I'm a busy guy and I've got to have an assistant, but I can't afford payroll or benefits for a real human being. I have to use a smartphone to get the job done. My trusty HTC/AT&T Tilt did a great job these past couple of years, but it was time to retire ole' Tilty. HTC had delivered the Touch Pro 2 to the American market and AT&T renamed their version the Tilt 2.
I mean look at this beautiful device. I don't want to be shallow or anything, but my assistant has to look good. I have a reputation to uphold.
Let's jump right in and get to the different areas of the Tilt 2:
This baby's got curves! Umm hmmm...check out that body. Here's what I think you should notice.
I've got to point out two hardware features that I found amazing in both simplicity and effectiveness.
It takes ZERO clicks to activate the speakerphone. Yes, I said ZERO. All you have to do is put the phone face down during a call and the speakerphone is activated.
The phone also can detect when it is near your face in a call and turns off the screen. If you take the phone away from your face, the screen turns back on. This is great for saving battery life. I just know that no one will see this as a feature that will help them get away with driving and talking at night.
The design is elegant and sleek. You can see the chrome bezel around the perimeter of the device gives it a nice smooth, modern feel. There are four hardware buttons at the bottom of the front of the device: Send and End, Windows Start and Back. On the side there are volume up and down buttons and a Push To Talk (PTT) button. I've remapped the button to activate and operate the camera...seriously, does ANYONE use PTT?
I have one major problem with the design. For some reason they have decided to stick with an all-in-one mini-USB connection. This means that there is no standard 3.5mm headphone jack. Your options are to either get a Bluetooth stereo headset, buy a USB set of headphones or use the clunky, chunky adapter. These phones will never be taken seriously as media devices until this design choice changes.
There is a stylus on the bottom right hand side of the device. I have had few occasions to use this, but I'm glad that it's there. When you pull it out, it wakes up the device and turns on the screen.
My only worry about the device's design is that people will think I am harassing my assistant because I am always polishing off the fingerprints. The device is shiny and smooth and is a fingerprint magnet. It's OK to massage your assistant every now and then, right?
This is a strong point for this phone. The call quality is great and I seem to get more bars than with my older Tilt. Which just goes to show you that sometimes it's your phone and not the AT&T network, that many like to complain about.
The speakerphone quality for calls is also outstanding and I'm not a big fan of speakerphones.
Windows Mobile 6.5
How my assistant thinks is important. The thought process should focus on ease of use and even battery savings. Windows Mobile 6.5 improves greatly in these areas.
The Tilt 2 was the first version of the Touch Pro 2 to come with Windows Mobile 6.5. The are definite advantages including a more finger friendly interface, a much needed improvement to Internet Explorer and a couple of new programs including Microsoft's My Phone service which backs up phone data online. There is also the added Market place.
My Phone - This new service will back up your contacts, pictures, text messages, appointments. You can manage this data and the changes will be reflected on your phone during the next sync.
Windows Marketplace - this is a so-so attempt at a marketplace, but it is also a young effort and I expect it to improve. Thankfully, there are 3rd party websites with loads of applications. The Marketplace also suffers from not allowing the user to install apps to the storage card.
HTC covers up Windows Mobile with their own user interface called TouchFlo 3D. This is definitely an aesthetically pleasing interface, but it also adds some great features.
The Contacts section is Facebook integrated and you can see updates for your contacts. There is also a neat photo driven display of favorite contacts.
The Weather tab downloads automatically and gives you a nice graphical indication as well.
The Music tab is nice to look at, but it doesn't fix all that is wrong with Windows Mobile as a media player.
The Photos and Video tab nicely displays photos from whatever folder you choose. There are also icons directed to the camera and video camera.
The Internet tab is a jumping off point for the Opera browser. They add space for 4 "push websites" which are sites that can stay updated on a schedule of your choosing so when you pull those up they are instantly available.
There are more tabs for Calendar, Programs, Settings, Mail & Messages. You access the tabs by sliding your finger across the bottom of the screen and it all happens smoothly.
Eyes are the windows to the soul. In a phone, that window is the screen.
This beautiful 3.6 inch screen is 480 x 800 and is a TFT resistive touch screen. Many new phones are going with capacitive screens, but there are still instances where the stylus is useful and you need a resistive screen for that.
Since the device is called the Tilt 2, the screen tilts which is a nice feature when the unit is placed on a table. It makes watching YouTube videos much better. It looks like a teeny-tiny laptop and people around you take notice.
The keyboard is spacious and a luxury in the mobile phone category. It is laid out quite nicely and backlit for night use. One thing that AT&T changed is that the top row is not dedicated to numbers but rather to symbols. The numbers are laid out in calculator form on the right center of the keyboard. You have to push the function key to use the numbers.
I should mention that even though a physical keyboard is a requirement for me, that I actually use the screens keyboard for about half of my texting and website inputing.
Will my assistant keep my photographic memories with any useable quality? Let's see.
The camera stats haven't improved much, but the execution is much better. The camera is designed to be operated entirely by the touch screen. You can even select where the camera will focus by touching the screen.
I found that I wanted to use a hardware button for the camera so I remapped the PTT button for that. Amazingly, remapping was easily done in settings. The only issue is that when taking the picture in landscape mode, the PTT button is place on what would be the bottom of the camera.
These are some pictures I took in my living room. The coasters show the array of color and for the bottle I used the camera's screen selectable focus.
I haven't done any fancy tests to give you the exact battery life, but I can tell you that I can make it through the day with fairly heavy use. I need an assistant who works as hard as I do and Tilt Two does the job.
Obviously, you get the Microsoft Mobile Office Suite and the software mentioned above, but wait, there's more
YouTube - watch YouTube videos
Facebook - get your social networking on
WorldCard Mobile - take pictures of business cards and extract the data to put into Contacts
Opera Browser - web browsing
There are more tidbits of software, including a glut of AT&T bloatware - applications that are trials and others that require payment to use.
Retail is for suckers, so I got my Tilt 2 for a steal at Let's Talk! LETS TALK REVIEW
I really enjoy my new assistant. I feel like I am far more productive and have more fun with it. Some work needs to be done to improve the media experience.
I'd really like Microsoft to extend the Zune experience to their Windows Phone Software. I have a Zune and subscribe to the Zune Pass, but currently none of that music can be played on my phone.
I'd also like to see an improvement to the Windows Marketplace. Please Microsoft change it so that we can install application to the storage card or I will continue to get my apps elsewhere.
HTC put some thought into this phone. The no-click access to the speakerphone is a standout example of this. On the software side, making TouchFLO 3D so beautiful was one thing, but to add the Facebook integration and other useful tools on top of Windows, is amazing.
I am still within my 30 Day exchange period with Let's Talk, but my assistant is HIRED. It's not just me; Bonnie Cha positively reviewed the Tilt 2 for CNet.com