The antenna's main task, though, is to receive TV signals, which it does over DVB-T in the UK, giving access to 70 TV and radio channels. We had mixed results with this in our tests. When stationary, we got near-continuous TV reception, with just the occasional lost signal resulting in a short (and mildly irritating) gap in transmission. However, when we tried it on the move we were distinctly unimpressed: in the back of a car travelling on normal city roads the signal was too broken up to be of any use.
It's a shame the V900 doesn't have a stand of any kind. We had to prop it up against something or hold it in the hand to get a good viewing angle. When it worked, the TV picture quality was good and the internal speaker delivered enough volume.
Other applications include a gravity sensor that will rotate the screen as you twist the device in your hand. This is hardly a novel idea, but what is novel is that you can disable it for any installed application simply by going through a ticklist. You can also change the sensitivity, although we found it worked best on the 'high' setting.
E-TEN has added to the Windows Mobile Today screen with its own launcher bar offering large icons for applications and settings. The look may be too clunky for professional users, but you can disable it. You can add or exclude various other shortcuts, including weather and contacts. If you choose all the options, you'll need to scroll through the Today screen items.
An alternative is a version of SPB Mobile Shell, which offers a different take on an HTC TouchFLO-style tabbed Today screen. This lets you sweep the screen left to right with a finger to move between your favourite contacts, a grid of application shortcuts and a calendar view with shortcuts to weather, messaging and missed calls. There are some 3D-style animations that kick in when you make some selections but, as with all interfaces of this kind, you eventually end up back in Windows Mobile 6.1's standard UI.
You get a TV-out cable in the box, meaning you can look anything from your V900 on bigger, more satisfying screen.
We were disappointed that the V900 occasionally took a while to respond to screen taps, although at other times it ran smoothly. We've also noted the patchy digital TV reception, especially when on the move.
Battery life proved adequate. From a full charge we got 3.75 hours of TV watching. After a further full recharge we got nearly 5.5 hours of music playback. The latter result does not put the V900 in the vanguard of Windows Mobile devices we've tested, but it's a respectable showing for such a well-featured handheld.
The Glofiish V900's unique selling point is its TV capability, so it's unfortunate that our experience was so mixed. This poor performance when on the move -- which is when some discreet TV time might be most useful -- might prove a turn-off. It works reasonably well when stationary, however.
Otherwise, the V900 is a well-specified handheld, although some professional users might find both the software and hardware design lacking in business gravitas. Finally, the mini-joystick is a mistake: a D-pad would be preferable.
Edited by Marian Smith