First Looks: HTC TyTN II (with HSDPA and GPS)

A Titanic Achievement

A Titanic Achievement

For the uninitiated (which would be far and few if you have been following up on the latest news), the HTC TyTN II is the direct successor to the Dopod 838 Pro, a mobile device with a full suite of functionality and finesse attached to its branding. "The Ultimate Mobile Companion", the tagline attached onto the HTC TyTN II, rings true thanks to its impressive list of specifications, and we will show you why.

Clash of the Titans

At first glance, the HTC TyTN II looks like a normal sized Windows Mobile device, built with comfort and sturdiness in mind. Weighing in at a hefty 190g, you’ll find yourself paying the price, or rather the weight, of carrying an all-in-one device. Heavy as it is, the TyTN II definitely feels less clunky as compared to the Dopod 838 Pro.

Navigation wise, you'll find the navigational pad and a wide array of soft keys such as Call, Cancel, Home, OK, Internet Explorer, e-mail and two customizable shortcuts all packed neatly below the display without having a cramped feel to it. The biggest grouse you might find with the HTC TyTN II would be the Power Button. Located at the right side, it is totally flushed in, creating a scenario where a button that is so frequently used, is ironically hard to feel and press.

Insertion of the SIM card is done right behind the slider, similar to the Dopod C500. Though a switch of a SIM card would effectively switch the phone off, it is still essentially a convenient design due to the ease of the switch.

A Matter of Perspective

The biggest contention point for previous users of the Dopod 838 Pro would be its sliding keyboard. For the TyTN II, sliding open the internal QWERTY keyboard starts from the right to the left, a 180 degree change from the Dopod 838 Pro's left to right sliding direction. Based on customer feedbacks, HTC realized a switch in direction is found to be more natural when you are holding the phone with your right hand. Frankly, it's all a matter of perspective.

Undoubtedly, the biggest attraction for geeks would be the HTC TyTN II's tilting screen. For weeks, pictures of the tilted TyTN II have wowed consumers, creating hype over its pseudo mini-notebook look.

In reality, the tilting screen proves itself well, allowing you to choose any screen angle that might suit you. The advantages are apparent when you set the device on the table to do a short read, or enjoy a full length video clip.

Its comfortably large 2.8 inch QVGA screen definitely scores well for both portrait and landscape displays. The screen brightness is sufficiently strong to prevent any unnecessary glare from outdoor lighting, which is especially true with the varied angles at which you can tilt your screen.

Power Akin to a Titan

The HTC TyTN II utilizes what is known as advanced touch screen technology. Note that it is not the same as the TouchFlo interface as seen on the HTC Touch. Essentially, the advanced touch screen interface encompasses what you love in the TouchFlo interface, minus the Touch Cube.

With the Dopod 838 Pro, it was almost a perfect combination of functionality and entertainment, sans one area: GPS. This feature is now loaded onto the HTC TyTN II, with a GPS receiver called gpsONE, truly making the HTC TyTN II the successor of the Dopod 838 Pro.

Although the onboard camera is a 3-megapixel camera, we were not impressed with the image quality as the colors came off saturated looking overall. Obviously you will get a better looking image in bright light and a less than average quality image in low light.

The 1,350 mAh battery is a bit of a letdown on a Qualcomm MSM 7200, 400MHz processor. Under tests, we got almost two days straight out of it through intermittent use of Wi-Fi and GPS besides the usual calls and SMSes. Obviously, it will have to depend on your usage pattern. The lack or thereafter of a VGA screen might annoy some but having one will suck up even more battery life and thus rendering the device a paperweight after a few hours of use.

The Verdict

The TyTN II is sort of a revelation to the PDA phone world with its extremely long list of features and better still, it manages to run most of them well and smoothly. Along with its new tilt display design, it’s bound to set a new following amongst PDA phone manufacturers. Going at a retail price of S$1,348, we feel the HTC TyTN II has definitely fulfilled the hype it deserves.