Reviewed June 18, 2007 by Lisa Gade, Editor
in Chief and Tong Zhang, Senior Editor
The replacement for the PPC-6700 Pocket PC phone is finally here! Sprint introduced the Mogul by HTC on June 18, 2007. The PPC-6700 was released in the fall of 2005, which is an eternity in the world of phones. The Mogul offers an updated modern look (without the knob antenna found on the PPC 6700), Windows Mobile 6 and double the flash memory for storage. All the while keeping the Mogul the same length and width as the PPC-6700 but thinner at 0.73” (vs. 1” of the PPC-6700). Sprint is the first to offer the Mogul in the US and will start selling the device through its business channels at release and through stores in mid-July. The Mogul joins the Treo 755p, the Treo 700wx and variety of BlackBerry devices to form a strong PDA phone/smartphone product line for Sprint’s business users.
HTC is the manufacturer behind the PPC-6700, Cingular 8525, Verizon XV6700 and many other top Windows Mobile phones on the market in the past several years. The Mogul’s code name is the Titan (TITA100), not to be confused with the HTC TyTN which is HTC’s direct-sale version of the Cingular / AT&T 8525, and its product number is PPC-6800. The battery is marked for PPC-6800/XV6800 use, with the later being Verizon’s model designation, so we assume that Verizon will some day release their version of this phone on their network.
The Mogul is a digital dual-band CDMA phone that operates on the 800 MHz and 1900 MHz frequencies and it has EVDO Rev 0 and 1XRTT for data (Sprint says a software upgrade to EVDO rev A will be available later this year). It’s a direct competitor to the GSM Windows Mobile AT&T 8525 by HTC and the slightly smaller but slower T-Mobile Wing. The HTC Mogul will sell for $399.99 with a two-year contract.
Features at a Glance
The HTC Mogul runs Windows Mobile 6 Professional on a 400MHz Qualcomm processor with the standard 64 megs of RAM and a whopping 256 megs of flash ROM. It’s a CDMA phone locked to Sprint in the US with Sprint Power Vision (EVDO Rev 0) for data. The Mogul features a slide-out full QWERTY keyboard, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g, Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP support, a 2 megapixel camera, a microSD card slot and a 2.8” QVGA resolution display.
In the Box
The Mogul comes with a standard Lithium Ion battery, AC world charger, stereo headset with inline microphone, USB sync cable, ExtUSB to 2.5mm headset adapter cable, ExtUSB to two port ExtUSB (so you can use the included headphones and the charger simultaneously), a spare stylus, a 512MB microSD card, leather horizontal case with belt clip, a screen protector, software installation CD and that includes the user manual, getting started guide and more.
Design and Ergonomics
When closed the PPC-6800 is shorter and narrower than the BlackBerry 8830 and a bit shorter than the Treo 755p. It’s definitely thicker than both of these devices to accommodate the roomy QWERTY that’s revealed when you slide up the display panel. The device feels and is much lighter than the PPC-6700 and even a bit lighter than the slightly smaller T-Mobile Wing. The device feels good in hand when you hold it like a candy bar phone while in a call and the control layout is similar to the AT&T 8525. You will find two hardware buttons that launch email and IE Mobile above the QVGA display along with the LED and the earpiece. Like many Pocket PC phones (now called Windows Mobile 6 Professional), the Mogul has two Windows Mobile soft keys below the display along with Home and OK keys. These four keys surround a slightly raised round directional pad. The chromed call send and call end keys flank the four control keys in this cluster. Combine these buttons and the onscreen dialer, and the Mogul is passable for one-handed operation.
Though it might not have the Treo’s excellent one-handed operation experience, the Mogul offers instead an excellent QWERTY keyboard. When you slide out the keyboard, the display on the Mogul will switch to landscape mode automatically and quickly. The device feels balanced when the keyboard is out and you have easy access to all the hardware buttons as well as the keyboard. The only thing that might need some getting used to is the d-pad which is now on the left for a right-handed person (opposite of the PPC-6700). The letter and number key locations remain largely unchanged from most recent HTC Windows Mobile devices other than the two Windows Mobile softkey buttons which on the top left and right corners of the keyboard rather than set in from the corners. The keys are large and easy to press, and there is click sound and tactile feedback to enhance usability.
While the keyboard is a joy to use, the Mogul’s side buttons are too easy to press accidentally. Like the HTC TyTN (AT&T 8525), the Mogul has three buttons on the right side: the power on/off, Comm. Manager button and camera launch button. When you launch the camera application, you can use Mogul’s large screen as viewfinder. The Mogul also features a jog wheel on the left side, which was on the AT&T 8525 also, that works like the old BlackBerry jog wheel. You can scroll up and down on Today screen, program menus and more using the jog wheel and press down on it to take actions. When in a call, it acts as the volume control. You will find another OK key (in addition to the one on the front face) below the jog wheel and the voice command key that’s way too easy to press accidentally below the OK key. If you can’t find the Wi-Fi icon on the wireless Comm manager screen, don’t fret: slide the Wi-Fi slider on the left side of the Mogul to turn Wi-Fi on.
The top of the Mogul is clean without any ports or buttons while the bottom of the device is quite busy with a microSD card slot, IR window, reset button, mic and the combined HTC ExtUSB sync/charge/headphone jack. The 2 megapixel camera lives on the back of the Mogul along with an LED flash, the phone’s speaker and an external car antenna connector. The battery lives under the large cover that comprises the phone’s back. The back cover has a raised wave pattern on it, we assume to improve grip.
Phone Features and Reception
The Mogul Sprint is the first CDMA Windows Mobile 6 Professional phone to hit the US. The Mogul is a dual-band digital CDMA phone that works on the 800/1900 MHz bands and has support for Sprint Power Vision (EV-DO Rev. 0) for fast data. The Mogul has good reception in the Dallas area where Sprint has fairly good coverage. It gets a slightly stronger signal than the Treo 700p and Treo 755p as measured by Sprint's debug screen which shows actual reception in decibels. Signal bars vary between manufacturers and so aren't the most accurate indicator of reception. At 2 bars out of 4, the phone measured -88dbm, while the Treo 700p in the same location read -94 dbm. We didn’t experience call drops as long as the phone had at least one bar on the signal meter, and we did note the signal meter seemed particularly twitchy and under-optimistic on our Mogul. Voice quality is very good and loud when making calls from quiet environments; in noisy environments (such as a Starbucks shop where the cappuccino machines are running), the DSP creates some artificial noise.
Like other Windows Mobile 6 Professional and Pocket PC phones such as the T-Mobile Wing and the AT&T 8525, the Mogul offers an on-screen phone dialer with keys that are large enough to be finger friendly. Combine the on-screen commands like call send and end keys, call history, contracts shortcut keys with the side jog wheel and OK hardware controls, the Mogul offers decent one-handed operation. The Mogul also has support for most common mobile phone features including speed dialing, mute/unmute a call, conference calling, three-way calling and speakerphone.
The PPC-6800 has Cyberon's Voice Speed Dial, and there's a hardware key assigned to this function. Voice Speed Dial uses voice tags rather than true voice recognition, but it's very accurate and works with Bluetooth headsets and car kits.
The Treo 700p, HTC Mogul and BlackBerry Curve 8300
Top to bottom: BlackBerry Curve, Treo 700p and the HTC Mogul.
We tested the Mogul on Sprint's EVDO rev. 0 network in the Dallas area and got some of the best results we've seen for a Sprint PDA or smartphone in our DSL Reports mobile speed test. The phone managed an average of 563k in medium to strong coverage areas and varied from 350 to 550k in weaker coverage areas (one to two bars). Sprint says they'll offer a free software upgrade to EVDO rev. A later this year for even better speeds. Web page load times using Internet Explorer Mobile are excellent thanks to speedy download speeds and the fast CPU's rendering times. Sprint offers a range of EVDO data plans, called Power Vision, and the most basic $15/month plan for unlimited data is extremely reasonable and all you need to get online for the web and email.
For data, the Mogul, like all Windows Mobile Professional PDA phones, comes with mobile versions of Internet Explorer and Outlook. Outlook 's email and messaging component is called Messaging and it handles SMS, email (POP3 and IMAP) and MS Direct Push email (push requires Exchange Server 2003 SP2 or higher). There is no MMS client nor does Outlook come configured to send MMS as it does on most other Windows Mobile phones, so email is the only way to send photos.
Horsepower and Performance
The Mogul is the first US Windows Mobile phone to ship with a Qualcomm CPU rather than an Intel XScale, Samsung or TI processor. The Qualcomm MSM7500 CPU is a dual core CPU comprised of a 400MHz ARM11 processor for applications and a 133MHz ARM9 likely used for DSP purposes. We were impressed with the processor's performance and it's 100% XScale compatible so it can run existing Windows Mobile 3rd party applications. By Windows Mobile standards, applications launched quickly, windows opened quickly and menus were responsive. Video playback is good and we tested the Mogul with files encoded up to 700 kbps. Our usual test file, the BMW short film "The Chosen" encoded at 308kbps, benched at 514.5% using TCPMP with a data rate of 1.3 Mbit/s which is very good, though not quite as good as the Cingular 8525's 549% with a data rate of 1.7 Mbit/s. It does slightly outperform the PPC-6700 (404% with a 1.3Mbit/s data rate). The Mogul is a good choice for those wishing to use their PDA phone as a portable video player.
The Mogul has the standard 64 megs of RAM (used like RAM in your computer to run applications), with 26 megs free at boot. The Mogul currently a rarity because it has 256 megs of flash memory rather than the usual 128 megs. There are 155 megs free out of the box, and you can use this space to install applications and store data. In addition, Sprint and HTC include a 512 meg microSD card in the box (ours was actually in the phone). You can use cards up to 2 gigs in capacity and the card is hot-swappable.
The Mogul has a 2 megapixel CMOS camera with an LED flash. Though the final press release we received states that the camera has an autofocus lens, we saw no evidence of this: there's no on-screen focusing as with other autofocus camera phones, there's none of the usual auto-focus shutter delay and image quality isn't up to autofocus standards. Image quality is similar to the T-Mobile Wing and not quite as good as the 8525. The Mogul is guilty of severe over-sharpening to the point that actual detail is sometimes obliterated by JPEG sharpening artifacts, even when the quality (and thus sharpening) is turned down. Sharpening is especially noticeable in foreground objects, with background objects (in landscape type shots) lacking detail and clarity. Colors tend toward the cyan: in our sample photos, the buddha is dark gray with no hint of blue and the pool is not the electric blue seen in the photo. But as camera phones go, it's not a disaster, though it's not one of the top US 2.0 MP camera phones on the market today.
The camera can take photos up to 1600 x 1200 resolution and has 4x digital zoom (not available at the highest resolution), though the zoom control is a little laggy. It can take photos at a variety of lesser resolutions including those suitable for picture caller ID, Today Screen backgrounds and MMS. The camera has options for center vs. average metering, 4 quality settings, white balance, image effects, burst and timer modes and can save photos and video to internal memory or a card.
The camcorder offers 2 fairly low resolutions (128 x 96 and 176 x 144) and can save files in MPEG4, Motion JPEG and H.263 formats. The frame rate is smooth and audio is in sync with video, but a the resolution is too low for serious desktop pleasure.
Bluetooth and WiFi
The Mogul has WiFi 802.11b/g for those times you'd rather use a WiFi access point to connect to the Net (WiFi requires no data plan). Reception is comparable to other Windows Mobile phones on the market today, being not as strong as a notebook-- but fairly close to thin and light notebooks in terms of range. Throughput is excellent on WiFi, and is faster than EVDO Rev. 0, though EVDO didn't keep us waiting long. Unlike other HTC manufactured phones, the Mogul has a hardware switch to turn WiFi on and off (the usual WiFi button in Comm Manager doesn't exist on the Mogul). But you can manage the WiFi connection using HTC's usual software which is accessible from Comm Manager's menu. The WiFi status control panel applet shows current SSID, mode (Infrastructure or ad hoc), Tx and Rx rates, BSSID, channel and signal strength. You can set the amount of power the WiFi radio consumes using a 3 position slider, set up LEAP and secure certificates.
The HTC Mogul has Bluetooth v2.0 and supports most common profiles including serial port, FTP, HID (keyboards and mice), headset, hands free, PAN (to use the phone as a wireless modem for a notebook or desktop), and A2DP Bluetooth stereo. We tested the phone with several Bluetooth headsets including the Cardo scala 700 and the Plantronics Explorer 330 Bluetooth headsets, and the Plantronics Pulsar 590A Bluetooth stereo headset. The Mogul paired with all headsets with ease. The voice quality however varies depending on the headset you are using. The Plantronics Explorer 330 works well with the Mogul with clear sound and loud volume on both incoming and outgoing ends. The voice quality is great in quiet environments and in noisy environments the DSP does add a little low-level background noise. The range between the Mogul and the Explorer 330 can reach up to 20 feet before you start to hear crackling, but in order to get that range the phone and the headset must be in line of sight. If there’s a wall in between the range drops dramatically: even placing the phone in a pocket on the other side of your body from the headset can generate some noise, especially if you hand is near or in that pocket. The Cardo Scala 700 didn’t do as well with the Mogul, and voice sounded muffled and muddy on the incoming end and had some low level noise on the outgoing end. So if you use the Mogul, don’t use the Scala 700. If you want to use your phone as a music player, you’ll be happy to hear that Bluetooth stereo headsets work well with the Mogul. The controls on the Plantronics Pulsar 590A work well when changing volume, skip tracks and taking phone calls. Windows Media player will pause the music when a call is comes in and you will hear a ringtone play on the phone and through the headset. The music will resume after you hang up the call. If you don’t pick up the call, you will see the missed-call alert on the title bar and the LED will flash red instead of green. The music is loud with powerful bass, though it doesn’t sound quite as full as via the included wired headset (so far, the HTC Touch has the best audio quality using A2DP among Windows Mobile phones we’ve tested).
Sprint and HTC claim the Mogul has 20% longer battery life than the PPC-6700. In fact, it has a 1500 mAh Lithium Ion Polymer battery, up from the PPC-6700's 1350 mAh battery. Claimed talk time is up to 4 hours, and a 2100 mAh extended battery is available separately. We haven't had the phone long enough to complete our battery tests, but so far it has done a bit better than the PPC-6700, but not amazingly so-- the 20% figure is probably on target. Suffice to say this is still a phone you'll likely need to charge every other day with moderate use and daily if you're a heavy user of push email, EVDO, WiFi or video playback.
The PPC-6800 ships with a slim travel charger rather than the usual bulky HTC charger, but it's the same voltage and amperage (5 volts, 1 amp) as the chunky model and can be used anywhere in the world (just supply the right prong adapter for the country you're visiting).
A very strong offering from Sprint, and a worthy, if not overdue, successor to the PPC-6700. The Mogul is manageable in size, powerful in terms of processing performance and storage memory and it has fast EVDO (with a promised upgrade to the faster Rev. A) for pleasingly fast data performance. WiFi will keep you connected when not in an EVDO coverage area (also handy if you turn down Sprint's data plan), and Bluetooth 2.0 means you can use your favorite Bluetooth headset and car kit with the phone. We also like the fact there's a Java runtime included, previously a rarity on CDMA Windows Mobile phones. There's a lot to like about this PDA phone and our only complaints are the lack of an MMS client and the mediocre camera shots.
Display:65K color transflective
TFT color LCD. Screen size diagonally: 2.8". Resolution:
240 x 320, supports both portrait and landscape modes.
Ion rechargeable. Battery is user replaceable.
1500 mA. 2100 mA extended battery available for purchase. 4 hours claimed talk time on standard battery.
Performance:Qualcomm MSM7500 400 MHz processor (dual core 400MHz ARM11 application processor and 133MHz ARM9). 256 MB Flash ROM with 155 megs available. 64 megs RAM with 26 free at boot.
Size: 4.33” x 2.32” x 0.73”. Weight: 5.8 ounces.
Phone:CDMA dual band digital 800/1900MHz. Data: EVDO rev 0, upgradable later this year to rev A.
in speaker, mic and HTC ExtUSB stereo headphone
jack. Stereo headset included. Voice Recorder and Windows Pocket Media Player 10 included for your MP3 pleasure.
WiFi 802.11b/g and Bluetooth 2.0.
Mobile 6.0 Profession Edition operating system.
Microsoft Mobile Office suite including Mobile versions
of Word, Excel, PowerPoint (view only), Internet
Explorer, and Outlook. Also included: Esmertec Java VM, Cyberon Voice Dialing, Pictures and Videos, MSN
Instant Messenger, Windows Live, Windows Media Player
10, Solitaire, Bubble Breaker (game), Voice Recorder
as well as handwriting recognition. Additional applications:
Camera, Wireless Manager,
MS Bluetooth software, On Demand (Handmark Express), Adobe Reader LE, Audible Player, link to get Good's messaging client, Zip (unzipping application), Sprint Software Store, Sprint Music (coming in July), Clear Storage (wipes
out all data and resets unit to factory defaults).
ActiveSync 4.5 and Outlook 2007 trial edition for PCs included.
MicroSD slot. 512 meg card included. Up to 2 gig cards supported.