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Motorola F3 review

The F3 is cheap, frills-free and has an extraordinary battery life – but does it take simplification too far?

What are you looking for in a mobile? If your answer is ‘something that makes calls, send texts and has a battery life to rival the sun’, then the F3 should, theoretically, be the phone for you.

It’s exceptionally slim with a waist of just 9mm – not quite as thin as Samsung’s 6.9mm X820 but we’re not complaining – and its remarkably clear monochrome screen is made from the same stuff used in e-paper. Even in bright sunlight, there’ll  be no squinting required.

Voice commands

The F3 is worth considering if your eyesight is impaired, both because the screen is outstandingly clear and because it’s possible to set the menu buttons to be accompanied by a voice command. These tell you you’re about to create a text message, change the ringtone and so on.

And because the electrophoretic screen uses barely any energy and isn’t backlit, it means that battery life is outstanding – if you leave it in standby mode it’ll last for well over a week.

Moto’s menus strike again

So far, so good – but what lets the phone down? Well, Motorola has always been criticised for its confusing, labyrinthine operating systems, and sadly this lets the F3 down again.

Even though a whole new system has been set up it’s not always easy to use. The voice instructions can be helpful, but the menu icons aren’t instantly recognisable – so you better do some homework and learn them.

No-one wants to carry a manual around but sometimes you have to admit defeat and dig it out as changes like turning key tones on and off require more key presses than dialling your aunt in Australia.

More disappointing, texts are a real chore to send or read – the lettering is so big that long words are tricky to enter and you can forget about predictive text.

It’s a shame because the F3 looks great and call quality is excellent, but it’s only dual-band – which means no trips to the States – and the menus limit its simple phone potential.

Stuff Says…

Score: 3/5