HTC X7510 Advantage Review

6
Introduction and Design
Introduction:

This definitely is one of the strangest phones if it can be called a phone at all, which we’ve had the chance to review. Despite the fact that it is equipped with a GSM/3G module and being a product of the leader in this class, HTC Advantage X7510 is more of a „mobile assistant”. We say mobile, and not pocket, because due to the dimensions of the device, you will at least need a small bag to carry it.

This is the second generation from the series, but the overall idea and realizations are almost the same as in the first in the line, X7500. You have a 5-inch touch sensitive display, an additional hardware QWERTY keyboard (there is a physical connection), Windows Mobile Professional OS and 16GB of storage space.

To make a call you can either the loudspeaker, the wire stereo handsfree included in the package or a Bluetooth accessory. The standard phone speaker and a microphone, which allow private conversations, are not present here, hinting that X7510’s purpose is not to be a main phone, but an additional mobile internet device.

The package includes:

  • Advantage X7510
  • Keyboard
  • Leather poach
  • Regular wire handsfree
  • Adapter with a TV/monitor output and a regular USB slot
  • miniUSB cable
  • Charger
  • Spare stylus
  • all-fitting case

The case is convenient for long trips, but it has not been designed to hold the Advantage when used daily. If you carry the main part with the keyboard, you should attach them to the leather case and put it in your bag. One side of the case, which opens like a book, houses the main module and the other the keyboard. This helps for easily attaching (via magnet) both parts together once the case is open.

Design:

Despite the fact that the body of Advantage X7510 is not much bigger than its display (4.92”), which takes up almost the entire front, it is quite bulky even for a mobile assistant. We are disappointed that there is no brightness sensor. In order to make the display usable in direct sunlight, you will have to set the contrast to the max . Although less clear than in a darker room, this will allow you, if the screen is not dirty of course, to see what’s visualized. When the sunlight is not illuminating the screen directly, the quality and resolution good enough to satisfy your needs as long as you are not looking at it from an angle. 5 inches are always 5 inches!




Here we also have three system lights, a VGA video calling camera and the Home, which brings you to the main screen. On the right side, we see the power on/off (lower part) and the camera shortcut. These buttons are somewhat hard to use, but it gets better, once the phone is in the case on a table, for example. However, even in this position the volume control slider located on the left side is not easy to use. It is small and hard to touch and we would have preferred having a two-way button. This side houses also the 2.5mm stereo jack, miniUSB and the slot for the TV out/USB in adapter. In the middle of these sides, there are openings for the speakers. The bottom houses the battery lid and the keyboard connectors. Strangely, the battery has to be pulled out in order to put the SIM in place in addition to the confusing manual, but you’ll manage.


The overall design of the Advantage is strictly professional, with a solid and quality make – exactly what we expected from such a phone. However, you should forget about controlling it singlehandedly, because this is simply impossible.

The keyboard left us with mixed feelings. It can be used as a phone if you hold it in your hands, but we strongly recommend placing it on a solid leveled surface.

Since it is flat (with no button drive) and it vibrates when “pressed”, it is perfect in that aspect. Being relatively smart, the keyboard allows for bigger and more buttons compared to other phones. Nevertheless, it is not wide enough so you can work with both hands and therefore, your fingers have to go longer distances, which is not better than narrower keyboards. As a whole, it is definitely very good after you get used to it, and for some it could be even perfect.




Software:

As we mentioned earlier, Advantage is based on Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional, we know from most HTC phones. To a great extent, this determines its capabilities, which cannot exceed the ones of a smartphone with the same specifications. Since you’re probably familiar with the OS, we will not discuss in detail the standard features like phonebook, organizer and messages.

On the homescreen, you have the HTC Home personalization, which we first saw in Touch, the TouchFLO pioneer. There are tabs for the system information, favorite contacts, weather, shortcuts and most frequently used settings. It is definitely more convenient than what the OS offers by default, but the same display with TouchFLO 3D (on the Touch Diamond) offers a lot more.


To activate the dialing pad, you have to press the left soft key, since the “send” key is missing. In the contacts list is where you will see the second interface personalization: a letter column on the right. Everything else is fully standard for Windows Mobile 6.1.

The lag is also standard for the OS; apparently, no matter how much HTC optimizes it, Windows Mobile doesn’t want to part with that characteristic. Almost all devices based on it are at least slow. We did not expect that from the Advantage, which uses a powerful Marvell PXA270 processor with the impressive 624 MHz, but the fact is that even a large, extremely potent and expensive business-oriented device is not adequate enough for simple operations.

As in every other phone running on this OS, the email setup is very easy if you are using a popular server. The only thing you have to enter is the username, password and the name from which the mail will be send. All other settings are automatically acquired. In case you have to configure another not so popular web server, you will need to enter the settings manually, but that’s relatively quick, too.


For text input you have the standard Windows screen keyboard or the hardware one. The personalized versions present in Touch Diamond or the previous Touch generations have not been added here. Of course, you have the handwriting recognition options.


The slower version of HSDPA (1.8 Mbps), supported by the device, also allows high-speed data transfer and receiving emails with large attachments is not a problem even if you are not in an area with a Wireless LAN (Wi-Fi) network. Since it is equipped with a quad-band GSM and tri-band UMTS module, Advantage X7510 can be used in any GSM network. Due to patent conflicts surrounding the Qualcomm MSM6275 chipset, at least for now, X7510 will not be offered in the U.S.

At first, we were happy when working with documents, but at the end, we were left with mixed feelings. Although it’s not fast, Advantage X7510 is powerful enough and is able to open really big files. Viewing Adobe PDF is a pleasant experience; the pages change quickly, and if you are interested in a particular item, the Search feature will easily guide you toward the aim. Opening a small-sized Word file (10 pages) will make you wait for half a minute, but since in contrast to the PDF files, the document loads fully, there is no lag when you change pages. If the text has a normal size, a 50% zoom will get you the best results.


Nevertheless, the exact zoom level is hard to figure out when opening a large Excel document with long text in the columns. Simply the 640x480 resolution is not always enough and seeing a very small part of the contents optimized for computer, you’ll have to scroll constantly. If you have to edit a specific field, you’ll get in trouble since the input line is rather narrow as well. We are not happy with that. We were also left with mixed feelings from the opening of PowerPoint presentations: medium sized one (28MB) could be viewed, but loading pages took some time, and some effects were annoyingly choppy. It’s ОК for personal use, but if you show the presentation to other people (on a monitor or via a projector), it is far from professional for a presentation to be choppy.

When you need to use Internet, you’ll be happy to discover that alike Touch Diamond, Advantage is equipped with Opera Mobile 9.5. We are very impressed with the browser: it loads pages very well and is extremely-user friendly. It’s a pleasure viewing pages visualized on the 5-inch screen, especially with such a good browser. The only thing it lacks is the ability to load flash objects (videos for example) and you won’t be able to see them.


Besides the standard Windows Media Player (WMP), we find the Audio Manager, seen in Touch. It is more convenient for listening to music, but it’s not good for video. Basically, WMP has the role of a video player, but here, it is unusable since it doesn’t support any popular codecs (H.263, H.264 videos don’t play even in QVGA resolutions).



Advantage X7510 doubles the available memory in contrast to its predecessor and now has 16GB, which should be enough for numerous documents (and multimedia). In addition, we have a miniSD card slot and a regular USB (on the adapter), to be easily able to plug in external memory. The USB slot can also be used for devices different than flash memory, but you’ll need the drivers for them.

While the adapter is plugged in, you can connect the phone to a monitor or a projector via VGA, composite or S-Videoconnectors. In such mode, the i-mate phones’ displays turn black and act as a touchpad, from where to control the mouse finger. In HTC Advantage, it remains operative and doubles the other one.

X7510 has a 3-megapixel camera built-in; this is a business phone and its idea is not to make family pictures (it wouldn’t perform well either). It is more of a tool to record information by photographing it instead of rewriting it; such bits of information could include business cards, documents, product specifications, and magazine or newspaper pages. Most of the time, the results are good but if the light is weak, you’ll have to use the LED flash, which could be too bright if taking a picture from a very short distance. In a well-lighted environment, you’ll get very good detail in close ups.



We accept the picture quality for the purpose, but we are not happy with the interface. There are not many options (no need for such anyways), but the problem is the lag and often, we had to press the button repeatedly after taking a picture for the camera to “wake up”. Then it advances to shooting the next one right away even if you didn’t want it to.



Performance:

Even though we mentioned that Advantage’s idea is not to be used as a main phone, it would be good to be able to make calls with it, right? If there’s an incoming call, there’s not a chance you won’t realize it, despite the fact that there is no vibration. The original Windows melody is so loud that you cannot miss it.

Forget about the built-in loudspeaker during a call: you hear well if located in a quiet area, but the collocutor will not hear you in most cases and your voice will be choppy. You’ll get better results with the phone right next to your head; but even without the keyboard and the case the Advantage is extremely big.

The results are also very good if you use the ear set included in the package or a Bluetooth handsfree, but you’ll have to constantly either wear a fully charged earpiece or to untangle the cables of the earphones. Even in these situations, in case you want to make a call you’ll have to pull out the Advantage since it doesn’t have a decent voice dial. Instead of an intelligent speaker-independent system, you’ll have a simple voice dialing after you have previously recorded a tag for each contact, which is a slow and inconvenient operation.

The battery performed well when using the phone for a main one and when being an assistant. Even if it is slightly inconvenient, we recommend switching off the Wi-Fi when you don’t need it.

Conclusion:

It’s hard to rate such a device: some will like it a lot and it could replace their portable computers in some situations, but it will be useless for others. There really is a lot of memory, the user is able to write long texts (messages, documents) with the user-friendly keyboard, the browser is very good (for a mobile device) and the display is decent, but overall, the system is limited and not good enough.

According to us, the inability to play videos and the somehow mediocre document performance (Excel, PowerPoint) is a serious drawback for such a device. If the price and the size were smaller, it would be OK, but they are comparable to a UMPC, which works on Windows XP or Vista and offers the performance of a mobile computer, which are definitely “years ahead” of the ones, offered by a Windows Mobile phone. Our opinion is that for most of the people who need a mobile assistant, Advantage is not going to be a good solution and an ultra mobile computer would do a much better job.



Pros

  • 5-inch screen
  • User-friendly keyboard
  • Phone module, that can be used for making calls
  • The options to connect to a monitor and to plug in flash memory

Cons

  • Sluggish OS
  • The mediocre visualization of large documents
  • The video playback cannot be used
  • Limited functionality in contrast to UMPC
  • The price and size do not justify the functionality

PhoneArena Rating:

5.0

User Rating:

5.3
1 Reviews

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