What's hot: Pleasant software customizations by HTC, hardware keyboard.
What's not: Confusing keyboard character masking.
Reviewed June 14, 2010 by Lisa Gade, Editor
Despite the name, the MyTouch 3G Slide is more than a MyTouch 3G with a slide-out keyboard. HTC has added software customizations that are particularly well suited to new Android users and the hardware has undergone a makeover. The CPU is now 600 MHz vs. the 528 MHz CPU in the MT3G, the camera has been elevated to 5 megapixels and the OS is Android 2.1 Eclair. The display is also slightly larger at 3.4", though the resolution is HVGA like the MT3G and iPhone 3GS. If you want a QWERTY Android phone and Motoblur on the Motorola Cliq XT isn't your thing, read on.
HTC has come a long way since their first Android phone, the ugly duckling T-Mobile G1. The MyTouch 3G Slide is a good looking phone that's the near spitting image of the MyTouch 3G. It's 1.7 ounces heavier and a tad wider to accommodate the larger display and keyboard, but otherwise has the same feel-good curves and signature HTC chin. The smartphone is available in three colors, black, white and red, and it has the same shiny plastic finish as the MT3G. Though it doesn't look like a high end phone given the plastic finish, it's solid and doesn't look cheesy. The slider mechanism has a pleasing click and there's no play. Our only complaint is that the stiff slider combined with the very slippery plastic back make it a bit hard to slide open.
The Slide runs Android OS 2.1 Eclair, currently the most recent Android release (Froyo 2.2 isn't out yet in full release). That means you get goodies like spoken navigation in Google Maps, native MS Exchange support and Google voice search. Given the recent run of Android phones with older operating system versions, it's a pleasure to see a midrange phone get the current goods.
HTC has customized the user interface and added several apps and widgets. Some of these are the same ones found on their Sense phones-- Peep and FriendStream for Twitter and Facebook, HTC Weather and their beloved large digital flip clock with weather widget (you can also select other clock faces but we prefer the classic flip). But there's more: HTC has added setup applications to aid first time Android users in getting their widgets, look and feel and pertinent information running on the phone quickly. You can still press and hold on the 5 page home screen to select widgets but the setup app will ask you what you're into (for example keeping up with friends) and put social networking widgets on the home screen for you. It also helps you set up various email and social networking accounts along with the usual logging into your Google account.
In addition there are a set of attractive themes and something called MyMode which is like Nokia Modes: you can select the stuff you want on your home screens based on your customized modes (for example: home and work). HTC has added square backgrounds behind icons in the application menu for a more feature phone look (I prefer the standard Android icon with no background).
The keyboard is very large and should suit even large-handed men. There isn't much key travel though and the keyboard size and key spacing make for lots of thumb-stretching unless you have very large hands (I have large hands and very long fingers and find the keyboard a bit too large for fast typing). While keyboard size and spacing are tied to anatomy and preference, I found the unusual key masking where the primary and secondary characters are of equal size and contrast completely distracting. For example, the top row does double duty as the number row (a standard convention on 4 row keyboards) but the "Q" and "1" are of equal size and weight, so the key looks more like a BlackBerry Pearl's SureType keys, and the key is labeled "Q1". Meh.
Here's our 10 minute video review of the T-Mobile MyTouch 3G Slide where we test out the software and demo the device's speed.
Phone and Data
As a phone the MyTouch 3G Slide works well with clear voice and decent volume through the earpiece. The loudspeaker is loud and clear for speakerphone calls and spoken navigation directions. This is a quad band GSM world phone with 3G HSDPA 7.2 Mbps on the 1700 and 2100MHz bands for use with T-Mobile in the US and in Europe and Asia. In our tests in the Dallas area where T-Mobile recently upgraded their data network, we saw speeds of 3.5 megs down and 1.5 megs up when using the Speedtest.net app.
The Slide has Google's usual complement of software including Google Maps with spoken navigation and street view, YouTube, Gmail and Gtalk. Google's Webkit browser is as ever top notch, even without Flash support (embedded Flash videos will play in the YouTube player). Android 2.1 adds MS Exchange support and while it's not as robust as Windows Mobile (Microsoft does have an advantage there) or webOS, it's better than nothing and works well for email.
Clearly this isn't a 1GHz superphone, but the 600MHz Qualcomm CPU does a good job of keeping up and the smartphone didn't feel slow or laggy unless we had 10 applications running in the background. Since there's no way to completely quit most applications in Android, you'd be surprised how easy it is to get that many apps running in the background. You can use third party task managers or simply reboot if the phone does bog down. Realistically, after the novelty of a new phone has worn off, how many of us typically use 10 applications? The Slide has 512 megs of RAM (good) and 512 megs of flash storage with 250 megs free to store apps and data. All applications must be stored in internal memory, a limitation Android 2.2 Froyo finally escapes. You can store documents, music, video and all other forms of media on a microSD card. T-Mobile includes an 8 gig card pre-installed in the phone. You'll need to remove the back cover but not the battery to access the microSD card slot.
The MyTouch 3G Slide is a pleasing addition to T-Mobile's healthy line of Android smartphones. Though not high end and chic, it's an attractive phone that's sturdy and it feels good in the hand. If you found the MyTouch 3G's on-screen keyboard tedious but otherwise liked the phone, the Slide is a natural choice. We wish HTC hadn't gone with the odd keyboard masking where primary and secondary characters receive equal emphasis, but it's otherwise a capable keyboard, especially for those with large hands. We like the software additions that make the Slide more than just a re-warmed MT3G, and the faster CPU and additional RAM make for noticeable performance improvements.
Size:2.37 x 4.55 x 0.6 inches. Weight: 5.8 ounces.
Phone:GSM quad band with EDGE, dual band 3G HSDPA on the 1700/2100MHz bands (works in Europe on 2100MHz 3G and on T-Mobile US). HSDPA 7.2 Mbps.
GPS:Yes, internal GPS with aGPS. Google Maps included, TeleNav available for download for spoken directions (requires monthly subscription).
Camera:5.0 MP with autofocus lens, can take photos and video.
in speaker, mic and 3.5mm stereo headset
jack. Music player included. Ringtone formats supported: AC, AAC+, AMR-NB, MIDI, MP3, WMA, WMV. 3.5mm Stereo earbud headset included.
WiFi 802.11b/g and Bluetooth 2.0 +EDR.
Software:Google Android 2.1 operating system (Eclair) with HTC customizations. Software included: alarm clock, calendar, contacts, g-mail application, e-mail application (POP3 and IMAP), music player, youtube player, web browser, Google Maps, Android Market, IM client, SMS client, Amazon MP3 store, calculator, voice dialing, photo viewer and settings. HTC software includes widgets, Peep for Twitter, MyModes, MyTouch Music (streaming music player) and FriendStream (widget for Twitter and Facebook feeds).
microSD card slot, SDHC high capacity card compatible. An 8 gig card is pre-installed in the phone.