it, which doesn't really hide the fact that it it a very dull-looking phone. A common theme with budget phones. See also: Group test: what's the best smartphone?
On the plus side the phone does feel pretty secure in your hand. The case is made out of an interesting hard rubber and plastic material that gives the impression it would handle a few accidental drops in its lifetime.
That said, the screen's solidarity was found wanting a little bit in our (non) scientific squeeze test. The MotoSmart's display started to ripple after minimal pressure was applied, leaving us suitably afraid to apply any further pressure.
Motorola MotoSmart review: Hardware
The Motorola MotoSmart has an uninspiring ARMv6 800MHz processor, which is hardly surprising considering the low price. It has 449MB of RAM, which is also not great, but it's par for the course with a budget phone. Both specs are worse than the MotoSmart's inexpensive rival, the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2, which has a dual-core ARMv7 800MHz processor and 555MB of RAM. The Ace 2 does cost £60-£80 more, however.
In our benchmarks, using Geekbench 2 the MotoSmart performed poorly, posting a low score of 160. To put this in context, the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 scored 725, the budget HTC One V scored 285 and the high-end Samsung Galaxy S3 scores well over 1,000 in the test. This phone is not a powerhouse.
The MotoSmart offers owners a pretty slim 165MB of usable memory, but thankfully this storage is expandable by up to 32GB with a microSD card - something that we would highly recommend in buying if you want to enjoy any media on this device.
Motorola MotoSmart review: Camera
The Motorola MotoSmart has only the one 3Mp rear facing camera. The snapper is like the rest of the phone, bog-standard. The only point of note is that it has 4x digital zoom, which is hardly something to boast about.
There are no fancy autofocus or face-recognition features and the picture quality is distinctly average for a 3Mp camera. There isn't even a flash.
Motorola MotoSmart review: Software
Budget smartphones seem to love Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and guess what, the MotoSmart is absolutely no different at all.
There are a couple of unique features: One interesting feature that this handset has is MotoSwitch UI 2.0, which allows you to switch between personal and works modes. Secondly is the left and right homescreen options that will auto organise your favourite apps and contacts for easy access. Hardly awe-inspiring but worth a mention in an otherwise dull OS.
In related bad news… the MotoSmart scored pretty badly in our web browser test too, posting a lowly 13,299.7 ms in the SunSpider Java test. To put this into perspective, the 2010 iPhone 4 managed consistent scores around the 10,000 ms mark.
Our personal browsing experience wan't as bad as the scores make it out to be though. Websites loaded quickly enough and zooming/scrolling around web pages was pretty nippy.
Motorola MotoSmart review: Battery
You'd be forgiven for thinking a phone that is as underwhelming and puny as the MotoSmart would be light on the juice intake. Much like a Toyota Aygo with its low fuel consumption (to use a car as a comparison). But it's not. It's more like a Chelsea Tractor (…continuing with the car comparison). If you plan to use it a lot throughout the day and/or play games on it, you had better carry your charger around with you, as it's likely to die on you before the day is out.