Got my Motorola A1200 Ming mobile/PDA (a review)
by Yankinwaoz - 4/24/07 2:25 AM
I bought a MotoMing (A1200) last week. Paid AUD$400 for it from Digital Rev in Hong Kong. Had it mailed to me in Australia. I bought it to replace my old Motorola Razr V3 mobile, and I had hoped to retire my old Palm Tungsten E PDA.
I'm considering sending it back. I'm not crazy about it. I am really, really trying to love it. On paper, it sounded like the perfect phone. Now that I have it and am using it, I'm disappointed.
It is a beautiful phone. It is thicker than I had hoped. I had gotten used to how nicely my Razr V3 fit in my back pocket. But I can live with that. I bought the black model. It feels solid, and has a perfect tacky feel to the skin.
I transferred the SIM card from my Razr to the Ming and it functions perfectly as a phone. No problems.
I run a Macbook Pro at home with WindowsXP under Parallels. I found the OS-X could do nothing with my Ming. I could not get bluetooth to transfer files between the Mac and the phone like I could with my Razr V3. Bottom line, the OS-X can't do anything with this phone.
So I installed the Mobile Phone Tools software that came with it on the WindowsXP guest. I attached the phone to my Mac via USB cable, had Parallels mount the USB port to Windows, and Windows recognized the Ming. The software required a new version to be downloaded before it got started. Surprisingly, I had no problems. It fetched and installed the updates and ran fine.
My biggest disappointment with this phone is the PDA side of things. I had high hopes. The software syncs with Lotus Notes, MS Outlook, or it's own MS Access Database file. It does not work with Palm.
I was able to export my contact list from Palm and import it to the Motorola. I was not able to successfully import my Palm calendar events.
It has no provision for importing the Palm Notes.
I looked around for some Java applications to performs some of the functions I use my Palm for. I wanted a good world clock, and a good password safe. I found that many of the Java apps won't run on my Ming. I get a message about a naming conflict in a class.
The few applications I found that will run looked terrible. I suspect that many of these apps are not configured to deal with the Ming's screen attributes. The other problem is that some apps expect you to use the number keypad, which doesn't exist on the Ming.
Data Entry on the Ming has some drawback. It offers 3 ways to enter data, the easiest being a handwriting recognition system similar to Palm's. It works well enough for me.
It also offers a tiny QWERTY pad... the stylus must be used because it is so small. It has a numeric pad for numbers. It does not offer a "keypad emulator" to mimic the traditional method of entering data on mobile keypads if that is what you are used to.
Bottom line... there is no way to text using just your thumb like you can with traditional keypads. You have to use the stylus.
A very irritating feature is how they implemented the word guess. As you enter the letters of the word, a small box pops up above the entry area with the phones current guess of your word. The problem is that this little box often sits right over the area you are entering information in, so you can't see what you are typing. I wish they would move that guess box someplace safer.
There is no cut-n-paste feature. So you can't select and copy data from one field and paste it into another field somewhere else. You have to retype it. Palm has a great cut-n-paste which made is easy to move data around.
The battery life is frankly poor. It will charge through a USB cable that I had attached to my office workstation. This allows me to keep the phone topped up during the day. It looks I will need to charge this phone every day or risk a dead battery.
The camera and video capture is nice.
One thing this phone has going for it is some powerful voice command features that I have not explored yet. You can password protect your phone with a voice command! Cool.
Since the dialing keypad is on the touch screen, it can be hard to see the keys in bright sunlight. I found that selecting a different color schemes helps.
What else? Oh yea! The birthdays from the contacts don't automatically show up in the calendar like on the Palm.
I am considering writing my own Java sync program to sync this Ming to Apple's iSync. Then I could use this phone the way I really want. But it seems that this is still such a nitch product that there are no solutions out there that I can buy.
So... close but no cigar. It really needs some serious work on the software side. If Motorola would do this, they would have one hell of phone on their hands.