Written on: 02/04/2007 by SRRAE (4 reviews written)
Built in GPS, Nice screen, great wheel mouse and roller navigation.
No WiFi, reception not the best, No InRd
The T-Mobile MDA Compact is my first PDA phone. I have been using smart phones for a number of years and this, I felt is a natural progression.
I bought the edition with CoPilot Live 6, which takes advantage of the BUILT IN, GPS receiver. I will leave the CoPilot performance out of the review, but will probably reference it later on.
Firstly the size of the phone. Importantly you don't feel like an idiot putting it to your ear, yes its a little wider larger than your friend's normal phone, maybe slightly taller but about no thicker. But this is normal phone. It has a generous sized touch screen, which is bright and clear, even in sunny conditions, It's touch screen is nice and accurate, texting using the very small on screen keyboard designed to be used by you stylus (which slides and locks nicely into the side of the unit for safe keeping) works if I use the tip of my index finger. Even though the actual area I press is larger than the key, it presumes that the letter you want is in the middle or the one mostly covered. Its not 100% accurate but it is good enough for sending the quick "OK" or "see you then" text messages. If that is not to your liking, you can write free hand with the stylus and the phone converts it to text. If you have neat writing and don't rush, it is very accurate and good. You can also spend some time setting it up and teach the phone how you write. I have terrible writing and I rush, which creates a few humorous errors in writing texts.
The installed programs are nothing special compared to other PDA phones. Word, excel, power point, notepad, internet explorer, media player, radio, etc. It even has Terminal Servies so you can remote desktop to a computer with Terminal Services enabled. However, this is pointless as there is no WiFi on this phone. The O2 version which is exactly the same, does have WiFi, so why doesn't the T-Mobile.?
With programs which are found on most PDAs and with no WiFi, what is special about this?
Firstly the navigation is made extremely easy with use of a mouse ball and wheel at the bottom of the phone. You don't have to take up the pose of looking like you are trying to thread a stylus to stab an ant crawling on your palm. You can use the wheel to move up and down the menus, and press the mouse ball to select. This is especially handy as the scroll bars are very tight against the side of the screen and not easily accessible if you are trying to just use your finger to navigate. You can also just roll the mouse ball with your thumb, moving up, down, left or right the highlighted icon, and pressing the ball to select.
There is also an option which creates a mouse pointer, like a computer on to the screen, which is controlled by this mouse ball. This is superb for when browsing the internet, or doing an excel sheet. These controls are not a gimmick. They really work and make navigating the phone a lot easier.
For the major selling point of this phone, is the built in GPS. No need for a separate GPS bluetooth unit. Now you don't have to worry about hiding your car sat nav, will it be safe for 5 mins while I go to the shop or should I take it in case I get lost? These questions are not a problem as you take you phone virtually every where. But do you really need a sat nav all the time? No, but it is one of those items where nothing else could have done the job.
Sick of sitting in a traffic jam caused by road works going to work, I pulled off the motorway before the queue, loaded the Sat Nav on my phone and got another route.
When going on trips, you can save the location where you parked the car, get restaurant locations or find cash machines.
I know you can get Bluetooth GPS units which does the same job, but this means that you have to remember to bring it with you, remember to keep it charged and play with bluetooth settings to connect it. Not a problem with this phone. Its all there. Every GPS program I have used, straight away finds the GPS ability and sets it up.
The phone is far from faultless. The reception is not always great, but I find rebooting it, makes it work better. This only happens every week or 2 though, its not a daily need. WiFi has been taken away from the phone, and its a little larger than your average phone.
The built in GPS and the new mouse ball and wheel, makes this phone stand out slightly in a saturated market. The battery life is decent, about 4-5 days with normal use, and I have used the GPS on a GeoCaching program for 7+ hours and still had 40% power left.
If you are looking for a sat nav, phone and PDA you cant go wrong with this. It doesn't excel at each job, but does a very good job and its all in one nice sized package.