Motorola came out swinging in late 2010 with several new Android smartphones just in time for the holidays--Citrus is targeted for the entry-level crowd, the Droid Pro for professionals, the Flipside for messaging fans, and the Bravo for multimedia aficionados. Indeed, the Bravo has DLNA support as well as a nice 3.7-inch display for your video enjoyment. We're still not huge fans of the MotoBlur interface--it's required if you want to use the Bravo--but it does have Wi-Fi, 3G, and GPS, making it a decent midrange Android smartphone. The Bravo ships with Android 2.1, and we don't yet know if it'll receive a Froyo 2.2 update. The Motorola Bravo is available for $129.99 after a new two-year service agreement with AT&T Wireless.
The Motorola Bravo is similar in design to the Citrus, with its curvy candy bar style. At 4.29 inches long by 2.48 inches wide by 0.52 inch thick, the Bravo looks and feels pretty compact, and it cradles comfortably in the hand, thanks to its soft-touch back. It has quite a good heft to it as well at 4.59 ounces. The Bravo doesn't quite have the eye-catching impact of its Droid X cousin, but some people might feel drawn toward its minimalist look.
On the front of the Bravo is a decent 3.7-inch display. As a midrange phone, you won't find a fancy Super AMOLED display here, but the 16 million color LCD glass display still managed to please. Graphics look really vibrant and sharp and text looks nice and crisp, thanks to the 480x854 WVGA resolution. You can adjust the brightness, the screen timeout timer, and the Bravo also has an internal accelerometer so you can set it to portrait or landscape mode just by rotating the phone. The capacitive multitouch screen felt smooth and easy to use as well.
As for the user interface, the Bravo comes with Motorola's new MotoBlur interface, which lets you move and resize widgets on any of the phone's seven home screens. Like other MotoBlur handsets, the Bravo requires you to start up a MotoBlur account before you can start using the phone. The aforementioned widgets let you keep track of a variety of updates from social networks, incoming messages, newsfeeds, and more.
As you flip through the seven home screens, you'll see a navigation bar along the bottom row that lets you know which screen you're on. On standby mode, you'll see shortcuts to the phone dialer, the main menu, and the contacts list instead. If you want to enter text, you can use Android's own multitouch keyboard. The alternative Swype keyboard popular with many Android users does not come built-in with the Bravo.
Underneath the display are three touch-sensitive Android hot keys for the pop-up menu, the home screen, and the Back button. The microUSB charging port is on the left spine, while the volume rocker is on the right. On the top is a 3.5mm headset jack and the screen lock/power key. On the back is the camera lens. The microSD card slot is inconveniently located behind the battery.
The Motorola Bravo ships with Android 2.1, which isn't as good as the latest Android 2.2--it lacks voice dialing over Bluetooth and you can't store apps on the memory card--but it still has most of the Android features we like. That includes the usual Google apps like Gmail, Google Talk, Google Voice Search, and Google Maps with Navigation. Once you sign in with your Google credentials, you can also sync your contacts and calendar information with Google Calendar.
Gmail is not your only option for e-mail, of course. You can enter your own POP3 or IMAP accounts, and the Bravo supports corporate e-mail via Microsoft Exchange as well. Other written communication features include the usual text and multimedia messaging, and instant messaging (AOL Instant Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, and Yahoo Messenger). With MotoBlur, you can also send and receive messages via Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter.
As the Bravo is from AT&T, the carrier also bundled in a few AT&T-specific apps. AT&T Family Map lets you track your family members' phones for a monthly fee ($9.99 for two devices and up, $14.99 for five devices) provided their phones are compatible with the service; AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spots lets you find the nearest AT&T hot spot; AT&T Maps/Navigator is an alternative to the Google Maps service, but it does cost $9.99 for the turn-by-turn directions; and AT&T Music lets you purchase and download songs via the AT&T Music catalog. You also get AT&T Radio and Mobile Video.