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View Full Version : The Honeymoonís Over: A Month with the Motorola MPx200


David McNamee
11-18-2003, 04:55 AM
Instead of doing the usual review that includes statistics about the phone's processor, dimensions, weight - all things you can get practically anywhere, I decided to live with his phone for a while and then share my Thoughts. There are plenty of pluses to this phone, as well as a few minuses. Letís get right to them.<br /><br /> <img src="http://www.smartphonethoughts.com/images/MPx200 Box Cover.JPG" alt="User submitted image" title="User submitted image"/> <br /><!><br /><i>Instead of doing the usual review that includes statistics about the phone's processor, dimensions, weight - all things you can get practically anywhere, I decided to live with his phone for a while and then share my Thoughts. There are plenty of pluses to this phone, as well as a few minuses. Letís get right to them.</i><br /><br /> <img src="http://www.smartphonethoughts.com/images/MPx200 Box Cover.JPG" alt="User submitted image" title="User submitted image"/> <br /><br /><b><span>Quality Construction</span></b><br />First off, this phone just feels nice in your hand. A lot of phones feel flimsy when you pick them up. The plastic feels cheap and you expect that the first time you drop the phone will be the last time you can actually use it. This is not the case with the MPx200. This phone, while being lighter than several phones Iíve used, has a nice weight to it. When you flip open the phone, most of the weight stays in the palm of your hand and you donít feel like the phone is about to tilt backwards out of your hand. The clamshell also feels sturdy. Iíve handled some clamshells that I was afraid to open all the way for fear of bending them backwards and breaking the phone in half. I have no such fears with his phone. As a matter of fact, Iím guilty of doing the Captain-Kirk-flip-open-the communicator-to-have-Scotty-beam-me-up routine at least more than twice. <br /><br />The casing is very susceptible to fingerprints, though. I also have a problem with the plastic coverings used to protect the USB port, the SD card slot, and the earphone jack. I like the fact that Motorola was thoughtful enough to provide them, but the only one that still remains attached to the phone is the one protecting the SD slot. The small cover that protects the USB port on the bottom of the phone has to be removed in order for the phone to fit correctly in the cradle, to be charged directly from the wall adapter, or to be connected to a PCís USB port. I removed it the day I got the phone and havenít bothered putting it back on. Having grown up with a very large collection of Star Wars and GI Joe toys, I know my history with small plastic things. I knew that this would just be one more thing that I would lose. <br /><br />The plastic covering over the earphone jack was a completely different story. I like having it on the phone and tried very hard to keep it on. I didnít expect it to be all that difficult since it is physically attached to the phone. Now, Iím the type of person who plugs in the earphone each and every time I get into the car. After two weeks of this, the plastic covering has come completely off. Needless to say, I was hoping for a little better quality from something that was designed to help protect my phone.<br /><br /><img src="http://www.smartphonethoughts.com/images/MPx200 with others.JPG" alt="User submitted image" title="User submitted image"/> <br /><br /><b><span>A Joy in Daily Use</span></b><br />Talking to people using this phone has been a lot of fun. Sounds come out of this phone more clearly and more loudly than any other phone Iíve used. Incoming voice is crystal clear and Iíve had several people think that I was talking to them from a land line. Listing to music on the phone has also been a nice experience. Iíve never considered myself a hardcore audiophile, but using the stereo headset Iíve been able to notice flaws in WMA files that I had never heard before. There is, however, something of an annoying pop when a track begins. I have not yet had the chance to determine if this is a problem with the phone, the headset, or the quality of the files being played. <br /><br /><span><b>Battery Life &amp; Performance</b></span><br />Iíve also been able to do something with this phone that I could never have done with my other Smartphone. Twice now I have forgotten to charge the battery overnight. Both times, I was able to last two whole days on just a single charge. Now thatís 48 hours with about 90 minutes of talk time, about 100KB of data transfer, at least five games of solitaire. That kind of battery life, I can live with!<br /><br />As a fully functioning Smartphone, the MPx200 has been terrific. Applications have been snappy and quick to respond. One of my favorite applications, Pocket SlideShow from CNetX, can open up very large PowerPoint files that have the ability to make the phoneís processor cry out for mercy. The MPx200 has handled two very large presentations that Iíve recently given without so much as a whimper. The phoneís screen is bright and sharp, and my presentations look wonderful in full screen mode. <br /><br /><span><b>Smartphone 2002? Not so Bad</b></span><br />One knock against his phone is the fact that shipped with the SmartPhone 2002 operating system. After using the MPx200 as my primary phone for a month, Iím less upset by this than I thought I would be. I would still like the improvements offered up by SmartPhone 2003, especially since I have more than one e-mail account that I need to pay attention to. However, the phone has dependably done the things that I needed most. Having my contacts and calendar in my phone has been incredibly useful.<br /><br /><b><span>Where to Buy</span></b><br />If you're looking to buy this phone and live in the US, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000DIXEV/jasondunn-20">Amazon.com is perhaps the best place to go.</a> If you live outside the US, or are looking for the unlocked tri-band version, our affiliate partner store <a href="http://estore.shopplex.com/app/storefront.aspx?cat_id=9&inv_id=31024132920583&modid=30214092059015&aid=5">Tek 'n Toys</a> offers the phone for sale, and will ship anywhere in the world.<br /><br /><b><span>In Conclusion...It's a Keeper</span></b><br />So after living with this phone day and night for a month, what do I have to say about it? Iím keeping this phone. Any phone that tries to replace it has a pretty high standard to live up to. If you're looking for a phone right now, the MPx200 is worthy of your consideration.<br /><br /><b>Pros:</b>ē Terrific voice quality<br />ē Bright screen<br />ē Decent battery<br />ē It just feels nice<br />ē Software is snappy and responsive<b>Cons:</b>ē SmartPhone 2002<br />ē External port covers could be more durable

cmorris
11-18-2003, 09:26 AM
Thanks for the review! With a title like 'The Honeymoon's Over', I thought it might be a more negative assessment. :D

It is nice to hear that you are not too concerned about the lack of WM 2003 on the phone. Music quality sounds promising but I still don't like being able to play WMA9 on the phone though. We can still hope that AT&T will provide an upgrade at some point right?

As a soon to be new user on the platform, I would like to hear more about some of the apps you find useful. So far I like the looks of SmartphoneNotes (should have been built in!) and CodeWallet Pro.

The PocketTV Team
11-18-2003, 10:54 AM
Nice review, thanks. You should try running PocketTV Classic on the MPx200, it performs really well (we tested it at CTIA).

Are you at all concerned about the lack of security (http://smartphone.modaco.com/viewtopic.php?p=321381#321381) with the MPx200 ?

trachy
11-18-2003, 02:29 PM
Nice review, David. I was glad to see that you didn't weigh it down with subjective criticism of the AT&T network. So many people are getting caught up in that aspect of the MPx200 package that I think they're dismissing it without testing the network themselves.

As a soon-to-be owner myself, I'm particularly glad to see the antenna isn't exposed. The nub of my StarTac antenna is currently flopping around, and I haven't had a chance to replace it. Do you think the lack of an extendable antenna results in a diminished signal?

- Drew

possmann
11-18-2003, 04:55 PM
good review-thanks

would you talk about the applications you have on the device a bit more please? I am curious about memory, ease of use and read time from the disk.

Chafic
11-18-2003, 06:45 PM
One thing I am not sure about when it comes to smartphones: can you install applications directly on them like you would a PDA ?? or do you have to buy "approved" apps from ATT

entropy1980
11-18-2003, 06:53 PM
Nice review, thanks. You should try running PocketTV Classic on the MPx200, it performs really well (we tested it at CTIA).

Are you at all concerned about the lack of security (http://smartphone.modaco.com/viewtopic.php?p=321381#321381) with the MPx200 ?

Aye Carumba!!! Let's hope it doesn't do this to new smartphone owners!!! :microwave:

dcharles
11-18-2003, 06:55 PM
Well, mine is going back. I've had to make too many comprimises, even though I really like the phone itself. If this were triband (I know it can be ordered that way, but I'm not paying that much for a phone) and had BT, it would have been a keeper.

possmann
11-18-2003, 09:08 PM
dcharles - please let me know what compromises you had to make - details man! l want details... :wink:
l can understand the lack of Bt issue, but what clear else beyond tri-band?

Fitch
11-18-2003, 09:41 PM
I'd be curious about anyone's experience with AT&T in the US and this phone.
What rates did you find for data? Special plans? PC/Laptop connectivity? Do you have to sign up for "mMode?" or is that separate from a data plan?

James Sonne
11-18-2003, 10:21 PM
What are your experiences with the SDIO slot? Could I plug in an SDIO Bluetooth card and sync with my PC or connect to a bluetooth headset?

JonnoB
11-18-2003, 10:51 PM
Does the phone support the new EDGE (http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=581&e=1&u=/nm/20031118/tc_nm/tech_attwireless_dc)network?

cmorris
11-18-2003, 11:06 PM
Nice review, thanks. You should try running PocketTV Classic on the MPx200, it performs really well (we tested it at CTIA).

Are you at all concerned about the lack of security (http://smartphone.modaco.com/viewtopic.php?p=321381#321381) with the MPx200 ?

Correct me if I'm wrong - does this just mean we need to be careful about what apps we install... i.e. just install 'certified' apps?

cmorris
11-18-2003, 11:07 PM
One thing I am not sure about when it comes to smartphones: can you install applications directly on them like you would a PDA ?? or do you have to buy "approved" apps from ATT

I'm sure someone else can tell you 100% sure (I'm still waiting for mine) - but my understanding is that it is just like a PPC and you can install apps via ActiveSync.

The PocketTV Team
11-19-2003, 12:15 AM
Nice review, thanks. You should try running PocketTV Classic on the MPx200, it performs really well (we tested it at CTIA).

Are you at all concerned about the lack of security (http://smartphone.modaco.com/viewtopic.php?p=321381#321381) with the MPx200 ?

Correct me if I'm wrong - does this just mean we need to be careful about what apps we install... i.e. just install 'certified' apps?
Yes and No.

I would not recommend that you only install "certified" applications.

Let's say that you should not install anything that does not come from a reputable source, unless you are totally confident that you trust the application will not do anything bad.

For example, you can install reputable freeware (e.g. our PocketTV Classic) made by companies that also have commercial software available.

I would be wary installing freeware from unknown sources.

It would be quite easy to make an application that takes advantage of the unprotected privileged API's on the MPx200 and snoops on your SIM, your contacts etc, and even access your personal cellphone account, if they are smart enough.

Other Smartphones don't have this security issue, by the way. It's just with the AT&T MPx200. Microsoft suggested it was a design choice that AT&T made (i.e. to turn OFF completely any security on their MPx200), but I'm not so sure about that.

The PocketTV Team
11-19-2003, 12:18 AM
One thing I am not sure about when it comes to smartphones: can you install applications directly on them like you would a PDA ?? or do you have to buy "approved" apps from ATT

I'm sure someone else can tell you 100% sure (I'm still waiting for mine) - but my understanding is that it is just like a PPC and you can install apps via ActiveSync.
That's correct. Just connect the phone to the PC (via USB / craddle), run the setup file on the PC... et voila!

The PocketTV Team
11-19-2003, 12:22 AM
Does the phone support the new EDGE (http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=581&e=1&u=/nm/20031118/tc_nm/tech_attwireless_dc)network?
Apparently not, read http://www.smartphonethoughts.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=33709

Macguy59
11-19-2003, 02:29 AM
I'd be curious about anyone's experience with AT&T in the US and this phone.
What rates did you find for data? Special plans? PC/Laptop connectivity? Do you have to sign up for "mMode?" or is that separate from a data plan?

Coverage area for the US is terrible with AT&T which is a shame because I really liked this phone more then the Samsung i600 I just bought (Verizon)

jdrive
11-19-2003, 05:26 AM
I'm in the same boat; had the mpx200 for a month and loved it. Still, I couldn't handle the, ahem, coverage and quality of AT&T, so now I have Verizon's i600. Don't get me wrong: the i600 is a great smartphone with all of the features / functionality of the mpx, but nowhere near as nice a form-factor, and larger than it needs to be.

Let's just hope that Vodaphone buys AT&T Wireless next year and restores it's capital expenditures.

iJITSU
11-19-2003, 05:58 AM
I used the mpx200 for several days when it was first released for ATT. I was impressed. That suprised me as I've always preferred the Palm OS and was highly skeptical going in. Unfortunately, ATT's service isn't that great in my area (I toggled between one bar and no signal at my house), so I returned the phone. This really upset me because it was the FIRST smartphone/converged device that I ever used that I was satisfied with. Luckily, Verizon (who has excellent coverage here) released the i600 and I picked it up. There are things that I prefer about the moto (smaller, appealing exterior when closed, smaller trim around screen creating illusion of bigger screen) and others that I prefer about the samsung (sturdier construction, SDIO, MS Messenger is updated and works, more appealing appearance when open, but I have been having a great time with the i600.

In regards to the mpx200, I think it's a real break through product. It's solidly designed, has an excellent screen, robust OS and functionality, and can be had for dirt cheap ($79 after rebates and new service). To have such an advanced phone at such a cheap price is amazing. If you don't travel like I do, and ATT GSM is good in your area, I HIGHLY recommend the mpx200. If TMobile is good in your area, you can buy the moto and pay to have it unlocked. It will work perfectly on Tmobile's network as well. If you have Cingular, make sure that your area is 1900 mhz, not 850 as the phone doesn't support that frequency. In regards to ATT's data plans, visit their website for exact details.

dcharles
11-19-2003, 02:07 PM
dcharles - please let me know what compromises you had to make - details man! l want details... :wink:
l can understand the lack of Bt issue, but what clear else beyond tri-band?

The lack of the 850 frequency killed me. I was dropping calls left and right. Most of the ATT towers were I live are 850 towers. Why they would put different frequency towers in different places is beyond me. I am in Philadelphia at least 3 days a week, and the phone works great down there, but when I come home, forget it.

The overall lack of BT didn't bother me as much, the phone's browser was very good, so I had no real need to pair it to my PDA. I was quite content doing web stuff on the phone itself, what I really missed though was using my Jabra. I know that they make an adapter, but I searched high and low for it, and it appears you can only purchase the adapter along with the headset, which I already owned. I couldn't see spending the money for the entire kit when all I needed was one piece out of it.

I think it was a nice phone, I had hoped I could make do with it, but I couldn't.

bsic
11-20-2003, 01:51 AM
Can I install software for a PocketPC onto this phone? One post said they installed Pocket SlideShow for viewing powerpoint data, which I though was for PocketPC.

If we can install any PPC app to this phone that is a huge plus-- please let me know!!!

Thanks!

Macguy59
11-20-2003, 02:01 AM
Can I install software for a PocketPC onto this phone? One post said they installed Pocket SlideShow for viewing powerpoint data, which I though was for PocketPC.

If we can install any PPC app to this phone that is a huge plus-- please let me know!!!

Thanks!

They most likely installed the version for smartphones. I have heard of normal PPC apps installing on the phone though. Your not going to hurt anything by trying so give it a go.

cmorris
11-20-2003, 03:57 AM
Can I install software for a PocketPC onto this phone? One post said they installed Pocket SlideShow for viewing powerpoint data, which I though was for PocketPC.

If we can install any PPC app to this phone that is a huge plus-- please let me know!!!

Thanks!

http://www.cnetx.com/smartphone/

bsic
11-20-2003, 03:26 PM
So what are the big differences between Windows Mobile 2002 and 2003? Ive heard one difference that the 03 will let you have more than 1 email account set up... but what else?

brntcrsp
11-20-2003, 05:56 PM
So what are the big differences between Windows Mobile 2002 and 2003? Ive heard one difference that the 03 will let you have more than 1 email account set up... but what else?

a good synopsis of the changes.
http://msmobiles.com/news.php/1442.html

swbuehler
12-01-2003, 10:16 PM
bsic wrote:
Can I install software for a PocketPC onto this phone? One post said they installed Pocket SlideShow for viewing powerpoint data, which I though was for PocketPC.

If we can install any PPC app to this phone that is a huge plus-- please let me know!!!

Thanks!


They most likely installed the version for smartphones. I have heard of normal PPC apps installing on the phone though. Your not going to hurt anything by trying so give it a go.

Given that Smarphone 2002 is a Windows CE 3.0 platform, you should be able to install Pocket PC software on it. However, there are several elements of the Pocket PC platform not in Smartphone so you likely wouldn't be able to fully interact with a PPC version (the most glaring being lack of a touchscreen).

Coverage area for the US is terrible with AT&T which is a shame because I really liked this phone more then the Samsung i600 I just bought (Verizon)

GSM is a new area for AT&T, having only done this a year (the other companies have been in the GSM market significantly longer), and they're continuing to expand. They extended GSM coverage to my area in February '03 and I bought my T68i at that time ... currently waiting for my MPx200 to arrive which is currently two weeks in backorder. Even with the low signal I get on the T68i I can still place calls and be heard clearly on the other side, and Sony Ericsson is not known for having great signal strength on their phones. The only network issue I've had here in central Florida is that occasionally I get bumped onto T-Mobile's network when they have the stronger signal and I have to force the phone back onto AT&T's network.[/quote]

David McNamee
12-03-2003, 07:03 PM
Nice review, thanks. You should try running PocketTV Classic on the MPx200, it performs really well (we tested it at CTIA).

I'm looking forward to it. PocketTV has always been one of the first apps I install on a new Pocket PC. I'm still digging out from the month or so of travelling and speaking. I'm planning on this weekend being an "Install New Stuff On The Phone Weekend" so I'll be sure it's on my list.

Are you at all concerned about the lack of security (http://smartphone.modaco.com/viewtopic.php?p=321381#321381) with the MPx200 ?

Part of my digging out tasks is to truly understand the security issues. I'll post a more reasoned and thought-out response soon. For now, though, my personal policy is the same as my policy on my Pocket PC and my Tablet - if I don't trust you, you're software will not be installed on my device.

David McNamee
12-03-2003, 07:11 PM
Nice review, David. I was glad to see that you didn't weigh it down with subjective criticism of the AT&T network.

Thanks, that was a conscious decision. The phone deserves to be reviewed separately from the network. While I do have localized problems with AT&T Wireless' coverage in my neighborhood, the issues involved (municipal regulations, power lines, terrain) have nothing to do with the phone. Saying that the phone stinks because I can't get a carrier signal in my kitchen just wouldn't be fair to Motorola.

David McNamee
12-03-2003, 07:31 PM
good review-thanks

would you talk about the applications you have on the device a bit more please? I am curious about memory, ease of use and read time from the disk.

I purposefully did the two most memory intensive things I could think of right after getting the phone - view PowerPoint slides and listen to music. Both the slide decks and the wma files were on a SanDisk 256MB SD card. I also installed Pocket SlideShow on the card. The phone did a great job of freeing memory when it needed more, and didn't have any noticeable delays in responsiveness. I don't have any benchmark numbers, but it just felt good.

David McNamee
12-03-2003, 07:32 PM
What are your experiences with the SDIO slot? Could I plug in an SDIO Bluetooth card and sync with my PC or connect to a bluetooth headset?

I haven't tried any IO peripherals yet. Sorry.

David McNamee
12-03-2003, 07:34 PM
Does the phone support the new EDGE (http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=581&e=1&u=/nm/20031118/tc_nm/tech_attwireless_dc)network?

No, but if anyone is working on a Smartphone that does, I'd be happy to help beta test! :D

David McNamee
12-03-2003, 07:37 PM
I would be wary installing freeware from unknown sources.

I couldn't agree more. Especially if you're downloading it from anonymous ftp or some other place where people can post executables at will.

David McNamee
12-03-2003, 07:43 PM
Can I install software for a PocketPC onto this phone?

Not recommended. Though the Pocket PC and the Smartphone share a Windows CE heritage, the Smartphone's limited screen size and lack of a touch-screen require that most applications be reworked to run on the Smartphone. Sometimes the changes are small, sometimes they are huge.

One post said they installed Pocket SlideShow for viewing powerpoint data, which I though was for PocketPC.

CNetX offers a Smarphone-specific version of their software.

zubaidk
12-08-2003, 11:25 PM
Don't get me wrong. I love this phone. Until now I had never really found a phone that integrated my phone and PDA well enough. However, my main problem with the phone is that the external caller ID doesn't always seem to display, or takes a long time to do so (might be an AT&T issue). The other problem is the voice dialing feature. You have to hold down the jogger dial to get it to listen to your voice command. The problem is that it takes extreme precision to do it right. Everytime I click in the jogger dial I end up adjusting the volume. I finally gave up and do everything via speed dial. But I like the voice dial feature and wish it was easier to access.

But all in all, this is a great phone. I haven't had any major problems with AT&T in my area (DC-Metro), but admittedly it's not as good as others I've had (T-Mobile) while driving across the country.

But as of now I have no other phone that I am envious of. I am completely satisifed with my MPx200.

swbuehler
12-09-2003, 03:42 AM
However, my main problem with the phone is that the external caller ID doesn't always seem to display, or takes a long time to do so (might be an AT&T issue). The other problem is the voice dialing feature. You have to hold down the jogger dial to get it to listen to your voice command. The problem is that it takes extreme precision to do it right. Everytime I click in the jogger dial I end up adjusting the volume. I finally gave up and do everything via speed dial. But I like the voice dial feature and wish it was easier to access.

The delay in looking up a caller id is because it has to go through your Contacts database to find a record; if you have a lot of contacts it will take a while to find the one that's calling. This is a software issue in SMP 2002 and not particular to AT&T's service. I have about 48 contacts in my d/b and usually by the second "ring" it's found the name&mdash;about the same amount of time it would take on your land line's caller ID service.

I don't bother to use voice dialing when I can punch in the first few letters of the first or last name of the person I'm calling and hit the "Green" key (as the "send" key is otherwise known in general SMP terms). The other alternative if you're an AT&T subscriber is to sign up for #121 Voicedial, but that kind of defeats the purpose of having voice dialing built into the phone. I started using voice dialing on my previous phone (Sony Ericsson T68i), but later on I found it was just easier to punch in a number.

swbuehler
12-09-2003, 03:45 AM
JonnoB wrote:
Does the phone support the new EDGE network?

No, but if anyone is working on a Smartphone that does, I'd be happy to help beta test!

The next version of Motorola's SmartPhone, the MPx220 due out in February according to latest rumors, is supposed to include EDGE support as well as Bluetooth and the SP2003 O/S. Right now only one phone in AT&T Wireless' repertoire supports EDGE (it's a Nokia model).

ekkie
12-22-2003, 05:42 PM
Coverage area for the US is terrible with AT&T which is a shame because I really liked this phone more then the Samsung i600 I just bought (Verizon)
GSM is a new area for AT&T, having only done this a year (the other companies have been in the GSM market significantly longer), and they're continuing to expand.
Perhaps closer to a year-and-a-half. While wireless coverage is obviously a very important consideration for any carrier, I don't hold it against ATT that coverage on their young GSM network is poor (I'm confident it will continue to improve).

What I do hold against them is the average wait time to speak with customer service (once had me on hold for 3.5 hours before I had to hang up and do something else). Also hate the fact that they can never apologize for any service mishaps (which was often), always stating that "you'll have problems no matter who your provider is". I ended up switching to T-Mo a good 3 months before my ATT contract expired simply b/c I didn't have the time to always be on hold whenever issues occured (and when informing them of my service cancellation, they even had to nerve to tell me that I should stick with ATT b/c T-Mo is not a true GSM carrier).

Anyway, I love the prospects of these smartphones, especially this MPx200 model, and if my current contract were expiring, I'd give this phone some serious consideration... with any carrier except ATT.

Just my 2 cents.