Motorola MPx200 — My Two Cents

I finally gave in and bought a Motorola MPx200 of my own just so I could see what all of the fuss was about. After spending about a week with the device, I think that I understand why everyone is so excited about it — it is Motorola’s best product since the StarTAC.

Speaking of the StarTAC, I was pretty sure that was going to be the last Motorola phone that I owned after I had several rather unsatisfying experiences with the models that I purchased subsequently. The idea of combining Windows SmartPhone and the Motorola UI did not strike me as a match made in heaven, but I have to admit that this device is very great. Here are some of the key thoughts in a nutshell

Price – I bought my MPx200 unsubsidized on eBay, but I have seen AT&T Wireless offering it for $199.99 with contract. Given that most other carriers do not have smartphone offerings for under $300, this phone is accessible to a whole new audience of smartphone customers.

Performance – What really makes this phone shine is its performance. The ActiveSync software performed very well and I didn’t have any problems getting my Outlook calendar, contacts, and tasks synchronized with my phone. The battery life on the phone is very good and it is slim enough to pass as a regular, modern mobile phone (unlike some of its smartphone breathren). The phone has a great antenna (it outperformed my Sony Ericsson t630 and was on par with my Nokia 6620 in terms of signal strength quality), especially for a phone with an internal antenna design. Finally, the Windows Media Player works very well — I listened to a number of songs on my phone and I was very impressed with the lack of delay and audio quality.

Drawbacks – This phone is not perfect. My biggest complaint is that the Windows SmartPhone OS does have a tendency to hang at times, making for a frustrating experience while the user waits for the device to “catch up” after it finishes hanging. While I like the stereo FM headset that ships with the device, i found that it was difficult to keep it in my ears as I needed to have both earpieces in to get good audio quality. I also think that the UI could be improved. Specifically, there are no fewer than three keys that are used to confirm/accept choices in menus and it can be confusing trying to keep track of which button to push in each menu.

Finally, I would have to say that the MPx200 is not really well-suited if you are looking for a smartphone that has a strong email capability. The lack of a real QWERTY keyboard means that the device is much better suited for reading/scanning email than it is for reading and replying to email. If you are looking for a real do-all smartphone, I would suggest a Treo 600 or Blackberry 7200 series.

Conclusion – This is a very good device, no question about it. You get most of the features that you can get from the Samsung ix00 series at a much more reasonable price. Properly marketed, this phone could bring a whole new class of consumers to the smartphone market.