By May 24, 2008

O2 XDA Orbit 2 review

Matt asked me to review the Orbit 2 and I remember stating, ‘Copy the Polaris review and put black’, but it’s not as straight forward as that. I have been using this device for 2-3 weeks now and it’s been fun having an old friend back to stay for a while. Being a loyal Orbit user for many months, I found the newer version a creditable successor.

O2 XDA Orbit 2

O2 XDA Orbit 2

What’s in the Box?

  • Mains power charger
  • USB data cable and charger
  • Windscreen type Car holder
  • Car charger
  • Stereo headphones with a slightly more elaborate control panel than usual. (pic)
  • Suede feel phone pouch
  • Spare stylus
  • User manual and CD
  • CoPilot 7 Manual and CD (NB. Included with the review unit, but optional)
  • O2 XDA Orbit 2 headset controls

    O2 XDA Orbit 2 headset controls

    O2 XDA Orbit 2 specification:

  • Size: 58 x 110x 15.5mm
  • Weight: 130g
  • Windows Mobile 6 Professional
  • Quad band GSM / GPRS / EDGE Tri-band UMTS / HSDPA 3.6Mbps
  • 256MB ROM 128MB RAM – MicroSD slot available
  • Processor Qualcomm MSM7200 400MHz
  • Built-in GPS receiver
  • WiFi: 802.11b/g
  • 1350mAH Battery
  • FM radio
  • 3G compatable
  • 3 Megapixel Auto Focus camera
  • Tour of the Orbit 2 layout

    Top of the Orbit there is only the power button.

    O2 XDA Orbit 2 top

    O2 XDA Orbit 2 top

    The bottom houses the Mini USB, the reset hole. It also has the non-telescopic stylus housing. Also found is the slide lock release to open the battery compartment, which proves a lot less fiddly than a lot of other devices, and very simple to use, and not found on the HTC Polaris/Touch Cruise.

    O2 XDA Orbit 2 bottom

    O2 XDA Orbit 2 bottom

    On the left side we find the voice command button, and volume slider which again is a slider and not a wheel, also here is the lanyard holes that has a changed position from the HTC Polaris/Touch Cruise.

    O2 XDA Orbit 2 left side

    O2 XDA Orbit 2 left side

    The right hand side gives us the Camera Button and the covered microSD card slot, which is handy for hot swapping but I believe the cover may prove liable to snapping off with regular use, time will tell.

    O2 XDA Orbit 2 right side

    O2 XDA Orbit 2 right side

    The back of the unit holds the 3.0 Megapixel auto focus main camera, with mirror but no flash. Differing for the HTC model there is only 1 aerial socket for the external GPS. There are 2 aerial sockets, one for an external aerial and one for external GPS, on the HTC model. A speaker grille is also found here.

    O2 XDA Orbit 2 back

    O2 XDA Orbit 2 back

    And finally the front of the device looks impressive and I prefer the look to that of the Touch cruise although very similar; the flat 2.8” screen has a mirrored effect, this attracts every fingerprint and smudge mark within range, below there is the usual left and right phone function keys, answer and hang up, internet explorer key and OK button. In the middle is the rotating dial with enter button in the centre, the dial also acts as a directional up/down/left/right rocker. At the top of the screen is the VGA camera for Video conferencing. There is also the earpiece and microphone.

    O2 XDA Orbit 2 controls

    O2 XDA Orbit 2 controls


    I think first thing to the mention here is the CoPilot which I really enjoyed and like the interface and ease of use, as a lifelong Tomtom user, a big plus for me with CoPilot was the feature whereby if the software can’t find a GPS lock then it will still continue and function based on the last know position recorded by the device, unlike Tomtom which basically locks up until it fixes a satellite link. The downside was that I found the safety camera warnings somewhat erratic, even with the latest update installed it pinged and bonged when there was no evidence of cameras a little too often for me, (I understand these are proposed and mobile sites as well) and then to make matters worse it missed at least 2-3 long term existing sites as well.

    Windows Mobile 6 Professional fitted as standard and is pretty standard all round really, there is the edition of the HTC Touchflo, as mentioned before this is a great piece of software development, but I have still not found the need to use it and find the functionality of Windows Mobile, with a few selected Third party software products more than sufficient. A point of note here that I wanted to mention, 2 of my favourites at the moment are SMS Chat from Vito technologies. And the other is Touchpal 3 from Cootek, both of which, for me, really compliment the Windows Platform.


  • CoPilot 7
  • Ease of use
  • Lowlights

  • Mirrored screen
  • Review

    As already mentioned this is very much an old friend returned, brighter, faster and more capable. It is only when writing this that in the past 2-3 weeks I have only reset the device twice from memory, and that speaks volumes in its self!

    Overall the PDA is more than a match for anything on the market is this class, I was surprised to find that it is a 400 MHz processor, having used 500+ speeds this unit does not demonstrate any problems in this area whatsoever, it zips along very well, handling multiple applications at once without missing a beat.

    The battery also was more than capable and better than a lot of devices on the market, commonly 2 days or so of normal use, Bluetooth on, wifi off.

    The camera is OK, again not being a professional, adequate enough for me, certainly not the best on the market, but as said OK.

    The mirrored screen although nice to look at and professional looking, has 3 main drawbacks, firstly already mentioned is the fingerprint magnet matter, secondly the touchscreen response, although better than the HTC Polaris/Touch Cruise, can still be a little annoying as it is not as responsive as you would like, sometimes taking multiple tap attempts to get a reaction, and finally and more importantly is the use of the unit in sunlight, I primarily use the device on the road, and with the Sat Nav running, I find that it is completely useless as you can’t see it at all, and when the keys are locked it is even worse as it dims until locked. After this week of fine weather this has been a real issue for me.

    I like the call clarity, as I have already recorded previously, this device is very clear and precise even in a low signal coverage area. The only down side is having to clean the screen again after a call taken when used on the ear.

    O2 have done a good job with the overall design, it definitely looks Orbit like and I feel this is an improvement over the Touch cruise as it is slightly rounder on the edges and I my opinion better looking, and more businesslike, all round.


    I have now got used to having a physical keyboard rather than a virtual one, and I still prefer to have that option available. Having said that, I easily got used to not having one again. The stability was great and refreshing to see.

    As you can probably tell, I have had a good time with the XDA Orbit 2, it has been very reliable and useable on a day to day regular basis as primary machine. The size is spot on, although the HTC Diamond may challenge that , the toys and specification as up there with the best, at loosely around the £300 mark it is worth a look when considering an upgrade, and existing/old HTC Athemis/Orbit users are sure to be happy with the improvements made to an already cracking device. Stick a phone pad on the bottom and I’ll buy one.

    Is it time to start hassling Matt for a go on the HTC Raphael yet, or am I a bit previous? Matt…..

    Review by: Steve

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    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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