HTC TyTN II Review
Nowadays it is rare to see a phone without built in camera. Most of the time this are either ultra-budget models, or Enterprise ones targeted to people who are not allowed to bring any kind of camera at their work place. In order to be more universal, the TyTN II series are developed in few versions, just as it was with the TyTN and with the Wizard: the one for European market has 3-megapixel camera and additional one on the front for video calling; the version that is rumored to be offered by AT&T as the 8925 will lack the front-facing camera and a third version will lack both cameras, for those who can’t use phone with any. Currently we are testing the one with two cameras, which most of you have noted by the images.
The interface starts for 3-4 sec. after pressing the shortcut on the right side. It has the same interface as the Touch which is optimized for be operated by finders (has section with large buttons), which is part of the TouchFlo idea. As the camera has auto-focus, in order to shoot the key must be half-pressed to lock the focus and then fully to capture. In bright outdoor light, the focus locks for less than a second which is excellent but in room with average light, the time goes to average of 4 seconds. If it is darker this time increases even more. After it has focused, press the shutter key and when the image is taken press it again to go back to the viewfinder. Saving of the image at maximum quality takes 3 seconds, which is also an excellent result for a phone. This means that in bright outdoor light the camera will take a photo on every 4 seconds. We were surprised by the sound that the camera produces while focusing – it sounds as old school camera lens moving in the phone’s body. Hopefully it can be turned off by the settings.
The images will not make you shake from excitement and are not those which would replace your camera. Although the resolution is very good (3 megapixels) it shows only the size of the photos and not their actual quality. Often the colors are slightly oversaturated in bright light and also most of the photos got burned areas, trying to remove dark ones. The quality isn’t the best one could expect but does the job – overall its quality is average. Indoors, decent images will be obtained in bright light but the darker it gets the lower the quality is.
A camcorder is also present, with option to record in either QVGA (320x240) or CIF (352x288) resolution. It is not as good as the VGA (4 times more than QVGA) of the E90 but will do the job for internet blogs for example. Typical for a phone, the compression is high but the overall quality is good.
HTC TyTN II sample video at 352x288 pixels resolution
* Note that due to codecs support, you may not be able to play the file.
The second TyTN is equipped with the standard mobile version of Windows Media Player. It is a multimedia player for music and video files. MP3 format is supported, as well as WMA and WAV. After updating the library with files, all supported types are found, and they can be added to playlists. This function is not well implemented and organizing them is quite hard. Songs can be viewed by artist, album and genre, as these are taken from the ID3 tag of the files.
The supported video formats are MPEG4/H.263, WMV and 3GP, while the quality of the latter is pretty low. They can be viewed in fullscreen and the picture quality is quite good and looks very nice on the almost-three-inch display. Although the processor is not very fast, we are happy that no frames are skipped. Unforunately you cannot playback video in MPEG 4/H.264 format which gives the best results.
The options buttons (next/previous, Play/Pause, etc.) are small and inconvenient both during Music and Video playback. When audio files are played, the video visualization window is still displayed, which is a lapse as it only takes up place on your screen. You can have these problems solved by adding new skins for the Media Player or by using another music player.
Audio Manager which has interface optimized for control with fingers. You can sort your music in play-lists, by artist, album, genre and composer. While listening to music, the interface has comparatively large and easy to press buttons.
Listening to music is not the strongest side of new HTC business phone – it has only one small play speaker which is weak even at maximum volume. This could be expected from a phone which is not designed for music in the first place, so we switched on the earpieces of the set with the hope of making things better.
Unfortunately we were disappointed – although looking well, the earpieces sounded with low quality for listening to music. They are more suitable as a wired handsfree only. If you want to listen with higher quality, a miniUSB to 3.5mm stereo jack must be obtained. A2DP can also be used to connect Stereo Bluetooth accessories.
128 MB RAM / 256 ROM Internal memory capacity can be expanded through the microSD card slot. It comes preinstalled with Task manager, which is located on the top right corner of your homescreen. Here you can tap and close the loaded applications in a second, in order to free RAM memory.
WM for PPC provides unlimited capabilities for installing software. The only restrictions are the memory available and the hardware of the phone. The first problem is easily solved by getting a memory card as there are microSD cards with capacity of up to several GB. Every WM6 Professional phone comes with programs that are modified, “pocket” versions known PC applications. Such programs are the mobile versions of (Microsoft) Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Internet Explorer, Explorer, Media Player, etc. The Office applications allow you to view and edit documents of the most-used types and the phone opens them without any error. Even a complicated Excel document with a few sheets is not a problem. TyTN II also has Adobe PDF Reader preloaded, which like the Office works flawless. We opened a big document (1.5MB) and scrolling through pages, when zoomed to 100% is almost immediate. Many more programs could be downloaded from third party sources.
There are numerous programs created for this platform, almost as much as the ones intended for PCs with Windows operating system. The most popular are the various utilities for personalizing the PPC, multimedia players, file explorers, Instant Messengers, etc. You can download third party applications to be used instead of the preloaded ones.
The TyTN 2 adds what the TyTN was missing – a GPS chip for navigation. This gives you the possibility to use the Pocket PC phone as a stand-alone Navigation device, loading any software on it. Preloaded it comes with TomTom6 which is very popular GPS software. Unfortunately, the version comes without any maps and you would have to buy them separately but you can also use some freeware software written for this OS, as the Nokia Maps for example. The built-in chip for GPS will save you buying an external receiver (about $100) and will give you the convenience of using (bringing, charging) only one device.
The GPS receiver is built in the Chipser of the phone (Qualcomm MSM7200) and is gpsOne - the one used in almost all CDMA phones. Many people will be disappointed that it is not a SirfStar III, as it is known as the best on the market, giving excellent results in position lock times, usability and accuracy. But our performance test left us happy with the results: in direct comparison with the first TyTN paired with external GPS with SirfStar III chip (Holux 236), we obtained the same results for GPS Location.
The two phones acted absolutely identically – they started for the same time (15 seconds), both needed additional 10 seconds for location lock, and calculated a route equivalently fast. This is way better than most other chips on the market.
The drawback of the gpsOne compared to the SirfStar III is the weaker signal reception. Although it was completely usable during the tests, we examined the reception in continues driving through the city with the TyTN II (gpsOne) and Holux 236 (SirfStar III), connected to a TyTN next to each other. Both phones used TomTom6 and the TyTN II indicated weaker signal. In about half of the time, it displayed 2-3 out of 5, while the SirfStar III managed to get 4 out of 5.
As a whole, the GPS of the TyTN II is very usable, and gives very good results. Although it is not as powerful as the SirfStar III when it comes to reception, when directly compared with the chip used in Nokia phones (E90 and N95) makes them look funny. The Nokia phones need 3x more time after hot restart (30 instead of 10 seconds) and also their cold restart is times slower than either the gpsOne of the TyTN II or the SirfStar III.
The TomTom and most other similar applications offer Voice Guidance during the navigation is displayed on the screen. The loudspeaker on the back is loud enough and the voices come clear through it. Most of the time we used it at 70% while in a car, but if it's noisy, the 100% volume level should be enough.
1. David (unregistered)
I'm excited about this phone. I travel quite a bit and the GPS functionality will be a big plus. I might have preferred a keypad without having to slide like the samsung i760, but the better camera and the GPS are great features. VZW still seems to have a better network although AT&T is hopefully catching up to them. I'm slightly concerned about the average reception as I live in a valley with below average reception already. Hopefully it won't be an issue. I wish they would post a firm release date already... the anticipation is killing me...
2. dre (unregistered)
what carrier is gonna have this awesome looking phone, cause as soon as vzw gets the vx6800 i'm going to get it. If this phone comes out in the next few months, for vzw i'm gonna get it, and take it to H.N.L
this is a GSM/UMTS and won't work for Verizon, so you'd have to get the XV6800
4. Gadget Man (unregistered)
I have been waiting for the right phone to come along to re-up for another 2 years with a carrier. This is the phone I have been waiting for... HSDPA, WiFI, GPS, Windows Mobile Professional - all on the AT&T network. Sign me up!
5. floyd (unregistered)
while this phone have full internet
6. OneArmJack (unregistered)
Thanks for a good review. One question - is the external speaker sufficiently loud for voice navigation at motorway speeds in a car?
7. Nanko Rusev (unregistered)
Of course it depends on the car (how much noise in it) but we didn't have any problems with closed windows even at not-maximum volume.
8. cybiryan (unregistered)
Even the lower model Artemis has sufficient speaker volume to direct you on its GPS functionality. HTC won't be the worldwide leader in PDA-phone manufacturing if they've missed this one.
This sounds pretty good. Lots of memory (RAM). I wonder if it is flash memory or needs power?
10. Akin (unregistered)
There seems to be a problem with the Kaiser. After finishing a phone call on the Kaiser the backlight goes off and stays off and I cannot access the Start menu. I can access all other functions but backlight stays off and one still cant get into the Start menu from anywhere on the screen. I have to press the power off button quickly once and then wait a second, press it again to be able to access the start button or the light to come on. This is definitely a bug in the tytn II and I hope HTC is doing something about this.
11. Jason (unregistered)
Forgive me if this is a stupid question. I've seen mention of AT&T in reference to this smart phone, however upon going to my local AT&T retail location they had no information about it nor any reason to believe it was coming, can you clarify if AT&T or any other US provider is adding this smart phone and if so an est eta. Thanks and GREAT website, just found it and will come back often.
Jason, the question is not stupid. The phone WILL come to AT&T as the 8925 Tilt, but is still not OFFICIALLY announced by the carrier. Expect it ! :)
13. Paul (unregistered)
Did ATT decide not to include it?
14. Rafael (unregistered)
The TyTN II is a very powerful machine, but besides those muscle specs, I am impressed about the easiness to maneuver this device. The combination of the multiple buttons and the HTC home page make it a pleasure to have it in your hands. The right and left soft keys are fantastic as every screen give you the right option for your selection, delete a mail, close a program, switch a call, it just guesses your next move, it’s great! Then the HTC home screen lets you do so many things with your fingers, the stylus is hardly needed, but still available. I-phone is not the 7th marvel, this is it!, you touch for e-mails, SMS, weather, open any program , play a game, change settings, open your own downloads, music or GPS, ringer status, connectivity options, and so on… you just put your thumb and you get there. And if this is not enough, the other keys will take you to windows menu, internet explorer, camera or phone. You lean it and it gets really easy. But if this is not enough to do your work, you still have the track-wheel if you were ever used to a blackberry (It works better for left-handed); and then the Qwerty board than springs so easily at any moment when you need to type longer stuff. The way this device adapts to you makes a great difference and this is why TyTN II is so great and probable the best in the market today. Secondly, I am impressed about what this is; people ask me if this is my new phone. It’s hard to respond as this is my PHONE which has voice recognition to just talk a name and get it dialed, it is also my PDA that is fully sync with outlook, it is my mini-laptop where I can review any type of document as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Adobe, it is a WEB BROWSER that connects either you EDGE/3G cellular signal or it gets the Wi-Fi wherever available; it is your E-MAIL device to be connected at all times with pushed technology and ability to have multiple e-mails at the same time; it is a very powerful GPS with Tom-tom to get anywhere with very easy key-in directions; it is an MP3 PLAYER with as good or better sound quality to my I-pod and a CAMERA-VIDEO with 3 MP, enough to take decent pictures as you go. Regarding it technical capabilities, I’m sure everyone has read them everywhere and it no point saying this is the top-notch as of today, however, I believe that the combination of RAM and processor speed make is a very fast device and their connectivity features are very easy to get the best wherever you are. The Micro-SD is a great thing, I have a 6 GB and works great, I have Tom-tom maps for the whole US, hundreds of songs and few videos and still allows me to save space for files and other programs. Any lowlights? Not really, you could always want a better screen (VGA), or audio jack to connect my Bose headphones, or the track-wheel on the other side for right-handed, yes, nobody is perfect.
15. hjs351 (unregistered)
hello everybody. awesome device indeed, with great options. can anyone help me with the following: when receiving a text message, we can only see the sender's number not the person's name (even if this person is on the contact list). is there a way to fix this problem? thx to all
16. MreMan (unregistered)
I just got my new TYTN II this afternoon. Still trying to get it set up. I am upgrading from a WM2003 I-Mate PDA2K. I found the PDA2K to be a great phone. Only replacing it because after 3 years of dropping it (tradesman) it is playing up. I read a lot of reviews where people complained about the size and weight. It is smaller and lighter than the PDA2K, and I had no issue with it's size or weight. In fact I am going to miss the 3.5" screen. If you need to compare, put the stylus across the diagonal of the screen, the PDA2K was equal to the length of the TYTN II stylus. A few things dissapoint me about the TYTN II. There does not seem to be a volume adjustment. Also the contacts can not be sorted by categories. The scroll bar is too thin and close the the edge of the screen, very hard to use with the end of your finger. But it does have touchflow scrolling. Not sure why, but i have a wifi connection, but it won't access the internet from the tytn II. Can't get GPRS to work. GPS not working because I can't access the internet to set it up. Also the software (copilot 7 Aussie) Does not work in New Zealand. Good points Charges via usb port (sync's at the same time) I spend a lot of time in the car and bought a car charger, so battery may not be an issue for me. Screen is clear and bright, better then PDA2K (but quite a bit smaller)
17. Zeptov (unregistered)
Don't get this phone (and avoid HTC at all costs)!!! I've had mine for about 9 months. The first couple of weeks I set it up and modified the settings until the battery lasted about two days. As you'll find in any sort of search, the default WM settings will drain the battery in far less than a full day. A couple months ago, when I made no configuration changes whatsoever, the battery started to drain within a day (as in, about 8 hours or less). I bought a new battery and charged it, and a couple of hours later saw that the new battery was draining faster than I expected (it was down below 80%). I set the phone into airplane mode and put it back in my pocket. The battery was dead in another six hours. This behavior is new - I have previously set the phone into airplane mode and played games and watched movies for the full length of a fifteen hour flight, with enough battery to make a couple of calls at the destination. Now if it's in flight mode and the screen is also on, the battery will drain within two or three hours. Since this is a new battery, it's got to be a phone problem but HTC doesn't really care. I contacted support repeatedly, and they totally ignored me. This was purchased as an unlocked phone, so my only support comes from HTC, not my carrier, and I don't get a new (free) phone just because this one's total crap. I'm not getting anything from HTC again, but of course your mileage may vary.
18. dix (unregistered)
19. dix (unregistered)