MobileTechReview.com PDA, Notebook and Phone Reviews and buyers guide

PDA Phone Notebooks Gaming Gadgets iPhone & iPad Shop Discussion

Advertisement

Smartphone Reviews

Motorola MPx200 GSM Phone running Microsoft Smartphone

Posted Feb. 2004 by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor
This phone is discontinued and is replaced by the Motorola MPx220

The Motorola MPx200 is one of the first Microsoft Smartphone devices to hit the US market (the other is the Samsung i600 offered by Verizon). Europe had the pleasure of meeting MS Smartphone first, and while their current offerings there run the MS Smartphone 2003 OS, our US models run the 2002 version. The Motorola MPx220, rumored to be released in the 2nd half of this year, will run the 2003 version of the OS.

Motorola MPx200
Motorola MPx200

 

MS Smartphones belong to the Windows Mobile family of devices but don't confuse them with their larger kin, the Pocket PC Phone Edition models such as the T-Mobile and Hitachi G1000. PPCPE models are full-fledged Pocket PCs with integrated mobile phone radios. MS Smartphones are smaller devices that resemble traditional cell phones and offer slimmed-down versions of the Pocket PC software you may be familiar with. MS Smartphones cannot run Pocket PC software, though quite a few apps have been ported to Smartphone and they do not have touch-screens and styli. They are the perfect solution for users who want more than what the average non-smartphone offers, such as strong PIM app suite, multimedia playback and above all, easy syncing to Windows desktops running Outlook.

Don't be too confused by names: smartphone is a general term for mobile phones that have advanced, PDA-features and includes Palm OS smartphones, Symbian Series 60 devices such as the Nokia 3650, PPCPE models and MS Smartphones. Microsoft decided to use Smartphone in the product name, that's all. As of June 2003, Microsoft has put their mobile operating systems under the umbrella name “Windows Mobile”, and both Pocket PC 2003 devices running Windows Mobile 2003 and MS Smartphones running Windows Mobile for Smartphone fall under this umbrella.

The Motorola MPx200 sports a sleek clamshell design that's compact yet feels ergonomic. The 176 x 220 pixels display looks bright and color saturated. The SD/MMC card slot is easy to access and provides expandability for rich multimedia, gaming and other content. The synchronization technology (via ActiveSync) enables the Motorola to share data with your desktop painlessly, unlike non-smartphones. The MPx200 comes with built-in software that will make this handset a very capable PIM manager and a multimedia player, in addition to a solid cell phone. It runs the Smartphone 2002 version of the Windows Mobile Smartphone OS.

What does it look like?

The Motorola MPx200 has a traditional clam shell design, though with the curves on the edges, the shinny black plastic cover and the gunmetal surface with the phone open, the MPx200 stands out as an elegant handset in the Motorola product line. The 176 x 220 pixels screen sits on the top shell and numbers, functions, directional pad and action key sit on the bottom shell. There is a 96 x 32 pixel monochrome display area in the front of the phone that indicates caller ID, time, date, signal strength and battery level. Below this display is a speaker grill for the ringer.

On the left side, you will find a jog dial that controls the voice volume, the power on/off button and an IR port. On the right side, there is a headphone jack and an SD/MMC card slot, both covered with a piece of protective rubber. The SD slot is for storage cards only and does not support SDIO. The data port is on the bottom of the handset and can connect to the included mini-USB cable, charger or the desktop cradle. You can plug either the USB or charger cable into the cradle, but not both at once. The 860 mAh Lithium Ion battery is located on the back of the bottom shell, and the SIM card slot is just below the battery.

 

 

Deals and Shopping!

 

 

Questions? Comments?
Post them in our Discussion Forum!

 

What comes in the box?

The package includes the MPx200 handset, an 860 mAh Lithium Ion battery, a desktop cradle, stereo ear-bud headphones, an A/C adapter, a mini-USB data cable, a companion CD ROM that has Microsoft ActiveSync 3.6 and Outlook 2000, a SIM card and a printed User Manual.

What are the basic phone features?

The Motorola MPx200 works on GSM 1800/1900 MHz GPRS networks and offers most standard cell phone features. You can set 8 profiles including vibration on the Mororola and you can use polyphonic ring tones. The black Moto supports both voice dialing and voice memo features. You can toggle between the earpiece and the speakerphone by holding down the “talk” button.

You can tag numbers from 2-99 to phone numbers for speed dialing (number 1 is dedicated to voice mail). You can also initiate or participate in a conference call. Other phone features include call blocking, call waiting, caller ID, limiting your dialing area to certain area codes, and more. Phone security features include keypad lock, phone lock, password protection and call restrictions.

What are the “Smart” features?

Microsoft Windows Mobile for Smartphone OS has a set of applications that provide features for both power users who crave multimedia and gaming abilities and business users who need to share and sync their existing data with the handset seamlessly. Although the MPx200 has rich set of telephonic features, it shares most of these features with other low-end handsets. What makes this handset “smart” is the software bundle that includes many great PIM applications, synchronization technology and multimedia applications. The Moto can sync both to Outlook and MS Exchange servers.

Contacts- If you use Outlook Contacts to store your address book, you can synchronize the entire database to your MPx200. The handset can store a very large number of records. The Contacts app on your phone provides many convenient ways for you to send messages, dial numbers and access web addresses directly from the Contact records. It is quite easy to add speed dials and voice tags onto the Contacts as well. While the Contact database is well integrated into all the phone features, the apps itself lacks functions in sorting and searching. The database displays your records by names alphabetically, however if you don't remember a name and only want to look up a company, there isn't an easy way to go about it. There is however a filter where you can use categories to organize the records.

Calendar- There are three views in the Calendar application: Agenda view, Week view and Month view. You can enter a new event in any of these three views. Other than basic schedule information (date, time, place), the Calendar app provides you with more fields for additional info. These fields allow you to specify a reminder time, re-occurrence, status (tentative, busy, free, mark as private) and notes. In addition to entering a calendar event on the phone, you can synchronize the events from your Outlook Calendar, import from iCal (a web calendar server for Windows) or vCal, and even import items from attachments in your email messages, SMS messages and more.

Tasks- You can use the Tasks list for keeping track of your to-do items. You can create these items on the phone or sync them with your desktop Tasks. You can mark any of the items on the list as complete or incomplete, and you can delete the items. You can also set reminders for these to-dos.

ActiveSync- If you have contacts, schedules and email already stored in Outlook Contacts, Calendar and Inbox on your desktop, you will love the ActiveSync software. It comes on the companion CD and you will need to go through a quick installation. ActiveSync is also used for all Pocket PCs, so if you have both a Pocket PC and an MS Smartphone, you can sync both using the same ActiveSync installation. Connect the included mini-USB cable either to your phone directly or to the desktop cradle, then place your phone in the cradle, and you are ready to go. ActiveSync is a flexible program where you can determine what type of PIM info you wish to sync and how often you wish to sync it. Your Outlook email message can be synchronized to your phone via either your desktop Outlook Inbox or a Microsoft Exchange Server. Both email messages and calendar items will only be synchronized to the data within certain parameters (for example, messages from last 3 days or calendar items for two weeks, etc.) while all contacts can be synchronized to your Motorola.

Pocket Internet Explorer- Through wireless carriers who provide GPRS data service, you can use the Moto to browser web pages with the Pocket version of Internet Explorer. This browser supports WAP, HTML, and cHTML (compact HTML). It also supports web pages with images and sounds, SSL and cookies but it does not support frames. The navigation is made easy via lists of favorite links, most recently-visited web pages and pages in History. The Options in the browser allows you to modify various settings, such as allowing cookies, playing sounds, showing pictures, selecting networks, etc.

Windows Media Player- One of the most attractive features on the MPx200 is the stereo MP3 and streaming video capability. Using the included three-ring stereo headset, you can enjoy pretty high quality sound in Windows Media Player. The SD/MMC card slot comes in handy for you to load up a card full of multimedia content—insert the card and you're ready to listen to music or view videos through WMP. Of course, this will enable you to take full advantage of rich media web sites that serve WMP format movies. This pocket version of WMP supports most of the Windows Media video formats and MP3 playback. If you are making your own video and MP3 files, make sure that you check the manual and use the codec versions that are supported in Smartphone's WMP.

T9 Mode- You won't find this on the list of the programs on your phone, but it's important that you know about this method of text input. The MPx200 supports 3 input modes for entering text and numbers: Multipress, T9 and Numeric. The first two are used to enter text while the last one is used to enter numbers. You can switch modes by holding down the Asterisk (*) key while inputting data. We've all used the Mulitpress and Numeric methods on other phones, and some users will be familiar with T9. When you enter text in T9 mode by pressing a numeric key, T9 will analyze your key presses and attempt to complete the word for you. How well does it guess your words? The more you modify it, the better it works. If the T9 database doesn't have certain words, you can go back to Multipress mode and enter the word. Once the word is entered, it will be stored in T9 database as well.

Conclusion

This long awaited Smartphone running Microsoft Windows Mobile Smartphone 2002 hits the mark with its easy desktop syncing, full PIM software bundle and rich multimedia and gaming features. The easy data sharing and communications makes this handset an ideal choice for enterprise and power users. But strong enterprise features don't mean you have to suffer on the entertainment front. With Windows Media Player, you can enjoy MP3 music and video stored on your memory cards and served on web sites. Since there are already a large number of games and applications available for its big brothers on the Pocket PC platform, we have seen a good number of applications and game titles ported to the MS Smartphone OS and we will see more in the future. While MS Smartphones don't offer the screen real estate or input mechanisms (stylus, keyboard) to do serious work with MS office documents, they are adequate for those wanting only to have their PIM data with them. These units are great for MP3 playback, but the screen is a bit on the small side for watching long videos or surfing the web seriously. If you're looking for a more powerful device that can replace your laptop for light work with MS office documents, web surfing and more, do consider full-sized Pocket PC Phone Edtion devices or Palm OS Smartphones.

Any disappointments? Yes: no Bluetooth and no Camera on the MPx200! It runs MS Smartphone 2002 rather than the current MS Smartphone 2003 OS. With more and more low-end phones packing digicams and more US handsets are coming out with built-in Bluetooth radios, the Motorola MPx200 will have a hard time competing in the pack. It's a shame that the SD slot doesn't support SDIO which would enable you to use SD Bluetooth, WiFi and camera modules.

Price: $409.99 (retail price without activation. Price may vary with activation through a carrier.)

Motorola.com, attwireless.com

 

Specs:

Display: TFT color LCD, 12 bit, 65K colors. Screen resolution: 176 pixels wide x 220 pixels high.

Battery Battery : Lithium Ion rechargeable. Battery is user replaceable. 860 mAh. Claimed battery life: Talk Time 3.5-5 hours, 70 to 100 hours standby.

Performance: 132 MHz Texas Instruments OMAP processor. 32MB Flash ROM, 32 MB SDRAM. Can be expanded using SD and MMC cards.

size: 1.06" D x 1.88" W x 3.50" H. Weight: 4 oz.

Phone: GSM 1800/1900MHz bands for US model. GPRS for data.

Audio: Built in speaker, stereo output through 3 ring headset jack, MP3 playback. Mic with voice recorder functionality.

Software: Windows Mobile for Smartphones operating system. PIM applications include Contacts, Calendar and Tasks. Calculator and file manager are included. Internet Explorer for surfing web sites, email client that works with Outlook. MSN Messenger is included. Windows Media Player included for playing MP3 and streaming video. Voice recorder included for recording voice memo and more.

Expansion: 1 MMC/SD slot. Does not support SDIO.

 

Back to MobileTechReview.com Home Questions? Comments? Post them in our Discussion Forum!