Are you tired of juggling between your two smartphones in your attempt to constantly be in the loop with your professional and personal life? Given the choice, many of us might want to do away with the two handsets finding permanent place in our handbags or pockets. The obvious thing to do would be to go for a dual-SIM handset, but a big chunk of those available in the market are of questionable make.
And wouldn't that ultra-affordable dual-SIM even from authentic brands seem a little too glaringly cheap in that board-room meeting? What could possibly solve this dilemma is the first Android-dual SIM handset to be launched, the XT800 from Motorola.
In the box
An obviously high-end smartphone, the XT800 offers to conveniently integrate two mobile identities, albeit only a CDMA and GSM combination. A feature which we think is targeted at globe trotters who often find themselves in geographies where their SIM's network is weak or worse isn't supported. Unlike older dual-SIM handsets which were only a ‘standby' dual-SIM where you could use only one identity at a time and the other was on standby, the XT800 allows you to operate both SIM cards simultaneously.
The XT800, with its sleek metal bezel and touch-sensitive buttons, looks every bit your modern weapon of choice. The handset sports only four physical buttons (none of them in the fascia) – the volume rocker button, power key, one to launch the Quick Search Box and one to serve as a shortcut to the Camera app as well as the Shutter button once the app is launched.
You get five homescreens to play around with. Connectivity options like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS are displayed in a neat row which is a tap away whenever you want to tweak these settings. The same applies to GPRS and you have the option to activate this and choose either your CDMA or GSM connection . These options being accessible directly from the homescreen and being easy to activate saves you the trouble of digging deep into ‘Settings' every time you want to make changes.
A virtual ‘tag' at the bottom of the screen indicates a pull-up menu. All apps downloaded and built-in are listed here for you to launch and create a shortcut to the homescreen as well.
The user interface has been integrated excellently to make the XT800 a rather convenient dual-SIM phone to use. Sync all your contacts into an integrated list on the handset and every time you choose a number to make a voice call or to send an SMS, you are given the option of doing it either via the CDMA network or the GSM one. Whenever you want to store a business card or an SMS you are given the option to do so either on your CDMA or GSM SIM card.
The pop-up virtual keyboard on the XT800 was comfortable enough to type on although it felt a little cramped when we used it in the ‘Portrait' mode.
The quality of voice calls was clear and we had almost no dropped calls. Every time we received a call on the handset it would show us whether it was being made to the GSM network or the CDMA network.
The native browser was prompt and the loading time on most websites was kept to the minimum with decent pinch-to-zoom options.
The Motorola XT800 is endowed with a 5-megger but the results were far from stunning. Even portraits clicked in a well-lit room were grainy.
With a tap on the screen, you can slide in the ‘Settings' that you might want to tweak before you click a picture. Steady, Macro, Sports and Sunset are a few preset modes on the camera along with the regular gamut of colour settings (Sepia, Solarise etc) to choose from. Except for these, you don't have much freedom over the camera settings, there is no way of changing the exposure levels or tweaking the ISO settings.
Transferring media files from a source on to the XT800 was an easy drag-and-drop process and the handset recognised the files transferred with ease. Once you've loaded the XT800 with multimedia, you can hook it up to your high-def telly with the mini-HDMI cable that's included in the box.
The only video formats supported are Mp4, .wmv, H.263 and H.264, hence to watch movies or videos, that have been encoded in common formats like .avi or .mov, on the handset you'll have to download a third-party app from ‘Market'. We went with our usual pick, RockPlayer, an Android app that plays most audio and video formats with ease.
We loaded ‘Before Sunrise' and it played back fine on the 3.4-inch screen. The resolution seemed fine, images did not look pixelated even though that video wasn't of the sharpest quality. The sound too was good enough to sit back and listen to in a relatively quiet room. However, there was a visible lag whenever we would fast-forward from one scene to another, the handset pausing to adjust to the skips.
The XT800 also froze up a couple of times, especially when we had had an app open and locked the screen with the function still running in the background. The handset that we reviewed came with a 2GB add-on memory card and the external memory on the XT800 is expandable up to 32GB.
The handset supports charging via the USB, rendering the SD card inaccessible when you are charging the handset via USB. The battery lasted us for more than a day on a full charge with intermittent use of GPRS (browsing, downloading apps etc) and more than a handful of voice calls and SMSes. This is commendable considering most smartphones barely last a working day and they are not even working on a dual-SIM mode.
For those of you who are desperate to be rid of the burden of two handsets, the Motorola XT800 is definitely an option. It manages both your identities (although only a CDMA-GSM combo) with effortless ease.
With decent multimedia capabilities, connectivity options and a satisfactory battery life, you could definitely consider this as your next Dual-SIM handset.
Love – Handles dual identities with ease, decent battery life
Hate – Staggers/lags at times, average camera