Being a big fan of QWERTY Keyboards, and owning a HTC Desire Z for the last year, i was itching to get my hands on a new phone. QWERTY phones seem quite few and far between these days, and id see rumours flying about regarding a new dual core HTC device on the horizon. i was a bit gutted when i found out it was going to be branded under the T-Mobile MyTouch moniker, and thus US only.
No matter, ill just have to but it direct from the states, using eBay, of course, and this is basically my findings “as it happened”
Where to Purchase:
- Approx $469 ~ £300
- HSPA+/GSM/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900MHz
- 122 x 66 x 14 mm
- 184 g
- Super LCD capacitive touchscreen | 16M colors
- 480 x 800 pixels | 3.7 inches (~252 ppi pixel density)
- 4GB Internal storage
- MicroSD up to 32GB
- 768MB RAM
- 8 MP Rear Camera | 3264×2448 pixels | autofocus | Dual LED Flash | Face detection
- VGA Front Camera
- 1080p Video Recording
- Android 2.3.4
- HTC Sense 3.0
- 1.2GHz Qualcomm® 8260 dual core Snapdragon
- Li-Ion 1520 mAh Battery
- QWERTY Keyboard
- Hot swap MicroSD
- 8MP Camera
- Battery Life
- No HDMI Out
In The Box:
- MyTouch 4G Slide Handset
- 1520 mAh Battery
- 2 Pin US Charging Adapter
- USB to Micro-USB Data Cable
- Various Leaflets / Pamphlets
- Front – Speaker Grill ~ 3.7 inch screen ~ Physical Menu / Back / Home Button / Genius Button ~ Proximity Sensor ~ Light Sensor ~ VGA Camera ~ Optical trackpad
- Back – 8MP Camera ~ Dual LED Flash ~ Loud Speaker ~ Microphone
- Top – 3.5mm Headphone Port ~ Power Button
- Bottom – Microphone ~ Lanyard Eyelet
- Left – Volume Up & Down Buttons
- Right – Dedicated Camera button
Unboxing. So, the box. its really quite a nice box to be honest, thought and money went into it. but to be frank, i would rather they skipped the box and maybe put in a set of headphones instead. Not that i would use them, but I’m sure some people do.
Opening her up, you are greeted by the main attraction. The HTC T-Mobile MyTouch 4G Slide. Very similar in size to the Desire Z (DZ), and exactly the same size screen, although the phone is marginally thinner. the screen is slightly lower down than the screen on the DZ.
Also inside the box is a USB charge lead, and a US mains plug. along with a few pamphlets.
So. Lets look around the phone itself then. First of course the reason why i bought it, the keyboard. its well laid out, very much like the DZ, keys are slightly smaller but spacing maintains the positioning, apart from the Shift and Alt (FN on DZ) are swapped around. This itself has caused me a few issues, but if you haven’t used a DZ then it wont be a problem. Keys have a sort of velvety rubberised finish and although you can tell you pressed them, is slightly mushier feel than some keyboards I’ve used. that’s not to say its poor, far from it, i can rattle words of in super quick time on it.
One Super cool addition to this keyboard it the Caps and Alt “lock” lights situated to the top left of the keyboard. really like this addition.
Also on the front we have Physical buttons, the Std Home, Menu and back buttons, but then we have the interesting (or not) G button. this is what they call the Genius button. Its basically voice operation button. where you press it and say “Call John Smith” and it calls John Smith. it also allows web search and sending of messages. i for one feel silly talking to my phone like that, so i wont be using Genius. The ability for it to read your messages out to you may be of use to some.
Up top we have a VGA camera, earpiece grille and the ambient light sensor. Oh, and a notification light too which is always handy.
Turning her over, We have the MyTouch 4G Slides other “Claim to fame”. The camera. Touted as having “some of the most advanced camera features you’ll find”. The camera certainly is good. at 8MP its up there with the big boys, and does have some great features in the software like Sweepshot, Burstshot and of course full manual so you can set ISO and white balance etc. The camera also has face detection and autofocus.
Then you get to the winning bit for me. Shutter lag. This thing has like zero shutter lag. you press the dual stage dedicated shutter button and bam. photo is taken. From what ive read, it does this by storing a stream of images to a cache, and then saves the one when you hit the button. it really does work well. Couple this with the Dual LED flash and the camer is probably one of the best around. it handles images well, and given more time, i will try to add some to this review soon.
Video is handled at the magic number, 1080p. and the few short clips ive done looked good, it also allows you to zoom in and out during recording.
Have you noticed a lot of the features in this phone, that was released in July, are now to be standard features in Ice Cream Sandwich??
The Camera is quite prominent on the back, so care should probably be taken not to bash it, but it is surrounded in some nice green anodised aluminium. so better protected i suppose.
Under the battery cover is the usual affair, a 1520mAh battery and Sim slot but then the MicroSD slot is hot swappable! no more removing the battery. Yay! Looking round the rest of the device, you can just about see the charge port at the bottom there, (below pic) which is situated bottom left of phone with the volume rocker a bit further up that side.
On the inside of the phone you have a 1.2gHz ARMv7 Dual core snapdragon processor from Qualcomm coupled with Adreno 220 GPU. I’m lead to believe this is the same processor that’s inside the Sensation and Sensation XE. (it certainly shares the same battery as the sensation). this coupled with 4GB internal storage and 768mb ram, this thing will zip along nicely
So, That’s the hardware in a nutshell, Its a quality feeling device, a little on the heavy side, at 184g, but this helps the solid feel, and has the hardware inside to keep up with the big boys. Overall very impressed so far.
I’ve got to point out at this stage that as this is a phone solely for the U.S. market, most of the installed apps were useless to me. Here are some pics of the menu pages to show what’s installed. (obviously SuperUser, Screenshot and Root explorer DO NOT come pre installed! lol) This pretty much means i was unable to demo any of the main bundled apps. Nexflix, Telenav, T-Mobile TV, and i think Qik are all US only.
The phone comes with Android Gingerbread 2.3.4 installed, and has a slightly modified version of Sense 3.0 on it. it only has 5 home screens ( i know some prefer 7) but has a better launcher style bar across the bottom. The lockscreen is the “Pull Ring to unlock” thats on Sense phones like the Sensation, But in this case you cant pull the ring onto apps on the lockscreen like messaging etc. because they simply aren’t there. In many respects its better in my opinion, although its sense, its less sensey. IYKWIM.
So, The homescreen, Here it is… this is what you get when you finish setup. not much there is there? Not sure of the thinking behind this, but maybe they like to keep things clean. other screens are more populated, (sorry about 4th pic. screen-shot at wrong moment, doesn’t usually have lines through it..)
So, in the few apps that do work, there’s “MyDevice”. This it like a T-Mobile version of settings, but all easily grouped and more novice proof. and gives info about the phone, and also support links (US only). Not sure about the colour scheme, Very T-Mobile.
Also in the same colour theme is “Highlight”. This is like a T-Mobile aggregator of all the things they think you want to see. News, Tunes, Apps and things like that. But again, this is US News and apps are priced in $ so not much use to me.
Another App is HTC’s doing, This time its Media room. they seem to have made a kind of tile based app to quickly link you to your media which is nice. Screen share is for DLNA, and i quote “Screen Share is an application that allows you to wirelessly share Pictures, Video, and Music to a DLNA-capable device, such as a projector or HDTV.” This is useful if you have that equipment. as there is no HDMI out for sharing your 1080p video clips. Slacker radio seems to be US only.
Also included is doubleTwist for syncing your iTunes. I don’t use iTunes, so couldn’t really demo it.
The rest of the apps are mainly HTC standard apps or Google apps. But to be honest, i bought this for the hardware, and not the software, and not being in the US to appreciate whats installed, i think its unfair for me to be over critical.
Its also worth a quick mention that Swype comes as the standard keyboard on the MyTouch, and not the generic HTC keyboard.
The Modification begins:
This will void your warranty. As i have no warranty anyway, i wasnt overly concerned. do so at own risk.
As can be seen i quickly rooted the device, and set about customizing it to my own tastes. The main issue is getting S-Off. this was completed using some wonderful software from the team at Revolutionary (http://revolutionary.io/) along with some help from the XDA forums
Rom manager v126.96.36.199 has now been updated to fully support the MyTouch 4G Slide, and ClockworkMod Recovery v188.8.131.52 can now be downloaded and installed in the app.
There is currently quite a lot of sense based roms on the XDA forum, but as the source code for the MT4GS has now been released, More AOSP roms will follow. CyanogenMod have already confirmed CM is coming, but for now we have an Alpha version HERE. This seems to work fine, but does have a couple of minor niggles.
I haven’t gone too mad for now, as I’m waiting for CM7 “proper” to come (or CM9 even better). So for now i have stuck with the shipped HTC Sense rom, But Rooted. This gives me the option to backup the whole system and try out other roms, and always have this to fall back on. I have tried CM7, but found that the battery time was reduced a fair bit. possibly due to kernel issues, I’m not sure.
I’ve installed ADW EX as my main launcher of choice, and themed it slightly Honeycomb, with some honeycomb icons and Honeycomb ADW Theme. Keeping Sense also allows me to keep the HTC camera app, but ADW EX makes it feel more AOSP.
Im using Thumb Keyboard too, this is set with an Ice Cream Sandwich theme, giving it a more up to date feel too.
As for performance, here’s my AnTuTu Benchmark score. 4768, and I’m at the top of the MT4GS category! nice! not too bad score either. goes to show its not always best to mess around with kernels and overclocking. there’s one at 1708mhz that’s got a lower score!
Undoubtedly a great bit of tech. its a bit heavy and possibly to clunky for some. The battery could do with lasting longer (tho i have just taken delivery of 2 Anker 1900mAh batteries ) and screen could have been a bit bigger, like the 3.8” screen in its sister phone the MyTouch 4G. The keyboard isn’t as tactile as i would have hoped, but it does perform well. I can see as time goes by, and more custom roms like CyanogenMod and MIUI come out, this phone will just get better. i would recommend this phone to anyone who likes QWERTY Phones.
Any questions just let us know and will do my best to answer them.
Review by: Ross