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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Preview of GSM-smartphone Motorola MPx220

Motorola is planning to replace its smartphone MPx200 to a new model – MPx220. We already told you about the upcoming update when you were reading the newly appeared MPx200 review. The way to the market for the new smartphone became longer than we were predicting, this was caused by huge popularity of the first phone and delay of OS Windows Mobile release. The main lacks of MPx200 according to users were: external camera, which could have been inserted in the SD/MMC slot, which automatically declined the possibility to save pictures on the memory card; lack of Bluetooth. In the new model which was developed as replacement – all these lacks were fixed.

Alright, so the phone is powered with built-in camera, and flashlight near it. Because of the good tradition – the camera is 1mpx, that’s what all Motorola’s smartphones will have in near future. The settings are rather wide, you can setup not only the balance of white manually, but define such parameters like: contrast, brightness, saturation, colors manually. Each parameter can be customized with the help of 8 positions. We shall not provide the pictures in this article, there will be a separate material about it. So far we’d like to notice that the camera is worse than the one installed in Sharp GX30, but can be compared with Nokia 7610.

The phone’s height is slightly higher than the previous model, but is less in thickness aspect (90x48x20 mm with the 110 grams weight against 89x48x27 mm, 118 grams).

The form-factor remained the same in terms of convenience of usage, plus the keyboard was made more convenient. The backlight color is blue, it is nicely visible in various conditions. The navigational key and the built-in OK button (blue color) are nicely placed as well. On the whole the keyboard leaves us only with positive impressions.

The front panel of the smartphone was made unruffled, this is typical for both silver and black color solutions. Behind the unruffled surface an external screen is hidden, it can display up to 4096 colors (STN). The quality of this display is similar to the one installed in Motorola C350, v150, its resolution is 98x64 pixels. Because of the fact that the surface is unruffled, the external screen is seen worse, it is considerably bright only indoors, meanwhile outdoors its quality turns to a horrible one, add the sunlight which is playing on the front panel, the whole thing is not very good. In my opinion they should have left monochrome display in a product of such class, instead of packing this model with this one, probably this was an honor to the fashion.

The speaker’s holes are located under the display, they are used for playing back the ring tone. The polyphony is in this phone is 40 chord, it sounds exactly like in the previous model, the same thing can be said about the sound and the volume. A curios fact, subjectively the vibrating alert became stronger, perhaps this was caused by the change of the case?!

The camera and the flashlight are located in the very bottom of the front panel. The interface connector is located in the low edge, there are no any ports in the top of the phone, the very same hole for the strap is located on the phone’s side edge.

You can see the joined volume regulation button on the left side, this is replacement for the wheel that was placed in MPx200. A lot of MPx200 users were often accidentally positioning the wheel wrong, but here it is impossible. The more used element of control in this model is a certain advantage of this model. The turn on/turn off button is located on the very same side, as well as headset connector.

The IrDA is located in the right side, followed by the Camera button and slot for miniSD-cards. The decline of using full-sized MMC/SD-cards seems to be a political move, there is enough space in order to place standard slot.

The sign Quad is located on the top edge, the phone is really quad band (850 frequency was added comparing to MPx200). It is curios that exactly in the upper part of the case, the phone’s antenna and Bluetooth modules are located.

The back cover is covering the battery section, it does not have backlash. Inside you can see the SIM-card’s slot, it is inserted in the phone’s upper side and can be inserted only when the battery is removed. The battery itself is Li-Ion with 1000mAh capacity, according to the manufacturer it can provide up to 110 hours of work in the stand by mode and up to 4.5 hours when you are having phone calls. We were testing this phone in Moscow, our operator was MTS. The phone has been working for 1.5-2.5 days depending on the number of calls. Subjectively the phone’s working time is slightly more than MPx200’s was, for about 10-15 percent with equal amount of phone calls made and other functions used.

This is more than just a good result, especially considering the fact that the display which can display up to 65000 colors is installed. The picture quality is better than MPx200 had, but worse than the screens in Motorola v300, v500, v600 (it is physically bigger).

The screen’s resolution is 176x220 pixels, up to 8 text lines can be displayed at once. On the whole the screen can be rated as average one among modern day mobiles, it does not have any major cons, but there aren’t major pros either. When the sun hits direct sunlight it behaves exactly the way MPx200 does, this means that during summer you will have to make certain amount of efforts in order to read the information, rotate the phone (other phones are no better though).

The phone has 64mb of built-in flash memory, about 40mb are dedicated to user’s needs (the size depends on the package type, amount of installed applications). The operating memory size is 32mb. The smartphone is working under the Windows Mobile OS, the software is all common.

Motorola was planning to develop own Bluetooth control manager in this mobile, but our sample did not have one. That’s why the only way to activate Bluetooth was doing it with the help of OS. It will be enough for all activities, there won’t be any problems.

I’d like to point out one interesting software which comes with the handset – tool for taking pictures and video (sound, unlimited length). One more thing is tool which can be used together with the standard phone book of Windows – Photo Contacts. Here the limitations caused by the OS are removed, and you can attach any picture to any contact and it will be displayed on the internal display in case of incoming call. There are similar utilities from various manufacturers, that’s why you can use whichever you like.

Java’s performance does not raise any problems, the applications are loading fast, the same can be said about their working speed.

Smartphone MPx220 will be released in September 2004, the retail price will not exceed 450 dollars. Since it comes as replacement to MPx200, the MPx200 will not be available after some time, and in the end of its life cycle the price will remain attractive (about 250 dollars). As you probably guessed the manufacturer of this model is Chi Mei Communications. The life cycle of Motorola MPx220 will be a year and a half, after that a new model will be released (MPx260 – non official title), which will have bigger and better external display, support of lighting effects (haptics), EDGE and some more enhancements. But that model will not be released any time soon.

Well MPx220 can be compared with MPx100 in a lot of factors, this is actually one and the same phone released in different form-factors. When the model will be released it will not have any real competitors, it will allow it to conquer the niche and become as popular as Motorola MPx200 was. The only competitor is Nokia 7610, but here it is the question of your preferences, the users will be forced to make a choice between Windows or Symbian. Motorola MPx200 is good in the role of casual mobile phone, it has all required functions, and the most important – it has Bluetooth. We cannot call this phone an ideal one, it has issues like MPx200 had, but most of them are problems of the OS. In my opinion this model will be popular and will become well spread in shortest terms.

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