Microsoft is known all around the globe for their personal computer range of operating systems, Windows. However with the technology available today mobile phones have the ability to run operating systems like your computer does. Windows is another company to jump on the mobile-phone operating system bus, with their range of Windows Mobile devices. The MPx200 by Motorola uses a version of the Windows Mobile operating system.
The Motorola MPx200 is a feature filled business man or woman’s handset, with everything needed to keep work and home life organized and in control easily. A large colour display, full synchronization support, Smartphone applications including many from Windows systems, complete messaging support, expandable memory and much more. Everything you need to get started with the MPx200 is included in the sales package.
The feature list of the MPx200 gives very big expectations, but the question is does it live up to these? Read on for more about the Windows powered mobile.
The MPx200 has everything you need to keep in contact and organized without hassle in the sleek simple device. Some outstanding features which make an appearance in the MPx200 include an SD/MMC card slot, 65.536 colour LCD and smaller external display, MSN Messenger, SMS/EMS, MMS and e-mail support, USB and Infrared connectivity and GPRS, and a 32mB internal memory. There are many more features you can read about in the Major Features section, and any problems related to the phone can be seen in the Problems/Issues section.
The MPx200 has support for most messaging formats, including SMS, EMS, MMS, and e-mail. These are the main three that are used by most people, e-mail probably the least at the moment. From the main screen you can see how many SMS/EMS, MMS, and e-mail messages you have unread, and jump directly to the inbox if you want. T9 predictive text will help in fast message composing, and support to synchronize with Outlook means you can take your business with you without having to whip out the laptop.
The Secure Digital and Multimedia Card (SD/MMC) slot on the side of the phone can be accessed easily by pulling open the rubber stopper and pressing down on the inserted card. It quickly boosts the memory from the reasonable 32mB of internal memory up to a maximum of 1gB, more than enough for any user. There is no camera on the MPx200, so digital imaging can’t be one of the methods for filling up the memory on this handset! :)
The 65,536 colour display comes to life when the clamshell designed MPx200 opens and clearly displays the Windows Mobile operating system in rich colour. It is large enough to display all the menus and play videos using the Windows Media Player application, and view images full-screen. The sub-display on external side of the phone which is viewed when closed displays the time, date, and other icons. It is monochrome with a bright blue backlight activated by rotating the Jog-dial on the side of the phone.
On the bottom of the phone is a mini-USB connector like most would have seen on digital cameras. This small port plugs into a data-cable (there is one included in the sales package) and into a free USB port on your PC/Laptop for data transfers and synchronization. There is a CD included to with all the software you need to get the phone connected and synchronizing quickly. An infrared port on the side of the phone can also be used if USB isn’t available. GPRS is used for all the wireless connections like WAP browsing and MMS messaging.
The Motorola MPx200 is a sleek looking phone – until you touch it. The shiny finish to the phone and the chrome plates around the front are magnets for finger prints and other marks. I was constantly rubbing the phone on my clothing to keep it clean – there is the leather pouch in the sales package but I find covers intrusive on phones, especially clamshell phones.
Something else I noticed on the MPx200 is the mini-USB port on the bottom of the phone which also acts as the charging port. The other ports on the phone like headset, and SD/MMC card slot all have rubber ports that are black to keep the theme flowing throughout. The mini-USB port does have a black stopper, but it is hard and removable. In turn, this makes it easy to lose and is a bit of a hassle to remove all the time when you need to plug in the charger (you need to do this a lot!) or the USB data-cable.
Other than those two things, like I’ve said the MPx200 is a very stylish phone. On the external side of things the monochrome display has a blue section around it with the chrome Motorola sign positioned below it and a thick border of chrome around it. The hinge of the flip is black like the rest of the phone, but the sides are two circular chrome plates – and the on/off button is also chrome. The other two chrome sections are the Motorola sign on the battery cover and the battery cover release button. Other than that the smooth black colour consumes the rest of the external side of the phone, including the rubber stoppers.
Open the MPx200 up and the black colour makes a very little appearance, but the chrome is back again! The numerical buttons are the same kind of black used on the externals of the phone, and the other buttons like the directional key, soft keys and hang-up/pick-up buttons are all chrome. The select button in the middle of the directional key is blue, the same that surrounds the monochrome display on the front of the MPx200. Instead of the black a grey sparkly plastic is used for the inside of the phone – and the hologram of “Motorola” on the top of the phone aids to this look.
The two buttons on the outside of the phone are both on the left-hand side. Closest to the bottom is the on/off key and above that is the Jog-dial, much like the one on the Sony Ericsson P900 model. It can be pushed in, and moved up/down for different functions on the phone but unlike the Sony Ericsson Jog-dial it doesn’t need to be used very often. On the right-hand side near the hinge is the wrist-strap hole.
User Interface & display
The Motorola MPx200 is made for the Windows Mobile operating system, and runs version 2002. This may seem a little outdated but I didn’t find any major user-interface problems and if you’ve got something good why not stick with it! The main display is 65,536 colours – large and colourful enough to support the feature rich user-interface.
Firstly, a little introduction to the Windows Mobile operating system. Many mobile phones use their own manufacturer’s user interfaces, like Nokia’s range of Series 30/40/60 devices. There are those mobile phones which use a Symbian interface, which is well known for its functionality and user friendliness. The Windows Mobile OS is just another system that can be used, and it extended the familiar Microsoft Windows interface from PC’s down to Smartphones. Programs like MSN Messenger, Pocket Outlook and more also can be used on Windows Mobile devices – they’re well-known and easy to use.
As soon as the phone is turned on the Windows look and feel can be spotted and is I must admit very friendly and inviting for me, being a Windows User. If you don’t use Windows on a computer it’s easy to get used to the new system, as it’s not exactly like a Windows System because of course it is a Smartphone and not a computer! The main familiarity is the colour scheme of blue, and then there are the programs that one would never imagine on a mobile device.
From the main screen everything important is displayed. The top line has the most frequently used applications, and below that the operator name and time. Underneath that you will find a list of any appointments you have inputted for today, or a simple message of “No appointments today”. A small line under that shows the messaging status in the form of “SMS (x), MMS (x), E-mail (x)”. The ‘x’ will be changed depending on how many unread messages you have. Finally below that is the current profile setting and then the two soft-key function text labels can be seen. Any of those lines can be selected using the directional key and then and their specific function opened with a press of the middle button (except the time and operator name one!).
The two left and right soft keys are set for Programs and Contacts respectively. These two buttons are pretty self explanatory, with the first opening a list of installed programs and functions and the other a list of SIM/Phone stored contacts. As you install and remove programs from the MPx200 the list will get longer and shorter, with most applications just being added to the folder labelled “Accessories” and games into the “Games” folder at the very end. The menus are pretty well laid out, with the Inbox first as usual. You can press the corresponding numerical key to jump directly to the function you want or select “More…” for just that.
The User-interface is pretty easy to navigate around, with the 4-way directional key and selection button. The two soft-keys are also used sometimes for special functions and the button with the curved arrow below the right selection key will go back a button press. The button opposite it on the left with the picture of the house goes to the home screen. If you close the flip and open it again the place you closed the flip will open up again.
The display is 176 x 220 pixels, which seems to be very common in Smartphone devices. With the capability of 65,536 colours all your videos, images, and games will be brought to life. The external monochrome display is 96 x 32 pixels with a super bright blue backlight so you can quickly check the time and see if you have any new messages!
Making and receiving calls
Since Bluetooth Technology isn’t incorporated into the MPx200 the only ways to make and receive calls is the standard way with the phone up to your ear, or using the Stereo headset that is included in the sales package. There is also a speakerphone function for hands free calls.
Something special when inputting a number into the MPx200 to call is that the input box will appear, and below it a list of contacts and recent calls will appear if they match up to the number you’re inputting. For example, if I was dialling a phone number 0400 000 000, and I had two names in my phone book with the phone numbers 0400 100 000 and 0400 000 000 – both names would appear as I typed in 0400, and then when I pressed the 1 key one would disappear and the other would stay. This is just a little feature I really liked on this handset.
The contacts (which can be easily accessed by the right soft key) menu shows both SIM card and Phone stored contacts in a list view. Selecting one with the middle soft key will display all attached information to the contact; Key, Name, Number, and anything else. The key is the code that you can input to call that number directly which is based on the SIM Card position of your contact. The phonebook is also picture capable, meaning an image can be defined to a contact and shown when the caller calls… but there is no inbuilt camera!
When in a call, there are several options available via the menu key (right soft key). The speakerphone function isn’t there, that needs to be activated by holding down the green pick up button. To turn it off just hold down the same key again. The stereo headset needs to be plugged into the port on the right hand side and audio will automatically be routed to the headset. All round the audio volume could have been increased but it’s fine for most environments – you can adjust the volume wherever using the Jog-dial.
Messaging was a little tricky to start off with – MMS messaging that is. E-mail and SMS messaging is easy from the word go. The MPx200 supports both SMS/EMS/MMS and e-mail messaging with T9 predictive text. There is also the MSN Messenger application pre-installed on the MPx200 which you can use to connect to the service. There is no inbuilt camera on this model, but you can get an attachable one and use it to liven up MMS messaging.
To start off with MMS messaging needs to be installed before it can be used, or at least it had to on my trial handset. This may not be the case with branded handsets but with mine it did. There is an application installed on the phone that can be installed when you first power-up the phone, or if you can’t find it again just plug in the data-cable and install the software and do it the long way! After you’ve installed the MMS application the messaging notification line on the main page will change from “... MMS()” to “... MMS(0)”. When you compose a new message the phone will ask if you want to start an SMS/E-mail or MMS message.
The standard (SMS/EMS/E-mail) messaging composer is really easy to use. The first line when you open it allows you to insert a name, phone number, or e-mail address that the message will be sent to (the To: field). Underneath that is the CC: field, then the subject line. By pressing the menu button on either field you will get certain options, like insert contact, insert text etc. There is a dividing line and then the text box for your message body. There’s a screenshot picture of the messaging window attached to this review so you can get a better idea!
A counter on the top of the message indicated when you go over the single SMS limit of 160 characters, and also shows the amount of messages your message will be spread upon if you don’t fit it into a single SMS. For example, 1 character over 160 characters will be shown as “161/2”. Press the left soft key to send the message and it will disappear, a second or so later a confirmation message will be shown.
It was a bit of shame that the MPx200 doesn’t have Bluetooth, as it would be a welcome enhancement to a generally well performing Windows Mobile Handset. The MPx200 and Motorola should be given credit though, for including a USB data-cable in the sales package with software needed to connect and sync the phone.
The USB data-cable as previously explained connects to the mini-USB port on the bottom of the handset, which also acts as the charging port for the power adapter. There is a small and quite annoying hard plastic stopper covering the port which obviously must be removed so you can plug in the cable! Once you’ve done that and attached it to a PC/laptop with a spare USB port the computer should recognize the phone and install drivers needed. Put in the CD and install any software you wish to use; ActiveSync is needed to synchronize and do basically anything with the MPx200 and a computer, so install that first!
There is an infrared data connection port on the side of the phone too for close-range wireless connections with a PC or Laptop, or even another device. The Infrared port is great for sending files from the phone directly to another device straight from the File Manager program, which is pre-installed but if not for some reason it’s on the supplied CD.
GPRS can be used in conjunction with the Internet Explorer (yep, like what you use on a Windows PC!) program. Some bookmarks are stored in the phone but your service provider should have theirs stored too. The browsing program is easy to use with the directional keys and selection key. The familiar interface is another plus too.
Updated versions of software for the MPx200 and the PC are released often and are available for download from the Windows Mobile website at Microsoft. You can also download new software for the MPx200 Smartphone.
I found no problems with the build quality of the MPx200, only thing that could possibly be put into this section is the shiny surface of the phone which gets dirty and looks a bit unprofessional easily; but other than that the MPx200 has superb craftsmanship.
The clam-shell designed phone has a good hinge which clicks open and closed so it doesn’t flap around. The back battery cover clicks on and off without any hassle after pressing down on the release catch. The SIM card may be a little hard to insert if you don’t have nails so slide the cover over.
The Motorola MPx200 measures 89mm x 48mm x 27mm and weighs a comfortable 118 grams.
The worst thing about the MPx200 would have to be the battery life, which is fairly unacceptable. The times Motorola state the battery will charge the phone for are far off what I experienced.
I could get a full charge of the battery to last me about 24 hours if I was lucky. I checked the battery level in the System Information application on the phone – you can see both Main Battery and Backup Battery. As far as I know the Backup Battery is the one that ensures all your settings and information is stored and not lost. The level constantly stayed at 90% during my review period.
The main battery however didn’t stay at a single percentage for very long, decreasing quickly without any real battery consuming functions taking place. The battery is an 850mAh Lithium-ion pack. You can read more about the problems associated with it in the Problems/Issues section.