I caved in late last week and picked up a new mobile phone: the Dopod 838 Pro aka the HTC Hermes and the HTC TyTN.
I dumped my previous carrier (Optus) in favour of 3. Here’s my quick review of the phone after 5 days of intense playing around.
it has wifi
I’m loving reading my email, checking Wikipedia, reading the news, my rss feeds, etc, from my phone at home.
the slide out keyboard
(see below) is pretty cool. I haven’t used it much but in the testing I’ve found it to have a nice action. It is backlit with a blue light in the dark which is very cool.
the 2 MP camera
has two settings – normal and “macro” which is for close up shots. Takes a bit of getting used to (I was trying to take photos at Father Bob’s Xmas sermon on Sunday evening and wondered why the shots were blurry… took me a while to remember to macro setting was on). The camera also has a flash which is a new thing for my mobile camera experience. The quality of the images is good enough. See the photo of Superman below.
lots of buttons. Previous Pocket PCs I’ve had didn’t have nearly enough hard buttons. The Dopod has 14 plus the direction pad plus the scroll wheel.
Quadband, Bluetooth, Wifi, 3G – all the bases covered (except GPS).
Very low on memory. As soon as I installed a couple of additional applications I started getting “low on memory” messages. It’s got a measly 56Mb of on-board storage memory. What the HELL am I supposed to do with 56 Mb???? I’ve got blog posts bigger than that.
microSD slot. All those SD cards I’ve bought in the past are now defunct as the Dopod only takes microSD. I guess I’ll be selling the old ones on Ebay this week while I wait for my new microSD card to arrive.
It’s another damn Windows device. I’ve been trying to wean myself away from using Windows and Pocket Outlook but I guess I’m going to have to wait another generation. Apart from Outlook, the other thing I don’t like about Pocket PC’s (and this will be by 6th since 1998) is that they flake out fairly quickly. I barely get a year out of them before they start to give me problems.
USB headphone jack. Forget about sticking your iPod headphones into this baby – it has some weird-ass USB headphone jack. That’s right kids – now you’ll have to buy ANOTHER set of headphones if you want to use your mobile phone as your media player.
THE COOLNESS APPS:
Here are some of the apps I’ve got installed which I’m pretty excited about.
QuickMark. I hadn’t even HEARD of QuickMark before I got this phone. Jacek has a great overview here. Essentially it’s a like a new form of barcode which your phone can read and parse. On the Dopod where is a QuickMark application which allows you to scan a QuickMark that looks like this:
The software will then translate that into information – in this case, the Quickmark above is the URL for TPN – and take you to the URL. You can generate your own QuickMarks here. I guess the vision is that all clothing and websites will have these QuickMarks built into them, allowing you to scan them for more information. I love it even though it’s kind of worthless until it reaches critical mass.
WorldCard Mobile. This is a business card OTR program for the PDA. It lets you take a photo of a business card and then translates it into text and inserts it into your address book. Cool!
Skype for the Pocket PC. I’ve only tried using this once so far and the quality of the call sucked. So I’ll be testing it more this week.
GMobileSync. This app just came out a couple of weeks ago and I haven’t played with it yet but it looks like it might be the missing link to get your Google Calendar info onto your Pocket PC without having to use Outlook and ActiveSync in the middle. I’m tempted to try it but now that I’ve finally got Funambol working I don’t want to screw with my set-up. I’d be interested to hear other reviews though.
ShoZu: Rich Giles told me about this app ages ago but as this is my first camera with in-built wifi, I’m just getting to test it now. ShoZu will automatically upload photos you take to Flickr or any other destination of your choice. Very cool, except I’m having trouble getting the settings right. I obviously don’t want it to upload EVERYTHING automatically and instantly which is what it’s doing at the moment. I just had to delete about 30 photos from Flickr which ShoZu had uploaded without me even realizing.
SUMMARY: I’ve only had it for 5 days but overall I’m pretty pleased with it. My key purchasing decision was the inclusion of wifi, mostly so I can Skype from it. The $4/Mb data plan that 3 have is a joke but I’ve already for a flat rate data plan with 3 on my NetConnect card, so if I’m out, not near a free wifi hotspot and I desperately need data, I’ll just throw the SIM card from my NetConnect Card into this phone and use it for data.