My time with a TyTN II

October 27th, 2008

So, as my previous post indicated, I am now the proud owner of an HTC TyTN II (aka Kaiser) Windows Mobile phone. I am a big fan of Smartphones and for the last few years I have had a variety of Palm Treo devices ranging from a Treo 180 to a Treo 650.

So, with great trepidation, and not much choice about it, I have jumped the sinking Palm OS ship and jumped straight on to the Microsoft bandwagon. So this review deals both with the Kaiser (when I say Kaiser, I mean the TyTN II) as well as with the Windows Mobile 6.1 platform.

For those of you who don’t know (or to refresh your memory), the specifications for the Kaiser are:

CPU:          32bit Qualcomm MSM7200
CPU Clock:     400 MHz
ROM capacity:     256 MiB (accessible: 145.2 MiB)
RAM capacity:     128 MiB
Display Type:     color transflective TFT , 65536 scales
Display:     2.8 " 240 x 320 Touchscreen
Networks:     GSM850, GSM900, GSM1800, GSM1900, UMTS850, UMTS1900, UMTS2100
Data:         CSD, GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, HSDPA
Expansion:      microSD, microSDHC, TransFlash, SDIO
Bluetooth:     Bluetooth 2.0
Wireless LAN:     802.11b, 802.11g
GPS Services:     Assisted GPS, QuickGPS
Main Camera:     3.1 MP
Secondary Camera:     0.3 MP
Battery Capacity:     1350 mAh
Keyboard: Sliding and tilt

If you’re not really technically minded, it means that this is a fast device, with a touchscreen and a slide-out keyboard which tilts up to make it look like a laptop. To top it off, it’s got connectivity anywhere in the world and it supports 3G, 3.5G and WiFi data.

For a person like me, the last one is really great, since in India we don’t have 3G and getting on the net from one’s phone otherwise really sucks.

So, the first thing I did on getting hold of the Kaiser was to upgrade the software from Windows Mobile 6 to 6.1. (Okay, okay, I’m a geek – sue me!). I was not really curious to see the difference between 6 and 6.1 and all the reviews said that 6.1 is far better, so there it was: I went to the HTC website, downloaded the update, plugged in my phone and voila everything worked – wonderful! Updates on the Treo were as easy, so it’s quits between the two.

One of the nicest things about the Windows Mobile OS is the home screen. It’s got a lot of stuff to see at a single glance and is easily customizable with a variety of plugins from a huge number of developers. I like the default HTC home page, but it is a little limited. Unfortunately, HTC decided that since they were going to ship a top-of-the-line phone they would not add the customizations that they had put on their slightly lower-end phone (the touch) like the Touch cube and the finger friendly optimizations. Luckily a number of developers have spent a long time working on porting all these applications, and now I have a really nice home screen similar to what you would get if you follow this thread on xda-developers. (btw xda-developers is clearly the best place to get started if you have an HTC phone).

Unfortunately, the phone dialer isn’t half as nice. On the Treo, the buttons were nice and big and SEPARATE! Here, the buttons are not nice, not very big and touching each other, so with my thick fingers, I often end up typing the wrong number. The good part about the dialer is that it tries to figure out my contacts based on the letters I type, so if I type 234, it finds ADItya sengupta. Since this is a clever device, if I type 273, it finds Aditya SEngupta. This is very useful, considering that I really don’t want to slide out the keyboard to find my contacts by name.

And this is the biggest problem on the Kaiser – the keyboard. As keyboards go, it isn’t bad. It has a nice tactile feel and the buttons are big and nicely spaced and you can feel the press of each button. But Windows Mobile sucks here. When I slide the keyboard, sometimes the screen rotates almost instantly, but sometimes I have to wait for it to realise – oh! the keyboard is out, the keyboard is out – and then run around madly wondering what to do next before it changes the orientation. And then, there’s the problem of auto-complete. Until I disabled it, auto-complete was making typing so slow that it s e  e   m  e  d to take forever to type a single word! I guess it’s useful if you’re using the onscreen keyboard or the transcriber, but using the hardware keyboard with it sucks. Also, the other funny thing. If I use the onscreen keyboard when the physical keyboard is hidden away, it still shows later when I slide out the physical keyboard!

On the Treo, on the other hand, the keyboard was much smaller and more difficult to type on, but it never needed to be slid left, right, up or down. It was just there, which made it easier to type!

Ok… this is getting to be a long long post, so let me cut it here. More in the next installment…

Categories: reviews, technology | Tags: , ,


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