Friday, October 9, 2009

The new HTC Imagio with Windows 6.5 and Touch Flo 3d first review

Well it was time for my "new every 2" at Verizon.  This time I retired my venerable Windows Mobile 6.1 phone for a shiny new HTC Imagio Windows Mobile 6.5 phone, with the HTC Touch Flo 3d interface.

So far, I'm pretty impressed with the phone.  I had no real trouble setting it up - did a final sync with the old phone, then moved my memory card to the new phone (same card) and activated it.  As usual with Verizon this required no interaction with a Technical support rep - all was an automated process on both the phone and the provider end.

The phone itself is my first phone in years without a slide out keyboard.  Several reviewers assured us that the touch screen keyboard provided adequate feedback and accuracy.  I would say that "adequate" is correct. I've played with iPhones before, and like with them I have a higher error rate and a slower typing speed with the screen activated keyboard than with a pop-out.  The user interface however is nice enough that I'm willing to overlook this minor issue.  I like the fact that it can optionally vibrate each time you type something and/or click though since the click is controlled by system volume, it's a bit loud and annoying at my normal volume levels.  I turned it off.

It does have a motion sensor, which is used for detecting if the phone is right side up, upside, down, etc.  If you are on a call and place the phone face down on a surface it switches automatically to speaker phone mode - and quite a nice speakerphone too.  So far no plethora of games for it, but it is brand new so we'll see.  It comes with one well designed "rolling ball around a table with holes in it" type game.  Not bad at all.

The phone has a very nice 5mb megapixel camera, which does both full motion video and stills.  I used it with TinyTwitter to take a shot and got this result: 

syncing up via bluetooth on Twitpic

Not bad at all.  As you can see, using my Windows 7 machine with Windows Mobile Device Center I can sync either USB Cable connected or via bluetooth or wireless network.  All seemed equally fast and syncing for the first time to this phone was about the same as my 6.1 phone (IE my 3000 contacts took a while but everything went over fine after a 1/2 an hour or so).  Subsequent syncs were pretty quick.

The only downside objection I have so far is that the TouchFlo 3d software doesn't have any adjustments, and it's relatively easy to open an application (for instance) when you're trying to gesture to move the screen.  I feel that's probably my getting used to it, but since there are no other ways of navigating if it turns out to be an annoyance it will probably continue to be annoying.  It would be nice if there were some sensitivity tweaks you could do (open app after XX seconds of holding the app button for instance).

The initial windows marketplace seems to have a reasonably nice selection of games, tools and utilities, and I expect it will flesh out some.  I've heard from other bloggers that getting apps overseas may be a little more difficult since Microsoft insists you release your software in the native language of that country (despite the fact that virtually everyone overseas speaks at least some English).  There is a limit to the number of front page apps you can set up to about 3 screens of apps (I'm guessing it's like 30 apps).  I can see someone exceeding that easily and having to go to the underlying "all programs" scrolling list to run things they like.

Overall - good implementation, solid seeming phone and capabilities.   I'll see how it fairs in day to day use over the next few weeks.  This is all biding time of course until Microsoft comes out with ZUNE HD based phones where you can combine your Zune and your Phone hardware in one package.

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