iPhone vs. TyTN II Kaiser, which came out on top?

Roughly 20 days ago, I took delivery of a shiny new HTC TyTN II Kaiser (recently re-badged and offered stateside as the at&t Tilt). Similar to the feature packed Nokia N95, HTC’s TyTN II Kaiser pulled out all the stops offering everything you could possibly want in a mobile handset that still managed to fit in your pant pocket(s).

HTC packaging

Although the Kaiser leant more towards the side of big and bulky, the added weight and footprint housed the conveniences of dual cameras, HSDPA, GPS, and a slide-out QWERTY + tilting screen. An admitted skeptic turned believer regarding the Apple iPhone, the recent firmware update (1.1.1) which made loading 3rd party applications a little more cumbersome persuaded me to consider my options. Return to the Symbian powered Nokia N95, or experiment with something completely new [for myself] – a Windows Mobile device? Because I had already experienced the feature-packed Nokia N95, the TyTN II Kaiser seemed like the natural answer.

So with open mind and arms, I cheerfully welcomed the Windows Mobile 6 powered HTC TyTN II Kaiser. The iPhone was powered down, SIM card removed, and placed within the drawer of "archived" goods.

HTC ups the ante for full feature loaded Smartphones

At some point in all of our lives, the desktop version of Windows has or will cause(d) either a) frustration, b) anger, c) irritation, or d) any combination thereof. Having grown up using Windows ME, Windows 2000, and Windows XP I have felt the pain. BSOD anyone? I convinced myself that Windows Mobile would be different. Despite the negative experiences of co-workers, friends, and family, I had to believe Microsoft had managed to optimize its popular Windows operating system in such a way suitable for use on an everyday device like HTC TyTN II Kaiser.

Kaiser (up)

  • The HTC TyTN II Kaiser is a solid piece of hardware – movable pieces or joints reinforced with metal or thick plastic.
  • Tilting screen turns the device into a mini computer sitting beside you atop a table.
  • Full QWERTY sliding keyboard – keys are firm with adequate space between for larger hands.
  • Front-facing VGA camera suitable for 3G video calls on supporting networks, rear-facing 3MP camera + auto-focus for still shots or video recording.
  • Touch-screen "TouchFLO" interface – use your fingertip (not fingernail) to select items, scroll through emails / contacts / web pages, or dial numbers.
  • Stylus for more intricate control of touch screen functions.
  • Integrated GPS which includes TomTom 6 + one free map of your choosing (additional maps available for download). Also compatible with Google Maps GPS. GPS satellite lock within 10 seconds.
  • SDHC compatible – provide our own high capactiy microSD card for external storage of applications, photos, files, videos, or maps.
  • HSDPA, UMTS (850/1900/2100 MHz), GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850/900/1800/1900), WiFi b/g, and Bluetooth.
  • Jog-dial similar to those found on BlackBerry devices – activates Start menu, scroll through programs, your email inbox, or down long web pages.
  • Decently sized 320 x 240 QVGA screen with portrait or landscape mode for viewing wide images or video files.

After roughly one month of use, I was reminded that despite all of the bells and whistles, even the most feature laden devices are made or broken by the operating system in which they are powered by. A well designed operating system will embrace and enhance hardware features, while the opposite muddles the user experience negating all of the bells and whistles that sold the device in the first place.

You know you are dealing with Windows when…

Manual comparison

You know you are dealing with a Windows device when the manual / documentation is as thick as the device itself. The thickness hints at just how exhaustive the feature set is for the HTC TyTN II Kaiser. At the same time, you can only imagine how much more time consuming it would be to familiarize yourself with every facet of the handset compared to the Apple iPhone.

From a new users perspective, a manual that requires 5+ pages for the table of contents and even more for the index is daunting. From the Start menu to Program Files, File Explorer to Pocket Internet Explorer. Every basic detail of the handset features integration with Windows Mobile is documented. Don’t get me wrong, the information presented in the manual is all very useful for the first time Windows Mobile user, but like all things Windows, most of the useful tips can only be found online through Windows Mobile power users.

I couldn’t help but reminisce back to the day I picked up my Apple iPhone. After spending 5-10 minutes admiring the svelte packaging style that is Apple, I immediately plugged the phone into my computer via USB and was up and running. I didn’t even know there was documentation to walk you through the setup.

The initial setup for the Kaiser was a little more involved. Power on, wait for the 30 second boot-up time (this is Windows), initial screen alignment with the stylus (thinking back to my Treo 700p days), basics of stylus actions, setting up handset security, and adding any email account. All of this was immediately followed by a network detection wizard [which worked like a champ] automatically configuring the device for use with Cingular / at&t – MMS, SMS, voicemail, HSDPA connectivity, etc. Once the configuration wizard was complete, the handset required a mandatory ‘Restart’ in order for the settings to save. Gah! This is Windows.

A pocketable Windows XP complete with the pain & frustration?

* As precursor, my main operating system is Mac OS. Due to the fact that Windows nor HTC offer Mac OS compatible software required to sync the handset with desktop applications. I relied on The Missing Sync by Mark/Space or virtualization tools for my syncing and application installation needs. In order to use the HTC TyTN II Kaiser to its fullest potential, access to Windows XP / Vista is required.

It has been a considerable amount of time since I have had to use any variant of Windows on a regular day-to-day basis. Prior to the Kaiser, it had been nearly 3 years [not including time spent debugging with Internet Explorer using Parallels or VMware]. With an open mind, I ignored any previous negative feeling regarding Windows and focused on investigating the possibilities and options offered by a Windows Mobile powered Smartphone.

Towards the end of the two week mark, the magic of the slide out QWERTY keyboard, tilting screen, high speed HSDPA network, and integrated GPS began to wear thin. The downsides of the Windows Mobile platform began to show.

  • What good is a 320 x 240 QVGA screen if you can’t read it whilst outside on an overcast or sunny day unless the brightness is turned all the way up?
  • What good is a 320 x 240 screen that can change from portrait to landscape when most of the OS window chrome eats up a noticeable chunk of the viewport?
  • So what if I can run Skype mobile on my device for VoIP phonecalls? The audio can only be outputted through the rear speakerphone [unless you install BTaudio and redirect sound to a Bluetooth headset].
  • So much for clean multi-tasking. Those same taskbar notification popups most people hate seeing in Windows on their desktop notify you of incoming SMSs, MMSs, and emails stealing your cursor focus unless you disable them completely [muddling with the Windows Registry].
  • Recently sent a text message have you? Well Windows will go ahead and interupt whatever you’re doing to let you know it was successfully sent [unless you tweak the Windows Registry].
  • Incoming phone call while you’re out on a busy street? No worries, go ahead and select ‘Answer’, it will take nearly a second for the call to actually initiate on your end giving you a head start to move towards a quieter area.
  • Installing, testing, and uninstalling applications? Remember, this is Windows. Simply electing to ‘Remove’ the application using the Add / Remove utility isn’t guaranteed to remove everything. You might find some remnants left on your memory card, in a subdirectory of Program Files, even a subdirectory of My Documents or Windows.
  • The slide-out keyboard is fantastic, but the resounding click heard by your co-workers sitting next to you will make you think twice about messaging someone discreetly during a meeting.

It’s not Windows Mobile without a stylus, even with TouchFLO

UMTS / HSDPATouch screen devices will become more and more the norm, especially for smaller devices like cellphones, Smartphones, and personal audio / video players. The HTC TyTN II Kaiser includes a stripped down version of HTC’s TouchFLO interface which allows users to control certain aspects of the interface with their fingertips.

TouchFLO provides users with very basic functions like scrolling through an address book, emails, call logs, and web pages. Additionally, users can dial directly from the call screen or make use of 3rd party developer software like PocketCM’s Keyboard. Unfortunately, the usefulness of TouchFLO on the Kaiser is hampered greatly by the quality and sensitivity of the screen. Despite increasing TouchFLO’s sensitivity further with additional registry editing, selecting buttons, dialing numbers, or closing programs without using the d-pad keys was cumbersome – requiring a fingernail or stylus.

The root of the cumbersome touch phone experience on the HTC TyTN II Kaiser is the operating system itself – Windows Mobile 6. HTC made every effort to create a positive touch screen experience with their own custom dial pad and Today plugin, but beyond those two facets of the device, everything else is inherited from Windows Mobile. For example, many of the functional elements that you would want to control with your fingertip are 16 x 16 pixels. A comfortable footprint for the included stylus, but hardly enough room even the smallest fingers.

HTC’s TouchFLO is a great supplemental feature for Windows Mobile handsets, just don’t start thinking that you can toss that tiny stylus away just yet.

Is it even fair to compare the iPhone & Kaiser? Not really

Kaiser vs. iPhone

Others have pointed out that neither phones can be compared in a head-to-head battle due to the fact that one is geared towards and offered at a considerable discount for business users, while the other is not. Can you take a guess which handset fits the business profile? Hint: one device offers support for Push, Exchange, BlackBerry Connect, and multiple VPN networks; the other, "push" email thanks to Yahoo, two-way iChat like text messaging, and heavy focus on mobile music.

Rumor has it that at&t offers the re-branded Tilt aka TyTN II Kaiser for under $200 (even free for some) for at&t Premier accounts (reg. non-Premier price $299 with new activation). Check out Amazon for even more savings on the at&t Tilt. If you’re lucky, you can snag the iPhone off of eBay for that price, otherwise you’re stuck paying $399.

In all fairness, the HTC TyTN II Kaiser would win hands down in any power business user setting thanks to an array of connectivity options, integration with Outlook, and Mobile Office (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint). Additionally, being a Windows Mobile device, users have access to thousands of useful productivity applications to enhance their experience further.

In contrast, iPhone users are limited to the handset applications designated by Apple or rich web applications. However, Apple has announced the availability of a SDK in February 2008 which may turn the tables in favor of the iPhone with 3rd party developers creating applications for business users. Both device address the needs of different types of users.

The option of applications is great, but usability is far more valuable

Over the course of 20 days of use, I collected a few thoughts concerning my experiences with the HTC TyTN II Kaiser.

  • Startup is slow. Painful almost – especially for a mobile device. I almost half expected to see the BIOS screen display with the option to boot into ‘Safe Mode’. Windows *shudder*. Hopefully your phone won’t lock up too many times requiring a full reboot.
  • Ooh how sweet it is to have ‘Reply to all’ or ‘Send to all’ options for SMS Text Messaging.
  • Just setup a new POP account on your iPhone? Yeah, have fun marking each message as read individually. At least Mobile Outlook can be enhanced with feature like ‘Mark all as read’ or ‘Delete all’.
  • The familiar concept of the Recycle Bin is missing from Windows Mobile. When a file is deleted from the handset, it is gone for good with no option to recover.
  • I wish HTC had skinned / themed the entire Windows Mobile interface to make the device truly touch friendly.
  • The TyTN II Kaiser really is business / phone first with entertainments options added on.
  • Battery life is so-so. Removed from charge at 9AM, nearly completely depleted by 11PM. You can’t expect much from a device that keeps a data connection live whenever possible. I’m not complaining.
  • Without any 3rd party applications running, Windows Mobile eats up roughly 35% of the onboard memory.
  • Did I mention that I wished HTC had skinned the entire Windows Mobile interface. The non-irritating way to manipulate anything behind the HTC Today plugin is with a fingernail, stylus, or the d-pad.
  • Appreciate the option of upgrading external memory with SDHC compatible cards. Capacity will only continue to go up (hopefully the prices will continue to fall).
  • Auto-focus on the rear facing camera is great, it would be a little more convenient if it was a little quicker so as not to miss the intended shot. Where’s the flash?
  • Mobile Safari on Windows Mobile. I routinely found myself missing Mobile Safari even after installing Opera.
  • Get nice and cozy with a registry editor. You’ll need to know the basics if you want to tweak Windows Mobile to make it more useable.
  • When I press ‘Answer’ for an incoming call, I expect the phone to answer right now! Isn’t that what a basic phone is supposed to do?! There should be no "thinking" involved, no delays, nothing! Yes Tres, I was wrong, Windows Mobile even managed to crash when I tried to receive a call.
  • Appreciated the option of creating multiple network configuration profiles. I set one up to use at& / Cingular’s special port which both optimized images before loading and offered streaming videos, and a second for straight HSDPA browsing with image compression and optimization.
  • I actually worried about the idea of a Windows Mobile Virus.

Windows Mobile applications / utilities that helped

The number of applications available for use on Windows Mobile is incredible. I only hope that once the iPhone SDK is released will Apple’s mobile platform explode in a similar manner. Here are a few of my favorites for use with Windows Mobile:

  • The Missing Sync ($40) by Mark/Space – I don’t use Windows and wanted my Address Book contacts, iCal events, select audio / video files, and folders synced back and forth. The Missing Sync took care of all of that and more including local call log and SMS log archiving for backup and searching. In addition, The Missing Sync provided a drag ‘n drop interface for installing CAB files on the device.
  • Skype Mobile (free) – VoIP calls over HSDPA. Great quality. I only wish that audio could be outputted through the device headset speaker rather than the rear-facing speaker.
  • Fring (free) – Also offered VoIP calls but used mainly for instant messaging. Chat with MSN, ICQ, Google Talk, Skype, or update Twitter.
  • Resco Explorer ($30) – Replaced the default Windows File Explorer with a far more powerful alternative which included a real Recycle Bin, FTP, Registry Editor, and a slew of other features.
  • Google Maps GPS (free) – Although the HTC TyTN II Kaiser included TomTom + one free map download, Google Maps proved to be far more accurate. I loved TomTom’s adaptive routing but misguiding me and putting me 7 blocks away from my intended destination was unacceptable.
  • Opera Browser ($24) – Not free but very much an required upgrade over Pocket Internet Explorer also known as PIE. Tabbed browsing. Mmm.

In closing… Yes, I admit it. I went from iPhone to HTC TyTN II Kaiser to iPhone. A complete circle. I assumed that being able to install whatever applications I wanted on my mobile device was the flexibility I wanted. I was wrong. I could have loaded the TyTN II Kaiser with every imaginable Windows Mobile application I could find on Handango, but there would still be something missing. Simplicity. Real iPhone applications are just around the corner, 4 months to be exact. Whether or not the SDK will open the iPhone up as a true competitor against existing Smartphones is uncertain. However, I am 99% certain that the HTC TyTN II Kaiser (at&t Tilt) is my first and last Windows Mobile device. Not because of HTC, but because Window Mobile [in general] is too clunky and bloated.

Discuss - 73 Comments

  1. Rudy says:

    I own numerous Windows devices, some Nokia, some SE, and recently iPhone. I like iPhone mainly because I can SSH into it from my desktop, and then install a samba then activate the samba file sharing. Then mount my computer’s folder into the iPhone, then access my computer’s folder.. Oh well, I can do it by typing \\computer\folder on my Windows device then..

    I love the fact that SMS is a bubbled text, looks funny and stylish that way, but how to answer them? Reach for your iphone and click on reply then type it by using that super small keyboard? Well, I offer a better way.. How about stuck your cell phone inside your drawer, then answer your sms from your desktop? All arrived SMS is just a glance away from your Windows, and just a click away to answer it without EVER touching your phone.

    Next comment, I have not experienced BSOD since 7 years ago.. It’s strange saying that you experience BSOD nowadays.. If you indeed experienced BSOD, then scrap your computer, and throw them at your store’s garbage can. You have bought a trash. BSOD nowadays can only happen if you have faulty hardware. And if you expect to run a complete USB sync device recognition with virtualization, I could say the same.. I use MacOSX on my virtualization machine, and it has crashed 4 times a day inside my VMWare, without even having it to recognize my iPhone. After I plugged my iPhone, my mouse and keyboard stopped working completely. I have to press reset. Then I tried to empty some hard drive, and install my MacOS, then …. suddenly MacOS didn’t recognize my data hard disk… DANG!!! I’ve downloaded my firmware there. It was a basic SIIMAGE chipset that supported in every single linux distribution, how come? After some struggle, it seems that MacOS has some problem with my SATA based DVDWriter and locked up when copying files. Oh well, time to buy a new DVD Writer… wait, should I buy anew Writer for an OS? NOPE, I won’t… I’ll use another trick to install MacOS inside my VMWare to a physical partition. Then after it rebooted (well, it’s Mac anyway), I have to restart Windows and boot into “physical MacOS”, only to find that my graphic card is not recognized. DAMN!!! I can’t find any driver regarding my 8800GTS 640MB VGA. Should I downgrade and throw my state of art fastest GPU available on market to trash can only because some shitty OS? Nope… But that doesn’t hinder me to wander around MacOS. First up, get into terminal.. WOW… what did I found? it’s Linux… I think it is a BSD port or Slackware port. I familiar with most of it’s internal command. So I removed MacOS completely, only to see some damaged Mac Boot loader locked up when I tried to boot into my Windows, and I have to reinstall my Windows. My first and last MacOS trial. Then I put my Ubuntu back into MacOS partition, and for enjoyment sake, I customize my compiz-fusion for MacOS look and feel, including that application menu on top 😉 with a much better OpenGL based effects.

    You know what is MacOS? It is a linux you idiot… Grab that free Ubuntu, and you’ll get Mac OS, plus much more.. New KDE instead of that stupid finder. Oh, I forgot, Mac’s finder is actually a modified KDE’s dolphin anyway. Even Mac’s control panel is KDE’s control panel plain and clear. iTunes? Well, nothing more than Amarok 😀 So, what is MacOS? It’s Linux for idiot who wants to be jailed by Apple on their own free will. Grab that Linux, and you can have MacOS without tying yourself up, and it’s free.

    Sorry, I hate the way you review.. Too much bias, too much hate, that you can’t see things clear. A Linux with pretty interface, change their background, modify their finder, take out amarok name and put iTunes, then put Apple logo, then put up a HELL LOT of walls and bricks, and you got MacOS, and you pay for Apple to tie your arm and leg with chains.

    It is even absurd if you said that Nokia is better, as Nokia is another company that loves to charge you a lot for any super limited feature they give. I hate their advertising that said, grab video and share… I said, OH MY GODD!!!! This is 2007, and they just able to make a video and share it? Where did they went all this years? I have done that since 2002 with my Windows mobile. They are late for 5 years. When they say that they can browse with wifi, I kind like… what??? Isn’t that available since a few years ago? All of N95 features are available to me since XDAIIs, and then some. All of them, plus extra some more. Can N95 open a shared folder on my computer? can N95 run DOS program like clipper or old dos games like Ultima7? My 4 generations old Windows mobile can.

    Strange to mention recycle bin on WM as weakness, while you can’t even copy-paste text to any application you want. Hell, you even can’t forward SMS, nor copy some text of SMS you want to send, or even type while being able to read all the text you have to forward. How am I supposed to forward proof of my mobile banking transfer to a client, for example?

    And gunna was right.. you know nothing about computer, so don’t need to boast here that you are computer savvy. A Computer savvy guy will hate mac at its cores, much like all open source people hate mac.. They cannibalize their “free” software, locked it (well, they can lock them easily because its source are free to download, and they won’t be sued anyway since it’s free), make them only work so that you can only pay to apple, and sell them to you at high price. The free copy of mac software are out there, and upgraded every day.. Now, which one you choose?

    Well, you can just continue living under the rock, and eat from your expensive but rotten fruits, or you throw away your hate, try to live under free world and eat steaks or chinese food for free. My 2 cents for you, if you say iPhone is good, I can make an iPhone with my TyTn. 😉 If you say N95 is good, I can make N95 out of my TyTn. I’ve made myself a multi-tap input for Stealth so that it can perform like normal multi-tap phone. I can even make iPhone’s keyboard into my TyTn.

    Now, I challenge you to do the opposite.. Can you make TyTn out of your iPhone? I am not asking much.. I want iPhone to be able to use tap-hold interface, provide me with context sensitive menu, then I can cut-copy-paste anything I want, from anywhere to anywhere. You make that, and I’ll consider to buy one for me.

    Don’t take me wrong, I like iPhone, otherwise I won’t play with my friend’s iPhone too much, but I don’t like your hate and false claims about other OSes. You made them up, just because you hate them. To another reader, I can guarantee that they are just false accusation, much like every other reader here, including me, comments that they has never experienced those kind of problem before. The only reason, is that those problem are made up, engineered.

  2. Derek says:

    Rudy, I hope you’re not forgetting that at 7+ years old, I would hope that Windows Mobile has some advantages over the iPhone (currently at version 1.1.2 < 1 year old). Maybe the "review" was not transparent enough? There was no definitive winner and the two can not be fairly compared to one another. Yes, all of that was stated in the review. I am not going to address every detail that you've brought up in hopes of avoiding a flame war between OS's.

    I love the fact that SMS is a bubbled text, looks funny and stylish that way, but how to answer them? Reach for your iphone and click on reply then type it by using that super small keyboard? Well, I offer a better way.. How about stuck your cell phone inside your drawer, then answer your sms from your desktop? All arrived SMS is just a glance away from your Windows, and just a click away to answer it without EVER touching your phone.

    You’re excited and touting Bluetooth as a major feature of Windows Mobile. It’s very much true that in its current 1.1.2 version, the iPhone is completely crippled without the most current Bluetooth profile support. But come the release of Apple’s SDK, things will change.

    Next comment, I have not experienced BSOD since 7 years ago.. It’s strange saying that you experience BSOD nowadays.. If you indeed experienced BSOD, then scrap your computer, and throw them at your store’s garbage can. You have bought a trash. BSOD nowadays can only happen if you have faulty hardware.

    Your BSOD explanation is a cop out. I’m sorry, it is. If I were to issue a public request for computer users to document when they experienced a Windows BSOD – including what they were doing – I’m confident that your solution of tossing a computer would be completely wasteful.

    You know what is MacOS? It is a linux you idiot… Grab that free Ubuntu, and you’ll get Mac OS, plus much more.. New KDE instead of that stupid finder. Oh, I forgot, Mac’s finder is actually a modified KDE’s dolphin anyway. Even Mac’s control panel is KDE’s control panel plain and clear. iTunes? Well, nothing more than Amarok 😀 So, what is MacOS? It’s Linux for idiot who wants to be jailed by Apple on their own free will. Grab that Linux, and you can have MacOS without tying yourself up, and it’s free.

    Yes, the core of Mac OS is UNIX. Apple even advertises the fact that OS X is built atop UNIX. You really are passionate about your stance concerning Apple software aren’t you? And correction, I don’t open Terminal and say wow this is Linux. I open the Terminal in OS X and Linux and say wow it’s UNIX or "UNIX-like".

    Sorry, I hate the way you review.. Too much bias, too much hate, that you can’t see things clear.

    I have no hate and I see quite clearly. Every once in awhile a Rudy comes along and completely bashes an operating system based on – ironically – personal preference. So what side of the fence are you on? Windows or Linux, I couldn’t tell. I know for sure you’re not a fan of Mac OS.

    And gunna was right.. you know nothing about computer, so don’t need to boast here that you are computer savvy. A Computer savvy guy will hate mac at its cores, much like all open source people hate mac.. They cannibalize their “free” software, locked it (well, they can lock them easily because its source are free to download, and they won’t be sued anyway since it’s free), make them only work so that you can only pay to apple, and sell them to you at high price. The free copy of mac software are out there, and upgraded every day.. Now, which one you choose?

    I respected gunna’s comment but yours is on a completely different level. So what are your thoughts on the different flavors of Windows Vista priced at $299, $399, and $499. Remind me who is charging high prices?

    You made them up, just because you hate them. To another reader, I can guarantee that they are just false accusation, much like every other reader here, including me, comments that they has never experienced those kind of problem before. The only reason, is that those problem are made up, engineered.

    Yes, you are so right! Lies lies lies I spout from my mouth and publish on the net. Technically, I didn’t really have either of the phones in my possession. Furthermore, I used my hatred to motivate me to type out this review pulling thoughts out of my magic hat! Yes, the entire review was biased despite the fact that I highlighted my favorites / recommended software for Windows Mobile. The line where I mentioned that the two devices could not even be compared fairly – complete lie! I’m sorry to say but what you have left on this page is far more biased than what was originally published.

  3. Ashu says:

    I am a proud owner of HTC Tytn II

    I have owned windows mobile based devices for the last 3 years and though I agree there are problems, there are also features that just cannot be ignored.

    I agree with some of the comments that this review is biased.

    Let us not forget that the iPhone unit, OS, functions and everything else were designed for each other, while Window Mobile runs on so many different types of devices.
    IPhone is good in the limited things it can do, great unit for browsing, superb touch interface etc but please do not compare it with the KAISER. If you still want to compare then do not ignore the fact that Windows mobile is super highly expendable.

    I have not had to hard reset the TYTN ii since the last 4 months even with scores of add-ins installed.
    I can use the unit in full sunlight, I am able to use my thumb for almost all tasks, there are problems sometimes, but no big deal.

    3G-High speed internet anywhere, on the phone or just connect it to the laptop and enjoy. No dialing no messy settings, works out of the box.

    GPS – I was in South Africa recently and I was able to just copy the SA map onto the phone and voila, am there. I am able to use navigon and tomtom on the same device.

    Games – Lots and lots of games, whatever u want.

    Entertainment – Streaming media, DivX videos, mp3, lossless audio, u name it.

    Sturdy – This phone is really strong, it has fallen a few times on the hard floor, but touch wood, no damage. This HTC phone is super quality.

    IPhone has upped the bar for interfaces by a few notches and Windows Mobile/HTC need to catch up…as I read of the upcoming Windows Mobile 7, i is just a matter of time. Otherwise, they are doing really good.

  4. Jim says:

    Rudy, for someone with your degree of technical knowledge, I guess maybe you can be permitted to show off a bit (and yes, unfortunately your post does fall into this category big time), but most of us want a simple phone UI that we can use with our finger or just buttons.

    The problem with WM6 is that it is an operating system first and foremost, a phone UI second. Really, I can’t get by without using the stylus. The text and dialogs are too small, because WM6 was not designed for phones. The only saving grace of WM6 is its configurability and range of applications. I shouldn’t have to pull out the stylus frequently just to access basic functions. If you have developed some nice neat tools to make WM6 work better, post the links and don’t hide them. If you have the skills to make these tools (and need them with you knowledge) then why not help us all out and share them. You have made some interesting claims about your ability – let’s see you prove it 🙂 Website link? Screenshots? Downloads? I’m not doubting you, just expecting you to back up your claims.

    Actually I didn’t read anything in any of Derek’s posts that I thought sounded anything like ‘hate’ at all, and find these comments surprising to say the least.

    If you ask anyone if they would prefer a UI like the iphone with hardware like the Tytn II, I suspect most people would. If you then had this device with all the configurability and support of WM6, I suspect everyone would prefer it.
    WM6 is not evil, it just has glaring limitations. Look at the dialer and contacts application for example. I have to use the stylus, how stupid is that? Even larger, clearer text would be an improvement.

    I like my HTC, but its usability sucks. I have customised the main screen to work like an iphone, and I’m happy with that, but every time i go outside it, I hate it. The iphone doesn’t have half the features, and it makes me wonder how much I need the ones I have. Were it not for basic cut & paste, 3G and ‘proper’ bluetooth I might well look at one.

    Most of us don’t want technology for its own sake, but for what we can use it for. If we can’t use it easily, is it worth having?

  5. Jack says:

    If you’re reading this – – you’re probably still looking for that one thing that will tilt you towards the Tytn II or the iPhone like I am – – or you’ve got no friends and find joy in reading reviews.

    I have neither smartphone – – and I think Rudy’s approach to Derek was rather harsh and “hateful” in and of itself – – and quite European-“esk” I might ad. And I believe Derek’s review was really helpful.

    Jim hit the nail on the head – – Tytn II with the functionality of an iPhone. I have an ancient Treo and am waiting for the right combination. I can only hope that Steve Jobs will turn his attention to the business marketplace – – because from what was just announced at the MacWorld Conference this week – – it seems like they aren’t even close to competing with an authentic business UI. New features on the iPhone include: showing how users can now pinpoint their location on Web maps? Text message multiple people at once and customize their home screens? Ability to switch around the icons on the iPhone’s home screen. Users can create up to 9 home screens? Honestly – – is anybody else saying “WTF????” Who cares???

    I’m hoping there is someone out there, some developer, who might actually take the time to listen to the business user masses – – create us a phone that will let us interface with Windows smoothly, create a touch screen that doesn’t need a stylus every thirty seconds and will work with the human finger that isn’t “Barbie-doll” thin, that will surf the “real” web – – give us something sexy that doesn’t leave us wanting more and give it guts!!!

    Secretly I’m hoping someone will chime in after me and say “oh, if that’s what you want then you should go buy XXX”. Admittedly I’m not techie purist but I’m not techno-amish either. Too many flaws on both sides of the fence to encourage me to spend my cash on either one at this point.

    Thank you all for your valuable input.

  6. Counsel says:

    I went from an iPhone to a Tilt. I like the tilt better because I modded it to my tastes. Just because Apple does all the work to make a nice GUI does not mean the Tilt can not have one. A simple .cab installation or three 🙂 means you have the standard HTCHome screen with 6 tabs (home, weather, calling circle, apps, rings, music). Options to select which apps show up as icons in the apps tab put 10 of your most-used apps there with finger control–just like the iPhone.

    Tilt Downs:

    The screen is smaller;
    GUI is not a nice or polished,
    Video playback is slower;

    Tilt Pros:

    Usable without a GSM connection (look at a GSM coverage map recently?);
    mod it to my wishes;
    add my programs;
    GPS (again works without GSM towers…);

    The video is a problem since the Tilt does not have a great video chip, but I don’t really watch a LOT of video on a 4″ or 3″ screen. I have a laptop for that (15″).

    The HTCHome screen has a brightness icon that lest you alter the backlighting-works great btw.

    I could describe how more of your complaints can be solved. While they are present and could have been altered/fixed by AT&T and/or HTC, they were not “fixed.” You could do it and reap the benefits.

    I could go back to an iPhone, but why? Pretty GUI? That is not why I use a mobile phone. I want calls (check), functions (check), programs I choose (check), and usability with no cell coverage (I actually work in areas with no GSM coverage…).

    I don’t want a thin-client phone. Now, if apple opens up the phone to third-party developers, adds storage via SD, micro or not, and adds GPS functionality, I’ll gladly buy (and pay more for it).

    Until I get more function ON the phone not via a thin-client connection, I’ll have to pass. That is the deal-breaker for me.

    Everyone, of course, is welcome and entitled to their opinions.

  7. Michael Hodish says:

    Derek, I agree completely with your review. I came off a Treo 650 on ATT, charmed by the 3G data, Wifi for SKype when travelling overseas, and the GPS.

    I have now wasted about 6 days of my life modifying this phone, and I still hate it, for all the reasons you noted. Very seriously considering going back to the functional elegance of the 650, and putting up with the lack of connectivity options.

    Boy, I wish Palm would spring back to life and put 3G and Wifi into a GSM Palm OS device. I guess I can dream, can’t I?


  8. Greg Bateman says:

    I don’t have anything to add to this string that hasn’t already been said; however, I will give you my personal experience…

    A little background on me first. I was an early adopter, purchasing the original US Robotics PALM Pilot and then the PALM XE, XEIII and M500 before switching over to an IPAQ 1910 and then an IPAQ 2215. As far as my phone’s were concerned, I’ve owned numerous cell phones, including a Motorola STARTAC, a Sony-Ericson T68, T68i, T616, Cingular 8125 (HTC) and now the AT&T Tilt.

    After dropping my last phone (Cingular 8125), I visited our local AT&T store with the full intention of purchasing the new iPhone, as I had a chance to play around with one and was mesmerized by its look and feel after someone I work with bought one. I even took my daughter, who is a self-proclaimed Mac-head and was excited about the prospects of me getting an iPhone.

    Right next to the iPhone display was a new phone called the AT&T Tilt. I spent the next hour going back and forth between the two phones; I wanted the iPhone so bad, but the Tilt continued to make more sense to me. The final straw was my Mac-head daughter, who said “daddy, the Tilt is the better phone for what you need to do with it”; she was right.

    Here is what I found appealing about the Tilt:
    • 3G, 3G, 3G; incredible blazing speed.
    • HSDPA support (3.6 Mbps is on its way folks!)
    • 802.11 G Support
    • Built-in GPS
    • MicroSD (high capacitance support)
    • Third-party support
    • 3MP Camera
    • VGA Video Camera

    I’ve been using this phone now since early January and I’ve never been more in-love with phone or PDA than I have with the Tilt. I’ve downloaded Google Maps and Microsoft’s Live Search; both of which are outstanding software packages that truly harness the power of the integral GPS hardware; the built-in GPS has already paid for itself!

    When I’m in an EDGE only area, I’m reminded of what my iPhone friends are stuck in; what a drag! EDGE is like the slow lane on the freeway (the far right lane); 3G is the passing lane (the far left lane). What a difference! Live Search has to be the best free GPS program out there; not only does it give you step-step directions (with arrows, etc,) on your map, it also supports voice recognition when you’re looking for a business, etc.

    As far as Windows Mobile Professional goes, I must admit, it’s not as sexy as the iPhone; however, with the help of XDA Developers, I easily downloaded four indispensible programs:
    • HTC Home Customizer
    • Kaiser Tweek
    • FTouchFLO
    • HTC Cube

    Further cementing my decision to go with the Tilt; I recently read about a free software package called Dashwire. Easily, one of the most innovative software packages in 2007; Dashwire synchronizes with your Windows Mobile cell phone and allows you to manage it without ever picking it up. I can edit, delete contacts, photos, video and listen to my voice mails, which send you a .WAV, similar to my VOIP service. Dashwire also allows me to send and receive TEXT messages from my desktop. The lone requirement with Dashwire however, is that you have a unlimited data plan with your cell provider.

    Make no bones about it; the Tilt was clearly the best decision for me…

  9. Matt says:

    I bought the HTC TyTn II after seeing the iPhone in action for months. My girlfriend got the 8GB iPhone the day it came out. After using it a bit and watching her use it and get frustrated with it, I turned to HTC. Both she and I have been long-time users of the Treo 650, so we already have an idea of what we wanted for our new smartphones. Yes, out of the box the TyTn II has a lot of issues (bloatware, WM6 interface, blah, blah, blah), but after downloading a few programs and tweaks, I have to say the TyTn II blows the iPhone out of the water. I just can’t get enough of it’s rich features, and yes, it’s easy to use once it’s been tweaked.

  10. LadyCash says:

    You have went back to the iPhone. My question to you is do you like the iPhone better than the N95? I have had windows based smartphones with most of them being HTC products. I loved the phones. My last HTC, smartflip got water damaged from working 14 hours in 110 plus heat while in my pocket. It works except for one minor issue… you do not receive calls now. I have always like Nokia because of the fact Nokia gets the best signal in the foothills of Appalachia. I bought the N75. I ENJOY the smooth operation, the speed. It was an unlocked version purchased on ebay. I lost the phone on a trip during a stop. I like it so much I bought another through my carrier. This N75 would be better if it was not married to AT&T. I have issues with it that I never had with the unlocked version. Aside from that I would NEVER want to go back to a Windows smartphone unless it was soooooo great that I could live with the flaws of having Windows. I want a bigger screen and GPS. I would like to stay with Nokia. I have been considering N95 8GB.

  11. Derek says:

    You have went back to the iPhone. My question to you is do you like the iPhone better than the N95?

    I do like the iPhone more than the Nokia. Although there are scenarios when it would be nice to have a 30 fps video camera, or GPS, the overall experience of the iPhone surpasses that which I had with the Nokia.

  12. Cynic says:

    Apple fanboi finds Windows OS lacking. In our next story, sun expected to rise in the East again tomorrow…

    Only problem with the Tilt is the battery life sucks. Have had no lockups, no crashes, no delay in answering calls, etc in 3 months of ownership. Have not tweaked any registry settings, but all I use it for is calls, emails, gps and web surfing. My sausage shaped fingers have no problem tapping the screen to access and manipulate these functions.

    Everyone’s experience is different. It’s a great machine if it’s what you’re looking for featurewise. Better camera – buy a 5D and a handful of pro lenses. Better music player, buy an ipod. Better option for everything else the phone can do? Nothing short of a laptop.

  13. iheartyahoo says:

    Are you people still using cell phones? That’s so 2007!
    Telekinesis people, think 2008. sheesh!

    On a more on topic note, I’ve been using the iPhone since it came out, but reading all the reviews and comments above, I have come to the conclusion that I should stick to my iPhone. It’s easy to use, does what I want it to and it’s not bulky, not too bulky anyway.

    (off topic, Derek, I love you man for that Div Overlay tut/post you did a while back. I can’t begin to tell you how much it has helped me out)

  14. Kirk says:

    My experience with WM6 was the same. The user interface gets in the way of the usage. My company allows the engineers to have any phone they want (we are an IT company). Two of my engineers and I had HTC and WM6 phones. While I could use all of the features I chose not to because many were just so clunky as to render them unusable.

    I hated the phone delay. Sometimes as long a two seconds. And you can forget web browsing.

    Now every engineer has an iPhone. Every one.

  15. Colin Kirkley says:

    In response to Kirk – I would have to disagree. I actually enjoy surfing the web using my tilt. Not with Internet explorer, but Opera mini is free, fast, and simple to use. While it doesn’t have supoort for flash, The websites I use my phone to surf for don’t need it, (XDA-developers, Gmail, Gizmodo, stuff like that). The new core player has ability to view full quality youtube. But to be honest, anyone looking for superior mobile web-browsing needs a laptop, not a phone, as there will never be a replacement for that. Phone browsing is a niche market, and while the technology is sure to mature, there is only so much that human eyes will be taking in on such small screens.

    There are plenty of UI options for windows mobile should you want something sleeker to get around in (SPB Mobile Shell 2, & PointUI), and while I understand the frustration of having to really work to get the best out of the system, I believe the that at least being able to customize, albeit by jumping through a few hoops, is better than having a closed OS which you couldnt change even if you wanted to.

    I’m not knocking the I-phone, it is a well made, well implemented device, just puzzling in the things that were left out. I may not be all that enthusiastic about giving money to apple, I think they have a nasty practice of of overcharging for simplistic features and pushing it onto the public as “chic”, but to each his own. But to me the beauty (if I may) of the WM platform is the ability to shape its experience to pretty much anything you choose.

  16. Stephen says:

    I have had the AT&T Tilt for about 4 months now. I paid $150 for the Tilt + $50 for an 8 gig micro-SD card.

    I too have not experienced the issues the reviewer mentioned. I have run everything from Garmin Mobile XT (for multiple hours) to SNES emulators on this thing. I have no issues at all. I use Opera Mobile for browsing and it works quite well.

    I generally have no issues using the touch-screen without the stylus, but still find myself gravitating back to using the stylus. I don’t know what the complaint is. I like the stylus.

    I use Core Player for playing back H.264 DVD rips I have made. They play smoothly at full speed with no frame skipping.

    I’m not going to resort to bashing Apple, even though I don’t like their products. But from experience, I find the Tilt to be a far better phone/PDA and value. For the price, both my wife and I can have the Tilt for less than the price of a single iPhone.

  17. Simon says:

    I’ve been using TYTN II for a year now, really enjoy the pocket monster.

    serveral major features I used on daily basis:

    (1) Reading e-books. this is very tricky. since PDF is postscript based and can not wrap lines on small screen, it’s not a valid smartphone e-book format. I converted all my e-books to MS WORD or HTML (CHM). It’s very comfortable to real WORD/CHM/HTML on small screen because the text line is wrapped and zoomed properly. I have read 20 e-books on my morning/evening rush-hour subway commuting. Big time saver.

    (2) pay as you go phone calls and SMS. I don’t pay 50$ per month. I pay 10-20 bucks depends on my needs. If I use SMS a lot that month, it’s even cheaper. No hack needed. I bought it unlocked.

    (3) Native local GPS. I bought TOMTOM pocket GPS software (60$ from ebay) with US&Canada map. I don’t rely on monthly data plan nor WiFi google map which rely on your data plan. This year I traveled 4 major US cities and able to find all places and attractions. Before I was scary to travel, now I’m eager to travel all over the places.

    (4) digital video camera (3 mega resolution). Point and shoot. all in one device in my pocket. No other devices needed.

    (5) other stuff like WiFi surfing (through IE or Opera), Youtube watching (convert to local clips and show off). MSN chatting while online with WiFi.

    I also played IPHONE for a while, and exchange ideas with my IPHONE friends, I figured something that TYTN II can do but IPHONE can not do:

    (1) With IPHONE you can not operate without looking at the screen. For instance, answer phone or redial a call. You need to see the screen to operate.

    (2) Video camera. IPHONE 2.0 starts a camera but no video.

    (3) a valid unlocked pay as you go option. google Map needs WiFi/WiMax data plan. Too bad google doesn’t offer offline cached map. (evil)

    (4) typing without looking (real keyboard)

    About performance and battery life

    (1)Owned TYTN II for 11 months now, never had single freezing screen. I did install heavy 3rd party programs such as TomTom, KONAMI simulators, games, e-book readers, pocket dictionary etc.

    (2)Full battery, surfing the internet with internal WiFi running, 3 hours to run out of juice. Which is pretty normal, watching DVD (mpeg4) movie 2 hours. If just for call and normal casual e-book reading, it last 5 to 6 days.


    In summary, I like my TYTN II very much.
    I hate it as well, because I can not help thinking what if I lose this little monster?

  18. utp says:

    that is by far the best review I have read on HTC Tytn II. Very personalized and gives you a great picture. It may be that this is the first one I read “after” getting the HTC Tytn II but still a great job.

  19. Jim says:

    I have had my Tytn II for nearly a year. I hate it. I thought it was cool when I first had it but I hated WM6. I don’t think it’s cool any more and I hate WM6 even more. I have spent probably weeks trying to customise the phone. Yes, I can do it, and it works better and faster but I still need to use the stylus, it’s still too slow and I’m still not happy with it.

    My main complaint is the responsiveness. I unlocked and flashed the ROM. It’s better than it was, but dear God it’s slow. Too slow. Unacceptably slow. The Touchflo on this phone is to put it bluntly, crap. The camera is also crap. Yes it is supposedly 3mp, but you have no zoom, you have autofocus instead which doesn’t really work very well. You can take photographs, but only of things like landscapes, and other things that don’t move. You can’t really use it for photographing people, they have to keep still for so long (did I mention the responsiveness?) that they get cramp and then they get grumpy. Don’t use it to photograph old people, you’ll probably capture the moment of death, albeit a bit blurry.

    It’s also too big, too heavy and too bulky. I would swap it for an N95 without hesitation. Actually I would swap it for lots of phones.

    Web browsing is unusable if you aren’t in an HSDPA area. The stupid text is stll far too small. You can’t SMS with one hand. I have been following the XDA developers forum for Google Android on this phone. Hopefully it will make it work as it should have from the start. I’ll lose TomTom, actually the best thing on the phone, but hopefully I’ll gain a proper, usable phone out of it. I have to confess that the XDA forum is brilliant, frequented by largely brilliant people who can do spectacular stuff with technology. To be honest though, with WM6 – you need it.

    Since Derek first posted his review, the iphone 3G has been released. These are so much better as phones and it’s almost impossible to argue. The Tytn II is either for very clever geeky people, or very stupid gullible people – which must be me.

    If you have read Rudy’s comments above and are thinking twice about the Tytn – don’t. He’s an imbecile who happens to thoroughly understand complex technology, and clearly isn’t normal.

    If you want a teeny little computer with teeny little Windows on it, and you are the sort of person that likes the thought of being able to remotely telnet into his home computer to turn the lights off, great, go for it. For everyone else, get a ‘proper’ phone. The iphone’s not perfect, the camera sucks, you still can’t cut & paste, you haven’t got proper bluetooth, and you don’t have voice dial, but as a phone, its just better.

    Speaker independent voice dialling is coming to the iphone by the way and soon.

  20. Jonesy says:

    OK – – so now that the world can unlock and jailbreak all the smartphones is the TytnII vs iPhone controversy still relevant?