By August 13, 2008

MWg Zinc II Review

This is the new device from MWg the Zinc II, judging by the specifications this high end device is directly head to head with the like of the Tytn II, Touch pro etc. Can it cut it in this highly competitive market?


Not the most well known of manufacturers, Mobile & Wireless Group (MWG) is a Singapore based start-up company founded by the team responsible for O2’s ground-breaking range of PDA-phones. Previous models being the likes of the Atom Life and V, and also the UBiQUiO range most of which we have covered previously. The MWg Zinc II is the successor to the O2 Xda Zinc launched by MWg.


The MWg Zinc II

What’s in the box?

  • Windows mobile 6.1 device
  • Mains charger with 4 detachable socket adaptors for worldwide use
  • USB to MiniUSB connector
  • Stereo Headset with MiniUSB connection
  • Start up CD and user manual

MWg Zinc II Specification

  • Windows Mobile 6.1 professional.
  • UMTS Tri-band, GSM Quad-band, HSDPA 3.6 Mbps
  • Samsung 500MHz Processor
  • 1.9-megapixel CMOS camera
  • 2.8-inch 340×240-pixel LCD with 65K colours
  • ROM: 256MB Flash + 64MB SDRAM
  • SDIO, miniSD expansion slot
  • GPS: SiRF Star III
  • Bluetooth v2
  • WiFi 802.11b/802.11g
  • Sliding QWERTY keypad
  • 109.5 x 59 x 18 mm
  • 185 grams


The MWg Zinc II is an attractive looking devices with a sliding QWERTY keyboard.

MWg Zinc II angled left closed MWg Zinc II angled left open

MWg Zinc – open and closed. (Click to enlarge)

There is nothing on the top of the device.

The right hand side houses the on/off power button and also the camera button. Just above this is the reset hole.

MWg Zinc II right side

MWg Zinc II right side

The bottom has the miniUSB connector and mic. The miniUSB is also the connection port for the headphones so no ability to charge while you listen to your music etc. Also found is the stylus holder, which as Matt mentioned in the unboxing, is the smallest telescopic stylus we have seen.

MWg Zinc II Bottom

MWg Zinc II bottom

On the left hand side there is, from top to bottom, + and – volume buttons, the MWg Zinc II quick start menu (more on this later), and finally an uncovered microSD card holder.

MWg Zinc II left side

MWg Zinc II left side

The front of device there is the very bright and clear 2.8’’ 65k TFT QVGA touch screen, and underneath this is the minimal call and end keys also what looks like a dial but is in reality a 5 way up/down/left/right/enter navigation key.

MWg Zinc II controls

MWg Zinc II controls

The back of the unit holds the 2.0 mega-pixel CMOS camera, self portrait mirror and the loudspeaker. No flash.

MWg Zinc II back

MWg Zinc II back

There is also a slide out blue backlit keyboard, as pictured again more on this in a while.

MWg Zinc II open

MWg Zinc II Keyboard

Inside the back cover, one handy adaptation on this device is a separate housing for the SIM card, meaning you can swap or remove cards without having to remove the battery etc.

MWg Zinc II SIM card

MWg Zinc II SIM slot



  • Snappy and quick processor
  • Camera use and quality
  • Loudness


  • Cluttered and overcomplicated Keyboard
  • Heavy unit


I have to point out here that my review is hampered somewhat by what appears to be a faulty battery, having heard of 2-3 days standby from the 1530mAh battery, I found that after 6-8 hours from full charge my battery was completely dead, even left overnight with wifi, Bluetooth etc switched off, it would be dead by morning. So assuming the hefty battery was not at its best, it does mean a full day’s review wasn’t possible.

First impressions of the device was that it is well made and solid in the hand, but boy is it heavy, weighing in at 185g, it is in the same league with the Tytn at 190g. In this day and age I am under the impression that things are getting smaller and lighter?

The semi automatic spring loaded keyboard is also smooth and well made, I personally found that I used it very little, as for me it is overcomplicated and cluttered, not having had a keyboard before it is quite possible that I have found ways not to need to use one. I could not find any settings to allow extending the time on the back light and this meant that I was frustrated when it would switch off after a relatively short period especially at night, which again made it a little more unusable for me.

MWg Zinc II keyboard close-up

MWg Zinc II Keyboard close-up

The keyboard itself is flat with flat keys that are multifunctional with the use of the Fn button, at the top of the pad there, unusually, is the soft keys, missing from the front of the device. Another aggravation with this keypad is trying to find anything, I would need to spend a lot more time to get use to the layout and shortcuts to really appreciate it fully. I found I could cope just as well with minimal use. That said, for those of you used to a keyboard I still think that this one is not the best, the keys are not raised or separated in any way, as mentioned in the unboxing video the only thing that differentiates them is the raised print on the flat panel, due to this I think you will find that the wrong press rate is quite high.

MWg Zinc II open keyboard

MWg Zinc II open

The best bits for me on this phone are the Quick menu button on the left hand side of the device, which launches a TouchFLO like interface, which allows quick access to Media, Pictures, Camera and Games. A swipe across the screen launches an easily customisable phone book with dedicated tabs to separate your home, friends and work numbers, 12 name slots on each tab. Touch the names and another menu pops up with the options to call, SMS, MMS, EMAIL or open the contact in windows.


Further swipes bring a 14 application shortcut page and then another page holding a settings page as above. I found that I used this a lot and it appears to save a lot of time in accessing what you need quickly.

Another feature of the phone that surprise me was the volume, on more than one occasion it made me jump it was so loud and not set on the highest either. A notification will never be missed again!

The Samsung 500 processor works very well in this unit, I experienced no lag or windows timers at all, the applications load quickly and it was really trouble free, I haven’t even had reset the phone either which is uncommon for me.

The screen is bright and clear and nice to use, it is touch responsive and I have not had the double tapping problem to get a reaction that I have had with some recent devices.

The camera was a pleasant surprise as well, being disappointed with the fact that it is only 2 megapixel, it also was good and better than a lot I have seen, there doesn’t seem to be that annoying lag while the camera thinks about taking the picture, it is pretty much instant on the click of the camera button.

The GPS works well, no preinstalled navigation software, but Google maps worked great and loaded quickly and was simple to get around as the device once again proved snappy.

I couldn’t resist loading Opera on the phone which made the internet experience a pleasure due to the download speeds and processors capability.


Overall the device is solid and well made, I personally don’t like the keyboard although I am sure many will. The speed is impressive and I like using the device a lot. It is at the top end of the price bracket, in a fight with the likes of the TyTN II and the forthcoming Touch Pro, this device will lose but only because it is not well known, and many will not give it a second look. That is unfortunate as this PDA is well worth considering, not perfect but very capable and professional, and with some practice I sure I would even start to use the keyboard more.

You certainly won’t lose it easily in your pocket at these dimensions and with this weight you will know exactly where it is. If you should lose it the just ring it, the volume will be heard for miles! With its connections speeds and capability it certainly is an all rounder, that is good to look at, pleasant to use and definitely a consideration for any knowledgeable PDA user.

Now about this Touch pro is it here yet, Matt?


Review by: Steve

Posted in: Reviews

About the Author:

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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