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Thread: my humble motorola a1200 (ming) review - pics enclosed

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    my humble motorola a1200 (ming) review - pics enclosed

    this review was originally posted on motorolafans.com. please visit and help the community grow especially if you have a linux based motorola! cheers

    introduction

    i purchased this unit from one of our wholesalers for 540. the price, i thought was a bit steep, considering we’re a mobile sales retail location based in philadelphia. i’ve had plenty of experience with unlocked world phones, though my experience with smart phones is limited to the mpx220 and a couple other pda phones running windows mobile 2003 and 2005. i’m familiar with both operation systems and find them very sluggish to say the least… though i do welcome the abundance of software and ease of use since i’m familiar with windows. this phone was originally purchased for my girlfriend, but i had the good fortune of playing with it for a while.

    what was in the box

    this phone came in a small purple box. included was the motorola a1200, two batteries, two styluses, 512 mb transflash memory card with sd adapter, stereo headphones, and an english manual, though there were advertisement inserts and other promotional material in chinese.

    design and construction

    the design was well thought out in my opinion. it follows their tradition of their other linux phones with the front cover covering the touchscreen display. i am not entirely sure why motorola has committed to this design. the unit feels solid and not too heavy, definitely something that you could carry around with you without feeling bogged down. anyway, the material covering the screen is a hard plastic. it is slightly tinted. there is a small little motorola emblem that doubles as a speaker for when you are taking calls and have the unit flipped open. i purchased the black matte unit and i am pleased by the look. it reminds me very much of the black razr/pebl material. it seems durable. the unit is surprisingly small. smaller than i first anticipated. one thing that gets me is that the darn cover is a bit difficult to open at times. i don’t have huge hands, nor does my girlfriend, and it is was difficult for us to open the screen cover. this could pose a problem if i were driving and had to open my phone with one hand. it does not go up easily. the battery used is one of the more common motorola batteries so finding a replacement should not be a problem. the stylus fits snugly into a slot in the back of the phone. the stylus itself is retractable… great for anyone over the age of ten.

    display and input

    for its size, the a1200 supports a pretty nifty display of 240 x 320 pixels. for many, it will be more than enough. i do wish there was a physical keypad but the onboard touchscreen keyboard does okay for what it’s worth. it’s just enough real estate for the somewhat adept to use their fingers to dial instead of using the stylus. of course, if you have paul bunyun worthy fingers, i would consider getting something else rather than the a1200. the display is bright and quite clear. the text is large though i turned it down to small in the settings because i like small things. i was impressed with the crispness of the icons and the text. the handwriting tool is pretty decent. there are two boxes that appear, so that once you finish one letter, you quickly move to the next box and write the next letter in there... helping to save time when using it to write long notes. there is a left hand setting as well as speed settings. it recognized everything pretty well though i have the hardest times with lowercase “t”s, but i just suck at writing too… heh.

    answering calls
    when receiving calls and the unit is closed, there are three smart buttons on the left side. the top and bottom one are traditional volume keys but they silence the call. the middle button takes the call when you have a headset on. as of now, i have not been able to answer the phone while it is closed without a headset.

    memory
    this phone has 8 mb of internal memory (poor) but makes up for it with a slot for up to 1 gb transflash memory card though the unit does come with 512 mb.

    voicedial

    it blows. i mean, it’s cool that you don’t have to train it, but either i suck at speaking or it sucks at hearing. many times it will ask me “please repeat” and i’ll keep saying it to no avail. maybe it’s me. i will have to do more research on it. the good thing is, that it’s a quick button on the side… giving it quick access to those that need it. that button also doubles as a record conversation button when you are conversing with someone… great for blackmail!

    interface and programs

    the default programs are browser, email, viewer, video, file manager, real player, calculate, calls, calendar, time, tasks, recorder, stk , notes, photo editor, alarm, set up, bluetooth, modem, sync, radio (requires headset attached), business card reader, dictionary, msn messenger, snowboarding game.

    responsive and smooth, compared to windows mobile at least. i found the software to be at least two times faster for opening up camera, music, and contact programs. i haven’t tried to load down the system with programs yet so i may have to update this when i get a chance to do a more thorough analysis on this.

    keep in mind, i am the farthest thing from a linux expert so i feel unqualified to attack this section from a technical point. i can only review from the point of your average user that hasn’t been exposed to linux.

    i enjoy many of the programs that came with the phone. i wish i could not only view excel and words files, but edit them as well, but as of now, i can’t. the business card scanner is pretty cool… more a novelty than of real use in my opinion. i tried four different business cards and so far, i’ve only really been on target with importing the phone numbers. the names always comes up wrong. i blame this on the many different designs and styles of business cards. the software is cool though. the contacts in the phonebook is syncable to your computer using mobile phone tools and from there creating a database or using an existing one such as outlook. i found this to be quite helpful. the phonebook list was clean and what you would expect in a pda phone, completely with photo id and all that snazzy jazz.

    at the time of this review, i believe this phone is still only available in the chinese version. because of this, msn messenger and the snowboarding game are both in chinese. i found that irritating, since i wasn’t blessed with that language in my youth. there is a translating dictionary as well but… it doesn’t work. it needs certain files which don’t come with the phone… wtf motorola? i would expect a future rom (plenty of great linux hackers) to correct this and maybe come out with an all english rom?

    oh, just for the record, the game was pretty decent. clean and crisp. i just need to learn how to play it.

    i have another bone to pick with this phone. i am using t-mobile (usa) and when i have voicemail, it sends me a blank sms. well, i know there was a seem edit fix on some motorola phones concerning this, but at the time of this review, p2kman will not connect to this phone at all so i can’t upload an edited seem. in the next month, i’ll be going cingular anyway.

    the file manager is simple and easy to navigate. you can quickly check files in phone and on the transflash memory.

    the default media player is realplayer. well, i will be honest. i hate realplayer, ever since the old days when that crap would install in every corner of your pc… but as a mobile media player, it’s okay. i say that maybe because i don’t have a choice right now? heh. it plays and imports playlists, and all the stuff you’d expect from a mobile media player. it plays rm files for video but the phone come with a converter to change your mpgs into rm files. the volume is decent.

    one problem i found was a lack of available software for this phone. since it is less than a month since release… i think that people will eventually start making programs for it.

    bluetooth and sound

    i paired two different bluetooth headsets with it without problem (h3 and h850). the cool thing is… when someone calls and my ringtone plays, it also plays in my headset! that to me is something i’ve been waiting for. the razr would play an ugly default motorola shrill when you received an incoming call with the bluetooth connected. the a1200 lets the music ringtone you choose play, and it plays through the wireless headset as well. sound quality is normal.

    realplayer plays mp3 songs with no problem. i'm impressed with the fact that you can use songs on the memory card for your ringtones, as some other motorola phones would not let you do that.

    i wish the external speakers were a little louder. it’s okay i guess… a little quieter than the razr in my opinion. the phone has a decent speakerphone but i think it only works when the plastic cover is open. i hope there’s a way to have it closed and have the speakerphone on.

    when using the fm radio, you can put it on speakerphone to listen to the music through the stereo speakers.

    microphone is fine. other parties have no issue hearing me.

    camera and connectivity

    coming soon. i posted a couple photos taken in subpar lighting conditions. i haven’t had enough time to play with these two features to provide an accurate review.

    conclusion (thus far)

    decent indeed. i find this phone, hardly bigger than a razr, to be almost perfect. the style is on point and the software is responsive… though there is at current, a lack of programs (if you need more than what came with the phone). the sound is decent and the fact that you can hear music through the bluetooth headset gets my thumbs up. there are some things that can be improved (voicedial) as well as some issues like the voicemail notification, but i think they can all be fixed at a later date through tweaking the software and rom updates. though i recommend it now, i cannot give a conclusive review because the camera review and connectivity review are pending. i think that my girlfriend is quite content with it and i will be buying one for myself in the next couple days.



    Last edited by theorist; 03-30-2006 at 02:24 AM. Reason: my humble motorola a1200 (ming) review - pics enclosed

  2. #2
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    ok after reading this review, I'm ordering the phone tommorow as soon as I deposit some money in my paypal account. Random offball question, does it play mp3s as ring tones? I does it have any kindof keyboard or is it all handwriting on the screen?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2k1s
    ok after reading this review, I'm ordering the phone tommorow as soon as I deposit some money in my paypal account. Random offball question, does it play mp3s as ring tones? I does it have any kindof keyboard or is it all handwriting on the screen?
    hi. the unit plays mp3s and you can use it as ringtones too. you can also set ringtones off songs in the memory card (you couldn't do this in the v360 nor the slvr). it does have an onscreen keyboard you tap with a stylus or tiny elf fingers.

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    Awesome, I'm buying the phone tommorow. I'm excited. Hopefully it wont have that weird blank text message when avoicemail comes in thing like your does.

    btw could you take some pics next to anothe phone just as a comparison?
    Last edited by 2k1s; 03-30-2006 at 03:04 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2k1s
    Awesome, I'm buying the phone tommorow. I'm excited. Hopefully it wont have that weird blank text message when avoicemail comes in thing like your does.

    btw could you take some pics next to anothe phone just as a comparison?
    you can fix that with a simple seem edit (at least on regular motos, not sure if it would be different with this one). there are many threads on how to do this.

    great review and pictures! the a1200 looks really awesome!

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    Thanks for the well written review! Very much appreciated!
    "Life is a big game, play it with a big heart...some of us have to run a little faster cause we got a later start."
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    *My Feedback*

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    i would love to see some comparison pictures with a v3. since so many people say thats how small it is.

    nice review

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    Very nice, congrats.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bronco
    i would love to see some comparison pictures with a v3. since so many people say thats how small it is.

    nice review
    you got it bud. i'll have those pictures posted tonight.

  10. #10
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    How is text messaging with this phone?

  11. #11
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    Nice review! Thanks for taking the time to do this. The pics are pretty good too although it'd be nice to have some comparison shots next to other phones but good review nonetheless.

  12. #12
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    SWEET!!!! Very nice!

    Is the flip active, or is it just to protect the touchscreen?

    I really really want this phone!!!
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  13. #13
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    Sweet phone and even better review! What is suppose to come with the phone standard though? I see on most ebay ads that it comes with only one battery, one stylus pen, and a 128mb trans card at most. Are these guys ripping us off by taking some of the things out and selling them on the side?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by tw1112
    Sweet phone and even better review! What is suppose to come with the phone standard though? I see on most ebay ads that it comes with only one battery, one stylus pen, and a 128mb trans card at most. Are these guys ripping us off by taking some of the things out and selling them on the side?

    I have also noticed this and I am wondering the same thing. Anyone know?

  15. #15
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    the white A1200 I played with yesterday has 2 batteries, 2 styluses, USB cable, home charger and CD.

    still debating if I should keep it or return it..

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