I mentioned in my HTC Touch review that HTC seem to be pushing the envelope with their handsets at the moment. It’s fair to say that HTC are adding features and functionality quicker than even Microsoft themselves. Now, with the TyTN II, HTC has thrown everything into the specifications listings – the only thing missing is the kitchen sink.
For example, GPS in on board, meaning your favourite satellite navigation programs will run without the need for extra Bluetooth sat-nav receivers. Get this handset and you can stick your Bluetooth GPS receiver on eBay, then never have to worry about charging and faffing with two seperate devices again. The HTC TyTN II – aka the HTC P4550 or Kaiser – is the true one-for-all device. Don’t believe me? Read on.
What you see here is the final branded handset – this is the HTC P4550 you can purchase directly from HTC. It’s a SIM-free handset, meaning you can chop and change networks whenever you feel. The handset has one simple HTC logo on the top right and an easy-to-access SIM slot at the back of the screen.
As usual we’ve been lucky enough to get the finalised handset, however the internal software will have a few more tweaks before you buy the handset in the shops. For this reason we’ve only briefly covered the software below but we’ve more than made up for it with some very nice close-up shots and a video of the screen slide and tilt action.
So the specs then, well – I hope you’re sitting comfortably. Firstly we’ve got video calling thanks to that face-pointing VGA camera on the front. That obviously means 3G, but there’s HSPDA (3G on steroids) and HSUPA (even quicker) and the usual GPRS and EDGE connectivity. If that’s not enough for you then WiFi (802.11b/g) and Bluetooth 2.0 is crammed in too. The camera around the back in an auto-focus 3 megapixel shooter which works amazingly well. There’s also a scroll-wheel, MicroSD slot at the bottom and stacks on on-board memory too – a whopping 256Mb ROM and 128Mb of RAM. The unit is powered by Windows Mobile 6 Pro on a Qualcomm MSM7200 CPU at 400Mhz.
Oh, and did we mention that automatic sliding screen? It not only slides, it tilts too. Why bother moving your hand when the screen can be tilted to any angle of your choice? :) It’s great and it provokes interest in the device. This alone is what handset manufacturers seek – to grab headlines and turn heads. LG had a shiny phone with hidden touch-sensitive keys, Motorola had a thin RAZR handset, the iPhone has a liquid-smooth interface and HTC have a tilt and slide screen on a device brimming with every doohickey under the sun.
Imagine the HTC Universal on a diet, then stick the screen on the other way around and ramp up the camera quality and you’re almost there.
I figured a quick way to introduce you to the handset is by way of a video clip. I’d literally had the phone for about four hours and put my thoughts straight into this video. It’s about 6 minutes long and it’ll give you a great overview of the device.
Now for a good ‘ole look at the handset in close-up.
The front of the device is a dark silver brushed aluminium with a crisply cut hole for the earpiece at the top. Inside here are the flashing LED’s to show network, power and Bluetooth activity.
Towards the bottom of the 2.8″ screen is a polished shiny band of buttons – clockwise they’re the “Answer”, “Call release”, “OK” and “Windows” keys. They’re easy to find and unmistakable.
In the centre of these keys are some dark silver keys. Here you’ll see the standard soft-keys for activating those options at the bottom of the screen plus there’s the shortcut buttons into Internet Explorer and the Messaging application. At the centre of those is your navigation control with a shiny “action” button at the very centre.
At the base of the handset is your oh-so-familiar miniUSB port, one of those lanyard holes, a reset button and a small hole for the microphone. You’ll also find a microSD slot for additional memory. It’s protected by a protective rubber door that flips up for easy access. Notice here how the lower portion of the phone is ribbed around the edge, whilst the top is polished. The lower rubberised half helps when you’re gripping the phone.
You can just see on the shots above that the stylus / pen is on the lower-right side of the device. This may take some getting used to, especially if you’re an SPV M3100 / T-Mobile MDA Vario II user already. You’ll also notice that the keyboard slides out from the right side of the device instead of the left.
Here’s the right-side. Again, notice that difference in surface between the top half and bottom half of the unit. The camera button is here – it protrudes a little further than the power button, this is mainly because it’s a rather splendid camera with an auto-focus. Press this camera button in and it’ll focus in, then press it down to snap a photo. Job done. The usual power button is on the right. Again, lets’ not forget that – because the camera button is on your top right when your snapping people (like it would be on a normal camera), the screen has to actually flip upside down so that the icons and preview window details are displayed right.
Here’s the stylus – it’s a full-length one and sits on the bottom right of the TyTN II when closed or the bottom left when you’ve got the keyboard extended. This took me a bit of getting used to – I’m right-handed so putting it into a slot on the lower left seemed a little strange.
The top of the device had nothing – no buttons or slots. On the left is the voice-dial / notes access button (press once for voice dial, hold for notes). There’s also the scroll-wheel – scroll around to nip through menus, web pages, lists and messages and then push in to select. You’ve also got an OK button.
That long plastic part next to the OK button is actually the SIM card slot. Let’s have a look at this again whilst having a nose around the slide and tilt mechanism.
Here’s the device all closed up – you can see that slightly pronounced camera button a bit better on this shot. I decided to put the handset next to an Orange SPV M3100 and you can see that there’s no “falling back” like the unbalanced M3100, which rocks back when you slide the screen out.
See those small silver hinges above the keyboard? They hold the screen up – you can angle it to your choice and it hold the wait of the screen perfectly. There’s no floppiness and the hinges feel stiff enough to hold the screen at any angle you feel. You’ll need to slide the screen back to this point before you can tilt the screen, so there’s no chance of anything popping up in your trousers (errr……..)
Here’s the keyboard tilted upright. Like I said in the video it can be a little tricky to hit those top two soft-keys with the screen tilted up. Let’s have a look around the back and see how this looks from there.
You can see the hinges holding the screen up, plus there’s that SIM card slot…
..let’s open up that SIM slot and have a look at that. It locks or unlocks with a small switch ..
Opening this door will turn off the device. The SIM card can be from any network because this is a network-free handset.
A lot of you asked for me to show the device compared to the existing Orange SPV M3100 / T-Mobile MDA Vario II. It’s roughly the same dimensions, yet the HTC TyTN II is a little thinner. This is refreshing considering the level of kit you get inside, plus the hinge mechanism etc.
There’s no need for a battery release catch on the TyTN II – the back slides off with a push if you need to access the battery.
Notice how the navigation keys end up being on the left when you open the keyboard with the TyTN II.
I’ve just got point out that the TyTN II has switched positions on the shots below..
The keyboard is very similar to the HTC P4350 keyboard and comes with rubberised keys. There’s a white backlight on these keys and you get the usual “FN” and “CAPS” lights to show you what’s happening.
You guys asked for another few comparison shots, so here’s one featuring an Orange SPV C600, an M700 and a Sky Remote! :)
The camera is an auto-focus 3 megapixel device which will automatically look at what your snapping and set the focus. Here’s some example shots. Click on the photo for the original, which is taken straight off the phone itself.
We took a trip to Brownhills Market. What the hell I was doing with several hundred quids worth of phone around a market that sells illegal DVD’s, stolen goods and knock-off clothing I don’t know! :)
As I mentioned earlier, the TyTN II we’re using here has an early version of the software, however we’ve got the added bonus of a GPS tester, which I’ve used out in the garden to get this picture. The GPS operates on COM4 at a baudrate of 57600. There’s not a great deal you can say about GPS really. It works well and, when I ran around the garden, it told me how fast I was going to.
GPS will of course mean that there’s no need for an extra Bluetooth GPS receiver and you only need to worry about carrying one thing to the car. Although TomTom and all the other sat-nav programs will use the on-board GPS, you can also use it for hiking, running or geo-tagging your photos.
I managed to get TomTom running on the TyTN II too, which installed fine and picked up the on-board GPS using “other wired GPS” and “57600”, “COM4”. It soon detected where I was and I was all ready to navigate anywhere I needed. Here’s a shot of it running. You can also switch the screen around and have it on your dashboard if you want, it looks quite cool tilted up whilst driving.
The software on this device is currently in testing. It’s Windows Mobile 6 Pro and there’s no doubt that you’re going to get the full Mobile Office suite when it’s complete. It resonds quickly and multitasks well. If you open this up and start loading applications on it you’ll soon be surprised by the lack of stumbling from the CPU. There’s acres of storage space and a great CPU.
The screen switch from portrait to landscape mode is quick and the scroll-wheel interfaces perfectly with programs like Internet Explorer and the Contacts list
OK, let’s get the bad stuff out the way out the way first. Yes, it’s a bit heavy and you’re going to have problems pressing those two soft-keys when the keyboard is tilted. I’m picky though – I’ll find fault with the smallest of things and this shouldn’t put you off. Think about what you’re getting here – every possible mobile technology has been addded and it works very well indeed.
Firstly, the sat-nav is an excellent addition and, even if you think you won’t need it, installing free software like Google maps will soon change your mind. At home or at work you can use the wireless, and you’ve got the possibility of using VoIP providers or Skype for cheap calls. Then, when you’re away from your precious hot-spot there’s every connectivity option in the book – you’re only restricted by your mobile network. The keyboard is easy to use, the memory lets you push the device further and the CPU keeps up with the pace too.
Internally the phone speeds along and the all-important screen switching happens relatively quickly. Power users will be happy with the fact that many applications can run at once (all whilst your using the sat-nav to navigate home and send files over Bluetooth), plus the HTC network wizard is on-board to detect your SIM card and grab all the necessary settings for the MMS and Internet connectivity to stop you having to faff about.
This is a real power-house and, considering how much it does, you should never need to carry a second phone around. This phone will let you call your boss, navigate your way to a job, make a call in the car over Bluetooth, connect to your Exchange server, edit and create Office documents, take pictures, make a video call home and snap some good shots whilst your out. Oh, then you’ve got the chance to install extra software and post pictures on the internet, create a mobile blog, and install extra external memory with ease.
If don’t want to compromise on kit, get this device. Imagine you’re about to buy a car – you could get the base model where there’s blank plates on the dashboard where switches should be – or you could get the top-of-the-range car. This, this HTC TyTN II / Kaiser / P4550 is that car.
Link – HTC TyTN II @ Devicewire.com
(Please note that this review will be updated when the final software is available)
Read on for your questions and answers!