The Motorola A1200, better known as the Motorola MING, is the latest Linux-based smartphone from Motorola. With a very attractive transparent flip design, 2.0 megapixel camera, and a handy business card reader feature, the MING is indeed a very capable phone on paper, but does it deliver?
The MING features sleek curves and clean lines throughout its design. Apart from the transparent flip, the phone is encased entirely in a soft touch rubber compound. Frequent readers of the site will know how much we love this material on our phones, as it not only gives us good grip but makes our phones more scratch resistant as well. With chromed plastic linings on the hinge and sides, the MING looks all class and ready for business. It is solidly built, with a battery cover that attaches firmly to the back of the phone.
On the front, the transparent cover houses the Motorola emblem and the back of the earpiece, which is coated in chrome. On the back of the device, the camera lens is enveloped in chrome. The macro mode switch just above the lens is a pin sized piece of black plastic, and I worry that it could break after extended usage. The stylus silo is located at the back of the phone to the left of the camera lens. I like the feel of the MING's stylus; it has the appropriate weight and the length is just about right. The loudspeaker is located on the lower part of the back of the phone.
On the right of the phone, the dedicated camera key is located alongside the voice recognition key. The miniUSB port is located lower down this side of the MING. To the left, the volume keys flank the shortcut key, which also works as the select key when accessing the few menus available with the flip closed. The headset jack is found just below the shortcut key. Both the miniUSB port and headset jack are protected by rubber flaps to keep out dust.
Flipping open the MING, the QVGA screen takes up most of the front of the device. You will find the 5-way navigational joystick between the call and end keys below the screen. Motorola has attached the earpiece to the transparent cover, running two very thin wires up either side of the flip, making something very plain and boring into a design element. Unfortunately, the transparent cover is very easily scratched, and our review unit has already suffered from this. Users of the MING might want to invest in a good pouch to protect their phone.
In the hand, the MING feels solid and very comfortable. Measuring 95.7mm x 51.7mm x 21.5mm and weighing 122g, the MING is easily pocketable and the weight is negligible for a smartphone. Overall, I really love the design of the MING, and I am sure a lot of business users out there would agree with me.
The Motorola MING is equipped with a brilliant QVGA screen capable of displaying up to 262k colors. The screen is brilliant and readable even under harsh sunlight. Even when viewed through the transparent cover, the screen still looks fantastic. I have no complaints here at all.
The 2.0 megapixel camera of the MING can capture photos in three different resolutions ï¿½ 1200x1600, 768x1024, and 480x640. Users are given options to tweak the photo quality, switch to night mode, and give their photos effects like black and white, sepia, solarize, and negative. The auto white balance system in the MING was accurate most of the time, but photos appeared out of focus in most shots. This is not surprising as the MING is not equipped with an auto-focus system. The macro mode, however, works really well. The dedicated camera key comes in handy when you take photos with the flip closed.
The MING is also capable of recording videos at resolutions of 176x44 and 128x96. The recording length is limited only by the amount of free memory you have. Heavy users of the camera might want to invest in a high capacity microSD card to fit in as many pictures and video clips as possible.
The included RealPlayer allows users to listen to MP3s with either headphones (you will need an adaptor since the audio jack is not the standard 3.5mm) or via the loudspeaker. Music sounded beautiful with no distortions or crackling through the speaker.
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