One of the most fully-featured smartphones just got smarter.
The HTC TyTN II -- also known as the T-Mobile Vario III and the Vodafone v1615 -- has every radio you could want, and is stuffed with other desirable features.
It's hard to say what this Windows Mobile-based phone doesn't have. Weighing 190g including its 1350mAh lithium-ion polymer battery, the quad-band TyTN (pronounced Titan) II offers Wi-Fi, HSDPA, 3G, GPRS/EDGE, and of course GSM and Bluetooth. It includes two cameras, one on each side of the slab; the one facing you as you use the phone is designed for making video calls. The icing on the radio cake is the built-in GPS receiver.
The pièce de résistance is the slide-out keyboard which then allows the top half of the device to tilt - which is why AT&T in the US is selling it as the AT&T Tilt. The Qwerty keyboard consists of backlit buttons with an easy-to-use shift system for symbols and numbers. You hit the shift or Fn once for a single shifted key, twice to leave the modification in effect.
It's a handsome device. The face consists of a 65,000 colour, 2.8-inch TFT touch screen, which switches orientation to landscape mode as you slide out the keyboard. There are dedicated buttons for both browser and messages, for phone off and on-hook, and for OK. There's also a Windows Start button. At 112mm by 59mm by 19mm, it's slimmer than its predecessor.
On the right are the power button and a shutter release for the 3-megapixel camera, while on the left are a jog wheel, an OK button, and a button for activating the audio recording feature. At the bottom of the smartphone is a mini-USB port. Just above the mini-USB port, which is USB 2.0-compatible, is a hole containing the soft reset button while above it is the slot for extra storage. It accepts microSD cards, which now reach 6GB in size with 8GB coming very soon, so you'll not lack for storage space.
In the box you get a charger, headphones, and a USB to mini-USB cord, so the phone's standard USB socket means that you can find a cable anywhere if you forget it, and that you can get a cheap adaptor which allows you to plug your favourite phones into the device.
The TyTN II comes with 128MB RAM, about half of which is taken by the system -- it runs WM6 Pro - on startup. HTC claims that the TyTN II offers battery life of up to 350-365 hours in standby, depending on which type of radio network you're using, and a talk time of 420 minutes for GSM and 264 minutes for UMTS. However, this device's rich feature set implies that it's likely to be used fairly intensively, and we found that it's not hard to chomp through the battery in a day. Using a little circumspection results in a two-day battery life - just. The moral is that you will need a charger; if you're also carrying a laptop, you'll find that the USB standard's current limit means charging from the its USB port can take at least twice as long compared to the mains.
The system is running Windows Mobile Pro 6.0, which means that you have access to the widest range of third party applications. While the OS itself may not be what attracts you to the phone, the sheer number of applications should.
The HTC Home screen offers fast access to a user-configurable batch of applications, as well as to a weather update service and, most usefully, to your ten most-called contacts. You can add their photos too.
The phone application integrates well with the contacts list. You can type on the soft keypad (or the hard one) either a phone number or a name and the list will grab the nearest matches automatically, with the search narrowing the more you type. You also get call history and speed dial features; it's a pity you can't see how long each individual call lasted though, just the total.