December 17, 2007
@ 05:52 PM

Recently my Cingular 3125 crapped out and I picked up an AT&T Tilt (aka HTC Kaiser) which I've already developed a love<->hate relationship with. I'd originally considered getting an iPhone but quickly gave up that dream when I realized it didn't integrate well with Microsoft Exchange. When you attend 3 - 5 meetings a day, having a phone that can tell you the room number, topic and attendees of your next meeting as you hop, skip and jump from meeting room to meeting room is extremely useful.

There's a lot I like about the phone. The QWERTY keyboard and wide screen make writing emails and browsing the Web a much better experience than on my previous phone. In addition, being able flip out the keyboard & tilt the screen is a spiffy enough effect that it gets ooohs and aaahs from onlookers the first time you do it. Another nice touch is that there are shortcut keys for Internet Explorer, your message center and the Start menu. When I was trying out the phone, the AT&T sales person said I'd become hooked on using those buttons and he was right, without them using the phone would be a lot more cumbersome.

There are some features specific to Windows Mobile 6 that I love. The first is that I can use any MP3, WAV or AAC file as a ringtone. After spending $2.50 for a 20 second snippet of a song I already owned and not being able to re-download the song after switching phones, I decided I wanted no part of this hustle from the cell phone companies. All I needed to do was download MP3 Cutter and I have as many ringtones as I have songs on my iPod. They've also fixed the bug from Windows Mobile 5 where if your next appointment shown on the home screen is for a day other than the current day, clicking on it takes you today's calendar instead of the calendar for that day. My phone also came with Office Mobile which means I can actually read all those Word, Excel and Powerpoint docs I get in email all the time.

So what do I dislike about this phone? The battery life is ridiculously short. My phone is consistently out of battery life at the end of the work day. I've never had this problem with the half dozen phones I've had over the past decade. What's even more annoying is that unlike every other phone I've ever seen, there is no battery life indicator on the main screen. Instead I have to navigate to Start menu->Settings->System->Power if I want to check my battery life. On the other hand, there are redundant indicators showing whether I am on the EDGE or 3G networks where the battery indicator used to be in Windows Mobile 5. Another problem is that voice dialing is cumbersome and often downright frustrating. There is a great rant about this in the post What's Wrong With Windows Mobile and How WM7 and WM8 Are Going to Fix It on Gizmodo which is excerpted below

the day-to-day usage of Windows Mobile isn't what you'd call "friendly," either. In fact, it'd probably punch you in the face if you even made eye contact. Take dialing, for instance. How can the main purpose of a phone—calling someone—be so hard to do?

...

If you're using a Windows Mobile Professional device, you have a few options, none of which are good:

• You can pull out the stylus to tap in the digits. This requires two hands.

• You can try and use your fingertip to call, which doesn't normally work, so you'll use your fingernail, which does work but, as it results in many misdialed numbers, takes forever.

• You can slide out the keyboard and find the dialpad buried among the QWERTY keys and dial, which requires two hands and intense concentration.

• You can try and bring up the contact list, which takes a long-ass time to scroll through, or you can slide out the keyboard again and search by name. Again, two hands.

• Voice Command has been an option for years, but then again, it kinda works, but it doesn't work well.

• Probably the best way to go is to program your most important numbers into speed dial, as you'll be able to actually talk to the correct person within, say, three button presses.

Compare that to the iPhone, which has just a touchscreen, but gets you to the keypad, your favorites, recent calls or your contact list, all within two key presses of the home screen.

It's amazing to me that there are five or six different options if you want to dial and call a number yet they all are a usability nightmare. One pet peeve that is missing from the Gizmodo rant is that when a call is connected, the keypad is hidden. This means that if you are calling any sort of customer service system (e.g. AT&T wireless, Microsoft's front desk, your cable company, etc) you need to first tap "Keypad" with your fingernail and then deal with the cumbersome dialpad.

So far, I like the phone more than I dislike it.  **** out of *****.

I'd love to see the next version of the iPhone ship with the ability to talk to Exchange and support for 3G, and see whether the next generation of Windows Mobile devices stack up.

Rihanna - Hate That I Love You (feat. Ne-Yo)


 

Monday, December 17, 2007 8:39:25 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
"It's amazing to me that there are five or six different options if you want to dial and call a number yet they all are a usability nightmare."

Amazing or predictable?

Offering additional options is the worst way to try to fix a problem.
pwb
Monday, December 17, 2007 9:34:19 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Batti puts a nice 1px battery status on top of your screen, I was using it when I had a wizard (Cingular 8125). http://pda.jasnapaka.com/batti/
Monday, December 17, 2007 10:35:41 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
You can extend your battery greatly by disabling "Download as items arrive" in activesync. It maintains a connection at all times to your exchange server so you get e-mail in real-time, but how often do you really pull out your phone every time an e-mail arrives? Because of this, it stops the phone's antenna from going into low-power mode.
Anon
Tuesday, December 18, 2007 7:38:54 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Spb Mobile Shell, while not free, is terrific. I use it on Hermes, and it gives me the battery indicator, and, most importantly, a usable Contacts screen. I can select a person and dial a number with one hand via big-ass touchscreen buttons. I did not compare it with an iPhone, but it does work , as opposed to all the default WM6 options.
max
Friday, December 21, 2007 8:34:55 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
regarding the battery indicator "there is no battery life indicator on the main screen. Instead I have to navigate to Start menu->Settings->System->Power " -- I just bought this phone (Tilt) about 3 weeks ago, I do see the battery indicator as the first icon on top left right below the title bar and date time indicator. I looked for such a configuration settings, i couldn't figure where it was - but i do have the battery icon on top left.
I liked it very much so far - may be more because, i just transitioned from the regular phones to a windows mobile phone. Although i haven't configured to receive work emails on this phone, but I use OWA a lot. Excel application and hotmail email have been handy.
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