- Small size
- Good battery life (in most conditions)
- Durable construction
- Performance is not great
- Small screen
A good option for people looking at their first or second smartphone.
With the frequency of Android device releases, it is easy for some devices to come in under the radar, including ones that deserve more attention. The Motorola Citrus — available on the Verizon Wireless network — falls into this category, and in my time with it, I’ve found it a device that is always ready to offer some of the functionality found in more well-known Android OS models.
The Citrus is available for $100 with a 2-year contract from Verizon Wireless. However, a current online promotion from this carrier makes it free with the 2-year contract. Without a contract, it is $290.
BUILD & DESIGN
The Citrus is a very simply-designed handset. A basic slate-touchscreen design, there are only breaks in the outer casing for buttons, speaker, and camera.
Overall, it is 4.1 x 2.3 x 0.6 inches, and it weighs 3.9 ounces.
The front of the Citrus is dominated by small 3-inch QVGA (320 x 240) capacitive touchscreen. It isn’t very bright, unlike some of the AMOLED displays you might be used to from Samsung or HTC, but it does the job well, showing most colors easily and with little to no distortion.
I’ve found that it’s easy to read in all settings. Glare wasn’t a problem, though you might opt to take off the “screen protector” that comes with it. After taking that off, you do run into seeing more fingerprints on the screen, but it doesn’t seem to degrade viewing except in dimmer, mixed lighting conditions.
One of my primary issues with the Citrus has been the size of the on-screen keyboard. It is too small for my fingers to easily type anything longer than a text message. Using the default Android keyboard was mostly a pain even with auto-correction. My fingers are just too long and flat.
Things changed for the better when I switched the keyboard settings to using Swype. In this case, I could stop poking at keys and enter text by just sliding my fingers over the screen from one key to the next and (mostly) get accurate results. Given the focus of the Citrus, and the ease Android handles SMS, using Swype might be the better option.
Other Buttons and Controls
The Citrus’ Backtrack touchpad is a neat little feature. This is a touch-panel located on the back of the device. You can use it to scroll and select options on the display without touching the screen.
After enabling it (Backtrack is configurable under Settings), I found that you could use it on just about any screen that could be scrolled or had selectable options. I thought it best using Backtrack across the various home screens and within the web browser, but rarely found a reason to turn it off as it was just a handy feature.
Below the screen are hard buttons for Call-Send and Call-End. Initially, I kept forgetting they were there because they are duplicated on-screen when in a call. From the home screen, clicking the Call-Send button will take you to the call log/dialer application. I’m not sure that these buttons are needed, at least not with their duplication on-screen.
The left side of the Citrus has only the micro-USB port, while the right side has volume up/down buttons and a camera on/shutter button which are neatly hidden into the design (you can find them easier by feel rather than sight).
The top has simply a 3.5 mm headphone jack and the power/screen lock button. The rear is a single plastic cover (as in many modern handsets), but has cutouts for the 3 megapixel camera, Backtrack touchpad, and speaker.
There are some neat touches throughout the hardware in respect to a red charging light where the micro-USB connector plugs into the Citrus. It stays red until its finished charging. There’s also a small green notification light above the top right of the screen which activates whenever SMS or email messages come in
Overall, the hardware of this product is solid for its price point. Aside from my niggles with input and the call send/end buttons, everything else is laid out well and works as expected.