Boost Droid Android smartphone
Boost Droid review: An excellent keyboard, hampered by a poor screen and sluggish performance.
- Good keyboard, all the features of Android platform, cheap, pre-loaded apps
- Resistive touchscreen isn't always responsive, sluggish performance, no multitouch, small screen effects display of some apps
The Boost Droid smartphone has an excellent keyboard and is cheap, but it makes too many sacrifices when it comes to usability and performance.
Price$ 149.00 (AUD)
Huawei has just launched its consumer brand onto the Australian market, but its U8300 Android smartphone, re-badged as the Boost Droid, is a good example of the manufacturer working with Australian carrier partners. The Boost Droid smartphone promises a budget, value for money Android experience. It has an excellent keyboard, but unfortunately the mobile phone sacrifices usability with a poor screen and slow performance.
Looking for a cheap smartphone? Check out our holiday gift guide for the best budget mobile phones.
The Boost Droid smartphone stands out due to its overly square design. Its odd shape gives it a cute look, which lends itself to the target demographic of young teens. The shape of the Boost Droid smartphone appears to be split into two thanks to small contours almost three quarters down; the top half houses the 2.6in resistive touchscreen, and the bottom half the physical QWERTY keyboard and controls. The Boost Droid smartphone has answer and end call keys and a menu and back button, along with a clickable trackball. Strangely, it doesn't have a physical search button, which is standard on most Android-powered smartphones.
The Boost Droid's keyboard is excellent. The rubberised keys are slightly raised and curved, and provide good tactility and a fair amount of travel when pressed. The space bar does feel a little awkward, preferring to be pressed on the left or right rather than in the centre, and the keys on the outer edges are a bit too close to the edge of the handset, but otherwise, the keyboard is impressive and is definitely the best feature of the Droid.
Even though it retails at just $149, the Boost Droid smartphone has the same feature capabilities of a top-end Android smartphone. It has full 3G connectivity, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a basic camera, a full Web browser, a standard headphone jack, comes with a microSD card for extra storage, handles personal and corporate e-mail, and provides access to the Android Market for third party applications. Boost has also pre-loaded the Droid with a number of handy apps including the excellent Documents To Go viewer for reading Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF files, RoadSync for Microsoft Exchange e-mail support, Richpad for note taking and Twidroyd for Twitter. Boost also packs the 1GB microSD card full of apps, though these are all free apps that can be downloaded from the Android Market.
Unfortunately the Boost Droid does all these things with a hefty sacrifice in usability and performance. The resistive touchscreen is often unresponsive, requires too firm a press to register taps and is small and cramped. As an example, we had to use a fingernail, rather than a fingertip to drag down the notifications bar; a basic action that most users will undertake frequently. The display also has poor viewing angles, is hard to see the screen in sunlight, and has a low resolution; its odd shape also means that some apps — such as the official Twitter app for Android — don't display in the correct orientation.
The Boost Droid smartphone is sluggish during general use. Apps are slow to open and close and though it is technically capable of handling multitasking, it really hasn't been designed with this in mind. The Web browser is slow to load and doesn't always render pages correctly, there is no multitouch or Flash support, while scrolling isn't smooth and text isn't displayed crisply, so it can often be hard to read.
Battery life is below average; the Boost Droid barely lasted a full day with moderate use; regular push e-mail and social networking updates eat into battery life. If you're coming from a basic feature phone, you'll need to get used to charging the Boost Droid every night.
Keep in mind that the Boost Droid smartphone is a data centric handset, but Boost's plans don't seem to be that generous with data allowances, with a $30 recharge on the 1cent text plan providing just 100MB and a $40 recharge giving you 300MB. You will get a bonus of 400MB and 1.2GB respectively on these plans until 28 February 2011.
Stay up to date with the latest reviews. Sign up to GoodGearGuide’s Gear Daily newsletters
Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @Goodgearguide
Become a fan of GoodGearGuide on Facebook: Become a fan of GoodGearGuide on Facebook
Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 HP Stream 11 laptop
- 2 Acer Chromebook 11 (CB3-111)
- 3 Asus Zenbook UX303LN Ultrabook
- 4 Samsung's Galaxy Alpha review: A peek into the Galaxy S6
- 5 Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro hybrid Ultrabook
Best Deals on GoodGearGuide
Latest News Articles
- US rejects North Korea offer to investigate Sony hack, reaches out to China
- North Korea wants joint probe into Sony hack, warns of consequences if not
- Staples says hack may have compromised 1 million-plus payment cards
- Judge questions evidence on whether NSA spying is too broad
- Three ways enterprise software is changing
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.