Archive for May, 2008
It’s been quite a while since we last reviewed a Toshiba device, the last one was the Portege G900 which met with a mixed reception last year.
The Portege G710 is the latest Windows Mobile device from Toshiba and I am going to be reviewing it over the next few weeks. I’m particularly interested to see how well the built in GPS works.
As always, here is our unbox video for you to look at while I get the review written up:
Toshiba G710 specification:
Posted by: Matt
Alton Towers Resort will be piloting a "PDA Free Zone" during May Half Term to encourage parents to disconnect from the office and reconnect fully with their families. PDA police will be onsite to enforce the ban and any adult caught using a PDA whilst at the Resort will be asked to report to one of five "PDA Drop Off Zones" where they can safely leave their PDA’s for the day. If the scheme is successful, it will be introduced full time.
StyleTap Inc. today announced plans to bring to market a version of StyleTap® CrossPlatform for the iPhone™ and the iPod® touch, which will instantly allow over 20,000 mobile applications to run on these popular devices. Further information about the product, including how it will be marketed and sold, will be made available in early July 2008.
In addition, the company announced that StyleTap personnel will be at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, CA from June 9-13, 2008, and will be available to meet with mobile application developers interested in learning more about StyleTap CrossPlatform for the Apple devices. Interested parties should contact StyleTap via email at sales at styletap.com, or through the contact form on the StyleTap website.
A group of bloggers locked a HTC representative in a room and forced him to put the device through some awkward situations. You have to watch this to understand that this device is made differently than other HTC devices on the market today. Click on to see the video.
Depending which iPhone rumor you believe, the 3G version of iPhone has either been delayed or already landed on U.S. shores and is on its way to being announced at Apple’s WWDC in San Francisco next month. The interest in the 3G version of the iPhone has been building since AT&T executives “accidentally” talked about it at various events.
The HTC X7510 is one of the coolest devices I’ve played with for quite a while, it’s not a phone, it’s not a UMPC, it’s not a tablet PC so where does this device fit in?
10 second review:
Device: HTC X7510 (Advantage)
Cost: SIM free only: £559.14 (Ex. VAT)
Available from: Devicewire
Summary: Windows Mobile on a large screen complete with the perks of instant-on computing and 16GB of Flash storage.
Best of: Large well lit screen and great specification with the ability to connect to an external monitor and even has GPS.
Worst of: Almost too big to fit in your pocket but not quite big enough to replace your laptop. Expensive compared to the HTC Shift perhaps.
What’s in the box?
HTC Advantage (X7510) Specification:
The HTC X7510 is a device with an ultra minimalist design, on the front of the device is the huge screen VGA touch screen. Here you’ll also find the front facing camera and the home key.
On the right is the stylus, camera and the power button.
The left side is home to the 3.5mm headphone/headset socket, miniusb sync/charge socket, vga/video-out adpater socket and the volume up/down controls.
Nothing much on the back apart from the 3MP autofocus camera and white-led style flash.
Finally, the bottom of the main unit had a flap covering the SD card, simcard and battery compartment next to which you’ll find the keyboard contact pad.
Firstly, sorry for the delay in putting this review together. I had been waiting for the ROM update for the device (as we were looking at a pre-release version). I then got tied up with other things so better late than never.
The HTC X7510 is a pretty large device, with a lovely big VGA screen, 16GB of flash storage (all of which is available to the user), removable QWERTY keyboard, WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0, 3G/HSDPA, Built in GPS, 2 cameras (one with flash) and finally video out.
I like this device, it fits nicely into the high end data device bracket of the market just somewhere belor the HTC Shift and is a fine replacement/upgrade to the original HTC X7500 (Advantage). The X7510 is roughly half the size of the HTC Shift and you can, just about, fir it in to a large pocket.
It’s a great device, the keyboard is particularly cool, instead of going for the clam-shell twisty affair of the universal, or the slideout of the keiser, it’s a magnetically attached membrane keyboard, which doubles as a screen cover. The magnets in it are quite strong and I don’t recommend ‘testing’ it by sticking them to metal server room doors.
Matt already commented about the mambrane keyboard as he didn’t think it was as good as the more tactile keys on the X7500. However I have to disagree with Matt here and say that I quite like the keyboard. It takes a little while to get used to but is ok for touch typing. I found I had a few misses of the keys I was going for but there is a haptic feedback when a key is pressed so you know quickly when you’ve missed one.
Typing on the device with the larger screen is a joy, more about the software later, this is the first HTC device I have used that has the tilt switch in it, hold it landscape and the screen rotates, hold it portrate and it flips, it’s not super quick, and when you have a lot of apps running it can be a little sluggish but it works quite well. The tilt sensor also allows you to scroll through web pages by simply rocking the main unit back and forward or side to side. Obviously you can only do this with the device being used hand-held and it’s best when the keyboard is not attached but it’s still a decent idea.
The VGA/video out is really cool for doing powerpoint on a projector with, the supplied adaptor has VGA, S-Video and composite video, along with a usb port. The frame rate is reasonable but as it’s only VGA (640×480) video looked blocky on the big screen. Perhaps someone will come up with a hack to push the resolution higher IF the hardware is capable. Also, to get the best out of the display you might want to consider installing TruVGA to force all of the Windows Mobile icons and screens in to VGA, rather than stratched QVGA mode.
Software wise, this device is a Gem! Clear view, WiFi printer drivers, Google maps and the icing on the cake that is Opera Mobile 9. I’ll be honest, the other apps are fine, I loaded opera 9 then some time passed, opera 9 rocks, I like this browser so much that coupled with the VGA display, the X7510 is worth the purchase price for that alone!
Opera 9 is the best mobile internet experience so far, I’ve played with Safari on the iPhone which is pretty good, but as no one has given me an iPhone I’m sticking with WM, and Opera 9 is awesome. It renders pages quickly and correctly, it does a fine job of ‘fit to screen’ and it zooms (in and out) which makes navigation actually fun. It’s not perfect, pages that Opera desktop struggles with Opera Mobile also struggles with, but it’s an awesome achievement. I guess this will only be trumped by Opera 9.5 when it’s finally becomes available.
The built in 3.0 megapixel camera has autofocus and a bright white LED ‘flash’. The quality of shots taken with the X7510 are better than I expected and perhaps a little better than the TyTN II, they wont win any contests but are good for those spur of the moment shots although the X7510 isn’t the most discrete of devices I suspect that it will see more use on the building site than the night club.
So can you use this device as a phone. Well, yes you can but there is only a loudspeaker so you have to either have the call on speakerphone or else use a Bluetooth headset. The later worked best for me, after all, would you really want to hold such a large device to your head to make a call?!
I made a few calls with the X7510 and it worked ok, signal strength seems about average and audio quality ok. Using the speakerphone is ok too thanks to the large loudspeakers built in to the unit.
With it’s built in GPS I can see that this device may well find it’s way in to cars and delivery vans as a sat-nav device and with that large display I’m sure it will make a great addition. I guess you could even use the X7510 with your in-car entertainment system with that 16GB of Flash memory you’ll be able to store quite a lot of MP3’s and play them back over a bluetooth head unit.
The GPS itself works quite well, I only used the unit with Google maps but this is good enough to prove it works. Signal acquisition takes a while the first time you use it but subsequent ‘warm starts’ work much faster. Sitting near a window I was able to get a GPS fix indoors where other devices stuggle normally. Not much more I can offer on the GPS front apart from the fact it works without a fuss.
Another place where the X7510 comes in to it’s own is in connecting it up to a VGA monitor and plugging in a USB Keyboard and Mouse. I was then able to use the Citrix client to get a full desktop experience and use all the published application on my Citrix farm with just a tiny little machine and if I were travelling I wouldn’t even need to use an external monitor and keyboard (but the mouse would still be useful) I could do it all on this small unit. Pretty impressive and dead easy to use even if you give it to a complete technophobe!
The X7510 is a professional mobile data device, which, apart from the standard PDA functions the video out and Opera Mobile 9 is amazing and is one of the best browsing experiences you can get on a pocketable device.
Would I buy one? If I was forced to have a non-smartphone, and didn’t want to use my laptop when on my travels, yes as it’s one of the best portable devices I’ve used in years
If it was my money? It would depend on how good the shift was and how much I needed vista. However the HTC X7510 really does offer true instant-on computing and great battery life which is important to many.
Feel free to post questions and I’ll try to answer them while I still have the review unit.
Review by: Owen
Opera Software announced today it will support Gears in its desktop and mobile browsers. The inclusion of Gears in Opera’s main browsing products supports Opera’s vision of transforming the browser into a full platform for applications, regardless of device.
“Opera will have full support for Gears on mobile when they launch this year,” said Charles Wiles, Product Manager for mobile web apps at Google. “Opera Mobile 9.5 will be a great example of a high-quality browser on a mobile platform that supports Gears. This marks the coming of age of the browser as the platform for application development on mobile devices.”
GSmart announce the availability in the UK today, GSmart GPS PDA series: MW700 & MS800, both installed GSmart developed user interface – Smart Touch, via its local partner Styte, UK is able to experience GSmart’s favorable slim and stylish GPS phone with brand new UI!
On 2 June 2008, Vodafone UK will introduce Vodafone Total Business its best ever pricing for smaller to medium businesses. Available to new and existing business customers, it will include a landmark range of data packs, which can be added for specific users, which will address the growing demand for mobile email, mobile internet and other mobile company applications.