The Motorola XPRT debuted with Android OS 2.2 (Froyo), a version that’s just starting to feel dated, as OS 2.3 (Gingerbread) is becoming the standard for new smartphones. There aren’t any dramatic differences between these two, but no one likes to be behind the curve.
Running on a 1GHz TI OMAP processor, the XPRT doesn’t set any speed records, but it has more than the horsepower needed for its intended tasks. When benchmarked using Quadrant Standard, the device comes out quite well, with a score of 1467. That places it quite competitively with other single-core devices of similar speed, and well exceeding the practical minimums for making the device “feel” fast.
The XPRT does feature the infamous MOTOBLUR interface layer that Motorola uses on many of it’s devices. MOTOBLUR received a great number of complaints in it’s early days for being ostentatiously annoying to the user; this resulted in later models getting somewhat of a face lift to make it less offensive. In the XPRT, it doesn’t really intrude on the user experience much more than any of the other interface customizations like Samsung’s TouchWiz. I’ll admit, I don’t like it as much as TouchWiz, because it doesn’t add anything to the user experience: TouchWiz on the Samsung Infuse provided fast switching on/off of wireless, GPS, and screen rotation, as well as some other benefits, whereas MOTOBLUR seems to mostly be there just so that Motorola isn’t manufacturing stock Android devices, and can claim to have their own “secret sauce.”
Nevertheless, it doesn’t noticeably interfere with using the phone, so I don’t care about it. The XPRT runs plenty fast for a business machine, plus being able to handle some light multimedia for those long plane rides.
Mixed blessing time again. The XPRT features something very few phones have: dual cellular radios. One using the CDMA/EVDO standard for Sprint’s network, and another using GSM/HSPA, the standard used by most of the rest of the world, particularly Europe. The idea is that with this handset, a traveler can bounce from country to country without having to use a different phone while they’re over there, the way Sprint customers normally would. Sprint includes a SIM card already in the XPRT for their own international roaming service, which also allows you to use your own phone number; alternately, you could have the phone unlocked and use local pre-paid cards for better pricing.
Either way, not having to turn your swanky Android smartphone into a paperweight as soon as you start globe-trotting is a very attractive feature if you plan to be outside the country. The XPRT even supports 3G service in most countries, including all of Europe, Australia, and many others.
What the XPRT doesn’t have is support for Sprint’s 4G WiMAX network, along with the higher internet-access speeds that brings. So stateside, you’ll be limited to the slower 3G speeds of EV-DO. Nothing to sneeze at, certainly, since you should be looking at averages around a megabit. And on the bright side, it also means that you don’t have to pay the additional $10 per month that Sprint charges on their 4G smartphones for “premium data service.” But the XPRT isn’t future-proofed on that account, and don’t go looking for the multi-megabit 4G speeds that others may be touting.
Rounding out the stable, for those times when you just can’t get decent internet, or don’t want to pay for it, the XPRT has Wi-Fi, as well as Bluetooth for pretty much everything else.
The Motorola XPRT has pretty much the standard round of Android productivity apps: Quickoffice for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and PDF, as well as email client, web browser, scheduling, and the Sprint-branded apps such as navigation. While Sprint doesn’t include anything particularly special on the XPRT, Google’s Android Marketplace allows you access to supply anything that you think may be missing.
And I don’t want to overlook the built-in apps that come standard with Android. The Calendar, for example, is a great productivity tool. You can update your events on the smartphone or on the Google Calendar website. This device can also act as a GPS, and it comes with software for turn-by-turn navigation with spoken prompts.
Corporate IT managers sometimes have nightmares about the amout of information that wandering around on unsecured smartphones. Motorola designed this to be an especially secure model, with 256-bit AES data encryption. And IT managers can remotely turn on a PIN or password lock, do password recovery, and even wipe all the data on both the phone and microSD card if this handset is lost or stolen.
Not much out of the ordinary here: music and video player, YouTube app, all the basics. The XPRT doesn’t have too many bells and whistles in the multimedia department: it’s designed as a business phone, and while it can keep you entertained with music, games, and even video on a flight across the country or across an ocean, it’s main job is to be ready to work when you land, not to show you an inflight movie like it was on the big screen.
With a relatively standard 5 megapixel camera, the XPRT takes, well, relatively standard quality photos. And the standard notes apply: more light generally makes better results. Careful focus is needed. Don’t expect too much, but it’ll do the job. As you can see from the included samples, it tends to do best on low-motion examples.
Unlike many newer models which support video recording to 720P resolution (1280 x 720), the XPRT only runs as high as 720 x 480 also, which is DVD resolution. Although with the same quality of optics and camera, you won’t be missing much.
With an 1860 mAh battery, the XPRT delivers very good battery life. Combined with the relatively small screen, and no power-taxing 4G speeds, you can reasonably expect that the XPRT will get you through any given day with power to spare, and average to light users can expect a couple of days.
The battery was probably the most crippling complaint about the older Droid Pro version of this hardware, so it’s good that Sprint saw the light and equipped the XPRT with a battery that befits it’s status as a heavy-use business device. It’s not a choice they’ll regret.