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UTStarcom XV6700 (Verizon Wireless) review: UTStarcom XV6700 (Verizon Wireless)


Sprint scored in a big way when it landed the first Windows Mobile 5 smart phone, the Sprint PPC-6700. And while we liked the smart phone and gave it a rating of 7.0, you guys really liked it, giving the device an average user rating of 7.6. Well, now Verizon customers can join in on the fun with the UTStarcom XV6700. It sheds the all-silver coloring for a sleek black but boasts many of the same features found on the PPC-6700. Unfortunately, it suffers from the restrictions Verizon put on its wireless use and the so-so call quality. The XV6700 is available now for $299.99 with a two-year contract.


UTStarcom XV6700 (Verizon Wireless)

The Good

The UTStarcom XV6700 features a full QWERTY keyboard under a slider design and includes Windows Mobile 5, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and EV-DO. The smart phone also has a 1.3-megapixel camera and a speakerphone.

The Bad

Unfortunately, Verizon restricts the wireless radios on the UTStarcom XV6700, and call quality and talk time are subpar.

The Bottom Line

The UTStarcom XV6700 for Verizon Wireless has all the makings of a powerful Windows Mobile smart phone, but it's tripped up by wireless restrictions and mediocre performance.

As mentioned earlier, the UTStarcom XV6700 trades in the traditional silver casing for a sexy black exterior, but otherwise, it shares many of the same physical characteristics of the PPC-6700. At 5.2 by 2.3 by 1.0 inches and 6.5 ounces, the boxy smart phone isn't compact by any means. It'll make for a tight fit in a pants pocket, and ladies, you'll want to make room in your purse. Unfortunately, unlike Sprint, Verizon doesn't include a belt holster with the device; instead, you'll have to shell out $19.99 for that option. We did like the fact that the mobile features a rubberlike texture that makes it easy to grip, plus the phone has a solid construction.

The UTStarcom XV6700's face is dominated by the 2.8-inch-diagonal screen. It displays 65,536 hues at a 320x240-pixel resolution that produces sharp images and text. Colors were bright, but they tended to wash out in direct sunlight. We also noticed that the screen had a tendency to hold smudges and fingerprints. Controls are kept fairly simple, with two soft keys, Start and OK buttons, the Talk and End keys, and a five-way navigation joystick found just below the display. The layout of the controls is a bit cramped but manageable, though like the Palm Treo 700w, it doesn't share the same ease of one-handed use.

UTStarcom XV6700
What lies beneath the XV6700's face is a spacious and well-backlit QWERTY keyboard.

Another difference between the Palm Treo 700w and the UTStarcom XV6700 is the QWERTY keyboard. While the 700w has its keyboard built into the face of the device, the XV6700 hides its keyboard under a clever slider design--to expose it, just slide the device's face to the right. As with other models of this type, the sliding mechanism is a bit stiff, but the screen automatically adjusts from portrait mode to landscape mode. The individual buttons are fairly large and well spaced, and we had no problems firing off e-mails and text messages with it. In addition, the keys feature bright-blue backlighting, making it easy to type in darker environments.

There's an infrared port, a voice-record button, an Internet Explorer launch key, and a volume rocker on the left spine, and a lone camera-activation key is on the lower-right side of the phone. Speaking of the camera, the lens is located on the back of the device, along with a flash, a self-portrait mirror, and a macromode switch. Finally, a Mini SD-card expansion slot and a power button occupy the top of the XV6700, while the USB port, a reset hole, and a 2.5mm headphone jack are located on the bottom of the device. Verizon packages the XV6700 with a protective case, a wired headset, a desktop cradle, a USB cable, and an extra stylus.

UTStarcom XV6700
Load up a Mini SD card with your favorite tunes and videos and have some fun with this thing.

Featurewise, the UTStarcom XV6700 looks great on paper, but it's tripped up by some wireless limitations set forth by Verizon. The smart phone comes with integrated Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and EV-DO cellular technologies, which is great, but unlike with the PPC-6700, you can't have Wi-Fi and the cell phone on at the same time. But don't despair; you can work around this by downloading a registry editor and making tweaks to the wireless manager. It's an annoying extra step, but at least you have that option. The good news is that we were able to hop on to our test access point with ease and were surfing the Web within a couple of minutes. Also, you can use Bluetooth for file transfers and synchronization with compatible PCs, not just for headsets and accessories.

With its QWERTY keyboard, e-mail is obviously a big draw for the UTStarcom XV6700, and it doesn't disappoint. The smart phone gives you access to your Microsoft Outlook, POP3, and IMAP e-mail accounts, as well as Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync. Microsoft's Messaging and Security Feature Pack will bring push e-mail technology to the phone. You have the option of Verizon's VZEmail solution for wireless-e-mailing syncing, and the phone supports text, multimedia, and instant messaging. As far as phone features, you get a speakerphone, speed dial, smart dial, a vibrate mode, and eight polyphonic ring tones. The Contacts list is also robust, offering you space for up to 12 numbers, various addresses (home, company, e-mail, and IM), notes, birthdays, and family information for each entry.

The smart phone is powered by a 416MHz PXA270 Intel processor and comes with 64MB of RAM and 128MB of flash ROM. As a Windows Mobile 5 device, the UTStarcom XV6700 includes the full Mobile Office suite, including Word Mobile, Excel Mobile, and PowerPoint Mobile. These are great apps for the mobile professional who needs access to such documents on the go. You also get a couple of extra utilities, such as a download agent and Zip for Pocket PC. However, we all know that work and no play makes for an unhappy camper, so Windows Media Player 10 Mobile is on board for your entertainment needs, as well as two standard games (BrickBreaker and Solitaire).

UTStarcom XV6700
The XV6700's 1.3-megapixel camera offers good picture quality.

The UTStarcom XV6700 also has a 1.3-megapixel camera. You have the choice of shooting images in five sizes (160x120, 320x240, 640x480, 1,280x1,024, and 1,600x1,280) and four qualities (Superfine, Fine, Normal, and Basic). To enhance your photos, you can apply various ambience settings, including Daylight, Incandescent, Night, Sepia, and Cool. You get an 8X zoom; a 5- and 10-second self-timer; a time and date stamp; a picture counter; and the option to turn off the shutter sound. In addition, the camera can record videos with sound in three sizes (128x96, 176x144, and 320x240) and three formats (MPEG-4, Motion-JPEG AVI, or 3GPP2). Overall, picture quality was good, with crisp lines and bright colors. Video quality wasn't as sharp, though, with blurry action shots. However, we've come to expect these kinds of results with camera phones.

The UTStarcom XV6700 offers some robust phone features, such as a speakerphone, speed dial, smart dialing, C12 numbers, various addresses (home, business, e-mail, and IM), birthdays, family information, and eight ring tones.

We tested the dual-band (CDMA 800/1900) UTStarcom XV6700 in San Francisco using Verizon's network, and call quality was mixed. On our end, conversations were perfectly clear, but our callers said we sounded echoey, and they could definitely tell we were using a cell phone. Speakerphone quality wasn't much better. Callers had the same comments, and this time, we could also hear an echo. On the bright side, volume was more than adequate in both situations. We also had no problems pairing the phone with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset.

The UTStarcom XV6700 has a rated battery talk time of 5 hours and a standby time of up to 8.3 days. In our tests, the XV6700 failed to meet the talk time, with the cell petering out after 4 hours. According to the FCC, the XV6700 has a digital SAR rating of 1.09 watts per kilogram.


UTStarcom XV6700 (Verizon Wireless)

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 6Performance 6