One month on - Windows Mobile 2005 on HTC Wizard

A combination of the new smartphone and Christmas means a bit of a delay since my last post.  But, hey, I now have a good perspective to draw some conclusions on my T-Mobile MDA Vario (HTC Wizard, Windows Mobile 2005 smartphone).

The summary is based upon having been a long time Windows Mobile user.  I started with a Casio E-100 (Windows CE 2.11), upgraded that to an iPaq 3630 (Pocket PC 2002, 2003), and then moved my mobile phone to a C500 (HTC Typhoon) Windows Mobile 2003 smartphone.  I always found ActiveSync a breeze compared to previous experience with Palm Pilot synchronisation.

Positive experiences;

  • installation of software designed for previous Windows Mobile platforms really works (Real One player, Adobe Reader 2.0),
  • Adobe Reader 2.0 combined with the open source PDF Creator 0.8 on the desktop means I can 'print' documents to PDF to read on the device, and is very handy for printing location maps.  (Adobe's reader wipes the floor with the already installed ClearVUE PDF)
  • an external accessible mini-SD slot, no taking out a battery to swap cards (C500)
  • my new 2Gb mini-SD card works fine so I have over 1000 WMA files happily handled by the built in Windows Media Player
  • sounds dumb - but the alarms are way better than previous Windows Mobile versions, three times with day of week options and the coolest UI for setting the time, you drag the hour and minute hand around a clock face with the stylus
  • size - wonderful, just small enough to be a phone, just big enough for browsing
  • keyboard, no more T9 (sigh of relief), and spell checker for SMS messages (very anal)
  • combine wireless networking with the Real One player and I can now listen to BBC radio programmes anywhere in the house outside my mobile data allowance
  • a stylus retention mechanism that works, so I might not need the spare unit that came with it

Negative experiences;

  • Having to reset the device daily - something I did maybe once a month with the C500 and at most once a fortnight with the iPaq, this is a big step backwards
  • ActiveSync 4.1 and Windows Mobile 2005 just don't work reliably.  I have great trouble disconnecting in a way that allows me to reconnect successfully five minutes later (USB and Bluetooth both have the same problem).  My C500 is happy with ActiveSync 4.1 so I'm guessing its a Windows Mobile 2005 issue, maybe a memory issue on the device.  Maybe over 1000 contacts is quite a lot to synchronise, but graceful failure rather than a soft reset would be a better solution
  • Sluggish in general usage.  HTC should have used a faster processor, it really is very slow at times
  • ... which may be why the GPRS monitor application bundled on a CD by T-Mobile makes the device unusable.  That got uninstalled very quickly
  • having to buy an 802.11b only access point due to T-mobile disabling the 802.11g and preventing the device working with my Belkin pre-N router
  • patchy 802.11b reception compared to my laptop
  • lack of phone profiles such as 'meeting', 'outdoor', 'silent' to adjust phone ringing and alerts which I used quite often for my C500
  • no 2.5mm headset to 3.5mm standard headphones adaptor included in the box (Expansys sell them for £10) - silly for something which is so easily used as an MP3 player

When I first received the MDA Vario I was surprised that the reset button was so easy to access.  The C500 had none and effectively required you to remove the battery.  Obviously, it's easy to access and you will end up using it a great deal.

However, one benefit I've found from my T-Mobile web'n'walk contract is the joy of having 40Mb of GPRS data per month in the monthly price.  I know in the places like the US you can easily get unlimited mobile data usage, but here in the UK, you can pay up to £1 ($1.60) for each 1Mb of data.  That soon stops you browsing indiscriminately, or using the Real One player on the GPRS network (although it still uses 2Mb of data for every 15 minutes of radio programme at the lowest quality - ouch!).  Having 40Mb is like when you first get broadband access, you just access the Internet whenever you want instead of worrying about it.

Liam

Print | posted on Tuesday, January 3, 2006 6:55 AM

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