Hands On: Motorola Evoke QA4

Many of the new handsets announced at CTIA this year are targeted toward customers who want advanced features, but don't need all of the functionality of a smartphone. One of these new phones is the Motorola Evoke QA4. With a 2.8-inch full touchscreen, widget-based user interface and full HTML browser, the Evoke has some impressive specs for a non-smartphone.

Some mid- to low-range touchscreen phones I've used in the past had sluggish UIs didn't have the ease-of-use of a smartphone. Fortunately, this isn't the case with the Motorola Evoke.

The Evoke's touch screen is quite responsive and I didn't have to swipe or tap multiple times to get something to work. The Evoke also has haptic feedback, which sends a light vibration to your fingertip when you tap an on-screen key. Haptic feedback especially enhances the Evoke's landscape QWERTY keyboard, which was surprisingly comfortable and easy to use.

The Evoke comes preloaded with seven widgets: MySpace Mobile, Follow Me Weather, Google Quicksearch, Google Picasa, RSS Reader, USA Today Mobile, and YouTube. Each widget has its own panel and you can flip through them with a swipe of the finger. The silky interface reminded me a little of the Palm Pre's "deck of cards" model for managing apps. While the Evoke has a few smartphone-like features, it also has some limitations. The full HTML browser doesn't compare to what you'd find on a more advanced handset. And while instant access to apps is a nifty feature, you're restricted to only the seven preloaded widgets. Another downside: Motorola says that they don't have any current plans to add more.

The Evoke's rounded corners and smooth encasing feels very nice in hand. The slide-out numeric pad is sturdy and the flat keys are easy to press. And while some Motorola handsets can look a bit chintzy, the Evoke is quite eye-catching and the build looks high quality.

The Motorola Evoke QA4 also sports aGPS, quad-band CDMA connectivity and a 2-megapixel camera. Motorola has not announced carrier, availability or pricing of the Evoke QA4.

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