HTC TyTN II with WM6 Professional

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INTRODUCTION

    It's been a while since
a Windows Mobile device has been as long awaited
and as well anticipated as the HTC Kaiser, which has
now been released as the HTC TyTN II. I don't think
there's been as much excitement about a Windows
Mobile Pocket PC since the XDA II, four years ago. Back then, we just wanted
a Pocket PC Phone that could connect to the internet
and a Bluetooth headset. These days everyone wants
a device that does everything: high speed HSDPA
multi-band internet, fast processor, large keyboard,
small body, large amount of storage and memory, WiFi,
Bluetooth, finger touch screen, GPS Navigation, MP3
player, quality digital camera, etc. We want it all,
and the TyTN II is the first real attempt at giving
it to us.  Hence, HTC's tagline in their
marketing materials reads "The Ultimate Mobile
Companion." We’ll give the TyTN a very thorough look, and determine whether it should be added to your phone wish list. Read on!

WHAT’S HOT

    You would think it might be enough to
masterfully incorporate every type of current mobile
device technology into one device, which is
essentially what the TyTN II does… but the most
innovative feature is the flexibility. The TyTN II
actually has four different usage methods. 
Maybe you like to use it with one hand, maybe you
like to type with two thumbs, maybe you like to
write on the screen, maybe you like to set it on the
table and watch YouTube videos. No other phone
includes such a variety of usage configurations.
I'll explain them below in pictures:

(all images link to high resolution)  

   
First, since the TyTN II
has TouchFLO, as made popular by the HTC Touch, you can use the device with one hand
and one finger. You can flick your finger across the
screen to scroll or pan through anything, and you
can use an on-screen software based keyboard for
input. This type of usage has recently been
popularized by the Apple iPhone.   Second, you
can also use a stylus with the touch screen for more
accurate interaction and handwriting recognition.

The third option is
to slide out the keyboard and use two thumbs to
navigate the interface as well as input text.

    The 4th way to
interact with the TyTN II is to tilt up the screen
and set it on a desk or table. You can use your
fingers on the keyboard to navigate and input text
while still being able to see the screen without
holding it up or hovering above it.

    Now, Apple
would have you believe that the finger-touch-screen
usage configuration is the best, but obviously (in
using the TyTN II) having the flexibility to switch
between usage configuration modes is much more
valuable to the user.
Of course, we can't
forget the TyTN II's spectacular list of
specifications.

    It’s got Bluetooth 2.0, WiFi b/g,
400MHz Qualcomm MSM7200
CPU, 256MB ROM, 128MB RAM, Windows Mobile 6
Professional, a 2.8" QVGA screen screen,
quadband GSM/EDGE (850/900/1800/1900Mhz), Triband
UMTS (850/1900/2100Mhz), HSDPA, HSUPA, USB 2.0,
built-in GPS (NMEA 0183), front-facing VGA camera, and a
3.1MP rear camera with autofocus.  That is an
extremely impressive list of specifications.  You
might expect some of the features to be unreliable
or not so great. On the contrary, the TyTN II, in my opinion,
currently has the best Bluetooth radio, best GPS
implementation, best keyboard, and the fast processor and extra
memory makes everything run very smoothly.

Device
Size (inches)
Weight (grams | ounces)
4.44" x 2.47" x 0.52"

132 | 4.65
4.44" x 2.27" x 0.63"

156 | 5.61
4.74" x 2.63" x 0.43"

157 | 5.53
4.33" x 2.09" x 0.59"

117 | 4.12
4.66" x 2.48" x 0.47"

130 | 4.58
4.56" x 2.33" x 0.67"

188 | 6.63
4.64" x 2.36" x 0.48"

129 | 4.55
3.96" x 2.34" x 0.67"

133 | 4.76
4.68" x 2.44" x 0.67"

188 | 6.63
4.58" x 2.42" x 0.47"

120 | 4.20
4.56" x 2.33" x 0.65"

178 | 6.28
3.92" x 2.41" x 0.60"

137 | 4.83
4.24" x 2.09" x 0.53"

117 | 4.12
4.17" x 2.00" x 0.85"

151 | 5.34
4.41" x 2.24" x 0.49"

122 | 4.30
4.57" x 1.70" x 0.64"

140 | 4.94
4.88" x 2.44" x 0.53"

130 | 4.56
4.21" x 2.20" x 0.55"

120 | 4.20
4.53" x 2.47" x 0.47"

146 | 5.15
4.63" x 2.19" x 0.67"

158 | 5.57
4.35" x 2.07" x 0.67"

158 | 5.57
4.56" x 2.41" x 0.51"

125 | 4.41
4.44" x 2.36" x 0.55"

133 | 4.69
4.01" x 1.98" x 0.55"

124 | 4.37
8.28" x 4.67" x 1.08"

640 | 22.5
4.48" x 2.52" x 0.59"

154 | 5.43
4.17" x 2.38" x 0.68"

147 | 5.18
4.01" x 2.00" x 0.71"

165 | 5.82
4.41" x 2.24" x 0.49"

122 | 4.30
4.41" x 2.28" x 0.73"

140 | 4.94
4.01" x 2.00" x 0.45"

110 | 3.88
4.56" x 2.36" x 0.70"
200 | 7.05
4.30" x 2.40" x 0.60"
120 | 4.23
4.20" x 2.30" x 0.60"
136 | 4.79
3.70" x 2.30" x 0.60"
126 | 4.44
4.48" x 2.39" x 0.51"
116 | 4.09
4.60" x 2.60" x 0.50"

134 | 4.70

4.10" x 2.10" x 0.60"
150 | 5.30
4.40" x 2.32" x 0.75"
190 | 6.70

WHAT’S IN
THE BOX

    The HTC TyTN II comes with a USB sync cable, AC
adapter, stereo headphones with talk button/mic/volume
control, belt pouch case,
screen protector, software CD including ActiveSync
and a trial version of Microsoft Outlook 2007,
software CD with GPRS Monitor, SPB Backup, and
TomTom 6 Taster Edition,
extensive full color
manual, Getting Started guide, and an extra stylus.
Unfortunately it sounds like the newer editions of
the TyTN II are not including the Taster Edition of
TomTom 6, which means you'll have to find and
install your own GPS Navigation program.

For those that missed the unboxing I posted about a week ago, here it is again.


 

The packaging for the HTC
TyTN II uses similar branding to the HTC Touch.

THE DEVICE

 

    One of the most innovative
features of the TyTN II is it's slide out keyboard
and tilting screen combination. This allows the
device to transform from a touch-screen phone to a
table-top mini-computer. Other devices with
slide-out keyboards still need to be held up with
two hands so you can see the screen. With the TyTN
II, you can just set it on the table and tilt the
screen up to watch a movie or read through email
while poking at the keyboard with your fingers.

 

    The GPS on the TyTN II is the best
I've ever used. Unlike the HTC P3300, the QuickGPS
actually works providing for much improved
time-to-fix speed. And with the cool new tilt-up
screen you can just set it on your dashboard in your
car. Also note I've got an audio/charging adapter
plugged in so that the TyTN II's Media Player music
and navigation voice instructions play through my
car stereo. Yes, the music will pause when a phone
call comes in.

 

    There's a bunch of hardware
buttons on the front for navigating the device while
the keyboard is closed. You've got answer and end
buttons in the far upper left and right, Start Menu
and OK keys in the far lower left and right
respectively. Then on the inner area are left and
right soft key buttons, and an Internet Explorer and
Messaging application buttons below.  Then in
the middle is a directional navigation pad and an
action button.  I would have preferred to see
the Start Menu and OK buttons on the inner area next
to the soft keys since those functions are most
often used in conjunction with each other.

The TyTN II has a VGA front facing
camera for use with video phone calls.

I kind of wish HTC would brand
their devices a little better. All this has is an
HTC logo. No model name or anything like that.

Just like the HTC Herald and
T-Mobile Wing, the TyTN II has little LED lights on
the keyboard indicating which modifier keys you've
enabled (Capitalization or Function). This makes
knowing what you're going to be typing much easier.

 

 On the left side, there's
a voice command button, thumbwheel (spin to scroll,
press for action), and OK button.

 

    At the bottom, you'll see a
lanyard hole, the ExtUSB
connector, soft reset hole, a microphone hole,
stylus silo, and in the upper part is a flap
covering the MicroSDHC slot. The ExtUSB
connector is used for everything including Audio,
Charging, and Syncing.

The right side includes a camera button,
power button, and the stylus silo at the bottom.

 

The top end of the HTC TyTN II is
completely void of hardware buttons.

 

On the back is the 3 Megapixel
Autofocus camera, along with the speaker
grill, and a piece of rubber covering the GPS and
GSM external antennae jacks.

 

The MicroSD card
slot is underneath a flap on the bottom. 

 

The SIM card slot is on the back
of the screen and is only accessible when you slide
the keyboard out. There's a metal "lock" switch
that holds a metal flap over the SIM card slot.

    Similar to the T-Mobile Wing, the
whole rear of the TyTN II slides off with some
significant pressure. This is where the battery
goes. Luckily you don't have to remove the battery
to access the SIM card slot or MicroSD memory slot
on this model.

 

Here you'll see from left to right,
the i-mate K-JAM, HTC P3300,
HTC TyTN II, and UBiQUiO 503G.

From top to bottom: HTC TyTN II,
HTC P3300, i-mate K-JAM, UBiQUiO 503G

From top to bottom: HTC TyTN II,
HTC P3300, i-mate K-JAM, UBiQUiO 503G

From top to bottom: HTC TyTN II,
HTC P3300, i-mate K-JAM, UBiQUiO 503G

From top to bottom: HTC TyTN II,
HTC P3300, i-mate K-JAM, UBiQUiO 503G

Here's a close up comparison
between the i-mate K-JAM (HTC Wizard) thickness and
the HTC TyTN II. The TyTN II looks pretty slim
compared to the Wizard.




INTEGRATED SOFTWARE

   The HTC TyTN II includes some
very nice custom enhancements as well as some new
Windows Mobile 6 Professional upgrades from
Microsoft.

    HTC has included a good-looking plug-in on the Home
screen. It takes up quite a bit of screen
real-estate, but it is also very useful. There are
iconic tabs at the bottom that let you switch
between the different modes. The house icon gives
you a big clock, along with buttons and counters for
Email messages, Text messages, and missed phone
calls. The person icon gives you photo-speed-dial
buttons for your favorite people. The sun icon
shows a nice representation of the weather forecast.
The rectangular 4 boxes icon gives you quick access
to customizable program launchers as well as a few
system utilities. The phone icon with a musical note
lets you change the ring tone and profile for the
phone.

    HTC added a nice Task Manager to the TyTN II. It
shows up in the upper right corner of the Today
Screen and also gives you some great options for how
the Windows Mobile "close" button functions, like
making it close programs. Personally, I like the X
button minimizing programs the way it normally does
so it's nice that this is an option.

    The Comm Manager mainly handles
Phone, WiFi, and Bluetooth power settings. It also
has a button that toggles the audio settings to
vibrate mode. Then there's an ActiveSync button that
simply launches ActiveSync and an Internet Sharing button
for tethering the TyTN II to a laptop.

    One nice little surprise in the
TyTN II is the "Print via Bluetooth" command that
shows up in a number of programs. It does not show
up in the Office programs, but it does work in the
Calendar, Contacts, Pictures, and Messaging
programs. If you want to print other types of files
to a Bluetooth Printer, you'll need to purchase some
3rd party software.

    An interesting addition to the
Pictures & Video program is a "Send to your space"
command. This posts the picture on your Windows Live
Space using the account information you set up in
Windows Live. Instant photo blogging here we come!

    When you sign into Windows Live, you have to go
through a number of set up screens. It gives you
options for showing the Live Search bar and Live
applications Today screen plug ins. Personally, I'd
avoid using those since the Today screen is already
very crowded. The set-up also gives you options for
synchronizing Windows Live email and Windows Live
Contacts (including Messenger contacts).

    If you used the T-Mobile Wing or remember my review,
the version of Windows Live that came with that
device required that you sync the Windows Live
Contacts and merge them with your contacts list in
order to use Windows Live Messenger. The version on
the TyTN II thankfully no longer requires this, but it is still
an option.

    The Windows Live application lets you monitor the
Sync Status, latest emails, and number of online
Windows Live Messenger contacts. There's also a
"Live Search" bar at the top which searches the
internet. The Menu gives
you access to account and application options.

    The most interesting item in the Windows Live
Options dialog is the "Sync frequency". By default
it's set to manual, but there's an option for "As
items arrive".  So that means if you have a
Windows Live or Hotmail email account, you've also
got push email on Windows Mobile 6 devices.

    The TyTN II comes with a new version of Windows Live
Messenger. It is much improved over the version that
came with the first Windows Mobile 6 devices such as
the T-Mobile Wing. You've got lots of excellent
features such as setting your status before logging
in, viewing contact photos, sending & receiving
emoticons/voice clips/files/photos, viewing contact
Spaces, and Contacts application integration, but
now they work properly. I love the new Voice Clips
feature. You just press the left soft key, start
talking, then press it again when you're finished
and your voice message is instantly sent to the
buddy you're chatting with. It works great even over
an EDGE connection. Also notice that all of your
Windows Live Contacts now appear in the Messenger
contact list as "Non-IM Contacts"

The TyTN II has a phone dialer skin very similar to
the one in the HTC Touch. However, the TyTN II also
supports video calling.

 

    The phone dialer uses the HTC
smart dialing add-on instead of the one built into
Windows Mobile 6. When using the number pad or
keyboard to type out a persons name or dial a
number, the possible letter combinations are
searched and resulting names are displayed below.
Once the name you want is selected, press the Talk
button and the phone will dial away.

 

   
When you're in a call, the screen shows the time
connected along with the caller's photo, name and
number. The menu button gives you access to
pertinent commands like turning on speakerphone,
hands-free, hold, etc.  It seems like there's a
lot of blank space here.

Incoming calls show the caller ID
and photo as usual.

 

    MMS messages are still part
of the text messaging account in the Messaging
application as they were in the T-Mobile Wing. I
really really hate this. You have to tap
Menu>New>SMS to start a new message now that the
Delete key has taken the place of the "New" command
on the left Soft Key button. This is very annoying.
MMS messages should at least be a separate account.

    HTC's Audio Manager is a very nice "TouchFLO"
media player. You can easily navigate it with your
finger and use the flick-scrolling in the lists.
Pressing the title at the top will bring you back
through the library.

The Audio Manager's player
interface uses large buttons that you can easily
press with a finger. Unfortunately there's no album
art here.

The HTC TyTN II does work with
YouTube mobile, by the way.

The "Streaming Media" program from
HTC is what plays the YouTube videos and other 3GP
streaming media.

 

Media Player 10.3 also works for
playing music and videos. You still cannot navigate
backwards in the Library view using the hardware
buttons. That is, unless you use the backspace
key on the keyboard.

QuickGPS will download data from
the internet to help get a faster fix when you're
using the built in GPS receiver. The HTC P3300 also
used this program, but it did not work nearly as
well as it does in the TyTN II.

    TomTom 6 is included on the CD and
when you install it you are allowed to download one
City map of your choosing to use with the software. The price for additional maps will vary by region. Here are some examples: North America and Western Europe: $150, NE US: $90, Australi: $275.

    Another extremely cool and useful
program that's included is WorldCard Mobile. This
lets you use the TyTN II's camera to photograph
business cards and then it will use optical
character recognition to translate the printed type
into plain text which can then be saved to your
Contacts list. After it does the initial recognition
above, you can fix any errors before exporting it to
your contacts.

    There's a "Voice Recorder"
application from HTC. I don't know why we need this
since the regular Windows Mobile "Notes" application
already does this. There are quick shortcuts in the
menu for adding recorded sounds as ring tones or
sending them in MMS messages though.

 

    ActiveSync lets you configure an Exchange Server to
sync with. You can also sync via Bluetooth from
here. The TyTN II accepted my custom security
certificate and synced up with my Exchange 2003 SP2
server without any problems at all.

The TyTN II supports Java applications of course. 

The TyTN II includes Acrobat Reader, which now
starts up in a file browser mode so you can find a
PDF to open.

Office Mobile is included.

Cyberon Voice Speed Dial is included instead of
Microsoft's Voice Command. This voice dialing
program requires you to record Voice Tags associated
with the commands, unlike Voice Command which requires not training.

A ZIP program is included for working with ZIP
compressed files.

The SAP Settings let you enable SIM access via
Bluetooth so that car kits can access your address
book.

There's a control panel in the Settings which lets
you assign a sound effect to the keyboard sliding
mechanism. I decided to shut this off pretty
quickly. 

There's also a "TouchFLO" control panel in the
system settings tab. This lets you turn on or off
the sound effect applied during finger scrolling and
panning.

The "Task Manager" control panel lets you customize
HTC's task manager options and you can even make the
"X" button close programs instead of just minimizing
them.

    In the Connections tab of the Control Panel, there's
a Connection Setup icon which lets you easily change
your phone's connection settings by selecting the
network operator that you're using. An even better
feature is that the Automatic Configuration is
enabled by default. That means when you put in a
T-Mobile USA SIM card, it will automatically change
the settings accordingly. Why don't all Windows
Mobile devices have this?  They should.

Also in the Connections tab is an HSDPA icon which
you can use to turn on or off the HSDPA high speed
internet access support. It's good to turn it off if
you want to save on battery life.

 

    The TyTN II has a 3 megapixel camera on the back and
a VGA camera on the front. The rear camera has
autofocus with macro capabilities for reading
business cards. The camera interface is very
similar to the one used on other HTC devices, though
you can switch between the front and rear cameras
using the camera button in the bottom drawer button
interface.


BENCHMARKS

   Spb Benchmark from Spb Software House has not been updated for use
with Windows Mobile 5.0 or 6, which include many changes
for increased performance and battery life (as well
as a different way of working with storage memory),
we can only compare Windows Mobile 5.0/6 devices to
other Windows Mobile 5.0/6 devices. As you can see
from the graphs below, the HTC TyTN II does
quite well in the benchmarks department with its speedy 400MHz processor.

 

 

 

BATTERY
    The 1,350 mAh battery on maximum backlight during
normal usage
lasted for about 9hr 23min. This is with HSDPA,
WiFi, and Bluetooth off.  Naturally the battery
life will depend on your usage of the high speed
data and other features.  

HELP SUPPORT

    The TyTN II comes with a manual discussing basic operation in Windows
Mobile as well as the hardware.
There's also an Interactive e-Learning page on the HTC website
where you can learn about all the special features
of the TyTN II. You can also become a member of the HTC e-Club to access special tips and support
downloads for your device.

BUGS AND WISHES

   
One problem that the TyTN II shares with the HTC Touch is trying to
type on the screen with one big thumb. It doesn't come with a
large enough software-based keyboard so you'll have
to slide out the keyboard or install some other type
of soft-keyboard like PocketCM, that will be easier to use. This is
not a huge problem as there are plenty of 3rd party
software based keyboards available including some
that offer T9 style input and even one that mimics
the Apple iPhone's software keyboard. 

    It's
pretty difficult to find problems with the TyTN II,
so I will actually have to pick on the included
screen cover. It gets too many bubbles underneath
when installing! I was very careful to put it on
smoothly as soon as I took the device out of the
box, but still I got bubbles. Also, the screen cover
has a bit more friction than the one included with
the HTC Touch. That makes the TouchFLO finger
gesture scrolling a bit more difficult. Of course I
could just buy a different type of screen protector,
and I may just do that.
 

    Another problem is that since this device is so
utterly feature rich and powerful, you're gonna need
some electricity to do all that. Once you start using 3.6Mb/s internet
access a lot, you're going to have to expect some
battery life decreases. This is kind of a given.

    Other people are going to complain
about the lack of a high resolution VGA screen. I
frankly don't understand why this is so important on
such a small 2.8 inch screen. If the screen was 3.5
inches, then yeah.. that would be nice, but cramming
that much resolution into a tiny space isn't really
going to improve readability much. The text is still
going to have to be big enough to read. Furthermore,
it's not like a high resolution screen is going to
help you find your way to that wedding you have to
go to. Nor will it help you download those files in
your email faster.

    I guess the whole device could be
lighter and smaller, but this will certainly come in
time. 

    Then
there's the problems with Windows Mobile 6 Professional.
The version that comes with the TyTN II actually has
a lot of improvements so I can no longer pick on
Windows Live and Windows Live Messenger. However,
we've still got the classic problems that have never
been fixed. Email reply status is still not communicated
to IMAP, draft messages still
don't sync with anything, and there's no push IMAP
support.
 Windows Media Player still has
the embarrassing inability to navigate the Library
view with the D-pad. Finally, the most annoying
problem; the "New" SMS message button has been buried, making text
messaging extremely tedious.

PURCHASING

    The HTC TyTN II is currently available at a
variety of online retailers upwards from $780 unlocked
and without a contract. It's currently available from Smart Mobile Gadgets for $789.94.  A version of the TyTN II will be
available on AT&T in the US in the Fall of 2007.

PROS


  • Most comprehensive feature set ever in a mobile device


  • Great Global Positioning System support


  • One-finger “TouchFLO” enhancements


  • Excellent slide-out keyboard


  • Tilt-up screen for table-top display


  • Lots of memory

  • UMTS/HSDPA

  • Quality Bluetooth implementation


  • 3MP autofocus Camera


  • Improved
    Windows Live and Windows Mobile 6 software


  • Most comprehensive feature set ever in a mobile device


  • Great Global Positioning System support


  • One-finger “TouchFLO” enhancements


  • Excellent slide-out keyboard


  • Tilt-up screen for table-top display


  • Lots of memory

  • UMTS/HSDPA

  • Quality Bluetooth implementation


  • 3MP autofocus Camera


  • Improved
    Windows Live and Windows Mobile 6 software


  • Most comprehensive feature set ever in a mobile device


  • Great Global Positioning System support


  • One-finger “TouchFLO” enhancements


  • Excellent slide-out keyboard


  • Tilt-up screen for table-top display


  • Lots of memory

  • UMTS/HSDPA

  • Quality Bluetooth implementation


  • 3MP autofocus Camera


  • Improved
    Windows Live and Windows Mobile 6 software

CONS


  • Included
    screen cover gets bubbles when installed


  • A bit
    heavy


  • GPS, 3G, WiFi can
    take a toll on the battery life

Value
Ease
of Use
Features

Overall

What
do these ratings mean
?


OVERALL IMPRESSION

    Two words: Very Impressed.  I don't
even care that I don't have HSDPA or even UMTS
support where I live. The TyTN II does it
all. For me, the improved Bluetooth and consequently
improved Voice Command via Bluetooth recognition
capabilities are well worth it alone. Add on top of
that a much improved GPS Navigation implementation
(compared to the P3300), a slide out
keyboard/flip-up screen, TouchFLO scrolling, 3MP
autofocus camera, and a ton of memory… and there's
no turning back. The TyTN II truly is the ultimate
mobile companion… at least for now.

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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!