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Motorola Gleam Plus review

  • Motorola Gleam Plus
  • Motorola Gleam Plus closed
  • Motorola Gleam Plus LEDs
  • Motorola Gleam Plus screen


Top marks for style, but otherwise a rather basic and underwhelming low-cost feature phone

Review Date: 10 Jan 2013

Price when reviewed: £69


Reviewed By: Katharine Byrne

Our Rating 3 stars out of 5

Clamshell phones may seem a little dated, but Motorola has pulled out all the stops to make the Gleam Plus one of the coolest and most elegant budget feature phones around. What’s more, the LED lights on its lid show the time, and flash while charging and taking calls, giving the Gleam Plus an added air of refinement.

Motorola Gleam Plus LEDs
The LEDs on the case look cool, but they serve a practical purpose, too

While the Gleam Plus remains more or less the same on the outside, the keypad inside has been completely redesigned. It now has individual buttons for each key, and they’re much better spaced than the original Gleam. This makes sending text messages much easier than on the old phone.

Motorola Gleam Plus screen
We like the new keypad, as each key has more space than on the previous model

The screen is now 0.4in larger, too, measuring 2.8 inches. It may seem small compared to a smartphone, but the screen was bright and clear, with easy to read fonts and menus. The only problem we had was watching videos for extended periods of time. The screen is too small for prolonged viewing, and having to hold it sideways to view anything in full-screen mode doesn’t fit well with its clamshell design, either.

Motorola Gleam Plus screen
The screen isn't bad, but you have to hold it sideways for full-screen apps

Unfortunately, it’s here where this phone’s positives end because it’s still one of Motorola’s ‘feature phones’ rather than a smartphone. Its games are painfully basic compared to those available on smartphone app stores, and browsing the internet using its five-way navigation tool as your mouse cursor is a very slow and cumbersome experience. It took quite a while to load web pages, too.

Other features include a basic music player and FM radio, and these are okay, but its 2-megapixel camera is awful. Our test photos were washed out and had a complete lack of detail. Its 4x digital zoom made everything very blurry and extremely fuzzy. The video recorder showed similar poor quality. If you do want to take pictures or record lots of videos then you’ll need to buy a microSD card as the Gleam Plus only comes with 50MB of internal storage.

We couldn’t run our normal battery life tests because we couldn’t loop the test video. Instead we played an MP3 on loop and found the phone played for 31 hours and 29 minutes playing music. This isn’t too bad.

The Gleam Plus has a classy design and is possibly a good choice for kids and teenagers who want a cheap and fashionable handset, but you’re better off spending a bit more and getting a budget smartphone such as the ZTE Kis or Huawei Ascend G 300.

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