We had high hopes for the MPx220, Motorola's follow-up to the popular . We're always excited when a product shows up promising so many fantastic things: Microsoft's Windows Mobile 2003 OS, Bluetooth, and Windows Media Player 9.0, just to name a few. We're pleased to say that after a few initial bumps (call quality was horrible until Motorola sent us another review unit), the MPx220 met most of our expectations. We liked the Cingular smart phone's PIM capabilities, Bluetooth support, and multimedia functions but found fault with the WAP Web browser and the syncing support. The handset is fairly priced at $399, but you should be able to find it at a discount with a service contract. Compared to other popular smart phones such as the or the , the Motorola MPx220 measures a more pocket-friendly 3.9 by 1.9 by 1.0 inches and weighs a lighter 3.9 ounces. Its sturdy flip-phone form factor also makes it comfortable to hold while you're talking. Yet we aren't completely impressed by the design. The two-toned silver styling is attractive but a bit vulnerable to smudges, and the postage-stamp-size external screen is rather small. It does support 56,000 colors, however, and shows the time, signal strength, battery life, and photo caller ID (where available). Below the screen are the speaker, the camera lens, and the flash.
Inside the phone, things get a bit better. The 2-inch-diagonal, 65,000-color display is large enough for viewing PIM data such as contacts and calendar information (you can change the text size), as well as games and photos. That said, however, the bright display was disappointing when viewing Web pages such as mobile versions of MSN, Yahoo, and The Onion. Images typically looked washed out, and using Web-based mail was not as pleasant as with other devices such as the.
We were very pleased with the attractive and user-friendly navigation controls. The four-way toggle is large and easy to manipulate, and it has a big, blue OK button in the center. Surrounding it are four buttons: two menu soft keys, the Home key, and a Back button. Below the Home and Back buttons are the Talk and End keys, respectively. On the left spine, you'll find the power button, a volume rocker, and the headphone jack. On the right spine are the Mini SD slot, a dedicated camera button, and the infrared port.
When it comes to using the MPx220 as a mobile data-entry device, hard-core road warriors who have grown accustomed to smart phones with full QWERTY keyboards will no doubt bemoan having to compose e-mail with a standard keypad. Of course, anyone with experience sending text messages with a traditional cell phone won't have a problem, as the MPx220's keys are well designed and amply spaced. Though they're set flush with the face of the phone, they're quite tactile, and misdials were rare.The Motorola MPx220 offers a generous feature set. The phone book is limited only by the available memory (the phone comes with 64MB, and an additional 250 names can be stored on the SIM card). Each contact stores multiple fields such as 11 phone numbers, three e-mail addresses, three street addresses, and other personal information. You can also assign contacts to caller groups and pair them with a picture and a polyphonic or MP3 ring tone for caller ID. Other features include vibrate mode, a voice recorder, a calendar, a calculator, a task list, text and multimedia messaging, voice commands, MSN Messenger, Bluetooth, an infrared port, a WAP 2.0 wireless Web browser, USB connectivity, and a speakerphone. Aside from the 64MB of internal memory, there's also an expansion slot for Mini SD (Secure Digital) cards.
The handset runs on a 200MHz processor. Microsoft's ActiveSync handles PIM synchronization. And since the handset is essentially a Pocket PC device, it ships with an array of Windows Mobile software: Pocket Outlook (Inbox, Calendar, and Contacts), Pocket Internet Explorer, MSN Messenger, and Windows Media Player 9.0. Despite the MPx220's power, we would have liked easier access to our corporate Microsoft Exchange server. The MPx220 doesn't ship with e-mail redirector software, which is a common feature on smart phones, including theand the BlackBerry line of handsets. If your company runs Exchange ActiveSync on its mail server, then getting mobile access to your corporate e-mail will be a snap. If not, you may be out of luck. That said, we easily configured Pocket Outlook to access POP and IMAP e-mail accounts. Furthermore, the WAP browser, while not the prettiest, can display mobile-mail sites such as Yahoo and MSN.