HTC P3300 Artemis Pocket PC Phone

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INTRODUCTION

    HTC has started selling
its excellent Windows Mobile devices under its own
brand. The HTC P3300 and P3600 mark a new naming
scheme convention for HTC as well. The P3300 still
has the cool "Artemis" code name, but under the HTC
brand it is sold as the P3300. Artemis, of course,
is the goddess of the hunt according to greek
mythology. While this device can't communicate with
wild animals, it can do just about everything else.

    The HTC P3300 is currently
only available in the "Taster Edition" flavor, which
includes TomTom Navigator 6, but only allows you to
download one City map of your choosing. A "Premium
Edition" will also be available which will include
TomTom Navigator 6 along with a DVD containing many
more mapping data sets for your region as well as a
512Mb MicroSD card to store the maps on. If you’re at all interested in this device, take a look at this review before making a decision. We’ve got some suprises ahead. Read on for the review!

WHAT’S HOT

    The best parts of the P3300
are that it's thinner and lighter than the HTC
Prophet and adds a GPS SirfSTAR III reciever as well
as the very innovative trackball scroll-wheel
interface. In terms of it’s
specifications, it’s got Bluetooth 2.0, 802.11g/b WiFi, 201Mhz TI
850 OMAP
CPU, 128Mb ROM, 64Mb RAM, Windows Mobile 5.0 (AKU 3), 2.8" 240x320px 64K color screen, Quadband GSM/EDGE and a
2MP camera.  

Device (no cover)
Size (inches)
Weight (grams |
ounces)
HTC P3300
4.25" x 2.28" x 0.66"
127 | 4.48
4.44" x 2.34" x 0.61"
146 | 5.14
4.33" x 2.52" x 0.45"
115 | 4.05
4.80" x 2.79" x 0.86"
160 | 6.40
4.37" x 2.28" x 0.86"
154 | 5.40
4.18" x 2.31" x 0.68"
150 | 5.30
4.40" x 2.30" x 0.90"
180 | 6.40
4.80" x 2.88" x 0.76"
186 | 6.56
4.60" x 2.79" x 0.82"

165 | 5.82

4.25" x 2.28" x 0.93"
160 | 5.64
4.92" x 2.81" x
0.71"
210 | 7.40
4.18" x 2.31" x 0.68"

150 | 5.30

4.70" x 2.90" x 0.70"
175 | 6.20
4.60" x 3.21" x 0.58"

138 | 4.80

5.17" x 3.03" x 0.59"
187 | 6.60
4.50" x 2.80" x 0.64"
158 | 5.57

Click on any device above for a full review.


WHAT’S IN
THE BOX


(all images link to higher resolution)

    The HTC P3300 comes with all the usual
suspects; a USB sync cable, AC
adapter, stereo headphones with talk button/mic/volume
control, belt clip case, software CD and
manual. Sorry, cradles are passé these days.

THE DEVICE

   

The P3300's matte grey body is
reminiscent of the old Palm V.

    The most interesting feature of
the P3300 is the trackball scroll wheel hardware
interface replacement for the directional pad. When
the backlight is on, the trackball glows blue.
You've also got a nice layout of hardware buttons
surrounding the scroll wheel. The Start menu key,
Menu soft keys, and OK button are in the same layout
as the Prophet, but you also get two additional
customizable hardware buttons below the phone's send
and end buttons. By default these are assigned to
TomTom Navigator and Internet Explorer.

Play the above video to see the
track-ball scroll-wheel combo in action.

    Both sides of the P3300 have a row
of shiny silver plastic where some extra buttons are
located. Surrounding the shiny plastic is a matte
grey area that matches the rest of the body.
However, these matte grey areas on the edges are
actually non-slip rubberized plastic similar to the
type found originally on the HTC Prophet. On the left side, there's a
voice command button, a volume slider, and at the
lower end is a soft-reset hole.

    At the bottom, you'll see a
microphone hole, the ExtUSB connector, a lanyard
hole, and the stylus slot on the right. The ExtUSB
connector is used for everything including Audio,
Charging, and Syncing. If you want to charge the
device while also playing music or navigation
instructions through the car stereo, you'll need a
couple adapters and a Y-splitter which is not
available yet.

The right side includes a camera
button on the lower edge of the silver strip, and
the power button on the upper end. You can also see
the end of the stylus on the bottom.

The top end of the P3300 only has
a few plastic ridges along with a couple slots for
the external speaker. It's nice that the speaker is
at the top of the device; this way you can hear it
while it's sitting in a car mounted holder.

On the back is the 2 Megapixel
camera, along with the reflection mirror. The black
rubber area at the top covers a plug for external
GPS and GSM antennae.

    The SIM card and Micro SD slot are
underneath the battery. The MicroSD card slit folds
down underneath the SIM card holder. It's a very
convoluted configuration and will make swapping
MicroSD slots, in order to load different GPS maps
for example, very frustrating. Your best bet is to
buy the biggest MicroSD card you can find and keep
it in there at all times.

The P3300 after launching TomTom
Navigator 6. For some reason, TomTom takes a couple
seconds to recognize that there's a GPS receiver
built-in and then it will begin acquiring a fix for
the current location.

    The P3300 also includes a built in
FM Radio. The software will only launch if you have
the included stereo headphones plugged into the
ExtUSB port. That means you can't use it in the car,
or on its own. Pressing the seek buttons tend to
make the radio stop working all together, so you'll
have to take your time with the regular tuning
buttons to save some decent presets. The reception
isn't very good at all though, so I see this being
useful only as a novelty. The software interface
also doesn't match HTC's green branding.

    If you're using it outdoors in the sunlight, you'll
have to turn the brightness up all the way just to
be able to see the screen. It looks like this one is
not transflective! There's no ambient light sensor
to automatically change the screen's brightness
either, so you'll have to do it manually in the
Brightness control panel.

COMPARISONS

The P3300 sizes up nicely on the
chopping block. Here you'll see from left to right,
the Qtek 8500 Smartphone, T-Mobile Dash, HTC P3300, i-mate JAMin,
and i-mate K-JAM.

Here you can see a comparison of
the thickness. On top is the Qtek 8500,
then the HTC P3300, i-mate JAMin,
and i-mate K-JAM .

As you can see, the P3300 is
almost exactly as thin as the Qtek 8500 (when closed).


CAMERA

   The P3300 comes with a 2
megapixel
built-in camera. It does not have a macro mode
like the JAMin or a flash like the K-JAM, but it
works.


The new camera interface is full of cryptic icons,
but you should recognize most of them from using
other cameras.


Here’s a sample photo from the P3300. Click for the
full resolution.



INTEGRATED SOFTWARE

   The HTC P3300 includes Windows
Mobile 5.0 with the addition of Adaptation Kit
Update (AKU) version 3 and
the Messaging and Security Pack. AKU 3 brings some
new enhancements to Windows Mobile 5, and the P3300
is one of the first devices to include it. HTC has
also included some enhancements of their own.


   On the Today screen, you’ll notice HTC has included
a new item at the bottom with some useful shortcut
buttons. The first one shows the battery level and
gives you access to the power settings. The second
one flips the screen between portrait and landscape
orientations. The third brings up the Communications
Manager. The fourth brings you to the screen
brightness control panel, which is important on this
device since you’ll need to turn the brightness up
all the way to use it outdoors. The fifth button
brings you do the QuickGPS app, and the 6th one
turns on Mouse mode for the trackball.

   The Comm Manager lets you quickly
toggle the power status of your phone, Bluetooth,
and WiFi radios. There’s also a button to toggle the
active state of Microsoft’s DirectPush technology…
another button for disconnecting the GPRS/EDGE data
connection… another for toggling the speaker and
vibrate modes.. and the last button goes to the
ActiveSync application.  The Settings menu
gives you access to the Bluetooth and WiFi control
panels. As you can see HTC has branded the
Communications manager here with their own green
skin.

   
The Settings menu at the bottom of the Comm
Manager gives you access to the normal Microsoft
Bluetooth stack settings dialogs where you can
manage and create bonds with other Bluetooth
devices. The AKU 3.0 updates adds some interesting
features as seen in the new "FTP" tab.

   When you enable the Bluetooth Explorer in the
Bluetooth settings, a new option appears in the
regular File Explorer (and the "Bluetooth Explorer"
application starts working). This can be used to
transfer files to other Bluetooth devices within
range.

The WiFi Settings dialog is the
same you’ll see in other WiFi enabled devices from
HTC. Nothing spectacular.

   
HTC made their own green phone dialer skin as
well. You might notice that with AKU 3.0, the
directional pad hardware shortcuts for accessing the
Speed Dial and Call History have returned!

   The Smart Dialing add-on from HTC
has been updated with new green-themed colors. This
is activated when you start pressing numeric digits
on the phone dialer screen. The software searches
your Contacts database for contact names that might
match what you’re spelling out with the numeric
keypad. Now when you scroll to select a contact that
you started typing, their phone number appears. This
is a nice addition. Simply press the "Talk" button
when you’ve selected the person you want to call.

   The MMS add-in that HTC has
bundled with the P3300 is greatly improved over
previous versions. No longer does it have its own
Settings menu option in the normal Messaging
application. Now the MMS settings are with the other
Messaging account settings. Furthermore, the actual
MMS application now really supports Windows Mobile 5
with it’s softkey menus.

   Something else that’s new with AKU 3.0 is the
ability to copy SMS messages to the SIM card. This
is a great feature if you want to back-up certain
messages and use them on a different phone.
Unfortunately, this only works on text messages in
the Inbox. You cannot back-up text messages that you
sent.

ClearVue PDF 2.42 is included in
the P3300’s ROM. This will let you view PDF
documents you might receive in email or download
from the web.

HTC included a ZIP
compression program in the P3300’s ROM. It’s
still not really designed for Windows Mobile 5.0,
but it will help you open or create ZIP files. This
would come in handy if you want to save on bandwidth
while sending attachments.

 

   
HTC
includes the above Voice Speed Dial
program from Cyberon for voice activated dialing.
You can record voice tags for calling any contact as
well as launching Applications. By default, this is
the application that launches when you press the
Voice Command button on your connected Bluetooth
headset.

The P3300 also includes a MIDlet
Manager for using Java applications.

   You’ll notice a "SAPSettings" icon
in your Programs folder. That icon allows you to
enable Remote SIM Access over Bluetooth. I don’t
know why this isn’t built into the Bluetooth
Settings control panel. Anyway, this feature is good
for people with hands-free bluetooth kits built into
their car stereos.

   The "Internet Sharing" application
is another nice addition to AKU 3.0 and the P3300.
If you turn this on while connected to a
desktop/laptop via USB, ActiveSync will
automatically disconnect and Windows XP will
recognize and install the device as a "Windows
Mobile-based internet sharing device." It will show
up in your "Network Connections" and you will
instantly be able to access the internet through the
P3300. This is a very cool feature, and makes it
very easy to tether your computer to use the Windows
Mobile phone’s internet access. As soon as you
disconnect the internet sharing application, the
Windows Mobile device reconnects to ActiveSync.

There’s something new in the
settings as well. "Mouse Mode" is something that
controls the behavior of the P3300’s trackball.

   QuickGPS is HTC’s program for using an assisted
global positioning system service. It downloads your
position data through the internet based on your IP
address location and then translates that to the GPS
navigation programs. It’s supposed to make finding a
GPS fix faster, but you still have to wait for the
actual GPS receiver to calculate a fix and having to
go through the download process takes some time as
well.

   While HTC did a great job of making a nice Phone
Dialer, Today theme, and Communications Manager skin
to match their new branding and logo, they did
nothing to the Windows Media Player skin. I made
this one myself because the default blue theme
clashes horribly with the rest of the HTC skin
designs. You can

download it here
.



TomTom NAVIGATOR 6

     My version of the HTC P3300 came with TomTom Navigator
6 and one map of my choosing.

  

When you first start TomTom it goes through a few
configuration screens and then tells you that you
can download one map.

  

After that it brings you to a special web page in
internet explorer where you can choose your map. In
my case, it couldn’t load any maps from NY at first.
After another attempt a couple hours later it was
successful.

  

The map downloads as a CAB file which you have to
subsequently open and install.

Once a map is loaded, TomTom gives you a nice tour
of how to use the navigation software. It’s pretty
important that you read through this so that you
know what’s going on.

After you get through the tours and the legal
disclaimers, you come to the default navigation
screen.

Tapping the signal strength icon in the lower right
gives you the route overview screen.

There are a few nice options in the View Route
Details screen.

Tapping the panel in the lower left side of the
Navigation screen brings up a volume slider. There’s
no quick-access mute button though.

   The Main Menu (accessed by tapping the map on the
main navigation screen), gives you access to all the
useful options. The buttons are very big so you can
easily press them with your finger. Things like
Traffic and other Plus services require an internet
connection and some require a subscription account.

   You can even download new languages and voices
directly through the software preferences. The
default voice that came with the P3300 speaks UK
English and refers to highways as "the motorway". It
also uses weird shortcuts like "Take the exit
right".  Two things that I wish the voices
would do are: 1. pronounce the numeric route numbers
of main roads, and 2. say which side of the street
my destination is on. Currently TomTom 6 only says
"You have reached your destination" when you are
within range of your destination. You still have to
figure out for yourself which side of the street you
should park on.

   I really like TomTom’s Call number feature. It lets
you find points of interest and easily call their
phone numbers. This is perfect you have a Bluetooth
headset connected to the device while in the car.
One thing missing is the ability to call your
contacts or a saved number for your destination
through this interface.



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About The Author
Adam Z. Lein
Adam has had interests in combining technology with art since his first use of a Koala pad on an Apple computer. He currently has a day job as a graphic designer, photographer, systems administrator and web developer at a small design firm in Westchester, NY. His love of technology extends to software development companies who have often implemented his ideas for usability and feature enhancements. Mobile computing has become a necessity for Adam since his first Uniden UniPro PC100 in 1998. He has been reviewing and writing about smartphones for Pocketnow.com since they first appeared on the market in 2002.Read more about Adam Lein!