Review: HTC's first branded smartphone – Tytn

PDAs, Reviews

The Propaganda

HTC have long been manufacturing Pocket PCs for other people, such as O2 and Orange, but the Tytn marks their first foray into this world under their own name. It’s a tri-band 3G Pocket PC, with a full slideout QWERTY keyboard.

The Good

The design of the Tytn is superb. It feels solid but not heavy, and the keyboard slide is smooth, with a reassuring click when it’s in place. The screen automatically switches from portrait to landscape on that magic ‘click’ and there are soft buttons in both views which make it easy to access key functions,if you don’t fancy getting out the stylus for the touchscreen.


As far as other controls are concerned, the Blackberry-esque scroll wheel on the side make it possible to do some things with one hand, although generally you’ll find yourself using two.  There are also a number of shortcut keys including voice dial, video call (when will manufacturers accept that we Just Don’t Do It?), the communication manager and a Start menu.

Connectivity is also good, as it supports Bluetooth, Wifi, EDGE and also has a mini USB connector port.  All are easy to access through the Communications Manager, which also controls your ActiveSync preferences.

You can view most Microsoft documents using the supplied software, including Excel, Word and Powerpoint, and it’s also possible to view PDF files. Push email is easy to set up (once you’ve got your over-zealous firewall to allow Tytn access to your Outlook).

The Bad

There’s always a trade off with these things about what their primary purpose is – is it a phone, or is it a pocket computer? In this case, the phone functions are slightly buried. Although there is a shortcut key to take you to the dialing screen, it’s not possible to access SMS messages from here. For that, you go into your messages screen, which also holds your emails and MMS messages, and then have to switch between the relevant folders. 

The Tytn comes with a 2 megapixel camera on the back, which although comes with a lot of functions, including flash, video recording and resolution adjustment, it just doesn’t take very good photos. It’s one of two cameras, the other being situated on the front for video calling.

There is also a MicroSD slot included, but unlike many it comes with no cover. It would only take one quick trip to the seaside to screw this up for eternity (although it’s not really a sea side type phone, unless you have serious work/life balance issues).

In our opinion

The HTC Tytn is a good Pocket PC. The design is attractive and ergonomic, and it’s not heavy enough to make you walk with a limp when it’s in your pocket. Functions wise, it’s all fairly intuitive and doesn’t take long to set up ready to go. However, whilst HTC believe it should appeal to business and leisure users alike, the business functionality and the common sense design means that it’s unlikely to get in Paris Hilton’s handbag any time soon. It’s available on O2 for as little as £85 (with a pretty bulky contract) but will set you back over £500 SIM free. Ouch.

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