Motorola MPx200

Motorola MPx200

Summary: Motorola's first Microsoft smartphone is affordable, and has a neat clamshell design.

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  • Editors' rating:
    8.0
  • User rating:
    6.6

Pros

  • Small pocket-friendly design
  • nice range of extra applications
  • can be inexpensive on certain tariffs

Cons

  • No Bluetooth
  • no camera

Motorola became the first handset manufacturer to openly declare a Windows Mobile-based smartphone when it announced the MPx200 earlier this year in an exclusive deal with Orange. The device joins Orange's SPV, now on its third incarnation as the SPV E200, as one of only two current models of phone running Microsoft's operating system available in the UK. Motorola has done a fairly good job, although Bluetooth and a camera are both absent from the hardware, while the SPV E200 runs a more recent version of Microsoft's software. The MPx200 is available on Orange's network and is free with certain tariffs. It will also be offered shortly on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Design
The clamshell hardware design makes the MPx200 immediately appear different to its only current UK rival, the SPV E200. This design makes for a pocket-friendly phone that’s both small and neat, although not overly light. At 4.8cm wide by 8.9cm tall and 2.7cm deep it easily slots into both pocket and bag, and is ideal for carrying when you’re travelling light. You do notice the MPx200’s 118g weight in your pocket, but it’s not too distracting.

The clamshell design offers two notable plus points: there’s no need for a separate case to protect the screen, and there’s more room for keys than on a ‘candy-bar’-style phone, which should in theory mean you get a more ergonomic key layout.

On the whole, Motorola has taken advantage of these two features. The 176-by-220-pixel, 65,536-colour screen is obviously hidden from view when the clamshell is closed, so Motorola has implemented a small LED on the outer casing. This conveys vital information like battery power and signal strength, offers icons for missed calls, new SMS, email and answerphone messages, and even tells you the current time. When the phone receives a call, you get the number, or the caller’s name if this is stored in the phone. A dial wheel on the left-hand side of the unit -- whose main function is to change volume and start the Voice Notes application -- can send the call to voicemail if pressed twice.

As far as button layout is concerned, Motorola provides a large navigation pad with a clearly marked (blue) action key at its centre. The soft keys, the talk and end pair, and the home and back pair are nicely spaced around this, but sadly Motorola has rather cramped the number pad. This is annoying, as there’s close to a centimetre of unused space near the hinged area that could have been used to give these keys a bit more room.

The edges of the phone are neatly laid out, with SD/MMC card slot and headphone socket on the right-hand side, power, infrared and the volume key on the left, and the bottom edge reserved for docking and charging purposes.

Features
The MPx200 runs Microsoft Smartphone 2002 (not the more recent Windows Mobile 2003 for Smartphone found in the SPV E200), and hence comes with the software that forms the core of that operating system installed onto ROM. This includes the Contacts, Calendar and Tasks tools that synchronise with Outlook, Inbox for integrated email and SMS management, Voice Notes, Pocket Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player. You also get an MSN Messenger client. Motorola and Orange add a few applications of their own, including Orange Backup, a management tool for using the phone as a modem and some utilities for managing the on-board memory.

The product box includes a mains power adapter, synchronisation and recharge cable and a handsfree kit. The installation CD provides Outlook 2000 and ActiveSync, backup versions of some of the pre-installed applications, a couple of demo versions of games, and full versions of Lemonade Inc (a game), and Caller ID. The latter allows you to assign a picture to your contacts, so you can the source of incoming calls.

Just 10MB of storage is set aside for your own applications and data, which will sound miniscule to any existing handheld user, or anyone wanting to use the fairly good-quality output from Windows Media Player to listen to music on the move. Fortunately, there is an SD/MMC card slot and a 16MB card. Unfortunately, the slot does not support SDIO.

The phone itself is tri-band GSM, supports GPRS, conference calling, HTML and WAP browsing, and voice dialling. There are plenty of on-board profiles and ring tones, and you can add more as well as augmenting the screensaver and home screens with downloads over the air or via synchronisation. The processor -- never something smartphone manufacturers shout about -- is a Texas Instruments OMAP 710 running at 120MHz. It coped easily enough with the tasks we threw at it, although (as with other Microsoft smartphones we have used), we did have to wait for the software to act on our key presses on occasion.

Performance
Orange suggests that the MPx200 is a phone for ‘professional consumers’. This, we presume, means those who want to keep tabs on their work diary and contacts, but who may also want to listen to the odd MP3 or generally have a little fun with their phone.

Microsoft’s software has a few irritations that Motorola, like other hardware partners, simply has to live with. One example: we aren’t enamoured of the system for navigating to applications, which can require scrolling through bland-looking list-type menus. But Motorola provides some software tools that help you make the most of it -- notably the suite of tools it calls the Utility Pack. Hidden away in the Accessories folder, these allow you to manage the memory on the MPx200 in various ways, for example closing open applications and deleting unwanted SMS messages, emails, voice notes and so on. Excellent tools, but why so well hidden?

We have a similar gripe about the hardware wheel on the left-hand side of the unit. As noted, this alters the volume and can send incoming calls to voicemail. But it would be much more useful if it also scrolled through applications in the manner of a jog dial.

We were irritated on those few occasions when we had to wait for the system to process tasks -- for example opening or moving between applications. The MPx200 seems less prone to this than earlier SPV phones, but having to wait at all is annoying.

Finally, there’s battery life. Orange Web quotes up to 5 hours’ talktime and 110 hours on standby. We found we got through a couple of days of average use between charges, although heavy use of Windows Media Player and lots of talk did deplete the battery more quickly. You should plan for daily power boosts to avoid disappointment.

Overall, the MPx200 is an impressive little phone. The hardware is generally very ergonomic, and the software enhancements from Motorola and Orange are welcome. If you’re looking for a smartphone and find the Orange tariffs on which this phone is free attractive, then it’s an interesting proposition, but don’t expect it to deliver handheld-like functionality.

Specifications

General
Form factor clamshell
Dimensions (W x H x D) 480x270x890 mm
Weight 118 g
OS & software
Software included Pocket Outlook; Pocket Internet Explorer; MSN Messenger; Windows Media Player; Solitaire; Voice Notes manager; Pocket Slideshow, Orange & Motorola utilities
Synchronisation software ActiveSync
Processor & memory
RAM 10 MB
Display
Native resolution 176x220 pixels
Connections
Docking cradle No
Ports USB
Slots Yes
Networks
2.xG GPRS
Messaging & data
Email protocols POP3
Messaging services SMS
Power
Standby time 110 h
Talk time 5 h
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Prices

There are currently no prices available for this product.

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, Reviews

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27 comments
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  • 9.0

    Fun phone, plenty of options to keep yourself busy, speaker is nice and loud, shame no camera or Bluetooth but if you can live without those, then it's top of the pack. Only gripe is managed to crash the phone on more than one occasion.
    anonymous
  • 2.0

    Motorola just take your money and then treat you badly when something goes wrong. This phone has the same faults as the T720I.
    anonymous
  • 5.0

    Motorola has not activated Find Friends for this phone through mMode, which is one of the reasons I bought this phone. Inexpensive Nokias can locate my daughter & her phone right away, btw. At first, ActiveSync worked great, but after I had quite a bit of data on the phone, I couldn't even do a hard reset to clear the phone's memory. It hangs if I ever try to connect to ActiveSync. Tech support is abominable. There's no backup, no way to sync memory-heavy Outlook data to a memory card, and every app you need is a third-party purchase. This was sold to me as a light-duty PDA/phone. It's a phone, and you can do much better. Also, the slick case catches fingerprints faster than any phone I have ever seen.
    anonymous
  • 4.0

    This phone doesn't live up to all the hype. It's a product for early adopters who are willing to live with significant issues such as Caller ID not working, a poor headset microphone - no hands free using this phone, difficulty having multiple people on calls at once, and a plethora of user interface issues. I Had the phone for 28 days and took it back for a full refund. Don't by this phone... wait for Smartphone 2 and for some other company to release it. The individual at the ATT store where I bought the phone says that 30% of the people who bought it have returned it so far... yikes!
    anonymous
  • 6.0

    Quite simply, if I can't synchronise my diary with my PC without having to plug things together, I'm not interested. Things have moved on, and wireless networking/sync'ing is definitely the way forward.

    This product is just not sophisticated enough - I'm stuck with the E200 for now, until something lighter with the same functionality comes along.
    anonymous
  • 8.5

    anonymous
  • 8.5

    Very good implementation of a windows based software on a phone. Not full with stupid gadgets as camera or games. Very easy to interface with your Outlook and to synch it. If you have a Pocket Pc you can just plug the phone with the Desktop pc and then all the synchs of your Pocket Pc will go straight in the phone. Great!
    anonymous
  • 7.5

    I got my phone today and I find it to be quite good: some impressive features installed in a small phone -- it doesn't totally replace a PDA, but is as good as an option. I would say the navigation can be tricky, it needs to be improved. I would do without a camera, but lack of Bluetooth certainly handicaps me. The headphones provided with the phone are very poor. I would rate the phone 6.5/10. Good work Motorola and Microsoft.
    anonymous
  • 9.5

    Great blower. Free upgrade on Orange. Thought headphones were great. Takes SD cards so can store loads of MP3s. Load of 3rd party software around as well. I didn't need a camera nor Bluetooth, this fit the bill perfectly. Highly recommended!
    anonymous
  • 9.0

    I've had this phone for a few weeks now and I think it's brilliant. I changed from my xda because I couldn't cope with the size and its propensity to break. OK, there's no Bluetooth or camera -- don't get this phone if you want these options, but don't knock it just because it's not what you want.

    There are two minor faults with the phone as I see it. Don't get it if you can't cope with them, although software updates are likely to be able to sort these in the future. Firstly there's only one inflexible and hard to reach alarm. Secondly when snoozing an appointment reminder, you can only snooze for 5 minutes and not select a custom time.
    anonymous
  • 9.0

    Being a Compaq PDA user I initially had problems with inputing info (no doubt the youngsters used to t9 texting will wonder what I'm on about), but that aside it has meant that I no longer have to lug a PDA and phone about -- all is now contained in a tiny package.

    My main requirements are instant access to my diary and contact list, and this the phone does very well. I borrowed an Orange SPV for a week but had to return it becase a) I could not read the writing on the keys (maybe not such problem when you use text a lot and get used to the layout) and b) I costantly kept hitting several of them (the keys) at the same time, but I did like the flexibility it gave me so when the MPx200 arrived with a sensible keyboard it was no contest and I purchased it immediately.(£49.99 on Orange contact £15-00 mth for 120 mins any network, anytime and 30 free texts).

    I like having the ability to customise the phone for free, no £1 a ringtone or logo with this one, just download off the Net or your own music collection and, voila, instant cusomised ringtone. The media player quality is also good apart from the pops at the end of tracks but I can't imagine playing many games on the phone (the controls for most game's are too fiddly for me).

    The lack of Bluetooth has not been a problem, the phone has to be charged and it's just as easy to drop it in the cradle by my computer (which charges as well as syncs it), as it is to connect it up the mains charger unit.

    Likewise for the lack of a camera, I have a quality digital camera for those occasions when I need to take phtographs and who wants 640x480 photos anyway?. The only real gripe is the short battery life.

    To sum up, an excellent phone -- but do not expect to get the best out of it without doing a little bit of homework with the manual first.
    anonymous
  • 3.5

    I bought this phone 3 months ago and it is now faulty. The screen froze and I couldn't turn it off, and I was unable to get any of my numbers. They say the problem was the software and the handset.
    anonymous
  • 4.5

    I have two faulty handsets on this phone since Nov 03. The first fault was just a constant buzzing noise that just started one morning & wouldn't stop. The second handset lasted until the end of last week when it just froze up and wouldn't switch on or off. Orange swapped it for an SPV E200 but I really don't like that either!
    anonymous
  • 7.5

    Well, like many other users I like the amazing features that this mobile offers -- MP3 songs and video clips, Internet Explorer and MSN Messenger. However, I think the main problem is with the battery timings. The company exaggerated the battery life -- it barely lasts for one day. Also many readers have compained that the camera is not present: if you purchase a separate camera, the image and video quality are amazing on this phone -- much better than the Nokia 6600. Also loads of applications are available to download at handango.com. If you don't want to pay, test the trial versions. That's what I have been doing!
    anonymous
  • 7.0

    ...in 3 months it's never yet made it through the night!
    anonymous
  • 9.0

    It's a good phone, especially if you download the Windows 2003 upgrade. My only gripe is with AT&T.

    The syncing with Outlook is my favorite feature, but features like WAV files as ringtones (so you have an infinite amount of ringtones for free at your disposal) tons of free apps and the ability to even watch movies on it is excellent.
    anonymous
  • 8.5

    anonymous
  • 5.5

    This phone has some serious issues; should have trusted my instinct when I saw the Windows logo on it. I have had three phones that have just froze, (can't turn off) and my last one just emitted a low-pitched whistle for no reason. It does have some nice features but it's not worth the hassle.
    anonymous
  • 4.0

    Battery only lasts a day, so don't forget to charge it every night. Callers complain that they can't hear me very well. Has frozen on the HelloMoto screen forcing me to do a hard reset and lose all my contacts (don't forget to dock it with the PC every night). Doesn't get a signal where my previous phones managed to (like where I live) so can't always use it as a phone. Makes a handy MP3 player but the headphones supplied give a tinny sound and standard 3.5mm phones don't fit. Oh, and the volume control goes from "can't hear it" to "can't bear it" in one step. Software runs slowly at times (Motorola recommends switching off keypad sounds to speed it up - so I guess they realise it's not perfect!). The Internet browser recognises straight HTML which seems like a good idea, but you end up trying to view a page designed for 800x600 on a 176x220 display.

    Orange need to replace it twice before they will provide a different model. I'm now waiting for a second replacement from Orange and I'm on my second battery. I'll give it a week before I'm back on to them asking for a Sony Ericsson K700i.
    anonymous
  • 10.0

    its cool, great style and upgradeable
    anonymous