We can't say for sure why Verizon Wireless chose to wait till the very last minute to release all its smartphones, but we know customers are excited to finally see the availability of the Verizon Wireless XV6800. As the successor to the aging UTStarcom XV6700, the XV6800 brings a much-needed refresh with an upgrade to Windows Mobile 6 Professional Edition, a sleeker design, and a 2-megapixel camera. You also continue to get EV-DO, integrated Wi-Fi (802.11b/g), and Bluetooth 2.0 with support for stereo headsets and dial-up networking.
There's no doubt in our mind that this device will meet the needs of the power business user. The bigger question that customers may be faced with is whether you should get the XV6800 or the Samsung SCH-i760. Feature-wise, the two Windows smartphones are pretty even, though the XV6800 has a better camera. That said, we felt that the i760 had better call quality and faster performance to give it a slight edge, but you're going to get a solid smartphone with either choice, and it may just come down to your preference in design. The Verizon Wireless XV6800 is available now for $349.99 with a two-year contract and after rebates and discounts.
The Verizon Wireless XV6800 is reminiscent of the Sprint Mogul in shape and size, which makes sense, since both devices are made by HTC. The XV6800 measures 4.3 inches high by 2.3 inches wide by 0.7 inch deep and weighs 5.8 ounces. Although it's on the larger side and you'll probably want to get a belt holster since it'll make for a tight fit in the pants pocket, it sits nicely in the palm and is comfortable to use as a messaging device. We will say that the phone's construction didn't feel as solid as the i760. The XV6800 has the same battery cover as the Sprint Mogul, which we found quite plasticky and flimsy. As far as aesthetics, the XV6800 isn't the most attractive smartphone on the block but has an appropriately business look.
On the front, there's a 2.8-inch touch screen that shows 65,536 colors at a 320x240 pixel resolution. Images and text looked vibrant and sharp, and the screen was readable in various lighting conditions, although colors wash out slightly in bright sunlight. You can customize the Today screen with various themes and background images. Unlike the Samsung SCH-i760, there is no external dialpad, which was admittedly a convenience, but you can still easily make calls using the XV6800's responsive touch screen and spacious virtual dialpad.
Surrounding the display are the XV6800's navigation controls. Above the screen, there's a shortcut to your in-box and one to the Web, while below the display, you'll find two soft keys, Talk and End buttons, a Today screen shortcut, and OK button, and a four-way directional keypad with a center select key. We found all the controls to be large enough and tactile, but since they're spread out across the front of the phone, it doesn't make one-handed operation very easy. Fortunately, there are a number of other buttons along the sides to help with this. On the left spine, there is a scroll wheel, an OK button, a voice dialer launcher, and a switch to turn Wi-Fi on and off. The right side holds the power button, a Communication Manager shortcut, a camera activation key, and the stylus.
To access the full QWERTY keyboard, just slide the front cover to the left. The sliding action is fairly smooth, and the cover securely locks into place. This also automatically triggers the screen to switch from portrait to landscape mode. The keyboard itself is very similar to the one found on the Mogul and T-Mobile Wing. The individual buttons are large, but there isn't much space between them and they're a bit slick. Users with larger thumbs may also have problems hitting the two soft buttons located above the keyboard since they're close to the bottom edge of the front face.
Finally, you have an infrared port, a microSD expansion slot, and a mini USB port on the bottom, and the camera lens, a self-portrait mirror, and a flash on back of the unit.
The Verizon Wireless XV6800 comes packaged with a healthy set of accessories, including an AC adapter, a USB cable, a USB splitter, an extra stylus, a soft protective pouch, a desktop software CD, and reference material. For more add-ons, please check our cell phone accessories, ringtones, and help page.
Feature-wise, the Verizon Wireless XV6800 goes toe-to-toe with the Samsung SCH-i760. The smartphone runs Windows Mobile 6 Professional Edition with the full Microsoft Office Mobile Suite for viewing and editing Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents. There's also Adobe Reader for PDFs, and you can always download more third-party applications to suit your needs. Other personal information management tools include the standard Calendar, Contacts, Task list, a notepad, and a Zip Manager. There's also a task-manager-type utility called Running Programs so you can optimize memory usage and the smartphone's performance. The XV6800 has 64MB RAM and 256MB ROM with about 27MB of free program memory and 157MB of available storage. The microSD expansion slot accepts up to 4GB cards.