- 3G support
- good hardware design including side-mounted jog wheel
- good screen
- document readers for Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF
- No front-facing camera for video calls
- lacks Wi-Fi
HTC recently launched two Windows Mobile devices as its first assault on the market with own-branded hardware. We have already reviewed one of these, the HTC TyTN , Windows Mobile 5.0 connected handheld; now it's the turn of HTC's Windows Mobile smartphone, the MTeoR (pronounced ‘meteor’). Like the TyTN, the MTeoR is a 3G device, which is a first for a Windows Mobile Smartphone.
At 120g the MTeoR isn't the lightest Windows Mobile Smartphone we've seen, but it's still an acceptable weight; it measures 49mm by 112.4mm by 14.8mm -- a little tall, but pocket-friendly enough.
The MTeoR is clearly a Windows Mobile smartphone, yet it differs significantly from other examples of its ilk. Its general design is a rather striking mix of slate grey, black and silver, with some subtle angles on the fascia and a slight downward curve of the top edge giving it a generally sleek appearance.
The MTeoR’s most obvious Windows Mobile smartphone giveaway is the bank of buttons between screen and number pad that act as shortcuts to various features.
These include four miniature, buttons two of which map onto the Windows Mobile softmenus, one of which takes you to the Messaging centre for email, MMS and SMS management; the other fires up- Internet Explorer.
Beneath this row is a block containing another four buttons, two on the left and two on the right. These are the Call and End buttons, a shortcut button to the Today screen and another that acts as a back button. Between these is a mini-joystick for navigating within and between applications.
The number pad's buttons are also relatively small, but well spaced and consequently easy to hit. All the buttons have a rubberised finish and are raised from their surroundings, making them relatively easy to find.
As well as the mini-joystick, HTC has included a jog button on the left edge of the device. This is not a fully rotating wheel, but an up/down button. Rather than having a separate ‘OK’ button, you press it to make a selection. In fact, you have to press it quite a long way to get a reaction -- we found that it took a fingernail to fully depress it rather than the flat of the thumb.
You can only use the scroll wheel for vertical scrolling -- it has no function for moving through a horizontal row of icons, so you have to use the mini-joystick for that. Nonetheless, it's useful for moving through documents such as emails or Web pages.
The left edge also houses a covered slot for a microSD card, should you wish to boost the internal memory. On the upper right edge is a shortcut button for the built-in camera, and another that on a short press starts the voice dialing software and on a longer press activates the sound recorder.
Halfway down the right edge is the infrared port. The top edge has the power switch, while the bottom edge houses the mini-USB connector that handles power input, PC connection and the provided stereo headset.
The 2.2in., 240-by-320 pixel TFT screen is sharp, clear and bright. It delivers 16-bit colour -- less than many mobile phones are capable of these days, but perfectly adequate.
The MTeoR's standout feature is its 3G capability, which, along with tri-band GSM, GPRS and EDGE support, should cater well for those needing data communications. It is not HSDPA compliant, however. Anyone keen on the 3G aspect of this handset should note at the outset that there's no front-facing camera, so video calls are out of the question.
A camera at the back caters for stills and video, but it only offers a maximum stills resolution of 1.3 megapixels (1,280 by 1,024 pixels), has no self portrait mirror and lacks a flash unit.
The phone includes infrared and Bluetooth, but, unlike HTC's larger TyTN, doesn't include Wi-Fi. This is a shame, as Wi-Fi would make for a more complete set of wireless communications options.
Like all recent Windows Mobile devices, the MTeoR supports Direct Push email, allowing corporate users to synchronise email with suitably configured Exchange-based servers.
The processor, Samsung’s SC32442A running at 300MHz, performed well during testing. THe memory complement is 64MB of RAM and 128MB of ROM, and fresh out of the box our review unit reported a shade under 64MB of storage capacity free. As already noted, this can be expanded with microSD cards.
The Windows Mobile software has been augmented with applications aimed at business users. The ClearVue suite of document readers allow you to view -- but not edit -- Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents and PDFs. This may appeal particularly to those interested in email synchronisation, but it's worth noting that the small screen, while good, is not ideally suited to reading these types of documents -- especially if they are long or complex.
Performance & battery life
Battery life was fairly strong. We asked the MTeoR to play MP3 music continuously from a microSD card and forced the screen to stay on throughout. Under these conditions, it delivered nine and a quarter hours of music.
Overall, we found the MTeoR to be a rewarding smartphone to use. It feels good in the hand, and the fast processor means that you see less of the ‘wait’ icon than you do with some other Windows Mobile smartphones. Its 3G performance was acceptable too, although anyone interested in video calling should look elsewhere.