Just after Christmas I purchased a new Windows Mobile phone, a HTC TyTN II. This phone is packed with features, however there are plenty of reviews on the internet so I am not going to repeat them. The review at CoolSmartPhone.com is very comprehensive, as is the one at PocketNow.com, if you want to know about the features in general. I plan to talk about my experiences with the phone and with Windows Mobile 6 Professional.
The last Windows Mobile/CE device I had was a HP Jornada 430, which now is about 8 years old. I purchased it second hand when it was a few years old and had a great time playing with it when I was younger.
I have been researching mobile phones for a while now because my old phone was starting to fall apart. In the end I decided that I’d try a Windows Mobile phone, because they seemed pretty good and since I am a .NET developer I’d be able to write some programs for it. Basically, my plan was to get a Windows Mobile phone as a toy more than a work device. GPS navigation, Wi-Fi, a hardware QWERTY keyboard and the abundance of Windows Mobile applications just topped off the phone as being a cool phone.
I have found that the TyTN II is really well built, including the sliding keyboard. I have been pretty pleased with Windows Mobile; however there are a few things that could have been done better. For example, it requires too much effort to get to the new SMS screen, which is so commonly used. However, the TyTN II’s hardware QWERTY keyboard makes up for Windows Mobile in getting an SMS out quickly. However, I added the “New SMS” shortcut to my start menu which is even more useful. The phone comes with a stylus (actually it comes with a spare one too), however I rarely use it because the screen is very accurate when you use your fingers and doesn’t smudge very easily from finger prints.
One downside to the TyTN II is that the screen is almost impossible to read when outside in the sunlight when the backlight is off. This is usually not a problem because the backlight turns on when you use the device. However, I usually keep the phone locked when I am not using it, which means that pressing the ‘on’ button to turn the screen on to check the time or to check if you have any messages doesn’t bring the backlight on.
The TouchFLO feature of Windows Mobile allows you to swipe your finger over the screen which causes it to pan, just like the scrollbars would do if you used them instead. This works really well when using a web browser, especially since you can swipe and lift your finger quickly and it will continue to scroll. It works like the iPhone panning but it doesn’t have the pinch for zooming.
I’d also like to mention that when purchased in Australia it comes with the Copilot Live GPS navigation software. I wasn’t sure how well this software was going to compare to TomTom, but it works really well. I currently use it in landscape mode because I can mount the phone in a better place in my car compared to using it in portrait since the car charger plugs into the bottom of the phone. 3 Mobile (an Australia phone carrier) provides a genuine HTC car kit with a window suction mount of top quality when you buy it which is very useful.
Currently, I am using Pocket Internet Explorer (PIE) and Opera Mini for web browsing. PIE runs really fast but Opera Mini is better for browsing sites designed for the desktop. I tried Minimo (Mini Mozilla), but it runs really slow, it is only an alpha but it seems like they are trying to build the desktop Firefox for Windows Mobile because it has the standard Firefox tabs.
Windows Media Player (10 Mobile for Pocket PC) runs pretty well but has a pretty limited set of supported video formats. I am using The Core Pocket Media Player (TCPMP) to watch videos on my phone, which actually look pretty good on the 320x240 resolution screen. As far as I am aware TCPMP is no longer under active development since it was commercialised, however it can still be downloaded and another player is meant to be open sourced from TCPMP’s descendant CorePlayer, according to CoreCodec.
The HTC TyTN II is a really nice phone leading the market with features. If you are looking for a smart phone you should seriously take a look at this phone.