It's common for phones to debut on one carrier and then appear on another carrier under a different name. That's exactly what Motorola has done with the XPRT--it's essentially the Motorola Droid Pro, but with Sprint branding. And that's not a bad thing; the XPRT offers a full QWERTY keyboard and a touch screen, plus it has enhanced security features that should please most enterprise-conscious users. The XPRT is also Sprint's first Android-based world phone, meaning it can work on both CDMA and GSM bands. The Motorola XPRT ships with Android 2.2 and is available for $129.99 after a two-year service agreement.
We're not kidding when we say the XPRT is essentially the same as the Droid Pro. The hardware looks the same, with the same touch screen and keyboard combo design. There are a few subtle changes with the XPRT, however. The XPRT is a little flatter on the top, it has a chrome border on the front trim instead of the back, and the battery cover has a matte, soft-touch textured surface where the Droid Pro had a slightly humped, hard plastic back instead. This gives the XPRT a more luxurious feel in the hand.
There are a few more tiny differences in the XPRT's keyboard. It still looks uncannily similar to the keyboard on a BlackBerry Bold, but unlike on the Droid Pro, the XPRT's keyboard goes right to the edges of the phone. Unfortunately, it appears that the bottom row of the keyboard is smaller; the Alt key on the bottom left and the voice command key on the bottom right are a tiny bit smaller than their equivalents on the Droid Pro. On the whole, however, we found the keyboard to be just as pleasurable to use; the angled keys provide a nice texture for typing and dialing. It doesn't feel top-heavy, but you do need to adjust your fingers to compensate for the phone's weight.
In other areas of the phone's design, the XPRT is identical to the Droid Pro. The touch-screen display is the same 3.1 inches, with the same HVGA resolution. It also ships with seven customizable home screens and a scaled-down version of Motoblur that is not quite as intrusive. It still offers resizable widgets for news feeds and social network streams.
The rest of the phone's hardware mimics the Droid Pro, too, like the volume rocker and Micro-USB port on the left spine, and the user-customizable shortcut key on the right. Between the display and the keyboard are the four Android sensor keys, and the camera lens and flash are on the back. On the top are the 3.5mm headphone jack and the power/screen lock button.
The XPRT and the Droid Pro have very similar features, so we'll point you to that review for the full rundown of what the XPRT can do. In sum, the XPRT has CDMA and GSM technology for world-roaming capabilities, enhanced security like remote wipe and support for complex passwords, support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, and the usual Android 2.2 features. It also has the standard Android media player and a 5-megapixel camera with dual-LED flash. Picture quality is largely unchanged from the Droid Pro.
The only real difference lies in the applications. The XPRT comes saddled with a Sprint software suite that includes Nascar, Sprint Football Live, Sprint Mobile Wallet, Sprint Music Plus, Sprint Radio, Sprint TV & Movies, Sprint Zone, and Sprint Worldwide, a portal page that provides access to Sprint services when you travel abroad.
We tested the dual-mode Motorola XPRT in San Francisco using the Sprint Nextel service. Call quality was good on the whole, though not without a few flaws. On our end, we heard callers fine for the most part. There was very little background noise, and voice quality was clear.
On the other end, callers reported similarly good quality. They did complain of low volume and a somewhat muddy quality to our voice, but it wasn't a big deterrent. Speakerphone calls were similarly good.
Motorola XPRT call quality sample Listen now:
We experienced reliable 3G coverage in downtown San Francisco. Sprint's network was quite fast as well. CNET's full site loaded in around 30 seconds, and CNET's mobile page came up in 10 seconds.
Like the Droid Pro, the XPRT was no slouch when it came to overall navigation thanks to the 1GHz TI OMAP processor. Apps launched immediately and we experienced no delays when multitasking.
The Motorola XPRT ships with a 1,420mAH lithium ion battery with a rated talk time of 6.5 hours and up to 13 days of standby time. Our tests showed a talk time of 7 hours. According to FCC radiation tests, the XPRT has a digital SAR of 1.39 watts per kilogram and a Hearing Aid Compatibility Rating of M3/T3.
The Motorola XPRT is Sprint's version of the Motorola Droid Pro, save for a few design refinements and the addition of Sprint's own suite of apps. The XPRT brings an enterprise option to Sprint's Android offerings, plus it's Sprint's first Android-based world phone. While we think the display is a bit lackluster compared with the competition, and we did want 4G on here, we think the XPRT is well worth its $129.99 price, especially if you're a globe-trotting business user.