My MDA III arrived home yesterday afternoon and I took the bus home early because I just could not contain myself at work any longer. I opened up the brand new box and inserted the ac adapter to ensure it had a good first full charge. I’ll be writing up a full review for PDAGeek, but will give you some of my first impressions now.
It is heavier than the MDA II (7.5 ounces compared to 6.7 ounces), is just about the same width, the III is thicker and the III is shorter with the keyboard closed. The display is blacker when off, but has that familiar yellow tint seen on most all of the iPaq devices manufactured by HTC. It is only yellow when you hold it an angle and this never really bothered me when I had my iPaq 4350. There are a ton of buttons on the device and you can program up to 9 of them for different functions. I reprogrammed my record button to activate the landscape/portrait screen orientation since I use that much more than voice recordings. The battery is larger (1490 mAh vs. 1200 mAh) and has a slight curvature to it leading up to the offset camera and mirror. My Javo USB sync/charge cable fits into the connector and works well so I am happy about that as I can charge the device in my car which will be important until extra batteries and accessories are released. T-Mobile includes a belt slip case that holds the device sideways and will work for now. However, I contacted Piel Frama and asked when their new case will be shipping because that looks excellent. I will have to wait about 3 weeks for them to finish making those cases.
No one has yet figured out how to flash to the English ROM so all the menus are in German. I have been able to figure out most of these, except for the new Wireless Manager I haven’t seen on any device before. All my contacts, appointments, notes, emails, and other text you input is all in English and you can surf the internet in English too so the only issue is figuring out what all the menu commands are. The thumb keyboard is also QWERTZ instead of QWERTY, but since I am typing with my thumbs anyway I don’t think that will be too big of an issue. One great feature of this keyboad compared to ALL other thumb keyboards I have used on mobile devices is that all the characters that are activated with the FN key are on the backlit key itself so you truly see everything with the cool blue backlight and this lets you type away in the dark. This is important for me because I can now use the keyboard in the vanpool at 5:45 in the morning.
WiFi worked well right out of the box, but I can’t get it to ActiveSync yet because I can’t understand the error message dialog box that pops up and can’t troubleshoot the issue. I can surf and get email via WiFi and that seems to work well. It is such a pleasure to have the excellent Widcomm Bluetooth stack and Bluetooth Manager on this device and I can’t wait to test out my headset, Dell Bluetooth keyboard, GPS, and other Bluetooth devices. I also love having Second Edition as I can now browse, check email, and work with spreadsheets in landscape mode.
This device has it all with WiFi, Bluetooth, integrated backlit keyboard, tons of hardware buttons, camera, GSM/GPRS, 126MB usable RAM, 43MB usable ROM (maybe even more with an extended ROM utility), WM2003 Second Edition, and an SDIO slot. The only thing lacking is a VGA display, but I am sure that will be out next year. The MDA II was close to perfection for me, but the MDA III addresses the few minor issues and I think I now have finally reached mobile device nirvana:)
By the way, I had one buyer purchase my MDA II and Axim X30 along with most all the accessories. I still have a couple MDA II things to sell so if you are interested in the thumb keyboard that works on the T-Mobile PPC Phone Edition, MDA II, or XDA II or in an excellent black leather Krusell case with Multidapt system clip then please email me to discuss a price.