Update: our full review of the HTC Advantage X7501 is posted here: http://www.mobiletechreview.com/HTC-Advantage.htm
We just lucked into the new HTC Advantage X7501, the US version of the Advantage X7500 released a few months ago. In fact, we didn't think the 7501 was even officially released yet .
For those who aren't familiar with the Advantage, it's a Windows Mobile device with a VGA display, triband HSDPA radio (that works on the US bands as well as Europe and Asia), GPS, 3 megapixel autofocus camera with flash, detachable full keyboard and of course it has WiFi, Bluetooth and other goodies. From the specs you might think this was a Pocket PC Phone (aka Windows Mobile Professional), but it's really designed as a handheld computer and notebook replacement. Yes, you can make phone calls but the phone radio is really there for data foremost. And yes, it's unlocked for use with any US carrier. The US retail price is $899.
What's different about the Advantage X7501 model? It's running Windows Mobile 6 rather than the 7500's Windows Mobile 5.
We'll post our full review in the upcoming days, and provide photos and our first thoughts now. First thought: this thing is way cooler than we first though. I'd played with the Advantage 7500 before it was released and it was neat and useful but the final version, and especially the Advantage X7501 with Windows Mobile 6 rocks. I've been working on a review of the Samsung Q1 Ultra UMPC, also a cool device, but hobbled by a woefully inadequate processor. The HTC by comparison is much more usable thanks to Windows Mobile's instant on technology, the 7501's better keyboard and above all, faster performance.
The HTC Advantage 7501 is pretty peppy by Windows Mobile standards, thanks to the 624MHz processor inside. Even better is all the RAM! We often see Windows Mobile devices with 20 to 28 megs of free RAM at boot, and that's just not enough to run several memory hungry programs at once. The 7501 has 83 megs of free RAM at boot! This means you'll rarely have to end programs to free up memory and speed up the device.
Storage is also huge thanks to the 8 gig internal microdrive with 7.6 gigs free. And there's 124 megs of flash memory available to store programs (you can install programs to the microdrive but flash memory is much faster and thus recommended). The microdrive is the perfect place to store maps, documents, videos and images.
The camera sounds impressive at 3MP with an autofocus lens, but it's a typical HTC affair: just OK photos. So far we've seen noise even in outdoors shots and the color balance is too warm.
The GPS is excellent. We've tested it with Google Maps and Virtual Earth Mobile so far, and it acquired 9 satellites outdoors fairly quickly and managed to hold onto 5 indoors. The VGA screen is wonderful for viewing maps: large and colorful.
Speaking of the screen, it's not the brightest we've seen but brightness is adequate, even for outdoor viewing (though avoid direct sunlight). It's very colorful, sharp and just a pleasure to look at overall. Windows Mobile 6 takes better advantage of high resolution displays and IE in high res mode is great. Thanks to the 5" display, IE and other apps also maintain easily readable fonts even in high res mode.
The wafer thin keyboard attaches via a magnet (love notes in the box tell you to keep away from your credit cards, wallet and pacemaker). The magnet is hugely strong and the Advantage is certainly in no danger of tipping off the keyboard. The keys take a very light touch, and so far we've found it quite usable.
WiFi works well for us so far, and we've had no trouble using our SIM cards with the device. More on that in the full review. If you wish to make phone calls, you'll need to use the included stereo wired headset or a Bluetooth headset. HTC realized that not many folks enjoyed holding the Advantage's predecessor, commonly sold as the JasJar, to their head . It is indeed amazing how far HTC and the Advantage have come since the days of the JasJar.
The JasJar and HTC Advantage X7501
The Advantage has a few neat tricks including a backlit joystick and ViewFLO which allows you to scroll in Internet Explorer Mobile and Opera (yes, Opera is pre-installed) by tilting the device up and down or sides, depending on the direction you wish to scroll.
Microsoft Windows Mobile 6 Professional
624 MHz CPU with ATI Graphic Chip W2284
ROM: 256 MB
RAM: 128 MB SDRAM
133.5 mm (L) x 98 mm (W) x 16 mm (T)
Thickness with keyboard: 20 mm
359g (with battery)
5? transmissive TFT-LCD with backlight LEDs, touch-sensitive screen
HSDPA/UMTS (2100 MHz for Europe, 850/1900 MHz for USA)
Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz
5-way Navigation Control, HTC VueFLO motion sensor assisted browsing experience
Keyboard: Dual usage QWERTY keyboard for text input and display protection
Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 b/g
HTC ExtUSB?(11-pin mini-USB and audio jack in one)
HTC proprietary 16-pin combined port (USB 1.1 host/VGA and TV Out)
3 mega-pixel camera with autofocus and flash
Built-in/Dual, Hands-free (microphone and speaker)
Rechargeable Lithium-ion battery, 2200 mAh
MiniSD expansion slot (SDHC compatible)
To learn more about the HTC Advantage, visit HTC's web X7501 web page here: http://www.htc.com/product/03-product_x7501.htm . And feel free to post questions!
Editor in Chief, MobileTechReview
Edited by LisaG (07/29/07 11:03 PM)