Motorola – MPx220 review

clamshell smartphone
Photo of Motorola – MPx220

Motorola’s first MPx was quite exciting in that the company came up with the first Windows Mobile smartphone with a clamshell design. Now the MPx220 is on the scene we have a second clamshell – nobody else has produced one for the UK market. But we’ve been there, seen that, and now we are looking for improvements, changes, updates.

The two that immediately catch the eye are really dealing with omissions from first time around: Motorola has now included Bluetooth and a camera. Without Bluetooth there can be no wireless synchronisation of diary, contacts and tasks. Its presence also means you can use the MPx220 with wireless headsets – useful if not exactly a requirement of modern mobile telephony.

The camera lends itself to MMS messaging, and to taking the odd snap for sharing on the Internet. You can grab stills and shoot in bursts, and can take images up to 1,280 x 960 resolution – that’s 1.2 megapixels. There is even an LED-type flash unit and a self timer. But don’t get over-excited about ditching your dedicated digital camera. Just as with all camera-phones we’ve ever seen, you’ll still need a ‘proper’ digital camera for serious – and even semi-serious – photography.

Motorola provides 25MB of internal memory for your applications and data. This a fair advance on the allocation in older smartphones, and the MPx220 supports mini SD cards so you can add more. But if you already have a collection of memory cards such as Compact Flash and SD, this new format will surely be an annoyance.

If this sounds a bit grumpy, let’s be clear. The MPx220 is a better phone than its predecessor was by some margin. Bluetooth and the camera we have noted, but there are also usability improvements. The phone is quad-band which is still a bit of a rarity and will interest travellers. And the navigation and select buttons are all much larger than before, so clodhopper-fingers should cope well.

Also there are some very useful applications including File Manager, Resource Manager which shows how much memory you have left, and File Viewer for reading files in a range of different formats including PDF, Microsoft Word and Excel. Just don’t expect to see the accounts of a large corporation on the 2-inch screen, or to open the complete works of Shakespeare all at the same time.

And don’t forget that the Windows Mobile software suite itself, including Internet and e-mail tools, calendar, contacts, tasks, MMS and SMS tools, is all very useful for those needing to carry lots of data around.

Company: Motorola

In the end we have to say that if you already have a Windows Mobile smartphone, it probably isn't worth upgrading to this one unless you really need its Bluetooth connectivity or its camera. If you are looking for a smartphone now, it is worth considering, but shop around - there's more competition in this area than there has ever been.