Review: Sprint Mogul Gets Upgrade

By Naomi Graychase

April 11, 2008

Sprint has announced that its powerful Windows Mobile 6 Pocket PC, the Sprint Mogul by HTC, is now EV-DO Rev. A-capable. A free upgrade to Windows Mobile 6.1 will also be available to Mogul users this summer.

Sprint has announced that its powerful Windows Mobile 6 Pocket PC, the Sprint Mogul by HTC, is now EV-DO Rev. A-capable. A free upgrade to Windows Mobile 6.1 will also be available to Mogul users this summer.

Sprint has announced that its powerful Windows Mobile 6 Pocket PC, the Sprint Mogul by HTC, is now EV-DO Rev. A-capable, as part of a free software upgrade. The new software ROM and downloading instructions are available here. The software download also provides advanced GPS functionality.

First introduced last summer for $399.99 (with a two-year service contract), the Wi-Fi-enabled Mogul is now available for $199.99 (with a two-year service agreement and a $100 mail-in rebate). In addition to the price reduction, to sweeten the deal for data-heavy users, Sprint's recently launched Simply Everything plan offers unlimited voice and data  for $99.99/month. Existing Sprint customers can switch to the "Simply Everything" plan without extending their current contract.

An upgrade of the Sprint PCS Vision Smart Device PPC-6700, the Mogul was the first CDMA Windows Mobile 6 device released in the U.S. and, according to Sprint, is now the first EV-DO Rev. A-capable smartphone, as well.

Both powerful and attractive, the Sprint Mogul in brushed silver weighs in at 6.5 ounces and measures 4.3 x 2.3 x 0.7 inches, which makes it just a sliver heavier and taller than its predecessor, the PPC-6700, and just slightly thinner. It also takes the important step of making the antenna internal, which both looks better and makes the device more easy to pocket.

The Mogul is comfortable to hold in one hand and with the addition of more external buttons, it's easy to perform many functions one-handed. On the right spine are the power button, the Communication Manager launcher for wireless connections, the camera activation key, and the stylus holder.

Its camera lens and flash are located on the back. The left spine is home to a thumb wheel, an OK button, a voice recorder key, and a Wi-Fi on/off button. On the bottom edge of the device, you'll find an infrared port, a microSD slot, a reset button, and a mini USB port.

Several shortcut keys also surround the display, including quick-launch buttons for messages and Internet Explorer Mobile, two soft keys, the Talk and End buttons, a Start menu shortcut, an OK button, and a four-way navigation toggle below the screen.

The toggle isn't as smooth to operate as a trackball and required hard clicks to make selections. This was a mixed blessing because, on the one hand, it is a nuisance to have to click so hard, but on the other, it was very difficult to accidentally select something, which often happens with hypersensitive toggles or trackballs.

The primary means of navigation is the touch screen and full QWERTY keyboard. The screen is good-sized (2.8 inches diagonally) with a 65,000-color output and respectable 240 x 320-pixel resolution. We found that graphics, text, and Web sites could all be viewed with ease in varying light conditions.

The sliding mechanism for the keyboard is smooth and makes a satisfying "click" when it snaps into place, and the screen switches automatically from portrait to landscape mode.

The Mogul is stocked with the essential voice features: voice commands, speakerphone, speed dial, smart dialing, vibrate mode, and text and multimedia messaging. Each contact entry can include comprehensive information, including as many as 12 numbers, e-mail, multiple snail mail addresses, birthday, IM screen name, spouse's name, and more. The Caller ID allows users to pair contacts with a photo, a caller group, and/or a couple dozen polyphonic ring tones.

Because it's a Windows Mobile 6 device, call history is linked to the contact page. We love this feature. You can see when you placed or received calls to/from a contact, as well as the time of the call, the duration, etc.

Wireless options on the Sprint Mogul include built-in Bluetooth 2.0, Wi-Fi, and EV-DO support. To get to the Web, you can either access a WLAN (or Wi-Fi hotspot) or use Sprint's EV-DO network, which can give you data speeds up to 2.4Mbps. (The Mogul will be upgradeable to EV-DO Rev when it launches later this year.)

E-mail delivery happens in real-time and syncs with your Outlook calendar, tasks, and contacts via Exchange Server thanks to Microsoft's Direct Push technology.

The Mogul is compatible with Windows Media Player 10 Mobile, which means you can play AAC, MP3, WAV, WMA, MPEG-4, and WMV files or view TV shows recorded on your Windows Media Center PC. The sound quality isn't superb, but it's also not the primary reason most users will buy the Mogul, so we see it as only a small drawback.

The built-in 2-megapixel camera features a flash, an 8x zoom, self-timer, time-stamp, and picture counter. Users can choose from five resolutions, four quality settings, and also tinker with white-balance control and a few effects.

For video, the Mogul can record clips with or without sound in MPEG-4, Motion JPG, or H.263 format. Picture and video quality were fine for a 2MP phone camera, but certainly not good enough to serve as a replacement for even a low-end point-and-shoot digicam. We expect most users will value this Pocket PC more for its PIM functions than for its multimedia capabilities—and they won't be disappointed.

We conducted our tests of the dual-band (CDMA 850/1900; EV-DO) Sprint Mogul HTC in Western Massachusetts on the Sprint Mobile Broadband Network last summer. Call quality was good, although not excellent. The speakerphone volume wasn't able to go as high as we'd like, which was frustrating for us and our callers. Touch tones were clear and strong enough that we were able to navigate automated voice-activation systems quickly and easily.

The Sprint Mogul has 256MB of ROM and 64MB of RAM and a 400MHz Intel PXA250 processor. While 64MB sounds good, the available program memory is actually not quite adequate given how much memory the apps eat up. We ran into trouble when trying to run multiple Office apps, which hampers productivity. The microSD slot can help, though. A 512MB card ships with the device and cards up to 2GB are supported.

Sound quality was mediocre in video and music playback, but the screen is sharp, the colors rich, and it's viewable from any angle, which we loved.

The Mogul's lithium-ion battery is rated for 4.1 hours of talk time, about 20% more than its predecessor, the Sprint PCS Vision Smart Device PPC-6700.

Overall, we found the full-featured Mogul to be an exciting and attractive addition to the selection of Windows Mobile devices available to Sprint subscribers.

Earlier this month, Sprint announced that it will offer a software upgrade for the Mogul (and all its Windows Mobile 6 smartphones) to Windows Mobile 6.1, an update release, this summer.

Naomi Graychase is Managing Editor at Wi-FiPlanet. She originally reviewed the Sprint Mogul for

Comment and Contribute
(Maximum characters: 1200). You have
characters left.