T-Mobile MDA Pro/O2 XDA Exec review

Mobile phones

Is this the smartphone you have all been waiting for? HTC’s Universal finally arrives in the UK this month in at least two different guises. T-Mobile claims to have got the device first offering it as the MDA Pro. Not to be outdone O2 is also offering the phone this time calling it the XDA Exec. Vodafone and Orange will have their own version shsortly.

So why all the excitement? Well the Universal is certainly a special phone and it likely to be a huge hit with both corporates and high-end prosumers. Its big story is that it is the first top-end Windows Mobile powered handset to offer 3G connection, so users can download large files to it or surf the web at broadband-like (or maybe that’s broadband-lite) speeds. It also has Wi-Fi for when a person is in range of a hot spot and GPRS as a fall back.

The device is also the first to offer the latest version of the Microsoft operating system for mobiles – Windows Mobile 5.0. The big news here is that it now features persistent memory, so when the phone battery dies you don’t lose all the data you had on it –  a major weakness of previous MS phones. There’s also enhanced push email facilities and a few other minor tweaks. And of course the cut down version of Excel, Word, etc are sure to be a hit with IT departments who want to play safe and keep all their PCs and devices on the same platform.

The clamshell type device – it has a touch of the Psion Series 5 about it or even a Nokia Communicator, also features a large and very usable keyboard which is light years away for the thumbapad offered by its rivals.

I had a reasonably long play with the MDA pro and to be honest I can’t see why any mobile worker wouldn’t want one. Its only real weakness is its bulky size, but hey it is still much smaller and more pocketable than a laptop.

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  • Laurence is speaking of the T-Mobile MDA, which is a different animal, not at all comparable to the MDA Pro.

  • I found the T-Mobile MDA at http://www.UShopWireless.com on Sale. This is a really nice phone. Total after rebate is only $99 and I received the phone the next day. This is by far the greatest phone I have ever owned it has everything I need all packed into one little phone.

  • it’s just a pity that most commentators aren’t users. Have you ever tried to synchronize only part of your your Outlook contacts? No. Well try and download all 3000 contacts to the MDA Pro, together with some 80 tasks, some 200 notes and appointments for a few months. The MDA Pro starts crawling, takes 5 minutes to boot up, and 2 minutes to get from one entry to another, and freezes at the first appointmnent notification, requiring a reset. It takes some 2 hours to get the settings right so that the MDA will actually make use of WiFi, but those settings are lost after the next inevitable reset. And then do next logical thing, move your notes to the SD memory card. Great, the machine seems to have come unstuck. Until the next “Activesync” session, when all your notes are deleted in Outlook on your desktop. Great going. Especially as Microsoft Activesync does not have settings that would allow the desktop to override the handheld. I’ve had it and I’m going back to my Palm Desktop Version 5. On a palm, not even 5.000 contacts will cause a delay of even half a second, let alone a “freeze”. You can also carry the Palm in your pocket without it feeling as if it were gun …

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