In the week-one review of my HTC TyTN I wrote of my concern about the device’s short battery life, particularly when its advanced features like WiFi and Push Email were turned on. Now I’m happy to report that these issues have been solved.
How’d I do it? Simple, I turned it off, took out the SIM chip and put it back in the box.
The HTC TyTN is one of if not the most advanced handsets that money can buy. It works anywhere in the world with a super-quick data connection, has an amazing on-board camera that takes high-resolution stills & video, and as a Pocket PC brings the power of Microsoft Windows to the palm of your hand.
But brother, it ain’t no hiptop…
That’s right, my lowly hiptop 2 with its mere VGA stills-only camera, plodding GPRS data speed and mere 32 MB of built-in memory has come out of retirement and taken centre stage as my sidearm of choice.
The handset itself is only half the story — the other half is the Desktop Interface, or as Fido calls their version, the Jump Page. All of my appointments, contacts, email and to-do’s are at my beck and call on any internet-connected computer anywhere in the world. This beats BlackBerry’s Internet Service hands-down — in fact, the only product that can rival it is a hosted Microsoft Exchange server, exactly what I’ve been using for the past month with my TyTN.
And it sucks.
First off, like your typical Windows product it’s not the prettiest thing to look at. More importantly, it only has 100% functionality in the Windows version of Internet Explorer, and even that’s debatable. The online address book, for example, is almost unusable — whatever underlying technology used to present a person’s contact info on screen doesn’t even let me copy their email address or phone number into another program like Skype or Thunderbird.
But with my hiptop Desktop Interface I can copy and paste to my heart’s desire. And with the Skype Web Toolbar for Firefox I can merely click on a phone number and have Skype do the dialing it for me. I did this a lot during my recent vacation to Seoul, and was grateful that I hadn’t cancelled my hiptop service before I got there.
Back to the devices (and still on the subject of phone numbers) the hiptop benefits from lots of little touches that make using it a pleasure. For example, even when I enter phone numbers for new friends in faraway places like Korea or Africa my hiptop auto-magically formats them with proper dashes between the country code, area code and number without me having to worry about it.
Such attention to detail is everywhere on the hiptop, whereas the TyTN — or to be fair, Windows Mobile — stinks of being designed by engineers with little, if any, regard for usability.
For instance, I’ve often found myself tapping out an email or text using the stylus and on-screen keyboard, but usually when the virtual keyboard pops up it covers the very area of text that I want to edit. Sure, I only have to scroll down a bit to continue, but I shouldn’t have to. A smart phone should be smart enough to know what I’m trying to do and help me do it, rather than get in my way.
The other big reason I’m going back to my hiptop is the unlimited data service that comes with it. With a little work I set up my TyTN to maximize my connectivity while minimizing data charges, but constantly worrying about going over my monthly allotment of bytes ultimately got in the way of enjoying this high-level communicator.
With my hiptop I can Google to my heart’s content, send email while on the toilet (though I never, ever do that!) and even chat with strangers on AOL, and as long as I’m in Canada, I’ll never have to worry about paying more than $20/month for the power of the internet in my coat pocket.
Beyond the Canadian border is an entirely different story, of course. Because my hiptop is persistently connected to the Internet I can rack up hundreds of dollars in roaming charges just by leaving the data connection on. So I’ll be keeping my TyTN for travel, but the hiptop’s desktop companion, usability tweaks and unlimited local data have made me come crawling back.
And if Fido will just come to their senses and offer the hiptop 3 to Canadians you’ll be able to get one for yourself!