Thursday, 12 June 2008

New Gadget

Being a small business owner who’s yet to make his first million, new gadgets don’t come around that often ;)  So I was very pleased when my phone contract was up for renewal and I could start browsing the available devices.

My last phone was the T-Mobile MDA Vario II, otherwise known as the HTC Tytn.  The Tytn II was released not long after I got my phone last year and I was pretty gutted that I missed the boat on it. The Tytn was very functional, but was pretty hefty.  The Tytn II was a bit sleeker, had a much nicer keyboard, built in GPS and ran Windows Mobile 6, rather than 5.  At the time I did ring T-Mobile to see whether I could upgrade, but almost fell off my chair when they gave me a price…

So upgrade time finally came round and I still had my sites set on the Tytn II. There were smaller devices available, but I really liked have the full keyboard and had got up to a pretty decent WPM on it.  The only thing that was initially standing in its way was the beautiful Apple iPhone. The next revision of the iPhone software was round the corner with supposed support for Exchange ActiveSync.

I wasn’t totally convinced about the iPhone and decided to check out T-Mobile’s site to see if anything else took my fancy.  That’s when I stumbled across the T-Mobile Touch Plus.  The device certainly looks the part, but initially I thought it was purely a touch device with no keyboard. I then started to look around and found this great review over at Trusted Reviews.  They gave it a glowing report and an impressive 8 out of 10 rating.  I’ve always liked the reviews by the guys at Trusted Reviews and on an aside, what a great job they have!  A quick Google turned up a number of other positive reviews and soon the Tytn II was a distant memory.

T-Mobile Touch Plus 

So it was now the Touch Plus vs the iPhone.  As much bashing as it gets, I actually don’t mind the Windows Mobile OS and the reviews seemed to suggest this was currently the best phone running WM6.  While the iPhone is beautiful, I still don’t think it’s really business class, maybe the new software revision will change that, but only time will tell. 

There’s also a key feature of WM6 that myself and my business partner use on a regular basis and that’s the Internet Connection Sharing software.  Being a HSDPA phone the connection speeds are pretty impressive, hook it up via USB or Bluetooth to a laptop and you’ve got broadband on the go.  In fact when we first moved into our offices before BT installed their lines, we used our phones as our primary broadband connection and we got speeds in excess of 1Mb!

So I was pretty sure the iPhone wasn’t going to offer this key feature and then T-Mobile helped make up my mind once and for all.  We spend a fair amount with them each month so a few minutes on the phone with them and they confirmed we could have two phones free of charge.  Comparing this to the hassle of moving to O2, a charge of £100 per phone and no Internet Connection Sharing and I was sold! T-Mobile even threw in a copy of CoPilot Live 7 each and two Bluetooth GPS units.

The phones arrived the next day and I’m pleased as punch!  It’s actually the size of a phone, rather than a small brick.  So it’s a lot smaller than the Tytn and while there’s no QWERTY keyboard, I’m getting used to T9 again pretty quickly. There are some nice additions to WM6 which is HTC trying to imitate the iPhone.  When you slide your finger up the screen an application launches with shortcuts to programs.  Then sliding your finger left or right shows a nice animation of a cube and switches to contact shortcuts.  Slide again and there’s another page of shortcuts.  I’m not sure how much I’ll use this feature, but it’s pretty cool and nice to show off with now and again ;)

So if you’re happy with WM6 and in line for a new phone, I’d certainly recommend the Touch Plus.  There’s also a version available with a full QWERTY keyboard, but I’m not sure how this affects the size.  For me though, the normal keypad is enough.

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