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HTC TyTN review

HTC TyTN review
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The HTC TyTN 3G Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 based Pocket PC phone, with its compact size and ultimate connectivity, is truly the complete mobile office solution.
Review On : HTC TyTN
Reviewed by Osiris@Mtekk
In recent weeks a continuous rainbow of Pocket PCs has debuted around the world. The colours in this exciting rainbow have vibrant names such as: TyTN (pronounced Titan), Trion, 838 Pro, Vario II and M3100. Yes today we will be looking at one of the colours, flavours of varieties that the Hermes (Greek Mythology, Herald of the gods and god of commerce, cunning, invention and theft) series comes in; we will be reviewing the HTC TyTN.
This has been one of the most anticipated devices of 2006 and despite my initial reservations, it was not until I made the move from the imate jasjar to a non keyboard pocket pc, that I realised just how efficient and beneficial a hardware keyboard is. For those users who have yet to try a built in hardware keyboard they will be amazed at how vastly efficient, and easier it is to email, add notes, sms, mms, write extensive memo's, edit documents and power points; really the whole works done a lot quicker then any Software input devices can do it. This is just one of the main features and many benefits of the HTC TyTN.
Quick Specifications
Released: Only i-mate jasjam is expected for release Q4 2006.
GSM: Quad Band GSM/GPRS/Edge (850/900/1800/1900)
3G: Dual Mode UTMS / HSDPA
Processor: Samsung Stacked 400MHZ
Dimensions: 113mm (H) x 58mm (W) x 22mm (D)
Weight: 176g
Battery: 1350mHh Rechargeable Lithium-Polymer
Screen: QVGA (240 x 320 Pixels) 256K Colour TFT LCD
Audio: Mono speakers, Voice recording, microphone, built-in speaker phone
Wireless: Bluetooth 2.0m Integrated WiFi 802.11g/b
Build:
Let us begin this review by discussing the build and hardware aspects of the TyTN. Without a doubt, the device immediately appears professional and techno- stylish. The grey and brushed silvers compliment each other and whilst I cannot precisely identify the materials that comprise this device, they leave the user with an impression of quality as opposed to the casing on some of the more high end devices of recent times. The battery case is also solidly in place, so no creaks. This is a quality device but it must be noted and contrasted that it is a more fragile device then the tightly constructed and solid IPAQ RW6828.
Keyboard & Stylus: The keyboard firmly slides out and clicks into place and reveals nicely brushed silver keys with a surrounding black template that also further adds to the devices aesthetics. It is quite amazing that a device not much larger nor heavier than an Atom or IPAQ 6828 could also contain a descent sized keyboard. One might be inclined to imagine a very small and unusable keyboard, however it would require excessively large fingers or thumbs for that to be the case. The device feels very comfortable whilst typing on the keyboard, and one handed use is also possible, not only by the fact of the keyboard but also by the large array of external hardware buttons that comprise this device. On a final note, you will be happy to know the keyboard also firmly clicks back into place, and whilst the possibility of this mechanism wearing overtime cannot be disregarded it seems more care or quality may have been put into the keyboard locking mechanisms then on the previous wizard series.

Anyone researching this device will see many comments on forums and other reviews noting how little they have to use the stylus, and this cannot be underscored enough. With all the buttons and the functions on the hardware keyboard (something the jasjar lacked) the stylus barely has to be used. This is probably a good thing since long-time pocket pc users are going to have a difficult time adapting to the stylus being located on the bottom end of the device. Not only that, but the telescopic stylus is at times forcefully difficult to get out of the stylus pit. It seems HTC learnt their lesson from the wizard series, and rather than having the stylus pitt become loose, they seem to have just slightly over-compensated. This is a better alternative to loosing styluses however at first having to exert more then a delicate force on your pocket pc will be a new experience for some cautious users....
Buttons: All up the TyTN comes armed with 16, yes 16! external buttons. Allow me to catalogue these for you (Left to right): on the left side we have 1. Jog Wheel, 2. Okay Button, 3. Voice Command. On the right side: 4. Video Camera 5. Comm Manager button 6. Power button. And on the top face plate we have 7. Inbox button. 8. Internet button. 9. Video Call. 10. Dial. 11. Left soft key. 12. Windows Key. 13. Directional pad and centre button. 14. Right soft-key. 15. Ok Button. 16. End Call button. Between all of these buttons almost all the functions on the phone can be accessed and used all without the stylus. Sending and receiving emails, SMS, writing notes, editing word documents, making calls, playing games, the OK button and jog wheel are must haves.
The buttons on the face plate are a comfortable size and unlike other smaller devices, even the directional keypad is nicely spaced enough to allow no overlap. I find it hard to believe other varieties of the Hermes, ie the O2 Trion which has smaller and closely linked buttons wouldn't cause issues for some users. The TyTN's face plate buttons would have to be the most accurately spaced and comfortable button arrangement on any device thus far.

The Jog Wheel: This handy button, not only makes scrolling, and reading ebooks a 100x better, but it can scroll anything on the pocket pc and also by clicking it in, the jog wheel then becomes a button. The okay button is something that has long been overdue. Previously users might have been able to exit programs with a simple end call button, ie IPAQ 6828, however, this doesn't close programs or confirm commands like this handy little button does. As also mentioned the keyboard has many of these functions, in particular an okay key, on the keyboard! That part is genius. I don't know if we will ever see another device with so much access to an okay button in our lifetimes.
External Storage: The device uses MicroSD, a move which has upset some users purely because it seems each cycle of pocket pc devices is using a different format of memory card. Also because until this month the largest capacity microSD card was 1G, now it is 2G. However devices utilising normal SD cards would enjoy upwards of 4G storage cards, something the TyTN will seemingly never be capable of.

The only other thing to say on the build of the device is the handy little 'pop the hood' type battery case. I must admit to feeling a little blonde as I searched for a short-while looking for a way to get the battery case off. A quick look at the getting started guide might have revealed the answer but where would the fun in that be? All you have to do is slide the slider on the bottom of the device, and 'pop' up springs the battery case and your underway to powering up your device.
Screen
The Screen is 2.8" QVGA with a resolution of 320x240. A point of interest with this device is the brightness. The screens brightness is more then ample even for daylight usage however, it is certainly not as potentially bright as the screen on the jasjar or rw6828.
Audio
There is some confusion over whether the TyTN would be stereo or mono, and in todays market one might wonder why it would be mono, but surely and truly the TyTN and Hermes series are mono sound devices, with the speaker located at the rear. Surprisingly though much like the XDA Mini II, the mono speaker is significantly loud and crisp. Atom and RW6828 users would find this to be a joyfully welcome relief. The speakerphone is also quite loud and even in a noisy place I was able to conduct a conversation over the speakerphone. On the highest volume setting unless the Audio file is of high quality the sounds tend to become distorted and static prevalent. This is to be somewhat expected due to the loudness of the device, but the good news is: speakerphone very loud, notifications, ringtones and audio playback is all very audible and of respectable quality. The only other point of interest is a bug the RW6828 is similarily afflicted by, and that is despite putting the device on mute, a small static noise still emnates from the device whenever clicks or 'noises' would normally be heard. This static noise is very rarely noticed, however using your pocket pc on mute and in a quite spot this will probably draw your attention for a second or two.

Camera
The HTC TyTN comes with a 2 Mega Pixel Camera with resolution switching (Macro capabilities) and a 0.3 Mega pixel frontal camera for 3G video calls. The camera or viewfinder application loads up much quicker then the jasjar, Atoms, or the HP6828s. There is still a slight delay from when the user clicks to take the picture, and when the picture is recorded but this just seems to be a static feature of Windows Mobile 5 pocket pc devices. It should be noted that the viewfinder application complimenting the TyTN is the most accessible and advanced viewfinder application in a pocket pc device. HTC have done admirable to manage accessibility with high end features, and best of all the entire view finder application can be worked via the keyboard, so again no need for a stylus.
like almost every Windows Mobile 5 pocket pc device, the camera on the TyTN is no different; in good lighting pictures are quite good, in poor lighting pictures are quite poor. Its really that simple. The TyTN viewfinder has the standard capture modes: Photo, Video, MMS Video, Contacts, Template, Panorama, Sports, Burst. The Macro mode is a nice feature for those up close photos however it is disappointing that HTC didn't adopt Dopods approach and bundle business card recognition software with the device. Macro mode cameras can be used to scan business cards straight into your contacts, a disappointing feature that HTC has neglected to bundle for us.

Battery Life
The TyTN comes equipped with a 1350mHa battery which combined with a 400mhz Samsung processor and a potentially less bright LCD screen gives the user an above average battery life. Over a two day period, with some phone calls, many SMS, and some gaming and of course just playing with the TyTN; the battery is only at 70%. This should come as a bonus to users not fond of charging too often and especially to Australian users since they receive Euro and US power connections with the TyTN.
Wireless
The TyTN comes with wireless 802.11g and whilst it didn't appear to have the same range capabilities as the imate-jasjar it was nevertheless able to connect to an open wireless network and surf the information super highway. Some users have reported that the device is experiencing problems connecting to WEP or protected networks however, closer inspection on forums reveals many advanced users have found simple tweaks to their network settings allow the device to establish a secure connection.
The Software
The HTC TyTN comes powered by Microsoft Windows Mobile 5. Overall the HTC ROM is very stable; thus far after 4 days there have been no errors or instabilities and no unnecessary need for a restart. Perhaps HTC have done a fine job of tweaking and optimising the ROM as other users have reported poor bench-marking specs, yet the ROM feels like it moves even faster then the HP 6828 ROM which I felt was quite responsive.
A good feature of the HTC ROM is the absolute input of the keyboard. When that keyboard is open, that is the users input method, the user wont be plagued by other software inputs popping up on screen as was frequently the case with the jasjar. This is a small but welcome change as the last thing you need is the software keyboard taking up valuable real estate on your screen when your already busily typing away on a hardware keyboard.
HTC might have taken a que from HP as unlike other HTC devices in which the extended rom has absorbed much of the users storage space, the TyTN after a moderate amount of software installed is still reading as 40MB free storage space. This will be a welcome reprive for users not keen to purchase yet again, another memory card format (Micro SD). More importantly then storage (as a memory card can fix that problem) the HTC ROM also appears to handle memory as efficiently as the 6828, this is a further welcome change, as the user will have little cause to be forever chasing and hunting down every scrap of memory as has been the case with past pocket pcs. With several plugins on the today screen, inbox and the contacts open, the device still has close to 30mb of memory left.
Overall the TyTN out of the box is another stable and highly usable ROM with vast improvements on past ROMS from pocket pc devices. Stable, efficient, optimised, and of course lime green, the TyTN recieves stellar marks for giving a complete ROM out of the box. It must also be noted that with all the varieties of the Hermes series users will have many ROMs they can potentially use on their device, out of all of these choices one of them is bound to please any user. This large choice might also force the respective companies to keep competitive and on the ball with releasing ROM updates, which will mean continuous quality and quicker ROM updates for users.
The Phone
The phone aspects of the TyTN are exactly what we have come to expect and demand for pocket pc devices. Odd noises or static that plagued original pocket pc phones is a thing of the past. Phone calls on the TyTN were clear and quite audible, however, as mentioned in the audio section, at the highest volume distortion will set in on your phone call; but you would have to be extraordinarily hard of hearing for a user to require that setting.
The speakerphone is just that, a speakerphone with more then enough volume. Users on both ends can aptly hear and speak when utilising the speaker phone, and just like mentioned above it is what we would expect from this device. Users wont be putting on loud ringtones or using Audio Hacks with this device, with a quality mp3 ringtone, the user will definitely know when a call or message comes in for them.
Video or 3G calling is also an option on this feature packed device. It is a welcome treat to see that the video feed from the other user now has a larger space. the Jasjar and even some mobile only 3G devices, only offer a small window for seeing the other party's end. Obviously a full-screen video call would be the ideal solution but this is a work in progress. Nevertheless, just like on the box, the video call is bright, crisp and again, everything the user would expect from the device.
The hardware keyboard even has benefits for the phone aspects of this device. Pocket PC users will know how annoying it can be to take out the stylus just to type in a phone number just to make a call that might not be in your contacts. Well guess what? the hardware keyboard eliminates the need even for that! yay.
The reception on the device is quite good but the UTMS or 3G network reception is just a cut below the jasjars. This is a little disappointing as areas where previously a good connection to the 3G network could be establish now from time to time drop out or fluctuate. This is obviously a localised issue and will depend on where the user resides, however in contrast to the jasjar there is room for improvement. Users who know they only just scrape into the 3G cover area will most likely experience this fluctuation in good UTMS receptions, and should keep that in mind if purchasing this device solely for 3G data purposes. Despite this the TyTN still receives excellent marks for great call reception, clarity, and a power packed volume and speaker phone setting.
The Conclusions
Small, light weight, stylish, feature packed with 3G, hardware keyboard and more buttons then any user ever dreamed, the HTC TyTN is certainly a dangerous rival in the marketplace. It could be called the Atom of 3G devices, and certainly offers users a viable pocket pc entrance into the 3G realm.
Overall I believe the HTC TyTN Deserves an 9 out of 10
This score would have been higher if not for the fact that HTC did drop the ball when it comes to Quality assurance on the TyTN series. The magnitude of complaints amongst forums and cautious retailers is sure to have an impact on this device in its initial quarter. Also HTC also lost marks for a lack of value-added software despite a growing trend towards including more software (Dopod, Atom Exec) and also for not releasing the device in Australia.
Pros:
  • Quality device
  • Hardware Keyboard makes everything alot easier
  • Plethora of buttons, and can be significantly operated without the stylus
  • Stable and Quick ROM
  • Light
  • Jog Wheel is amazing handy
  • 2MP Camera with Macro Mode
  • Loud Volume (For Atom users etc this is a big pro)
  • 2 Year HTC Warranty
    Con:
  • Despite quality, this device is fragile
  • Lack of bundled software
  • Telescopic stylus and stylus pitt
  • Lack of availability in Australia
  • Bulky and annoying bundled belt pouch (makes the TyTN seem like a jasjar)
    Original Review at Mtekk


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