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ThinkPhone hands-on: Moto's attempt to woo big business

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While Lenovo has been a huge force in the business laptop space thanks to its long line of ThinkPad and ThinkBooksMotorola now hopes to leverage the expertise of its parent company by bringing some of Lenovo’s best features to its newest mobile device: Motorola’s ThinkPhone.

At first glance, Motorola nailed the basic design of the ThinkPhone. It sports a relatively stealthy appearance with aramid fiber on the back (and you can still see the weave like on ThinkPads), aircraft-grade aluminum on the sides, and a Gorilla Glass Victus display on the outside. ‘before. But more importantly, Motorola says the phone is MIL-STD 810H certified, which means it’s designed to withstand drops of up to 1.25 meters and other environmental stresses. And like all good handsets these days, the ThinkPhone also boasts an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance, including submersion up to five feet for 30 minutes. So it’s the sustainability side of things that’s relatively well covered.

To ensure the ThinkPhone offers top-notch security, Motorola includes its ThinkShield platform which supports a range of threat detection services and IT features such as easy-to-use mobile device management (MDM). and contactless registration. But for me, after repeatedly complaining about the lack of software support on its consumer phones, I really like that Motorola is committing to at least four years of regular security updates and three major OS updates for the ThinkPhone (the device will ship with Android 13 out of the box ). Granted, that’s still a little short of what Samsung and Google are offering on the Galaxy S and Pixel phones, but it’s a nice improvement and anything short of that would likely be a dealbreaker in the space of the company.

However, where things get interesting is how the ThinkPhone performs when paired with one of Lenovo’s business laptops. Using what Motorola calls Think to Think connectivity, you can sync the handset to a nearby ThinkPad, allowing you to share files wirelessly, mirror your phone’s screen to your laptop, copy- paste text and photos, etc. And if you’re the type of person who always wants to look your best during video calls (like my colleague Cherlynn Low), you can even use the ThinkPhone’s camera (front and back) as a webcam. instead of the low resolution sensor. it’s probably built into your laptop.

Similar to the red Trackpoint nodes on ThinkPads, the ThinkPhone has its own red button that can be used to launch specific apps or double-clicked to invoke shortcuts to features like screen mirroring and more.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Since the ThinkPhone supports Motorola’s Ready For platform, you can also use the handset as a portable desktop computer in a snap by connecting it to an external display, keyboard and mouse. All in all, it’s a nice synergy between Moto and its parent company, though I wonder why it took so long for the two to finally work together. Remember, Lenovo bought Google’s Motorola in 2014.

Another interesting addition to the ThinkPad lineup is the red button on the side of the phone, which can be programmed by IT staff to open company-specific software or to launch a user-specific application. On top of that, you can double-tap the red key to open a menu with shortcuts to features like advanced webcam function or app streaming. Through a partnership with Microsoft, the ThinkPhone will also be preloaded with Office 365 (including a one-month free trial). And in the future, there will even be a push-to-talk feature built right into Teams, so you can send audio messages with just one click.

Although the ThinkPhone focuses on enterprise-grade security, its specs aren't half bad either, including a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip, 8GB or 12GB of RAM, and up to 512GB of storage.  It also has MIL-STD 810H certification and a 6.6-inch OLED screen.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

As for the general specs, the ThinkPhone seems pretty solid, although there’s really nothing that stands out. It features a 6.6-inch OLED display with a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip, 8GB or 12GB of RAM, and up to 512GB of storage. The phone also supports dual SIM cards, but unfortunately there is no expandable storage option via microSD. The front-facing selfie camera uses a 32MP high-resolution sensor while the rear dual shooters consist of a 50MP main camera and a 13MP ultra-wide lens. I’m a bit disappointed that Motorola didn’t include a zoom or even a dedicated macro camera, but given that this phone is aimed at business, I can understand why those were left out.

That said, I like that Motorola included a 5,000mAh battery and support for 68-watt fast charging (not to mention an included power brick). Not only does this mean you can add hours of juice in just minutes, Moto’s AC adapter is also powerful enough to charge most ultraportable laptops that support USB-PD, so it can perform a double task in the blink of an eye.

Much like its portable siblings, the ThinkPhone features impressive durability, including an aramid fiber back, aircraft-grade aluminum frame, and 6.6-inch screen covered in Gorilla Glass Victus.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

However, the big challenge for the ThinkPhone is that with devices from Samsung and Apple being by far the most popular when it comes to business handsets, it might be difficult for Motorola to break in, even with the support of Lenovo. Moto has yet to reveal detailed pricing for the ThinkPhone, although it is expected to be available in the United States, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Australia and parts of Europe. Asia in the “coming months”.

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