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.
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.
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.
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.