Well, to anyone that is familiar with Windows Mobile and its daddy - the Pocket PC - the MDA will be an easy upgrade. In it's attempts to make it as user friendly as possible Microsoft have copied as many things as possible from your desktop at home. The Start menu is probably familiar to everybody, and fortunately it works much the same way it does on your PC.
The Today screen puts together all of the most often needed information and displays it so it's in clear view of the user, and informs him of his appointments, messages, calls, etc. It is programmable as well, so you can customize exactly the kind of information you want to have (or not have) displayed on there.
Going through the Start menu you will be able to access everything that is not already on your home screen - File Manager, Programs, Settings, Messaging, even Help.
One thing that is different for the MDA compared to your regular mobile phone is that operating with one hand is hard and sometimes impossible. Too often you'll find yourself grabbing for the stylus, or sliding the keyboard open to type a message. Some things are simplified though, and for example calling can easily be done with one hand. The Dial screen on the phone is well thought out. Purple buttons on white background are easy to see and distinguish. Also you have the Options on there from where you can set pretty much anything that has to do with the phone (network settings, ringtones, forwarding, call waiting, etc).
Dialing from the Contact List is also very well accommodated for single handed use. Going into the Contact list you have an option to view contacts just by name, or you can have their phone number and their picture show up next to their name. By highlighting the Contact entry and pressing the Send key you'll automatically be able to call them. If you open the contact and select their email address that will take you automatically to the email application, which will let you continue working on the message. Of course since you're using a Windows based device you can just transfer your Outlook contacts to the phone. With the included Active sync software you can also synchronize your Outlook Calendar. This synchronization can also be done wirelessly through Bluetooth.
The Calendar is also pretty elaborate. You can set up appointments, tasks, etc. - everything that you can do in your Outlook Calendar. To put in a new appointment all you need to do is go to the date that you need (this you can do from pretty much any Calendar screen, be it Year, Month, Week, or Day view). Just tap the time that you have your appointment and enter the info that you need (name, type of appointment, place). Right there is the option to set up a reminder as well. Once that is done the Calendar entry will show up in you Today screen on that day automatically.
Using the Notes is also easy. Just press the soft key for New, and type away. One neat addition is the ability to use the notepad as scratch paper. Just take the stylus and start writing, or drawing, or sketching. It's easy to use and all your saved notes are accessible by just going into the menu or in the File Manager.
The 128 MB of memory in the MDA should be enough for all your contact and calendar information, but just in case you need more memory you can use a Mini SD card in the memory slot, for extra storage. Those come in different capacities up to 2 GB.
The MDA supports every kind of messaging you can think of - e-mail, SMS, MMS, Instant Messaging. It has its own scaled down version of Outlook which handles emails, text and picture messages. Now, by default going into Outlook takes you directly into the account you used last, but going through the options you can switch the kind of account you want to use (this is how you switch between the different email accounts, SMS, MMS). Another option that takes you into Outlook is highlighting a contact into the Contact list and than through the Options select whether you want to send them a text message or else. For the IM though you have a dedicated IM client, which supports AIM, Yahoo! Messenger and ICQ. For all you poor Hotmail users, Microsoft has thought of you and the device ships with Pocket MSN, which is a small program that can handle your Hotmail email and MSN messenger. So with all of this, and the added QWERTY keyboard you pretty much have all your humanly possible messaging needs covered. Additional convenience is the fact that when you get a message (any kind of message) a little pop-up notification comes up on your screen and by taping on it you can work on it from there (replying, forwarding, saving, etc.).
For added ease of use T-Mobile have added their own e-mail setup client, which works beautifully for most email kinds and is really easy to use - just enter the email address and the email password twice and you're done. It couldn't have been easier. One thing that not many people don't know is that e-mail alerts through T-Mobile are done with text messages for which you get to pay, so you might want to consider having the Pocket Outlook do an automatic Send and Receive at a certain interval of time. Not many difficulties were encountered while using the emails and the text messages. The great thing is that going into that function can be done through the phonebook by tapping and holding down the stylus on the contact that you want to use. This is an equivalent to the right button click on your desktop mouse.
|Writing an email|