HTC P4350 Review



Built by HTC and originally named the Herald this is the HTC P4350. It’s slimmer
than other similar devices, such as the Orange SPV M3100
or T-Mobile Vario II and now the QWERTY sliding keyboard slides out from the
opposite side. It’ll be appearing soon as the Vodafone VPA Compact IV too.

At this point I’d probably show you a shot of the box, however our loaned P4350
arrived in rather strange circumstances which we won’t go into too much.
Basically it involved a large bag and some bubble rap, however I can tell you
that the following is included..

- Leather case
- Spare stylus
- Stereo headset
- Main Power Charger
- USB sync cable
- Software CD
- User manual

The device is noteably thin and comes with the standard kit you’d expect –
although there’s no 3G, which is a shame. It comes with Windows Mobile 5.0 (or
5.3, whatever you wanna call it – there’s AKU 3 on board), quad band GPRS /
EDGE, WiFi, 128Mb ROM and 64Mb RAM running on a TI OMAP 850 CPU at 200Mhz.
There’s also a microSD card slot which actually isn’t tucked away under
the battery, Bluetooth 2.0 and a 2 megapixel camera, albeit without a macro lens
or flash.


Outside

On the very top is a power button. You’ll be tapping this when you need to get
the screen back on due to the power saving, so it’s ideally placed on top.

On the right side are two buttons plus, and the lower end, the full-length
stylus is tucked away. The top button gives you access into the Comm Manager.
This will give you control over the various wireless capabilities of the P4350.
You can start / stop the push-email functions, turn off WiFi, or Bluetooth, or –
if you want – every bit of radio activity (flight mode). The button below this
let’s you access the voice mail application if you tap it, or – if you hold it
down – will go into the Notes application to record voice notes.

This is also the side where the keyboard pops out so let’s have a look at that
too. Whenever I’ve reviewed devices like this in the past I’ve always ranted
about how the screen never comes on when the keyboard extends. Well, now it
does. Just flip the keyboard out and a melodic tone will play and, yes, the
screen comes on and switches to the widescreen format ! Great stuff, it’s all
ready for action straight away. No fiddling about tapping the power button, just
gently push the keyboard and it’ll automatically spring into place.


The keyboard spring mechanism is certainly interesting and works well. There’s
no mid-range and no chance of finding those soft-keys sliding under the screen,
this is requires just one push in either direction and it slides into place. I
must admit that it felt a little weird having the keyboard sliding out from the
right side. Being right-handed I also had problems getting the stylus out when
needed – with the keyboard extended the stylus is on the lower left, hidden by
your left hand. As a previous user of similar devices I’ve grown so used to
having it behind the screen on the tip of my finger, but hey.
The keyboard also has two visable LED’s to indicate whether you’ve pressed the
"Function" button (that round blue button) or the "Shift / CAPS lock" button.

The keyboard itself is pretty similar to what we’ve seen before and works
extremely well. I’ve typed part of this review on the keyboard and it’s such a
joy to be able to slide it out and do some work on the go – no need for a laptop
and no worries about having a fiddly uncomfortable keyboard. Each key is a
plastic / rubber feel with slight "doming" so that you can find each one easily.
All the keys are backlight with a soft white glow. Each key has a dual purpose,
and you can locate the second function by merely looking for the blue letters
and characters. Again I found that pressing Shift + A for capital "A’s" at the
start of sentences a little tricky.

Previous users of similar devices may again find that having the navigation
controls sited on the left side (with the keyboard extended) instead of the
right can take a little while to get used to. This is especially true when
browsing web pages, which naturally feel like they should have a scroll control
on the right, not the left. I can see the thinking behind this switch – it
allows most right-handed people the ability to use the stylus (which is a
non-extending, full length one) in your right hand whilst scrolling with your
left, however in practive you have to swap hands to get the stylus out of it’s
slot anyhow.

On the left is the camera button which is, as always, nicely positioned for
using the device like a normal camera. There’s a volume slider, reset "hole" and
microSD slot covered with a rubber flap and … no wheel… again, this may seem
a little weird to upgraders from similar devices. I rather liked that wheel –
why remove it ?


On the bottom is the miniUSB slot and the lock / unlock switch for the battery.
There’s also a small hole for the microphone.


The bottom control panel did find me sat on the fence for a short while. When I
first saw it I thought it had been lifted from the dashboard of a car. These are
big, solid, metallic buttons with the symbols cut into them. At first I didn’t
like them mainly because they looked a little large and out of place on the
device, especially as there isn’t much in the way of brushed metal anywhere else
on the device.

One thing I did notice is that it’s possible to insert the stylus incorrectly
and actually bend the battery cover off. The pictures below show the problem…

With the rear panel locked down it’s still possible to catch or
lift either side, which I found a little worrying, although it didn’t happen too
often.

The rear of the unit is mostly black with the HTC logo at the
bottom. As you’ve already seen, the whole rear panel lifts off after unlocking.
The camera itself does protrude slightly and can feel a little strange in the
hand at times – it almost has sharp edges and sits on the outer edge of the
handset.


With the rear panel removed you can clearly see the full-length
stylus sat in it’s holder. The SIM card sits near the top and slides in next to
the camera.

 

 

Inside
 


Within the HTC P4350 is Windows Mobile 5.0. It features push-email (provided
you’ve got an Exchange Server which has been correctly configured), Adobe
Reader, AudioManager, Zip and the Office Mobile suite plus much more. Above
you’ll see a screenshot of the main homescreen. This may differ slightly
depending on which "Today" screen you’ve selected – colours and icons can be
altered plus much more in the settings options we’lll mention below.

Here’s an
overview of the programs available within the "Start" option.


We’ve got the usual games – Solitaire and Bubble Breaker.
ActiveSync will let you keep your contacts, appointments, tasks, email and other
personal data up-to-date and synchronised on both your PC and your p4350. This
means that if, for example, you alter the phone number of a contact on your
device it’ll automatically update on your PC next time you sync.

Here’s a quick look at the Contacts and how to add a new contact using the phone
itself. You can, of course, use your Outlook to add the contact and then simply
connect the p4350 to your machine too.

Here’s me adding my new contact – Billy Joe. I can add his job
title, department, who he works for, where they’re based and his email address
plus much more. This information will get displayed whenever he calls, when I
look him up (on my PC or phone) or – if you install sat-nav products (like
TomTom for example) – it’ll use this address to navigate to.

On the next page we can choose a personal ring tone so I can
decide if it’s a personal call etc. We can also add a website address, home
address details plus stacks of other information – there’s even a notes field
where you can add special bits of information such as.. "Billy loves steak – he
is a top customer" etc etc.

You might think that this level of information may seem excessive, but it’s
details like this that will give you the edge over other colleagues – especially
if you’re in touch with many people in your job. I always use the same example
when writing these reviews, but just imagine how much better someone will
respond if you call them and you say, "It’s your birthday next week isn’t it?
How’s the kids by the way?"

Calling

I’ll just dip into the process of making a call whilst we’re looking at the
Contacts option. It can be done in many different ways. You can use the keypad
(below), choose someone from the Contacts List, pick a number that’s been sent
within an SMS / email, predictive dial, voice dial plus many other methods.

First let’s have a look at using the standard keypad. There’s nice chunky
buttons here plus it’ll tell me who I called last.

Using the keypad you can either dial a number normally or use
the predictive dial function. This will look at the digits you enter and matches
them to your contacts. In essence this means that, when I press "24", it should
match that with "BI" in the Contacts list and bring Billy Joe up. This it does,
but for some reason the same can’t be said for entering numbers. Let me explain.
Here in Europe we tend to enter numbers in the +44 international format (for UK
as an example) due to the fact that we need to use +44 whenever we hop on a
ferry to France etc. I’ve entered Billy Joes’ number in this format, but if I
start dialling his mobile number (+44111222005) by typing "1112xxxx" it simply
misses it and doesn’t translate the 1112xxx to be +441112xxxx. This can be seen
below…

Microsoft did a lot of work to get this rectified and ensure
that handsets are localised correctly, so I can only assume that – as this is a
network free handset – it’s not designed to translate international codes to
local area codes. I fiddled around with the regional settings and set everything
to UK to fix this but I ended up having to type "+44111" to get it to find Billy
Joe ..

You could argue that this isn’t a widely used function, however
some people remember numbers well, and if you’ve entered all your numbers in
international format and you’re trying to call your Aunty Maud in Birmingham it
won’t pick out her number when you dial "0121", which is a shame.

Anyhow, the other way of finding a contact is merely to slide
out the keyboard and type part of their name..

There we go, I’ve entered "bil.." and we’ve found Billy Joe. If
I click on his contact details I get this..


Above is his picture (good if you synchronise your details with
an Exchange Server – everyone in your company can see what a customer looks like
for future recognition at meetings and business exhibitions) and all of his
other details. You can add a voice tag here so you can voice-dial him or you can
choose a contact method – browse to his site, email him, text, call etc etc.

I’m going to give him a call..

During the call I can turn the speaker on, place him on hold or
make a note. Sometime I put a caller onto speaker and make some notes while
they’re chatting – who needs a separate pen and paper ?!  Once you’ve
finished you can save the number to your contacts list (useful if you’ve never
called them before and don’t have them saved), check the call history between
them and yourself or add a speed dial – which is another way of calling people
quickly…

If I add Billy Joe to number "2" then I can call him simply by
pressing and holding "2" at any time.

OK, let’s carry on looking at the Programs list. Adobe Reader
gives the ability to read PDF documents on the go. This is always helpful when
you receive an email from the office with the latest sales charts or perhaps an
invoice for something etc.

HTC have included their own AudioManager, which I have to
confess is quite quick and perhaps more nimble than Windows Media Player is.
It’ll sort your media into various categories and playlists – such as albums –
can be played to keep you entertained when you’re out and about.

Here’s me playing a bit of Gnarls Barkley. It’ll display the
album information, song name and music style. I can also instantly set the MP3
I’m listening to as my ring tone, something Windows Media Player doesn’t do. I
love the nice big buttons here, plus the huge "Play / Pause" button – great when
you’re walking around and don’t want to faff with a stylus.

Next up is Bluetooth Explorer. This is actually an extension of
the normal File Explorer which is also included on the p4350. It’ll give you
quick and easy access into Bluetooth devices near you and offers a simple method
of transferring files. Here below you can see me doing a scan for new Bluetooth
devices. Luckily I’ve found another Windows Mobile Device called "Gears likes
beer" (it’s true, I do!), and I can trawl around the device in a similar fashion
to "My Network Places" on a PC.

The camera is a 2 megapixel affair and doesn’t have a macrol ens
or flash. The images it produces are pretty good and some examples of these can
be seen below. The new HTC software is included which give you extra photography
options such as light balance, zoom plus you can record video or use "Picture
Themes" to take fun photos of your mates.

On the top you’ll see information about what capture mode you’re
using, the resolution, where images will be stored (internal memory in this
case) and how many more pictures you can take. On the left is your zoom control
- this is optical and you’ll need to reduce your resolution to zoom more because
it simply enlarges the pixels. Finally at the bottom you’ll see the settings,
pictures and video buttom (this opens up the window below), light balance, light
balance area, light mode and timer.

If I click on the checker-board style icon it’ll show me all the
photos I’ve taken. I can start a slideshow here, save the picture as a contact
picture, set as the background on the main page, email, beam or delete.. there’s
stacks more options besides.


 

The Mobile Office suite is included on the HTC P4350 and will
let you work very easily on the move. Writing Word Documents on the move is
fantastic – I write many blog and news items on the keyboard, then simply save
and bluetooth it to my PC when I’m home. You can also open and edit Excel
Documents and Powerpoint Presentations.

Microsoft Office is common in every computer in pretty much every home and
office on the planet, so being able to write out documents whilst in the pub and
then send it to your boss via the WiFi / EDGE connectivity on the phone.

"Another pint please barman! This working is wearing me out!"


Whilst we’re talking about working better and quicker, that
Notes button we mentioned earlier in the review (on the top right side) will
open the Notes application. You can doodle or type notes to yourself with this..

File Explorer – which we touched on earlier with the Bluetooth
Explorer section – can be used to do pretty much everything you’d expect from
Windows Explorer on your PC. You can also beam or bluetooth files from here, or
attach them to emails (you can do this in the messaging application too)

You also get Pocket MSN. This will let you keep in touch with
your mates or work colleagues on MSN Messenger / Windows Live plus you can write
Hotmail emails or read existing mail.

You also get Remote Desktop Client, or Terminal Services as it’s
also known. This will let you remotely control PC’s and servers. Sometimes I use
this to remotely control my laptop upstairs when I’m sat on the sofa watching
TV. Lazy huh ? :)

Voice Recorder also comes on board. This looks like a great tool
for recording meetings or short memos. You can MMS the resulting files, set them
as ringtones, beam them or send them via email. Again, this is all about making
your life easier. Record a meeting and then email it to yourself so that you can
remember what was said. Quick and simple.

We also get Zip, something I’m very glad of. Files you receive
on email will usually be zipped up, so it’s nie to be able to unpack them on the
device and work on the go – it’s also nice to be able to zip them back up again
after you’ve played with the document and forward them back again.

Lastly we have the calendar application, something which again
will synchronise with your PC and will bleep when an appointment or meeting is
approaching. You can easily manage your life here and remind yourself of
everything from a big presentation to a trip to the shops to get coffee. There’s
a variety of views and alarms to choose from.


 

Settings

As per usual with Windows Mobile you’ve got the ability to alter
pretty much everything on the device. If you don’t like the way something looks
or acts, you can change it.

The Personal Settings page is first up. You can alter what the
buttons do ..

..change the musical tone which is played when the keyboard pops
out…

….change which items are displayed on the menu on the main
Today page ….

…or fiddle with the ringtone, MMS tone, email sound, text
sound plus many more files.

You can also alter the Today screen itself, maybe to remove some
parts you don’t use much.

On the next tab in Settings you can access all the system
controls. You can alter the backlight brightness (good when you’re in the car at
night for example), clear the storage (this restores the p4350 back to the
factory defaults), set yourself an alarm or three plus much more.

The alarm functionality on the Pocket PC is much more advanced
that the Smartphone variant. I can give each alarm setting a friendly name and
set it to only wake me on certain days…

You can also access information about the p4350 in the About and
Device Information screens. This will show your complete Call Duration plus some
detailed info on the device itself. You can check the "Memory" option and see
how much memory is being used up – this will also let you stop programs that may
be running in the background and consuming your resources unnecessarily.


This is also where I accessed those Regional Settings I
mentioned earlier…

You also get something called "Task Manager" which could be
confused with.. err.. a Task Manager. It doesn’t actually let you control
running tasks, instead it’s actually a new name for that magic "X Button"
program we’ve seen before. Many people love this as it lets them actually
properly, completely, totally close programs down instead of knocking them into
the background.

In the final "Connections" tab within Settings we get access
into every piece of communication hardware on the p4350.

You may already be familiar with the Comm Manager, which is the
easiest and quickest way to control your device..

I can choose to turn WiFi, Bluetooth, ActiveSync or push email
on or off plus I can turn the phone facility off or switch the whole device into
"Flight Mode" so that the nice ladies on the plane don’t tell you off. If you
click the "Settings" option within this screen you can access the WiFi Access
Points, although the P4350 will tell you when it’s found one no matter what
you’re doing.

Conclusion

The P4350 is a slim device with a great keypad which is easy and
comfortable to use. You’ll find your self jotting down fairly "simple" Word
documents on this and then – when you email it to your boss – it’s a lot more
detailed and longer than you thought purely because the keyboard is such a joy
to use.

The bad points? You’ve got the lack of 3G, the slight expensive price tag and a
slightly flimsy rear battery cover, but I’m prepared to forgive these minor
points as the all-round performance and flexibility more than makes up for it.

The HTC P4350 is a great all-round package. It’s small enough to feel like a
phone and flexible enough to do most laptop tasks. If you go out and forget your
laptop you’ll never need to worry if you’ve got this in your pocket. Your boss
will think you’re at work, your friends will think it’s a cool phone and you’ll
have a practical, versatile device for every day use.

Link –
europe.htc.com
 
Link –

Product page

Buy from – expansys.com
or
find
a local stockist here.

 


Note – This handset is also available as the 02 Xda Terra


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  • Djkayblackbox

    Please how can i change the language

  • CNJ

    clear the storage (this restores the p4350 back to the
    factory defaults) how can I undo this to change it back to the previous setting all data is gone?
    newinfo@absamail.co.za