Instead of a space bar, the TG01 wastes space on four arrow keys, when you should be able to tap the screen to place the cursor where you want it. This kind of little detail illustrates how the TG01's relatively unresponsive touchscreen leads to problems all over.
Slim and wide
It's no mystery why Toshiba chose to put Windows Mobile 6.1 on the TG01 -- the company wanted to get this innovative hardware out quickly, and it's an easy operating system to develop for. We can totally understand their enthusiasm, because the TG01 is a beautiful phone. It's quite wide and long at 70mm by 130mm, but it fits easily in a back pocket and it's only 10mm thick.
Videos look great on the huge screen, although, confusingly, there's a choice of three different video players. Streaming clips, even those from the Windows Media Player Web site, don't look as good, and YouTube clips wouldn't play in full-screen mode. As long as we stuck to Windows-friendly WMV files, however, syncing using Windows Media Player was easy and the videos were a pleasure to watch.
The screen also shines during Web surfing, thanks to the TG01's Wi-Fi and 7.2Mbps HSDPA, for speedy downloads over 3G. Pages render quickly, although not as fast as with the current champion, the iPhone 3GS. Unlike the 3GS, however, the TG01 offers Flash support.
With all the tiny links on Web pages, zoom is important. The TG01 doesn't have multi-touch capability, though. Instead, the silver bar underneath the screen allows you to zoom in and out by sliding your finger along it, but it's so unresponsive that we couldn't be bothered to use it. Dragging your finger up from the bar towards the screen brings up the most bizarre user-interface option we've ever seen: five floating on-screen direction buttons. We were gobsmacked when Toshiba told us you're meant to use the buttons 'like a mouse' -- it seems to go against the whole point of a touchscreen, and implies that even Toshiba doesn't want to tap away at the TG01 when the going gets tough.
Windows Mobile may be painful to use, but it packs in the features. Not only does the TG01 have built-in versions of Word and Excel, there are zillions of apps that you can install if you can find them. Currently, though, there's no easy-to-use app store for Windows Mobile.
Such an app store is on its way, according to Microsoft -- it'll be called the Windows Marketplace for Mobile and it'll be a part of Windows Mobile 6.5, the next version of the OS. Orange told us that the TG01 will get Windows Mobile 6.5 as a free update when it arrives, which could help with some of the phone's user-interface issues.
In the meantime, you can enjoy the apps pre-loaded by Orange, like its sat-nav software. Using the built-in GPS, it can find car and pedestrian routes in 26 European countries, and also give you live traffic alerts.
If your company uses Microsoft Exchange Server, you can get push email with Outlook Mobile and manage your calendar like a pro.
The TG01 has a 3.2-megapixel camera that does a good job of capturing shots in good light. It also shoots video at 320x480-pixel or 640x480-pixel resolutions.