The T-Mobile HTC myTouch 3G is just about as gorgeous as the HTC Hero. It’s highly customizable and even has a dedicated T-Mobile website to show all the possibilities.
The phone is endorsed by celebrities such as Phil Jackson, Jesse James and Whoopi Goldberg. So, how does it stack up in a world saturated with great smartphones? Let’s take a deeper look to find out if the T-Mobile myTouch 3G is worth all the fuss.
Some specifications for the myTouch include the 2G Network GSM 850/900/1800/1900 and on the 3G Network, HSDPA 1700/2100/900. The device measures 113 x 56 x 14.7mm and weighs a light 116g. It features a TFT capacitive touchscreen with 65K colors and 320 x 480 pixel resolution. The screen is 3.2-inches diagonal and features an accelerometer sensor for auto-rotate. Though it tested with a bit of a lag from the accelerometer; it wasn’t nearly as noticeable as on the original HTC Touch Pro. It comes with 192MB RAM and 512MB ROM, with a microSD slot and an included 4GB memory card; which, by all means, is a nice touch.
Bluetooth version 2.0 is included, along with A2DP technology for stereo Bluetooth headsets and headphones. Though lacking a 3.5mm jack for corded headphones, this has never been a huge deal for us since we prefer our Bluetooth headphones over corded units. The camera on the myTouch is 3.2 megapixel and features autofocus as well as video calling. Video can be taken up to 352 x 299 pixels.
The operating system, which we’ll discuss further a bit later; is the Google Android Cupcake version. This is Google’s open source OS and the second Android phone to be released in America. The phone also features GPS, a digital compass, voice memos, and an MP3 player. Battery time is listed as up to 600 hours.
The myTouch 3G is the successor to the T-Mobile HTC G1, and is just about identical to the HTC Magic overseas. It lacks the full QWERTY keyboard of the G1, allowing for the thinner myTouch to fit easily in your pocket. It’s also a full ounce lighter than the G1; also thanks to the missing keyboard on the device. The myTouch is also sleeker and more modern-looking than the G1, and it’s available in white, merlot, or black.
On the front of the device are the buttons below the display screen and there are more than on the G1. You’ll see the Talk button and End/power button, a home button and Google search button; as well as a back button and Menu button. These are the same as on the HTC Hero; which makes perfect sense. The buttons are spaced out enough and they are nice and small as well. Also included on the myTouch 3G is a trackball that is easy to move and has a nice press when used as a button. At the bottom of the phone is not a chin, but a slight lip. This little lip makes thumbing around the buttons quite easy.
On the left side of the myTouch is the volume rocker. It’s easy to find without being to prominent when glancing at the phone. The extUSB slot for charging as well as the audio adapter is on the bottom of the phone. On the back of the phone are the camera lens and the microSD slot. Fortunately, you don’t have to remove the battery itself; however, you do have to remove the battery cover which is a bit annoying if you switch out memory cards for yourself or with friends. Certainly, it isn’t a common complaint to bn have to take off the battery cover; unless it’s difficult to remove. I found the myTouch cover easy to remove and replace when needed.
Since this is an Android phone, the home screen will show the usual three side-by-side panels; allowing you to flick between them. You can customize the home screens really any way you like. With Cupcake comes a calendar, music player, analog clock, picture frame, and search feature. Thanks, Google. Though these may seem like small details; I personally use each of these features (minus the picture frame) quite a lot, so they are welcome inclusions in the Android update.
One great thing about Android devices is that they are pretty intuitive. The myTouch is no exception. Hit the call button to bring up the dialer; which thankfully shows both numbers and corresponding letters. The keyboard, however; is different for some features, like in Google search. It’s only available in vertical mode, which is a bit odd.
For normal keyboard operations like using the browser, typing messages or emailing; you’ll get a landscape keyboard if you’d like and mistakes are avoided more easily. Like on the HTC Hero, the predictive text feature does a pretty good job guessing what I’m going to type.
Email preferential treatment is of course given to Gmail, though you can also sync your Hotmail and Yahoo email accounts. When you first turn on your phone and set it up, you’ll be asked to sync your Google Gmail account or create one. Syncing with my Gmail account was quick and easy. There are a host of supported POP3 services, as well as standard text and multimedia messaging options. You can use instant messengers like Google Talk, Windows Live, Yahoo, and AIM. Google again is treated like the star of the phone, and you can see your Google Talk contacts’ status as well as in your address book.
One plus on the myTouch 3G versus the G1 is the Microsoft Exchange server support; though it would have been wise to go full-on and add support for syncing Outlook contacts and calendar. Without those, the device isn’t 100% ready for work, however; we can make do with just receiving our Outlook messages and having the ability to respond to them – if we have to.
Another area regarding emails where Gmail is given a special nod is with attachments. When using Gmail, you can open your Excel, Word, Powerpoint and PDF documents; however, not when using POP3 or Outlook mail. Then, you’ll need to sync your phone to a computer to access the document since there isn’t an included file manager. Though this can be corrected with a simple application, it doesn’t make sense to me to not include it from the get-go.
The browser on the T-Mobile myTouch is very nice, especially thanks to the resolution of the display. The phone is quick to respond to my touch (smile) and I found scrolling and zooming to be very easy. The accelerometer is also a plus, with very little lag when switching from portrait to landscape modes. Improvements over the G1 include tabbed bookmarks and the ability to open second browser windows. Using the browser on the myTouch is a breeze and we appreciate the small improvements made over the G1 along with the easy zoomability. Hey, I think I just created a word.
Now, for the moment you’ve all been waiting for…okay, just kidding. Call quality seems a bit overlooked when I see reviews of phones these days; which I think is counter-intuitive, but with all the neat features packed into phones these days, I can’t really blame anyone. So, we tested call quality using our T-Mobile line in San Francisco (quad-band GSM 850/900/1800/1900). We heard zero complaints from our callers, even on the busiest streets. Wind was another factor that didn’t match up as a worthy opponent for the myTouch. Our callers said we sounded excellent, except when in a noisy bar (I was there for testing purposes, I swear). Amid really loud noise, our callers had trouble picking up my voice among all the sounds heard over the phone. Perhaps you should use the stealth mode on a Motorola HX1 or Noise Assassin 2.0 on an Aliph Jawbone Prime Bluetooth headset if you need to hide the fact that you’re in a bar from anyone. Yes, both headsets are that good at blocking out background noise. Your voice will sound more true on the Motorola HX1 and I prefer it to any other Bluetooth headset; though it is only available for pre-sale at the moment.
While on phone calls, if you need the dial pad, you’ll need to drag the tab at the bottom of the screen to access the numbers. The screen itself is locked so that you don’t hang up on your calls, which is a blessing for when you’re walking down a busy street; believe me. Simply hit the home screen or any of the physical controls to unlock the screen and navigate as needed.
My speakerphone testing went well for the most part. The myTouch has a decent speaker phone, though calls were a bit muffled – not the best on the market; but not the worst either. The myTouch 3G doesn’t have the Touch Pro2’s well-endowed speakerphone capabilities, however; it works when you need a speakerphone.
The camera on the myTouch offers 3.2-megapixel resolution and autofocus; which performs nicely. You can take pretty decent photos in good light. Again, there isn’t an LED for flash, so hopefully you take all your pictures in good light and not in that loud bar. I was impressed with the color quality on the photos taken with the myTouch’s camera. The video camcorder works pretty well for a phone, though video can be choppy and jumpy. In good light, the color is better than average.
Battery life on the myTouch 3G is listed as 6 hours talk time and 17.5 days of standby time. We tested just about 6.4 hours of continuous talk time on the phone, so the estimate is pretty dead on.
Overall, the improvements to the T-Mobile HTC myTouch 3G over the G1 are mostly aesthetic; though when comparing looks, HTC really did a bang-up job. The myTouch is beautiful, sleek and ready to show off to your friends. We appreciate the improvements made with the Android Cupcake update, and the lack of QWERTY keyboard makes the myTouch svelte and lightweight in comparison with the G1. Beyond that, the changes are minor. If you’re looking for a modern, thin Android device to tote around, the myTouch 3G may be for you.
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