HTC Shift … after 3 weeks

Okay, so I have had a few request for an update so here it is.

On the whole I really like it, I have some issues but they will come later. The form factor is great and the keyboard is very usable (I have got over my issue of pressing ` instead of 1, it just take a bit of getting used to the keyboard layout). The small touch pad and mouse button are very usable, but what would be nice is a scroll button similar to the HTC Advantage.

Sound quality out of the two speakers is acceptable, but using the headphone jack with headphone is excellent.  I have watched a number of AVI movies on my Shift and headphones add another dimension to a film.  On that note the AVIs played without any video or audio stutter which is excellent.

The Snapvue / Vista toggle button is kewl, as it the fade in / out effect as it switches between the two.

Snapvue is a bit of a pain in the butt. Because it’s not quite Windows Mobile 6, it doesn’t have the functionality that you get used to.  I see up on xda developer that they have a custom WM6 ROM, which I might try next week.  Just like WM6, the wireless stack does not like the London Underground where the mobile phone reception comes and goes.  I have setup my Exchange 2007 server and my Hotmail account and sometimes it is painful to get them to sync.  In most cases the only way is to do a cold reset, which means removing the battery (I have yet to find a reset button, which would have been a nice addition).  It is also a shame that Snapvue is unable to access any of the storage, like the internal harddisk or the SD card.  Maybe the custom ROM will fix that?

On the Vista side of things it is quite responsive.  I read most of my email and RSS using Outlook 2007 and this works quite well.  I installed Office 2007 Professional and all the apps are very usable, that is except for One
Note.  Why, well the screen is an active digitizer so you cant really ink properly, which is a shame.

As expected the main bottle neck is memory and this is a pain, but workable, as you have to remember this is a UMPC and not a laptop replacement!  The hard disk is not the biggest in the world, but I have a 16gb sd card for storing data on.  That brings me to my main moan and that is that from a cold boot the SD card works.  If you hibernate or sleep vista it disappears.  I am sure its a vista update but have not had time to troubleshoot.

Another annoying thing is that Vista uses the wireless stack (Remote NDIS based Internet Sharing Device) from WM6.  This is a great idea but when you have problems with WM6 getting to the mobile phone network, it does affect Vista, but surprisingly Vista can handle it (most of the time) and recovers very well.

Mobile data speeds are very good and I am greatful for having an unlimited contract with T-Mobile (well except for last week when I was on holiday in Malta and clocked up a very impressive and expensive data bill in 3 days!!!)

I that is about it. Not tried Skype yet, but have connect to my wireless Lan at home and that works fine.  I am still working out how to install Windows Powershell as that would make this just excellent!

Oh and I nearly forgot, the question you all want to know … battery life! To be honest I have not done any exhaustive testing, I just couldn’t be bothered.  What I have done is some real live stuff, so I reckon I get about 2 – 2.5 hrs usage from the battery and that is with the modem on surfing or watching a movie off the SD card. I dont really have an issue with that, and the power supply is tiny so I carry that with me anyway!

So would I recommend it?  Yeah, but as long it does what you want. Like most gadgets it has limitations, and you can either live with them or not.  I can, and it allows me to read my email & RSS, surf the web, write blog posts like this one, and edit / create Office documents.  I will check the custom ROM out, and will be on the market for a bugger harddisk (probably solid state) and more memory.

As for the price, you get what you pay for, one of the smallest, sexiest looking UMPC/WM6 device on the market (I get a lot of questions and enquiring looks), that has a dual life of being WM6 and a Vista PC.  Am I glad I am an “early adopter”? yeah of course and as far as I am concerned it was money well spent.

If you want one, check these guts out they gave me a really good deal and have 16gb SD cards.  Mention this blog too if you talk to them ;-)

If there is anything I have missed of you want to know something leave a comment and I will reply