HTC, the company behind O2's XDA range, Orange's SPV range and T-Mobile's MDA range, has now launched the HTC TyTN (pronounced titan). This is one of the first HTC-branded phones, and is the first Windows Mobile device with HSDPA (Super 3G) connectivity.
You can use this phone to synchronise with your Windows PC, receive emails instantly via Direct Push email or browse the Web over a Wi-Fi, 3G and HSDPA connection. It looks similar to the O2 XDA mini S but has more features and power than even the almighty O2 XDA exec.
HTC has said this device should be available by the end of July this year. The company will still provide network-branded devices in addition to HTC ones, so you may also be able to buy the TyTN under a different name with a UK network. According to HTC, the device will start retailing at around £549 without contract.
The HTC TyTN runs Windows Mobile, which means you can access and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents, browse the Web using Internet Explorer, and even play music and video on the mini Windows Media Player. Windows Mobile also gives you the ability to use MSN Messenger and Hotmail, check your personal email via Direct Push Technology and Exchange 2003 SP2, and even access your calendar, contacts, tasks and inbox over the air. The TyTN is all about communication, and features tri-band UMTS, quad-Band EDGE, infrared, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, so you won't be lacking in ways to keep in touch.
Although the TyTN bears some resemblance to the O2 XDA mini S, it is powered by a 400MHz Samsung stacked CPU with 128MB ROM and 64MB SDRAM. This is a significant improvement on the mini S, which only has a 200MHz processor, and it's the fastest processor to date. This makes accessing applications faster and means that unlike previous HTC models this device can handle Skype without any problem.
Navigating through the phone is made easier and faster by the TyTN's scroll wheel on the left side of the handset. There's also a cleverly hidden Qwerty keypad that slides out from underneath the TyTN. When in use, it automatically puts the screen into landscape mode and lights up if it's dark. The TyTN's screen measures 45mm wide by 60mm tall, which is large enough to view Web pages and documents without needing to squint.
The screen is good to take photos with, and fortunately the TyTN comes with a 2-megapixel camera that can be put in landscape and macro mode. There's also a 0.3-megapixel (VGA) camera at the front of the device so you can make video calls. We like the OK button on the left-hand side that takes you straight back to the home page, and the easy-to-access microSD card slot.
Finally, we're impressed with the battery life that lasted for the quoted 200 hours on standby and around 4 hours of talk time. This is without using the Wi-Fi adaptor however, which would decrease battery life significantly.
Our main problem with Windows Mobile devices is that they are less straightforward to use than other mobile phones. If you're not used to Windows Mobile then buying this device as your first mobile phone would not be advisable. Making calls with the TyTN on the Windows Mobile interface can be testing at times too, as you have to use the touch screen or slide-out Qwerty keypad to dial numbers.
The TyTN isn't small either. Measuring 58 by 112 by 22mm, it may have difficulty fitting into your pocket and, if you can make it fit, the 180g is likely to weigh down your suit jacket pocket or pair of jeans.
The addition of a 2-megapixel camera, however, might prove a disadvantage for business use, given that some companies don't allow camera phones in their buildings. Another problem some people might find with the TyTN is that most digital cameras use SD cards and not microSD ones, so you won't be able to view your photos on the device until you've transferred them over to your computer.
The TyTN is one of HTC's best devices to date and we're glad to see it is branching out and branding its own devices as well as still providing network-branded ones. With the slide-out Qwerty keypad, HSDPA capabilities and a plethora of other connectivity options, this is definitely a Pocket PC to be reckoned with. It's rather chunky though, and we'd like to see smaller Wi-Fi-enabled devices in the future.
Edited by Mary Lojkine
Additional editing by Kate Macefield