The pool of PDA and Smartphone users have been growing steadily over the years and the cause of the boom is most likely due to better and wider array of applications that improve day to day tasks, which can be more convenient than even a notebook While PDA features are indeed handy, it can be an overwhelming experience for new users. Adapting to a PDA phone is certainly not an overnight affair. For one, new converts might feel out-of-place with the lack of numerical push keypads. For those who are looking for a smoother cross-over, O2 has just the device for you. The new Stealth is their latest Smartphone running on Windows Mobile 5.0. Let's take a quick look at O2's first slider phone that should appeal to new converts and PDA aficionados alike.
Slider phones are usually small devices because they hide their keypads beneath the screen when not in use, though the same rule doesn't necessarily apply when you're designing a PDA. When compared with the XDA Atom, the Stealth is actually slightly thicker and longer than its older brethren. Fitted with a smaller 2.4-inch LCD screen, the O2 Stealth supports a clear and bright QVGA resolution touch screen just like the XDA Atom. Stylus, keypad or both, you decide the input choice that suits you the most. Other similarities between both PDA phones are the use four function buttons and multi-selector below the screen.
In terms of navigation, the Stealth has an additional jog dial on the left side of the phone that lets you control volume and select options when you are not using the stylus. There is also a dedicated camera button right below the jog dial that starts up the 2-megapixel built-in camera on the phone. With auto focus, the camera does a decent job for quick snapshots and maybe the ocassional video shooting.
We love the Stealth's ebony chassis and matte surface finish – a little touch of class. What’s more, all its connectors (including the USB and MiniSD slot) come with a plastic cover to protect them from dirt and water splashes that could potentially harm the phone. For some strange reasons though, the stylus is located at the bottom left side of the phone, which makes it quite difficult to access, especially when you are holding the phone on your left hand.
The Stealth is powered by an Intel Xscale PXA 272 processor running at 416MHz and comes with a whopping 192MB ROM plus 64MB RAM. Running on Windows Mobile 5.0, you can expect the latest suite of Microsoft Office programs for productivity on the go such as opening Word documents and support for push email technology. For accessing wireless networks and the WWW, the Stealth only features Wi-Fi (802.11b+g) connectivity, though it is a shame that it doesn't have 3G support as well. The O2 Stealth package includes a wired stereo headset that connects to the phone using its proprietary connector. Leveraging on Bluetooth technology (A2DP), you can also enjoy stereo music playback when paired with Bluetooth stereo headphones.
We like the idea behind the Stealth Smartphone, but some of its elements are neither here nor there. We had hoped that the Stealth could still be slimmer as well as feature a larger screen since most newer PDA phones with full QWERTY keypads are getting smaller, like the Treo 680. Nevertheless, the O2 Stealth is a good attempt at creating a hybrid chic slider phone and sophisticated Smartphone in one device – a form factor that should appeal to the masses. The O2 Stealth will be available in late October and can be bagged at an affordable retail price of around US$630 (S$998).