I have quite a collection of devices with phone functionality in my bag at the moment (some are mine and some are review units) and keep switching around to see which one fits my needs and desires the best. I figured you may be interested in some thoughts I have on them and give you a chance to let me know your opinion. The devices I have been switching between are the Nokia N90, HTC Tornado (i-mate SP5m), Treo 650, and HTC Wizard (pre-production QTEK 9100).
Nokia N90: The device is rock solid as far as construction goes and the hinges are some of the best I have ever seen on a device. The keypad is well constructed and the backlight is impressive. I enjoy using the N90 as it garners a lot of attention and starts up impromptu conversations with people all the time. I take more photos than I would if I had to carry my camera separately and am planning on doing some video podcasts (what the heck is the real name for these?) that can serve as product reviews or just the type of news, tips, etc. I would cover in a podcast. The video and photo quality is quite good and the convenience outweighs the reduction in quality in most cases. The editing features and video producing software is fun to use on the device too. I rarely ever print out my digital photos anyway and actually would be interested in seeing statistics on how many people do print out their photos. The device is a bit large, but not when compared to other phone devices I have and size isn’t a major concern for me. Battery life has been great and phone call speaker quality and clarity is top notch. The signal strength is a bit weak and I do notice the processor lags at times too. I do like the Series 60 OS for the most part, but applications such as email, calendar, tasks, and notes are not as impressive as they are on a Palm or Windows Mobile devices. When I know I am going to someplace with my daughters I grab the N90 to take photos of those moments that shouldn’t be forgotten. I have also been using the N90 to play podcasts stored on the RS-MMC card that I listen to with my Bluetooth headset since Nokia does a good job of supporting the headset profile. My issue here is I only have a 64MB RS-MMC that came with the test unit so I can’t store much. I do find the Nokia PC Suite to do quite a good job of syncing and interacting with the N90 on my Tablet PC.
i-mate SP5m (HTC Tornado): I received this as a gift from Microsoft at the Mobius event and used it quite a bit while I was there and throughout the last week. If you are a Smartphone user (i.e. phone functionality is very important to you) then I don’t see another device in the market at this time that can compete with it. This baby has WiFi, Bluetooth, Windows Mobile 5.0, gorgeous 240×320 QVGA color display, loads of hardware buttons (although I can’t find where to customize them), and feels great in your hand. The lack of USB 2.0 support is the Achilles heel of a device marketed as a music device and having the miniSD card under the battery doesn’t help out. I really am more data centric and 95% of my calls are to and from my wife so the dedicated phone functionality is not my focus. I do not like entering data with a keypad and still haven’t gotten used to T9 input. Some people have had ActiveSync 4 issues, but I guess I worked all those kinks out with the Dell Axim X51v and have been successful with the Tornado. I like the one-handed operation of the device and keep using it because the display is so great, it is a pleasure to use, and it travels on my belt well. I found the SP5m to have the BEST reception of all phone devices I have ever tried, with the exception of the SE P910a I tried for a short period.
Treo 650: This is my long time friend and still ranks as one of my user friendly devices of all time. If it has a high quality camera with video features like the N90 then there would be no reason to really use the N90 over the Treo 650. My Treo has been rock solid for quite some time with no resets and even though I considered selling it for an iPod Video (shh, don’t tell my 650 I said this) I just cannot give it up. Now, after seeing and using the Treo 700w at Mobius last week it looks like my Treo 650’s days may be numbered, but the GSM version won’t be out until at least summer of 2006 from all indications. I actually use the Treo 650 as my daily alarm clock since it is LOUD and I can depend on it to wake me up for work. I like using standard SD cards and my only real desire at this time is that I could listen to podcasts over a Bluetooth headset. I get great RF reception with the Treo 650 and with VolumeCare the phone functionality rocks.
QTEK 9100 (HTC Wizard): I still have the pre-production unit in my hands and the last couple days I have tried using it again. The RF signal is worse than the N90 and I attribute most of that due to the test ROM that is on the device. I do like the easily accessible miniSD card and fact that I can listen to podcasts over a Bluetooth headset like with the N90. I do really like the easy of synchronization and file structure on Windows Mobile devices. Multitasking is also well supported on Windows Mobile devices, with Series 60 devices doing it quite well too. The Wizard is a bit thick, but when you consider all it packs it really is quite reasonable. The camera quality is not that great and I haven’t tried comparing video quality between the devices yet and will have to attempt to do this soon as I write up my full Geek.com review of the Nokia N90.
So, what device am I going to go with as a primary device? It will probably be the Treo 650 due to the RF reception and Palm OS, but the lack of Bluetooth audio gateway support really is starting to bug me. If the Nokia N90 had a vibration alert and the OS was a bit more full featured that may serve as a primary device since the quality is amazing and the camera quality lets me leave another device behind. The i-mate SP5m is also an excellent choice due to the RF reception, ease of use, and powerful OS and if I don’t find myself entering that much text I may go to this as my main device. The Wizard fill almost every desire, but the test unit I have has flaws that keep it in my gear bag. If T-Mobile ever comes out with their variation of the device I may have to give it a try since RF reception should be optimized for the carrier.
Isn’t this a fun predicament to be in? I really enjoy having fun with mobile devices and am blessed to be a part of this wonderful community and have some amazing people to work with. Christmas is my favorite holiday and being a mobile gadget geek is like having Christmas all year long 🙂