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Motorola MPx200 Review

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This blog post is over 20 years old. It's possible that the information you read below isn't current and the links no longer work.

After more than six months of being unhappy with my mobile phone and service, I’ve finally replaced it. Last Monday when phone number portability went into effect I ordered a Motorola MPx200 Smartphone from Amazon.

I’d been looking at the Motorola for a few weeks and I liked the features. The phone runs the Windows Smartphone OS, basically a modified version of Windows CE. It comes with a desktop cradle that you can use to charge your phone through your computer’s USB port as well as sync your contacts, calendar, tasks, and notes with Outlook.

The retail price of the phone is about $300 with service activation. AT&T has a $50 rebate when you activate the phone, and Amazon has the phone for $250 and offers a $120 mail in rebate, bringing the price of the phone to $80.

Buying through Amazon was a bit of a hassle. Even though I purchased activation and gave them all my information, the phone arrived without any account information and upon calling AT&T I discovered that they had no record of an account for me. After two attempts at activating over the phone with AT&T I discovered that in order to port my phone number from my previous carrier, they were going to have to give me a new SIM. Rather than wait for one to be mailed to me, I made a trip to a local AT&T store and went through the process of activating the phone for the fourth time. The manager of the AT&T store was pleasant enough and gave me a $30 car charger to make up for the problems I’d had getting service started.

The porting process was simple and painless. I gave AT&T the account information from my previous carrier and my phone number was moved over and my previous account canceled automatically. I started the porting process at about 3pm the day before Thanksgiving and at 2pm Saturday the process was complete. In the meantime, I could make calls from the new phone, but incoming calls rang to the old phone.

There are a few things that could be done better on the Smartphone OS side. The Outlook integration only synchronizes your primary contacts, calendar, tasks, and inbox. If you want to sync a different calendar folder, you’re out of luck. If you use Outlook as an IMAP client, your email isn’t stored in the default Inbox, so the Smartphone doesn’t sync it. I’d imagine that someone will create a third-party sync conduit that supports this. Suggestions for alternate sync products or phone email clients are welcome.

The other thing that I find irritating is that there is no way to exit most programs on the phone. If I fire up the calendar, it keeps running until I turn off the phone or open the task manager and kill the process. The calendar (and most other apps) has no Quit or Exit command that I can find. Any suggestions on that would be helpful as well.

There are a couple of small things that are easily improved. For instance, the included earpiece and in-ear headphones (for the built-in MP3 player) are poorly designed. They don’t fit the ear very well. But you can easily buy an aftermarket set that works better. Someone even has instructions for converting a pair of nice Koss earphones for use as a headset. The earphone/headset jack has a little plastic cover over it that makes it a pain to quickly plug in a headset, but that’s easily fixed by a quick snip with a pair of wire cutters.

The next version of the phone is rumored to have a built in camera, be smaller and lighter, and have Bluetooth. It should come out sometime next spring.


David Makin
March 24, 2004 2:41 AM

For Ben Yu (and anyone else looking for mobile VNC) our VNC clients are available from Handango - PT_VNC2 (and soon PTvncGPRS) for the PPC's and PTvncS for the Window's Smartphones.

Nikhil Murthy
April 8, 2004 11:07 AM

For those of you (like me) that have not jumped on the MPx200, you can receive the phone for free on (with a 2 year contract of course). As for me, I am still debating between the MPx200 and the NEC 525 (also free from I love the ability to keep track of my life with Outlook, but I can't justify a fancy for Outlook when the MPx200 has the bad reception I have been hearing about. Also, the NEC 525 is a quad band phone, has picture caller id, and simply is a better phone sans MS Smartphone 2002 and memory expansion capabilities. I am really stuck. Which one should I pick? Any suggestions? Please help!

Adam Kalsey
April 8, 2004 11:32 AM

The reception problems are due to the network, not the phone. GSM networks don't have the same coverage in some areas so GSM plans tend to have worse reception. Since the NEC phone also uses the AT&T GSM network, I'd imagine it suffers from the same coverage problems.

Nikhil Murthy
April 10, 2004 10:15 AM

True, but the MPx200 only suppports the 1800/1900 bands, while the NEC 525 supports the 850/900/1800/1900 bands, and AT&T Wireless is upgrading the 850 band, and when the AT&T Wireless network is fully merged with the Cingular network, the 850 band will be king.

david compton
April 15, 2004 6:35 AM

Is there a way to have the MPx200 upgraded to gain the 850/900 bands? My reception outside major metro areas is really poor. In most areas I might as well not have a phone.

Joseph Lyons
April 23, 2004 9:02 PM

Really appreciate these comments. I just ordered the MPX 200 with and with the 2 year contract it was free (although you have to wait 2 months to get back the final $190). It also comes with a bunch of accessories. I haven't received it yet, and my buyers anxiety has me learning as much about it so my 7 day trial period is used to the max. Question: Will it be possible to upgrade the Mobile OS ever? If so, it makes this phone even more attractive! I'm not too stressed about not having a camera. I've had a Nokia 3650 for awhile (I'm giving it to my fiance who lost hers) and find that I don't use the camera all that much. I have a nice Canon digital for when I really want to take pictures (3 years old and still working great). Outlook was a big plus for me, since I use it for my entire life. I hope that it syncs flawlessly. I've read a review though that if you have more than 200 contacts the Caller ID function doesn't always work. That SUX. I have over 1000 contacts. The whole "end task" conversation is interesting, because I'm sure it slows down the phone use. Also the fact that when you close the phone you don't hang up the call - you have to do that manually. I haven't held one before, but I figure it will fit in my pocket the same as the Nokia 3650 and not be so bulky. I am sad it doesn't have blue tooth, and I think that I read somewhere that the SD slot doesn't support a bluetooth or wireless adapter? Thanks

April 25, 2004 3:16 PM

Hi guys Can anyone here help me with the below? I'm from New Zealand (next to Australia). I've just purchased the mpx200 from Florida as I can't buy it here. Finally, after working my way through the tedious unblock/unlock process, I got the phone working on the Vodafone NZ GSM network. Amazed, I found the reception absolutely pathetic. I mean unbelievable! I can't go more than 10km (6 miles) away from a cell site without the phone reporting 'no service'. I've never experienced this with any other phone. Is there someway I can boost the signal or tell the stupid, dumb 'smart-phone' to figure it out. I have an old crap Nokia that has full reception in the areas where the smart-phone has no service. Any ideas? Thanks heaps!

May 13, 2004 12:55 AM

I am getting my MPX200 tommorrow. I have Windows 2000 on my PC and was wondering if this was compatible with the phone as i have heard you need XP loaded onto your PC to syncronise the phone and PC. I am also not very sure if I have made the right decision. Please give me some assurance about the phone and the good qualities about it that i wont regret my purchase. Please help Thanks, B

May 21, 2004 10:34 AM

I bought the MPX200 for its outlook synch capabilitles. But I am having huge problems with ActiveSyc. Currently, I have turned off synchornization because during the sync process, ActiveSync treats each name on the phone as a new name, and I end up with duplicate names in my ourlook on the computer. I have to maually go and delete the duplicates. This is not easy since I have more than 3000 entries. There seems to be no option to say: download only from the computer, do not upload from the phone. Any ideas?

Massimo from Italy
May 24, 2004 11:44 AM

I bought Motorola Smarthphone Mpx200 about a week ago but while installing some program from the internet, by mistake I remove file manager without having the possibility to stop this operation. From that moment on, the telephone cannot load any new program, including the original file manager. How is that possible, is windows CE corrupted than?

June 14, 2004 12:52 PM

I am very happy with my mpx200 because it is small, easy to use and very convenient. But after going through the "comments", I have to say that even after flashing it with the latest firmware available, I still suffer appalling reception! My wife has her Nokia 6610 on the same service and always seems to have superior reception! This defeats the purpose of a cell phone, always having to use a public phone in malls!! Very true about the gets so grubby I spend more time cleaning than calling!! Also does anyone know of a 2003 OS upgrade for the phone as there was a mpx200 on ebay with 2003!! thanks

July 26, 2004 6:02 PM

There is a version of sp 03 available on

July 29, 2004 10:09 AM

I have had the phone since late last year, I got one of the first ones because I wanted to have a single unit instead of both my HP palmtop and flip phone. I liked the phone for the first week or so because it seemed to do everything I wanted. From a physical perspective, the phone feels great and is the right size and weight. The black case gets smudged but I don't care about that, its just a phone. However, after the novelty of a single unit disappeared, I hate this phone. It is extremely slow when turning on, you have to manually delete tasks or your memory is toast, caller id doesn't show up consistently (I noticed this in other reviews), reception is very bad in many cases (I always lose calls), and more. I got my phone unlocked and even have problems with other providers when my colleagues don't so I think it is related to the phone. The display is quite nice most of the time but seeing the clock is difficult. I espcially have difficulty seeing the time when I first wake up; I try to use this as my travel clock since I don't wear a watch. I also just found out I can't get support anymore from AT&T. My recommendation, run away from this phone. I paid over $300 6 months ago (plus $75 more to unlock the SIM) but I need something better. I typically buy a new phone every couple of years and I'm very unhappy about having to buy another one after only 6 months (especially at the price I paid).

John Hancock
August 18, 2004 2:55 AM

I've had this phone since it came out, and after a firmware upgrade from Orange, had no problems with signal (before, they were immense for this phone). ActiveSync works fine (use 3.7.1 from the microsoft site). No camera is a boon to me - the memory full problem is often with *sent items*, if you empty this you should be fine. I just acquired a second revision of this phone (seemingly), volume and signal are much better still. as long as you empty your sent items folder, it's a peach!

Ben Yu
September 21, 2004 12:42 PM

I posted here back in January when I had had the phone for about 2-3 months by then. Now it's Sept. and I still have the phone. If it's help to anyone, I've gotten use to or found fixes for some of the problems I mentioned. Namely, the callerID lag is still an issue but there's a semi-workaround. Apparently, the lag occurs when you have more than 250 contacts or so I've read elsewhere (I started with more than that so I dunno the threshold myself). BUT, whatever phone numbers you copy to the SIM card phonebook WILL appear as good as any other callerID when they call. Strange. I'm with AT&T (the only provider of this phone that I know of) and my SIM card can hold 250 (interesting eh?). Anyhow, I've put the most used numbers in my SIM card so it's now only when someone not on my SIM card calls that their name doesn't show. Keep in mind, the number always appears, the problem is when there's a matching name in the contacts, the name often takes too long to show up on the screen. Signal strength has gotten better for some reason. I'm not sure what AT&T has done, but it's definitely better. I get reception and less dropped calls in areas where it was horrible up until about April. I thought they weren't bothering with improving 1800/1900 Mhz bands (what the MPx200 can use) since the aquisition by Cingular, but it has gotten better. Yay. Anyhow, all in all the phone is livable and works decently well. I miss some things I had on my old Samsung I-300 Palm OS phone, but the size/weight savings is a huge plus for this phone. Hopefully the upcoming MPx will improve on a lot of this one's mishaps.

These are the last 15 comments. Read all 42 comments here.

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