Motorola ES400 Review

26-November-2012 21:46
in Reviews
by Admin

The following is our review of the ES400 from Motorola which will look to address the key areas when considering a mobile device and hopefully explain the target market and applications for this device.


Rugged Design

The ES400 is NOT Rugged it is only classified as semi-rugged or durable. The device withstands single impacts of 4 ft./1.22 m drops and is rated IP42 so only provides minimal protection against dust, moisture and rain.



For an enterprise, rugged field service device this is actually quite thin. The device can be operated with a single hand unlike other rugged devices and its weight is more comparable to a iPhone or blackberry than a typical rugged grade device.


The ES400 has a physical keyboard that can come in different options such as QWERTY, AZERTY, QWERTZ.  This touch screen allows for data entry with either your finger or a stylus which gives users many options.  However, the smaller size reduces the effectiveness of the physical keyboard and display for users with larger fingers or wearing gloves.


Usability and Performance

Motorola have customized the user interface to improve the out of the box Windows which means you can easily complete almost every action on the device using your finger. The improved home screen provides the ability to create different home screen panels and a quick launch option for applications that you use frequently.  The bottom line is that although it doesn’t quite compare to the latest slick-looking phones that run iOS or Android, it still looks pretty good for a Windows Mobile device. 


Operating Systems

In a world of Android, iPhone and Blackberry Windows Mobile is definitely starting to look a bit out of date.  However, the ES400 supports the latest release from Microsoft (Windows Mobile 6.5.3) which is similar to the other consumer operating systems. 



The main aim of the ES400 devices was to bridge the gap between commercial and rugged devices to provide users with one device for all their mobile needs.  The ES400 comes with Motorola enhanced phone software helps the phone perform better on this device than other Windows Mobile devices. The call quality is not great but good enough to make and receive calls within an enterprise application.


In addition to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g), the device has an integral GPS receiver and supports HSDPA data communications. The communications on the ES400 are reliable, comprehensive are easy to configure.


Data Capture

The ES400 provides a 3.2 MP autofocus digital camera with LED flash which is easy to use and the interface provides a wide range of options to optimize the camera. As with all enterprise devices the LED flash isn’t amazing in low light but overall a very intuitive and quality camera.


The ES400 has a camera based barcode scanning solution which does not provide adequate bar code scanning. It’s not very intuitive to scan barcodes and its especially difficult in changing or low light conditions. Its only really suitable for applications that require occasional barcode scanning and will require optimization based on the solutions requirements.



The Motorola ES400 EDA has a three-year life cycle and are supported by Motorola’s Comprehensive Coverage which covers normal wear and tear as well as internal and external components damaged through accidental damage. This means unlike commercial smartphones and tablets these devices can be deployed over a period of months and years without having to worry about another, upgraded model coming to market and complicating the roll-out with more handsets to manage.



In our opinion Motorola have released a near perfect device for the targeted audience.  That is the key thing to remember when evaluating this device that it is designed to bridge the gap between commercial and rugged devices.  The reality is that many people who are in field service or perform a lot of data entry while on the road need a device like the ES400.  The need to adhere to corporate policy, the need for barcode scanners and the numerous software applications written specifically for Windows Mobile, result in a need for a device such as the ES400 target. Motorola have improved the Windows Mobile interface to make it more like a smartphone and packed it into a small enough form factor that makes it suitable to be used as an everyday phone.  It is also semi-rugged and comes in at a suitable price point for the target audience.  It looks like the ES400 may actually be suitable named a true Enterprise Digital Assistant.


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