Given its marketing and price point, I didn’t expect the Motorola Citrus to be as fast as the Droid series of devices Motorola also produces. With Android OS 2.1 (Éclair) on-board, The Citrus is apt to slow down when pushed, like when playing music and browsing heavier websites at the same time, and can be overwhelmed to an almost standstill if pushed too far.
Wireless and Communication
Throughout my time with the Citrus, I’ve traveled a good bit between urban and rural North Carolina and Virginia areas. The constancy of the Verizon Wireless network showed throughout, with only a few drops in places that were definitely remote.
In terms of call quality, speaker volume and clarity were decent. There was some noticeable fuzziness in the higher tone ranges and where I didn’t have a decent (and consistent) signal. From those whom I spoke to, there was a bit more background noise picked up, but otherwise no noticeable issues with hearing me whether through the device microphone or using the speaker phone.
The address book is just about the normal one seen for Android OS devices, with the exception of a few Verizon additions: There’s an ICE (in case of emergency) contact, and account management contacts (check balance, check data, check minutes, make payment, and call warranty center).
The address book pulls from your Google account — you log in when setting up the Citrus — and any updates you do on your device are automatically saved to Google. There’s also a Backup service offered by Verizon which can be used to store contacts and device data.
Skype comes pre-installed on the Citrus. Unfortunately, you cannot use this VoIP software when connected to a Wi-Fi network, as it always uses your 3G data package. Once inside of Skype, you have access to all of your Skype contacts and can Instant Message, SMS, or call them. Video calling isn’t enabled in the Android OS version of Skype at this time.
Given my issues with inputing content, productivity tasks quickly became limited to SMS, IM, and reading email — I rarely had the patience to reply. That said, the Citrus was up to the task and seemed to handle those kinds of activities well.
SMS is handled inside of the Text Messaging application. Threaded messaging is here, though I feel that the contrast in the color of the text and the color of the background within this application makes it harder to read messages at a glance.
Email has both a dedicated Messaging application and the Gmail application. Unfortunately, the Messaging widget on the (center) home screen doesn’t read from the Gmail application, so while it looks good for being there, its a bit of a missed opportunity for that widget.
Speaking of the home screen, there are seven of these, all customizable. Each home screen, except for the first and the last, are pre-configured with applications and widgets that I found mostly helpful. Verizon even throws in a Data Usage widget, so that you can see how close you are to the 2 GB monthly allowance at a glance. If you don’t like these choices, you can pick your own.
Web and multimedia were solid elements of the Motorola Citrus experience. Again, the only limitations I ran into here were around the physical screen size.
Web browsing was a pretty typical affair. The nag with doing it on the Citrus is that you don’t have a lot of screen space, and so going to websites that have mobile sites became my normal experience. That said, the Android web browser does a great job with full-sized websites even on the Citrus. Zooming and text re-flowing are quite similar to other modern mobile browsers, and the speed of page loads was acceptable: snappy on Wi-Fi connections.
The music player is a quick and simple affair. Playlists, viewing album art, and simple controls made it easy to setup the Citrus for workouts or lounging moments. I was impressed at the speed of the Citrus in scanning the media on its 2 GB microSD memory card (included with the device).
Scrolling through the list was another story, there were several glitches in scrolling up and down the songs/albums listings in either direction. Happily, except for a few bass-heavy tracks, I didn’t notice the high-volume tone issue heard when using the speaker phone.
The Android Market saw an update during my time with the Citrus and is now a much easier place to shop and download games and other applications. As with other Verizon devices running the Android OS, there’s a vCast Apps section which shows free and low-cost applications specifically geared towards Verizon customers.
The Motorola Citrus has a 3 megapixel camera unit. It is not a bad camera, but there’s a 1 or 1.5-second shutter delay which can be a bummer on those quick scenes. There’s also no flash, so anything without sunlight, or some measure of balanced indoor light looks muddled.
I do like the camera application. A 2-second press of the camera shutter button opens the application and then you are given the option of taking the picture via the on-screen button or by the shutter button. As soon as the picture is taken, you tap the picture and get options to share, edit, or delete the photo.
The Citrus has an 1170 mAh battery. I found it suitable for most usages unless the device was pushed by Skype, Gmail, and other connected applications running constantly.
In normal usage (Gmail connected, 1-hour of calls, several SMS messages), I was able to get just over a day before the battery meter got into the red. With heavier usage, I was ready to charge by bed-time — in this test I had Skype running and I was in and out of a Wi-Fi hotspot.