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
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei P10 smartphone review
- 2 Huawei P10 Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Motorola Moto G5 smartphone review
- 4 Oppo A57 phone: full, in-depth review
- 5 Moto G5 Plus phone: full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Google wants to solve the Android update problem once and for all with Project Treble
- Intel concerned about name of John McAfee’s privacy phone
- Low-cost Android phones to get iPhone features with new Qualcomm chips
- Qualcomm's Quick Charge 4 is coming in phones midyear
- Apple's next iPhones may cut corners on memory due to price squeeze
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- Huawei P10 smartphone review
- Huawei P10 Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media Executive / Specialist (Facebook) - online gamblingNSW
- CCSenior DeveloperNSW
- CCSenior Process ModellerNSW
- FTApplication AnalystSA
- FTSenior Front End Developer - BRISBANEWA
- FTTest AnalystACT
- FTLooking for Software TestersACT
- FTProduct Manager (IT Clinical Systems) - Permanent - Syd, Melb or BrisbNSW
- CCState-wide Business Transition LeadQLD
- FTiOS DeveloperNSW
- FTPrincipal Consultant / Account Delivery Executive.NSW
- FTERP Reporting AnalystNSW
- TPTechnical Business AnalystQLD
- FTProject Control Analyst - PMONSW
- TPSenior Java Developer - Contract till June 2018QLD
- FTUnix EngineerACT
- CCImplementation Manager/PlannerACT
- CCWeb DesignerQLD
- FTPHP / WordPress DeveloperQLD
- CCICT Security Systems AdministratorNSW
- CCSplunk - Technical AnalystVIC
- FTsolution ArchitectNSW
- FTJunior Administration AssistantACT
- FTRecord Management Support OfficerACT