As for messaging, the XV6800 ships with Microsoft Direct Push Technology so you get real-time e-mail delivery and automatic synchronization with your Outlook calendar, tasks, and contacts via Exchange Server. There's support for a number of other e-mail solutions, as well, including Good Mobile Messaging and Verizon Wireless Sync. In addition, the device can be configured to access your POP3 and IMAP4 accounts. Unfortunately, there aren't any preloaded instant messaging clients, and it lacks Windows Live integration like the i760.
Phone features on the Verizon Wireless XV6800 include a speakerphone, voice dialing and commands, smart dialing, three-way calling, and text and multimedia messaging. The phone book is limited only by the available memory, and each entry can hold as many as 12 phone numbers, three e-mail addresses, addresses for home and work, a job title, and more. For caller-ID purposes, you can assign a contact to a category or pair it with any of 24 polyphonic ringtones or a photo.
The XV6800 is also an EV-DO handset, bringing data speeds of around 300Kbps to 600Kbps with the potential to hit 2.4Mbps. This means you'll enjoy faster Web browsing, downloads, and smoother media streams. However, concentrating more on the smartphone's business side, Verizon Wireless chose not to include support for its V Cast music and video services. We can understand this logic, but still find it a bit disappointing--all work and no play isn't much fun.
Another way you can take advantage of the EV-DO speeds is by using the XV6800 as a modem for your laptop, thanks to smartphone's Bluetooth 2.0 technology. This will, however, require that you subscribe to one of Verizon's BroadbandAccess plans, which start at $15 per month. Other supported Bluetooth profiles include those for mono and stereo headsets and hands-free kits. Unfortunately, it does not allow for object transfer (OBEX). Last but not least, the XV6800 also has integrated Wi-Fi, which provides you an alternative method for connecting to the Web on your phone.
The one area where the Verizon Wireless XV6800 ups the Samsung i760 is the camera. The XV6800 is equipped with a 2-megapixel lens (versus 1.3 megapixels) with flash, autofocus, and video-recording capabilities. For still images, you have your choice of five resolutions and four quality settings. You can adjust the white balance and add various effects, and there's also a self-timer and the option of adding a time stamp to your photo. As usual, your options are a bit more limited in video mode but you do get white balance settings, effects, and two resolution choices. Picture quality was mixed. We were impressed by the sharp definition, but the colors were a bit off and looked harsh. Video quality was OK for a camera phone--slightly pixilated by fine for short spurts.
And while you may not get Verizon's streaming media services, you can still enjoy your tunes and videos with Windows Media Player 10 Mobile. There's support for AAC, MP3, WAV, WMA, MPEG-4, and WMV files, to name a few. Plus, if you have TV shows recorded on your Windows Media Center PC, you can transfer them to your device for on-the-go viewing.
We tested the dual-band (CDMA 850/1900; EV-DO) Verizon Wireless XV6800 in San Francisco using Verizon service, and call quality was OK. On our end, audio sounded slightly garbled, but volume was fine and we were able to continue conversations with our friends and interact with our bank's automated voice response system. Meanwhile, our friends didn't have any major complaints, though they could tell we were using a cell phone. Unfortunately, things went south when we activated the speakerphone. Sound was soft even when we were in a quiet room and had the volume at its highest level, while callers said there was a slight hollowness on their side. On a bright note, we had no problems pairing the XV6800 with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset or the Motorola S9 Bluetooth Active Headphones.
The XV6800 is powered by a 400MHz processor and for the most part the smartphone was responsive, but we ran into some typical Windows Mobile delays (lags between screen switches and when using multiple applications). The Web-browsing experience was swift thanks to Verizon's EV-DO network, and the phone had no problems finding and connect to our Wi-Fi access point. Multimedia performance wasn't the greatest we've seen. Again, because of the weaker speaker, songs sounded quiet and lacked any richness and turning up the system volume only made tracks sound shrilly and blown out. Video was synchronized with audio, but looked a bit blurry and choppy.
The XV6800's 920mAh lithium-ion battery is rated for 5.4 hours of talk time and up to 14 days of standby time. We are still conducting our battery drain tests but will update this section as soon as we have final results. According to FCC radiation tests, the XV6800 has a digital SAR rating of 1.3 watts per kilogram.