*Note that T-Mobile has released the Windows
Mobile 2003 Phone Edition upgrade for this model. You can get the
upgrade for free from T-Mobile if you have the 2002 version. As
of April 2004, new units should ship with the new OS. Though this
is the oldest Pocket PC Phone on the market, it's still a nice
device. T-Mobile introduced the iPAQ 6315 in
September 2004, which replaced this aging unit.
T-Mobile (formerly known as Voicestream, and
owned by Deutsche Telecom) brought us the first Pocket PC Phone
Edition (PPC PE) available in the US. It's got a curvy, classy
and slim design, good phone-to-PDA integration and costs less than
many new Pocket PCs. Not bad! It's a dual band phone that works
on 1900 MHz (US) and 900 MHz (European) bands. In Euope the O2
XDA is the mirror image of this PDA phone.
Did I say Cool?
I really didn't think I'd love this device. I
thought I'd like it, but once I experienced it in person, the T-Mobile
is definitely a gadget to die for. The styling, courtesy of HTC,
the same folks who designed the iPAQ is lovely: slightly smaller
than a naked iPAQ, it's curvy, slim and comfy in the hand. The
screen is quite nice for a 12 bit 4,096 color display (most other
Pocket PCs have 16 bit 65,000 color displays these days), and is
comparable to a 3600 series iPAQ. It is more uniformly lit and
has better color saturation than Toshiba Pocket PCs, despite the
lower specs. The stylus fits into the antenna housing, and the
mail and home keys found on most Pocket PCs have been replaced
by call Send and End buttons (at the bottom, next to the directional
Phone integration is also excellent and is on-par
with Palm OS smartphones such as the Kyocera 6035 and Samsung I-300.
Display and Sound
As mentioned above, the screen is a side-lit
12 bit 4,096 color display. While that's under spec for Pocket
PC 2002 PDAs, it looks quite nice. If you like the iPAQ 3600 display
or the Jornada540's, you'll be happy with this. When viewing photos
and web graphics I did see some banding. It's not close to the
new iPAQ 3900 series transreflective
LCD, but then again, nothing else is except the Sony Clié NR-70 and
Sony Clié T665. Oddly,
you've got only two choices for backlight setting: on or off.
The sound is very good: about as loud as the famously
powerful iPAQ. It has the same Microphone AGC Control applet which sets
audio levels optimally as do other Pocket PCs. If you set the system
volume to its loudest setting, you and your neighbors will hear the phone
ringing! The audio jack isn't the usual 3.5mm used by other Pocket PCs
and portable consumer electronics devices. Instead it's the smaller 2.5mm
jack used by many cell phones such as recent Motorola units. If you want
to listen to MP3s, you can use the included ear buds, or better yet,
go to your local Radio Shack to get an adapter that will allow you to
use your favorite 3.5mm (1/8 in.) headphones with this cell phone style
jack. It's Radio Shack part # 274-373.
There's also a control panel applet which allows you
to add ring tones. This will search for any .wav files on your Pocket
PC and allow you to set them as ring tones. No worrying about having
to pay for additional ring tones from your service provider!
When using the PDA as a phone, speaker volume is OK:
I tend to leave it at its loudest setting, and in a noisy environment
I find it hard to hear my caller. The mic is awesome: to your call recipient,
calls made from the phone sound like land-line and background sounds
are clearly recognizable (usually digital wireless turns background sounds
into digitized unrecognizable sound bits). There is also a speaker phone
function that works very well (on par with the Kyocera
6035, if you've ever used one). There is sadly no voice dialing on
the T-Mobile. However you do get speed dialing.
The included cradle
Size comparison: iPAQ top, T-Mobile bottom
Is your Pocket PC Ringing?
Even if the PDA is turned off, the phone section can
remain turned on, so that your T-Mobile will ring (in your choice of
ring tones). The same goes with SMS messages: if one comes in, your PDA
will let you know with whatever alert sound you've chosen. The phone
supports caller ID and of course will also ID anyone in your address
book, regardless of whether or not the caller has blocked caller ID.
You cannot have a simultaneous browser (GPRS) and phone conversation
You can turn the PDA off, the phone off, turn both
off or have both on. When the phone is on, an LED at the top of the unit
blinks green to tell you that your phone is on and you have service.
The same LED lights orange during charging and stays solid greeen when
the T-Mobile is charged, so you won't get a visual reminder that the
phone is on due to the dual-purpose LED.
The phone dialer integrates with the Pocket PC contacts
app. Click and hold on a person in your contacts list, and you'll see
Dial as an option. The T-Mobile will list only one option if you happen
to have more than one number stored for your contact: in order of precedence:
the work phone, home phone and mobile. So, if you tap and hold on the
listing for Joe Blow in your contacts list, and if you have a work number
for him, the option "Dial Work" will appear. If you'd prefer
to call his cell phone, you'd have to open his contact record in your
address book and click on the hyperlinked cell numbe listing to dial
that one instead of Work. If you have a URL or email address entered
for Joe Blow, those will also be hpyerlinked and will launch Pocket IE
and Pocket Outlook respectively if you click on them.
There is also a Phone Log that tells you who you called
and the duration of the call. Features such as Caller ID, Call Waiting,
Conference calls, Voicemail and SMS notifications are supported (whether
you have these depends on what your calling plan provides). A neato feature
is that you can actually add notes to the call log while on a call. Call
up the current call log entry, enter notes, directions or whatever, and
you're set. The call logs can be accessed later via the Notes application
built into the Pocket PC OS.
Since this is a GSM device and uses a SIM, you have
the option to copy contact names/phone numbers to and from your SIM card,
and there's a separate "Phone Book" application under the Start
Menu that allows you to work with any contacts you have stored on your
SIM. You can copy contacts to and from your SIM and dial contacts on
your SIM card.
If you've ever had a hard reset on the road, you know
how devastating that can be. If your Pocket PC were also your phone,
that damage is at least doubled. Fear not-- well, don't worry as much
as you thought you would -- similar to the iPAQ and Jornada 560 series,
there's a utility that allows you to back up and store your contacts
and calendar on internal Flash ROM (referred to as the File Store on
iPAQs). Even if you do a hard reset, your contacts and appointments will
be intact. There's also a utility that will backup your phone settings
and Outlook settings to Flash ROM. This takes about one minute; a heartening
fact if you're worried about being forced to setup your phone to reach
the cellular network hundreds of miles from home due to a hard reset.
Expandability, Ports and
The T-Mobile has an IR port at the top side of
the unit (see the picture above). A very logical place :-) The
serial connector seems identical to the iPAQ 3800 and 3900 series.
In fact, the iPAQ charger, with the iPAQ dongle adapter, will fit
the T-Mobile, but the circuitry is different since the iPAQ charger
will not charge the T-Mobile. Likewise, the angle of the serial
connector is different, so you won't be able to fully seat the
T-Mobile in an iPAQ 3800/3900 cradle.
The headset jack, as previously mentioned, isn't
the 3.5mm one used on other Pocket PCs and consumer electronics
devices. Rather it's the size used by many cell phones and works
with various hands free sets. There are adapters available at Radio
Shack to convert the cell phone audio jack to a standard 3.5mm
stereo audio jack (Radio Shack part # 274-373, "Stereo-to-Stereo
Audio Adapter 1/8" phone plug to 3/32" phone jack").
The wireless Internet access via GPRS works well,
though GPRS in the US averages only about 30k - 40k in many locations.
Still slower than our old standby the 56k modem. So far, in the
morning hours in Silicon Valley, I got about 50k (only slightly
slower than the 60k I get with the Verizon Sierra Wireless AirCard
555 via the 1xrTT network). In the afternoons and evenings, things
slow down to 30K. However, this still beats CPDP networks like
the Omniksy and iPAQnet solutions hands down since they run at
19.2k. Your mileage may vary as we in California don't have the
best GSM/GPRS coverage.
Should you manage to surf the Net and download
some cool MP3s, Outlook attachments and anything else that catches
your fancy, you'll be able to save them to a memory card in the
MMC/SD card slot. The card slot is at the bottom of the T-Mobile,
beside the serial connector.This doesn't support SDIO. I used 128
and 64 meg SanDisk and SimpleTech cards without a problem. Playback
speed for movies and MP3s from the SD card is very acceptable.
Games also run well in terms of speed. However, some games may
be hard to control because the Send and End phone buttons at the
bottom of the unit are permanantly mapped to the phone and games
can't take over these buttons.
Battery Life, Software
Battery power in terms of PDA use, seems decent
to very good so far (it's only been two days, so I'll update after
more testing). The phone seems to use very litle battery compared
to PDA functions. So far, I've run fairly intensive games, surfed
the Net via GPRS for 1/2 hour, spent 10 minutes on the phone in
calls, played 9 minutes worth of movies (via DivX, which works
like a charm), in two hours of use and managed to bring the battery
down to 80%.
The software bundle won't have you jumping for
joy, but at this price with a built-in GSM/GPRS phone, who can
complain that much? You'll get the standard bundle of Pocket PC
software (MS Reader, Media Player, Terminal Server and the usual
Word, Excel, Pocket Outlook and Pocket IE).
price $549 with activation.
Great price for a Pocket PC 2002 PDA that also includes an integrated
cell phone! Very good integration of cell phone and PDA functionality
in terms of dialing, SMS and Internet. Excellent voice quality
on calls. Excellent speaker phone. Great design and reasonable
size for a phone that doubles as a Pocket PC. Expandable with
an SD slot. Con: Customer service must replace the battery for
you. Only 32 megs of RAM. Incoming call volume for phone calls
could be louder (in standard mode, not speaker phone). If you
play games that use the hardware buttons, you're in for a challenge
because the two bottom buttons can't be mapped by other applications
(they're the call send and end buttons). You'll have to use the
two buttons at the top of the screen.
TFT color LCD, 12 bit, 4096 colors, Screen Size Diag:
3.5", Resolution: 240 x 320.
Polymer rechargeable. Battery is replaceable by customer
service. 1500 mA. Claimed battery life: Talk Time
5 hours (PDA off), 180 hours standby.
x 2.9 x 0.7. Weight Approximately 7.1 oz.
in speaker, mic and stereo headphone jack. Voice
Recorder and Windows Pocket Media Player included.
PC 2002 operating system. Microsoft Pocket Office
suite including Pocket Word, Excel, Internet Explorer,
Reader, and Outlook. Also, Terminal Services, MSN
Instant Messenger for Pocket PC and Voice Recorder
as well as handwriting recognition.
SD (Secure Digital) slot (non-SDIO).
with GPRS. Dual band 900 MHz (Europe) and 1900 MHz