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Dade's M2000 Review

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Dade

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Update 29/11/2004

Review now back online - I took it down while I updated it as Orange had accidentally sent me 'pre-release' rather than 'retail' hardware.

End Update

I had an exciting courier delivery the other day. Orange have kindly given me an M2000 to take a look at for a few days.

INTRO

The XDA range has always been focused towards the business user. The M2000 is no exception. Ever since the XDAIII was rumoured a few months ago there has been a lot of interest in this device. The inclusion of the slide out keyboard and the WiFi connectivity mean this could be the device that many people have been waiting for.

There is no denying that, compared to other mobile phones, the M2000 is a little on the large side but the fact that this is no ordinary mobile phone more than makes up for this and the fact that the vast majority of existing PPC software will run is a real boon.

I've had every Smartphone device since the original SPV but since I first got my hands on the M1000 a few months ago I've been hooked on it and haven't looked back at the Smartphone devices. Even the C500 was unable to tempt me away. So will the M2000 live up to everyone's expectations and be the Phone Edition device that we have all been waiting for?

This will be the first part of my review and I shall cover my initial thoughts about the device. I shall then follow this up with any updates as I use the M2000 in the real world.

The operating system on the M2000 is Microsoft Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition for Pocket PC Phone Edition which includes landscape support, a feature that has been long awaited on the Pocket PC and has, until now, only been available through third party applications. We'll take a look at that later along with the other enhancements in Second Edition.





PACKAGING

Packaging is Orange's standard black box very similar to the M-1000. In the retail packaging is: carry case, spare battery, companion CD, user guide, device, battery, spare stylus, charger, headset and cradle.

The M2000 like the M1000 before it, ships with two main batteries. The sync cradle has a slot at the back to charge the spare battery which is ideal for those who only 'return to base' fleetingly. The batteries are of a much higher capacity than the one that came with the M1000 and is a 1400mah unit.

Th sync cradle is a smart looking silver/back desktop unit very similar to that of the M1000. The M1000 and M2000 have different cradles, the M1000 one being slight smaller.



The manual is pretty standard covering the basic functionality of the phone and PDA features.

The carry case is pretty good. Its a black leather effect horizontal pouch similar to that which came with the SPV. It has a belt clip too, if you like that sort of thing.



HARDWARE

Operating System: Microsoft Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition for Pocket PC Phone Edition
CPU: - Intel XScale, 400 MHz
Memory: 64 MB Flash ROM, 128 MB SDRAM
Screen: 3.5", 240 x 320 pixels Transflective TFT-LCD
Connectivity: GSM/GPRS, Bluetooth, 802.11b, IrDA and USB
Camera: Color CMOS VGA camera
Integrated QWERTY keyboard
Size: 125 x 71.6 x 18.7 mm = 4.92 x 2.82 x 0.73 in
Expansion: MMC/SDIO


At first glance the M2000 looks pretty similar to the M1000. The Joypad has changed and the area below the screen sports 4 new soft keys. These are shortcuts for Start, 'Messaging', Pocket IE and 'OK/Confirm'. The M2000 also has buttons for Contacts and Calendar above the screen, the same place at the M1000.

GENERAL

When you pick the thing up the first think you notice is that it’s not a lightweight unit. The M2000 weighs in at 213g this is almost 30g more than the M1000 and more than twice as heavy as most of the Smartphones. But you soon get used to the extra weight. I found that its slim enough to get away with in a shirt pocket.

The Voicenotes and Camera buttons are still on the left hand side of the device along with the volume slider. The IrDA port has been moved from the top of the M1000 to the area below the camera button on the M2000.

Another change is the location of the headset socket. This can now be found on the top left of the device. Its still a 2.5mm socket like the M1000 but wont accept the same headsets. The connector on M2000 has a few extra contacts and is a different shape to that of the M1000. Strangely the headset supplied does not make use of these extra contacts and has only one button and a volume control. The M1000 headset had two buttons and was slightly better quality. Those of u sawanting to use decent headphoones with the M2000 (The supplied headset is quite basic) will be disapointed to learn that, unlike the M1000 and all the other SPV devices, a standard 2.5mm to 3.5mm adapter does NOT work in the M2000, if you use one of these you only get sound from one headphone. This is VERY annoying!!

Just like the M1000, the SD card slot is on the top of the M2000. The difference is, however, that the SD slot on the M2000 is back to front and the connectors on the card face forward. This may sound like a minor thing but its amazing how irritating this can be especially if you have, like me, and SDIO Gps system where the GPS unit faces down and wont work!

For those of you coming from Smartphone you may be pleased to know that the M2000 has Word and Excel built in along with a pretty decent Powerpoint and PDF viewer.

Its also worth mentioning that Line 2 is not supported on the M2000. If you try and use Line 2 calls will ring in on both numbers but you will only beable to dial out of Line 1. I suppose this may suit some people but its a shame that its missing from the handset. I can see that this would put off some business costomers that use Line 2 for personal use.



The M2000 doesn't have the extra connector under the battery for 'backpacks' like the M1000 did. This is a shame for those that have the VGA output backpack for their M1000's!

JOYPAD

The Joypad itself has changed quite a bit from the M1000. It's a slightly rectangular pad with a decent thumb recess. The action button in the middle is actually separate from the direction pad (Similar to the original SPV) and this makes it harder to accidentally press which happened all too often on the M1000. The good news for gamers and developers here is that the joypad is a full 9 way which has an added bonus; it's now possible to press the action button at the same time as pushing the joypad on the diagonal plane. This is something that has not been possible on any of the other smartphone devices or the other XDA models. The joypad action is nice and positive and has a slight click to it. Once you get used it it works very well. I hammered away on Eclipse for over an hour, just to test the joypad of course! The only problem I found with this arrangement of keys is the tendency to press the reject or end call key when you push the joypad to the right. This is annoying when this key is used to exit the running program!

There is a slight bug with the joypad on the M2000. If the joypad is rocked repeatedly up and down or side to side it causes all the keys, joypad included, to be locked out for about 5 seconds. This is really annoying for game playing but also causes a problem if you are scrolling through files or menus where it is all too easy to end up with the keys locked. This has been reported to Orange and HTC.



SCREEN

The screen in identical to that on the M1000 but appears to be a little brighter. So far I've not had any problems with dust under the screen on the M1000 and would expect the M2000 to be the same.

Cleartype is still here on the M2000 with slightly improved anti aliased fonts. A nice change is that you can turn ClearType on and off without having to reboot the phone.

Something new to SE is the ability to change the Windows font size. This is useful as you can make the font nice and small so that you can cram a lot of text on screen at once. This is great for email reading.

One of the new features to be found on the M2000 is the ability to turn the screen 90 degrees left or right and operate the phone in landscape mode, good for internet browsing! One draw back, however, is that you can't use ClearType in landscape mode.



KEYBOARD

The first of the major advancements on the M2000 is the 'hidden' keyboard. Sliding the screen upwards reveals a mini, full featured, QWERTY keyboard. The slide mechanism clicks in to place in both open and closed positions. This has to be one of the killer features on the M2000. Few Pocket PC’s have a keyboard, to see one on a mobile phone device is quite special. I wasn't expecting the keyboard to be that useful and while the keys are far too small for touch typing I found that using two thumbs I could type at a reasonable rate. Each key has a small pimple on the middle of it and has a nice responsive, tactile feel. It's equally easy to use the stylus to press the keys.

The keyboard is well back-lit (blue) but the back light turns off when the keyboard is not in use independent of the backlight on the screen and main keys. Each key is accessible through software with its own unique key code which is something that developers may find useful when writing games or applications. One minor annoyance with the keyboard is that there is no backslash and this forces you to go back and use the on screen keyboard once more!

There is also a useful internet key on the keyboard that launches Internet Explorer.



WiFi

The second of the major improvements is that the M2000 has a built in WiFi adapter. I must admit that this was one of the features that I was most looking forward to testing. It takes only a few seconds to set up the WiFi link on the M2000. I had tried a few different SDIO WiFi cards in my M1000 with varying degrees of success. Most were terrible! After a few minutes of testing the WiFi I was hooked. As a test I connected to a shared directory on my desktop PC that has a few gigabytes of MP3 files. Browsing this list was quick and easy and I can now play MP3's over the network without a hiccup. This is something that I never managed to do with the plug-in card on the M1000. To push the M2000 further I decided to try playing video over the WiFi link. This also worked perfectly! This puppy is fast!



CAMERA

The camera on the M2000 is exactly the same as on the M1000. The software has been updated a little though and the Image quality seems a little better, I suspect that it is down to the newer ROM. The M2000 still includes the now customary little mirror next to the camera so that the vain ones among us can take photos of ourselves. Still images can be captured at 640 x 480, 320 x 240 and 160 x 120 whereas video can be captured at 320 x 240 in MPEG4 format. There are a number of picture modes including sepia, cool and monochrome. Images can be saved to either the internal memory or the SD Card.



BATTERY

The battery included with the M2000 is of a larger capacity than that included with the M1000. This one has roughly 50% more capacity. HTC claim that the talk time is 4.5 hours and standby is 7.5 days. In practice I have been getting around 3.5 hours talk time and 5 days standby. Its also good having two batteries, one can be charged in the sync cradle as a standby - very useful when you are stranded on a train!



PERFORMANCE

The M2000 has the same hardware as the M1000, that is the same processor, same amount of ram etc. but in practice the M2000 feels a little faster. The spinny-round-please-wait thing appears a lot less. This is probably down to the slightly newer OS.

I ran GXmark (int13.net) and got an index of 1441 which is a bit above the index of 1382 I got on the M1000.

As a phone (lets not forget this is a mobile phone) the M2000 performs very well. Reception is as good as any other phone I've had and the speaker quality is really very good. This is probably because the speaker is larger than most. The volume has 7 levels and also has a hands free speakerphone mode.

COMPATABILITY

Microsoft Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition for Pocket PC Phone Edition is designed to be compatible with earlier versions of the operating system. I installed quite a few different applications and games to test the compatibility. Some came up with a warning that the application I was installing was designed for a different OS version but in practice all of them worked without any problems.

SOFTWARE

As previously mentioned, the M2000 has Windows Mobile 2003 SE. One of the features of this new OS version is the native support for landscape screens. This is really the only major change that I have noticed with the OS itself.



There are a few cosmetic changes to the OS, things are a little smoother and a little prettier, nothing major.

PHONE

The 'Phone' features are the same as with the M1000 but this too supports the landscape screen.

One nice thing about phone mode is that the number keys on the QWERTY keyboard are automatically activated when the phone application is in the foreground.

The M2000 also includes photo contacts.



POCKET IE

Pocket Internet Explorer now has three page layout options, these have been borrowed from the Smartphone. The best of these layouts, in my opinion, is the 'One Column' layout, combine this with landscape screen mode and most pages can be viewed quite easily without the having to scroll from side to side.



Pocket IE also includes download information and a progress bar that have unfortunately been absent from the Smartphone.



MESSAGING

The name of the email application has now been changed to 'Messaging'. Not much else has changed here apart from the MMS Composer application that is now included as standard. This was missing from the M1000 forcing the user to install and configure their own MMS applications.

There is a bug with the SMS software on the M2000. If, for example, you type the word "Dont" this gets autocorrected to "Don't" (with an apostrophe). Unfortunately the apostrophe used by the auto correct is a special 16 bit character and as such reduces the number of characters that can be sent in one text message. So if you type a message 160 characters long and it contains one of these special characters then you are going to be charged for 3 sms messages! Orange are currently working with HTC to resolve this. You just have to be careful when texting and keep your eye on the counter!



MSN MESSENGER

MSN Messenger is unchanged, it's still the same as you would find on the Smartphone and M1000 devices.

WINDOWS MEDIA PLAYER

Windows Media Player hasn't changed much, its still version 9. It can now do full screen playback and supports landscape setup too.



Cost

The bottom line cost of the M2000 depends on your tariff, call spend and how good you are at chatting up Orange staff. The prices given to me by Orange retail are as follows:

Low Tier : 349.99
Mid Tier : 249.99
High Tier: 99.99 (those paying over 50 per month)

That said there are a number of forum members that have already ordered the M2000 and have got it free of charge.

CONCLUSION

The M2000 is a fantastic business phone. There are some improvements over the M1000 and the fact that the M2000 includes WiFi and a Keyboard means that this is a device I don't want to give back!

Yes this is a big phone, yes it is fairly heavy, but just look at the features you get with this device and that 3.5 inch screen is wonderful. I found that the Smartphone screens just seem too small after my M1000. To anyone considering this phone, dont be put off by the size, after a few days you forget about that and get excited about the features! If you are a business customer see if you can get one from the Trials team.

Although this device is going to be targeted at the business user its capable of a lot more. Games play very well and the joypad (bug aside) is great for everything I've thrown at it. That generously sized, well lit screen is great for watching videos too.

If you are a business user looking for a device to keep you in touch with your office then the PDA features are perfect, you don't have to carry both a PDA and a mobile phone.
I can't wait for this device to make it to retail, Orange can put my name down for a dozen, I'm changing the devices we use here at work straight away!



DEVELOPER INFO

With the additional main keys and the keyboard I thought it might be useful to show you the keycodes for the device.


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Independent device reviews: Tracy And Matt's Blog

#2
philgriffiths

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Great review Dade! You certainly got me hooked and i'm by no means a business user. Very detailed and great pics. thanks a lot!

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#3
foxy11

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thanks a lot for the review, you've made it even harder for me to resist.

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#4
blackhorse

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Nice review.
Cant wait to get mine in the morning! :(

Not entirely sure what to do wid the M1000 i got 4 months ago! :) Guess i could always use it as a paper weight??!

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#5
foxy11

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I ordered mine, im only 3months into my c500 contract :), was perfect timing for my old e200 contract finishing however :(

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#6
Shaks

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Hi, does this phone support line 2?

Shaks

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Phone History:
Current - MDA Vario II with Web n Walk!!
Last - SPV M3100 (Sent back to orange in 7 days due to them not giving me a sensible data plan)
Previous: SPV M500, SPV C500 (Early Upgrade dut to E200 being buggy), SPV E200 (free early upgrade due to fault mpx200 and no orange stock) MPX200, SPV Classic, Nokia 6210, Nokia 7110, (all orange contract).
Previous (many held concurrently) Nokia 6150 (orange pay & go), Nokia 702 (orange pay &go) ,Nokia 8210 (cellnet contract ), Nokia 8110 (cellnet contract), Motorola c520 (orange pay&go), Philips Diga Brick (cellnet pay &go)

#7
Dade

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Good question Shaks, I will find out for you!

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Independent device reviews: Tracy And Matt's Blog

#8
philgriffiths

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Dade if you don't mind me asking how did you to make such a lengthy review so fast. According to other threads the phone was only released today. How long have you been testing it and how durable/stable has it been in the weeks or months you have had it?

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"Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime." - Ernest Hemingway

#9
abatis

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Nice Review. I have the PDA2K version and like it very much. I agree with Dade's view of screen size. Once I bought the PDA2K I can't imagine going back to a Smartphone screen.

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#10
blackhorse

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Good question Shaks, I will find out for you!

It doesnt. Orange announced it doesnt and wont

This is a direct statement from Orange

The Orange SPV M2000 has launched and will be available on Pay Monthly only.  



The Orange SPV M2000 is a powerful Windows based Smartphone with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, Bluetooth support and wireless 802.11b ethernet. With a large 320 x 240 pixel 65K colour touch sensitive display, the M2000 is easy to use. Windows Mobile software featuring pocket versions of Internet Explorer and Outlook along with full PC synchronisation capabilities.  

Orange pioneered Windows smartphones in the UK, and the SPV M2000 is our sixth Windows handset.  



*Pls note the Orange SPV M2000 handset does not support line 2


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#11
sleepnow75

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Nice review Dade. I recieved my O2 XDA2s about 2 weeks ago and am very happy with it. The screen seems to have a yellow tint when held from certain angles, have you noticed this?

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#12
dearsina

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Quick question, this might be available from the L'Orange site, but can you take a few snaps from the side? How "bulky" is this thing?

sina
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/has enough with the one bulge in his pants

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#13
nickcornaglia

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Can you please post a pic of it in your hand....It always helps me get a better feel for the size of the phone.

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-Nick

#14
Dade

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Dade if you don't mind me asking how did you to make such a lengthy review so fast. According to other threads the phone was only released today. How long have you been testing it and how durable/stable has it been in the weeks or months you have had it?


I've actually been involved in beta testing the device for several months and I've had a chance to play with a number of these devices.

Stability isnt a problem, I've been using one as my main phone for the last 6 weeks without a glitch.

I wrote the first review of the handset back at the begining of September but had to sit on it until now. Its been hell not being able to discuss anything with anyone!

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Independent device reviews: Tracy And Matt's Blog

#15
bluesmudge

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You say that it doesn't support the standard 2.5-3.5mm headphone jack - so which headphones can i use with it? :?:

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#16
Dade

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The M2000 will ships with a slightly different headset to the M1000 and the other SPV's do but the supplied headset does work in stereo.

Its just that most of us prefer to use our own decent headphones!

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Independent device reviews: Tracy And Matt's Blog

#17
alanrenouf

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My contract is due with Orange in February, I am currently paying £25 a month and get 200 texts a month (I think, maybee less).

I currently have an E200. I really want the M2000 (thanks to the review), anybody know if i can just ring Orange in february and say that i want a handset upgrade? On there website it says its not out yet ?!?!?

How much do you rekon it will cost me on a similar contract to what I am on at the moment ?

Thanks

Alan

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#18
siksik6

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I definitely would have gone for that one. If it had a 1mp camera. Hey-ho.

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#19
Dade

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Just give them a call and ask to speak to someone about upgrades.

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Independent device reviews: Tracy And Matt's Blog

#20
pizdyetz77

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Nice review. Thanks.

Tell me - will the Wi-Fi work in ad-hoc mode or is it infrastructure only?

Cheers,

GH

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