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.