GPS and a circular navigation wheel has been a popular combination with
XDA Orbit 2 paving the way with on-board GPS navigation
software, wireless capability and 3 megapixel cameras. On the face of
it the Guide seems to offer a similar setup with the same QVGA 240×320
screen, GPS and WiFi. However, there’s more RAM, more ROM, a faster CPU
and some added goodness from the HTC guys in the form of HTC Footprints
and that oh-so-lovely HTC TouchFLO navigation system for getting around
OS – Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional
CPU – Qualcomm MSM 7225, 528 MHz
Memory – 512 MB ROM / 256 MB RAM
Screen – 2.8″ 240×320 QVGA resolution
Network – HSPA/UMTS/EDGE/GPRS/GSM, HSPA/UMTS 900/2100 MHz and quad-band
Navigation – GPS
Camera – 3.2 Megapixel Colour CMOS with fixed focus
Wireless LAN – WiFi 802.11 b/g
Connectivity – Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR
In the box
First up we wanted to see what you get for your money. To be honest,
you get loads. There’s all the usual stuff – power pack, sync cable,
spare stylus, battery, screen protector and manuals. In addition though
there’s a microSD card (1GB) with CoPilot 7 on, plus there’s a car
cradle for sticking the phone to your windscreen and a car charger for
those moments when the battery meter gets a little too low.
But wait, that’s not everything. You also get a case for your phone.
This is a nice “pouch” style one that looks like those Blackberry ones
but is made of material instead of leather.
The headset is also
brilliant. You get a standard audio headset with a 3.5mm port on the
end, which is great to see and you instantly start thinking it’ll plug
directly into the phone. It doesn’t, but it’s great to see that you can
use your massive “normal” headphones if you wish. Why? Because it plugs
into this thing…
Check out that remote! Is there anything it can’t do ? Answer calls,
drop calls, play and pause music, skip tracks, adjust the volume and
some further buttons on the side for muting the call… all whilst
wearing your massive bass-bin headphones (or the o2 in-the-ear phones,
which are equally good).
We did a little unboxing video so you can see for yourself..
Included within the package, of course, is the car cradle that we’ve
just seen and the car charger. It’s great to see these included with
the phone and it means you can open the box, put your car cradle on the
windscreen, attach the phone and drive away.
It’s an instant travel
companion / navigation device. The sat-nav on this phone comes in the
form of Co-Pilot 7. Now, I’m normally a TomTom user, so co-pilot 7 was
a bit of a learning curve for me. However, it did work very well indeed
and it’s slots into the HTC Footprints system, which is also in the
In addition to the video we took a closer look at the handset with some
up-close shots. The handset has a soft silver battery cover and solid
silver rim around the screen. That soft rubber is also found on the
navigation wheel, which has a large “action” button in the centre which
reminded me about those “dispense ticket” buttons you get on a
pay-and-display machine. The outer edge of the navigation wheel is easy
to rotate thanks to the rubber feel. Surrounding the navigation wheel
is the main control pad which has four buttons, all of which are big
enough to press with very little accuracy. The top-right “HTC
Footprints” button take you into that feature, the top left
“navigation” button takes you into CoPilot and the other two are your
call answer / drop keys.
On the left hand part of the XDA Guide is the audio up and down button.
It’s a thin and tall button which again is easy to locate without much
On the top is the recessed power button which you press once to wake
the device from its’ slumber or hold to power on / off.
On the right side of the device there is not really a fat lot apart
from it’s stylus, which is a full length style that pulls from the top
right hand corner.
At the bottom is the mini USB synchronization socket which also lets
you charge the unit and listen to tunes via the rather flashy headset.
Next to that is the microphone hole.
Another video now. In this one we pop the battery in and take a look at
the navigation system plus the CoPilot Live sat-nav software…
What ? You want to see more of the GPS in action ? Well, we usually do
screen-shots of the sat-nav software but we decided to go out on the
road for a real-life trial of the o2 XDA Guide.
HTC Footprints system, which you may have seen from the video, allows
you to record locations that you may have visited, take photos of them,
write a full description about them and store their GPS locations. This
will not only let you find your way back to them, that location, but
it’s a good way of finding out where you’ve been. The HTC Footprints
app also works with Google maps to show you exactly where you have been
– it’ll will show you an aerial shot of your location to go alongside a
photograph you’ve take with the in-built 3.2 megapixel camera.
I’m here I should mention that this is a fixed-focus cam and it doesn’t
have a flash. It does relatively well in daylight but it can struggle a
little in low light.
A question I always get about touch-screen handsets is just how good
the on-screen keyboard is. I found it to be fairly easy to use, with
HTC adding their own on-screen keyboard to replace the standard
Microsoft one. In the shots below you can see me sending out a text
message with the standard QWERTY keyboard. You can press and hold to
select the characters shown in grey here. There’s also a second
on-screen keypad which is the compact QWERTY. With this system you
press a key once for the first character and twice for the second. It’s
familiar to those using standard phones.
around the device. As usual this is as smooth as silk and lets you
perform regular tasks such as checking your text messages, checking
your e-mail, browsing the web, lstening to music, taking photographs,
viewing your photographs, and more. It will also let you check the
weather forecast and do a search for your local Pizza Hut. This also
gives you access into some of your main settings such as sounds,
wallpaper and communication settings.
HTC have done another fantastic job in hiding the aging Windows Mobile
6.1 Operating System that powers this phone. The interface here also
allows you to add your own programs through a finger friendly grid
system on the last tab. Add additional programs simply by pressing the
+ button and then choose the location of your new program. This gives
you quick access into your regularly used apps.
Programs which are pre-installed include YouTube and an RSS reader
which lets you keep up with the latest news feeds from your favorite
websites. The Microsoft Office Mobile suite is also available, although
it’s tucked away behind the smooth TouchFLO 2D interface. You can use
it to type Word documents, create and edit Excel documents or Power
Point presentations. The lack of an integrated qwerty keyboard or
physical keyboard of any kind is made up for with a new on-screen
keyboard which here is easy enough to use. MSN Messenger is also
included and allows you to keep in touch with friends no matter where
you are, especially when you’re out and about using your page HTC
Footprints and GPS technology.
The audio booster helps to make sounds from the headset richer. The
comm manager gives you quick access into Wi-Fi and other radio
The web browser used on this phone is Opera. This works really well and
it’s a million times better than Internet Explorer – even the new
version of Internet Explorer that comes as part of Windows Mobile 6.5.
HTC are well aware that the user must have a good experience when using
the phone and, unfortunately, IE just doesn’t cut the mustard.
Zip is included as part of the software packages and will let you unzip
the e-mail attachments you may receive whilst on the road. The QuickGPS
app will automatically update the GPS satellites that are in your
region, meaning that Co-Pilot and Google maps can obtain a fast lock on
Remote desktop is also included, which I always appreciate. This is a
fantastic little tool for allowing remote connections to PC and servers
across the web. For example, you can sit on your sofa at home and use
your Wi-Fi capability, which is within the o2 XDA Guide, to connect
your desktop PC and do simple PC tasks, such as checking e-mail or
There’s also a Map Search function which works with Google Maps to find
local facilities. Just punch in what you’re looking for and it’ll go
and find it. This is something you could use if that meeting has run
over and you need a local hotel, or even finding a local place to buy
As is normal with a Windows Mobile device, you can synchronize all of
your contacts with this phone. All you have to do is plug in the
synchronization cable (which is included) and magically all of your
contacts (and tasks, appointments, email) from Outlook are sync’d
across. This means that it’s simple to add new contacts or edit
existing information – it will automatically get pushed across to the
phone. There’s a range of fields available within each contact,
including really detailed information like birthdays and spouse names.
It’ll also let you enter peoples addresses (postal and e-mail) website
and notes about them as well as photographs. When somebody calls you
that photograph will appear in the call screen plus you can use this
photograph on the have marked friend, actually friend on the second tab
when you call somebody, simply use the TouchFLO system to glide across
and then push the appropriate picture to dial that person, it’s a
simple one click process.
Other software included includes
Adobe Reader – a fantastic edition because it allows you to
receive your e-mails on the go and open any PDF attachments that may be
included within that e-mail.
The 3.2 megapixel camera doesn’t have a dedicated button
but is accessible from the TouchFLO interface on the “Photos and
The camera has a fixed focus and does struggle a little in
low-light where images become slightly blurry. On the bottom row here
I’ve included the same shot but zoomed-in using the camera zoom
function, just so you can see how it looks. Click on each picture to
see the full straight-from-camera version.
The o2 XDA Guide is a great navigation tool. You can forget those
expensive dedicated navigation devices that’ll probably get pinched
when you accidentally leave them in the car. The CoPilot software
worked incredibly well in our tests and it was easy to just hammer in a
destination and get going. When you add this to the big-button design
of the Guide and the rubberised navigation wheel it makes the whole
thing a joy to use one-handed. What impressed me most was the attention
to detail – the Footprints system from HTC is great and it’s integrated
with the CoPilot and Google Maps software well, plus you get the car
holder and a charger straight out of the box. Great – everything is
ready for you to use, straight out of the box.
Whilst o2 have added their colours and theme there’s definitely no
“take over” of the phone and the TouchFLO interface makes it easy to
use this as a phone too – y’know, making calls and sending texts :)
It’s very nippy, and (I guess in part thanks to o2 having to push out
lots of transmitters for the iPhone) the o2 signal was fantastic with
brilliant data connection speeds and WiFi for when you’re at home or in
the office.. Email can be accessed using standard POP3 accounts or
through an Exchange server and I found the GPS lock to be very quick
thanks to the on-board “QuickGPS” system grabbing the latest satellite
locations. Although there’s no 3.5mm audio jack you do get a little
converter so a standard pair of headphones can be added.
If I was to moan, it would be about the camera – I’d expect an
auto-focus one which could handle low-light situations, especially in a
device which has photo geo-tagging facilities such as this.
Link – o2.co.uk