T-Mobile Launches the Dash Windows Mobile Smartphone
Last was a very good year for PDA and smartphones, and it's still not over yet! This Fall we've seen the introduction of two of my favorite phones, the Cingular 8525 and the T-Mobile Dash.T-Mobile USA, Inc. has the upcoming availability of the new T-Mobile Dash, a smartphone device delivering voice calling, personal and business e-mail, and Wi-Fi capabilities in a small, sleek package.The T-Mobile Dash provides quick and convenient access to personal and business e-mail, instant messaging and text messaging, as well a speakerphone and Bluetooth connectivity for reliable hands-free use.
As with the Cingular 8525 and HTC TyTN, the differences between the T-Mobile Dash and HTC S620 are modest. The Dash has T-Mobile's MyFaves support, adds OZ' instant messaging client that supports AIM, ICQ and Y! Messenger (the app uses text messages), T-Mobile's My E-mail application, a WAP browser and it has a different JOGGR strip (more on that later). As expected, the Dash plays T-Mobile's rather loud startup tune at boot while displaying the T-Mobile logo. The HTC S620 boots up silently while showing the HTC logo. The T-Mobile version has a big T in the dialer screen while the s620 has the HTC logo.
It also includes a 1.3-megapixel camera and Windows Media Player 10 Mobile for music and video on-the-go. Extra memory to store these media files can be added through the use of MicroSD memory cards.
The Dash has a matte black finish and a rubberized coating that feels good (folks seem to want to stroke it-- don't blame us) and helps keep the phone firmly in hand. We found we could use the Dash one-handed fairly easily, though the somewhat narrower and scroll-wheel enabled Samsung BlackJack beat it. The keys are 4mm wide with no space between. What does this mean? The keys are fairly large for a device this small (though it can't compete with the T-Mobile MDA PPC phone and and its huge keyboard) and large is a plus. But that lack of key separation means you need to look at the phone and take more care when typing. In contrast, the Samsung BlackJack's keys are only 3mm wide but have a good deal of separation making typing one handed typing, easier. But for two-handed typing we prefer the Dash, whose keyboard is very usable for even extended bouts of typing, despite its small size. If you're migrating from a Treo you'll probably adjust easily. Those coming from the MDA or one of its relatives will take longer to adjust. The keys are backlit in blue and keypad backlight timing is in sync with display backlight timeout (which is adjustable). They keys are fairly easy to see in dim and dark locations, and the front buttons also light up (in white for app buttons and soft keys, red for call end and green for call send).
Re: T-Mobile Launches the Dash Windows Mobile Smartphone
The colour display is a 2.4-inch (320x240 pixels) LCD and the device measures 4.4 inches by 2.5 inches by 0.51 inches. The standard battery can provide up to five hours of talk time and up to nine days of standby.
The S620's directional pad is large and lovely. It's easy to operate, not sloppy and it's raised edges and high center button help you stay on target without staring at your thumb. The call send and end buttons are well separated from other keys (prevents accidental dialing and hang ups), and the two Windows Mobile soft keys, Home key and back key are large and easy to press (but not overly soft either). As you can see from the photos, the d-pad an navigation keys are well separated from the keyboard. The keyboard itself has shortcut buttons for IE (or T-Mobile's WAP browser on the Dash), Messaging and the camera application. You'll use the Fn key to enter symbols (masked in blue) and numbers. On the Dash only, you can press and hold a key to enter its alternate key (we LOVE this and wish the S620 had it as well),
The Dash and HTC S620 have a few keyboard shortcuts that make life much easier, and we'll tell you a few:
- Press and hold the Home key to start voice dialing
- Dash only: Press and hold a letter to input its Fn alternative character (e.g.: press and hold the D key to input 5).
- In the programs window, the application icons follow a grid that corresponds to the
keys. For example, press "q" to launch the leftmost application on the top row in the programs window.
- There are two ways to lock the keyboard: 1) Press and hold the Z key to lock the keyboard. 2) Press and hold the call end button.
Users also have access to personal e-mail with accounts from Microsoft Hotmail, AOL, Yahoo Mail Plus, Comcast, EarthLink, and many more, plus support for all four major instant messaging providers: AOL, Yahoo!, MSN and ICQ.
The T-Mobile Dash provides access to high-speed data connections with quad-band GSM, GPRS, EDGE and Wi-Fi (802.11b/g).
The Dash has Bluetooth 2.0 with support for all common profiles and a few uncommon ones such as A2DP. It has headset/hands-free, DUN, serial port, FTP and OBEX profiles. WiFi is a rare treat on MS Smartphones, but you can be sure T-Mobile US will offer it since their hotspot service is big business in the US. The Dash and HTC S620 have WiFi 802.11b/g and support open networks, WEP encryption, certificates, LEAP, ad-hoc and infrastructure mode. You can turn off that annoying new network found" notification if you wish, and set the WiFi radio to automatically turn off if not connected for a specified period of time. HTC's Com Manager shows access points in range and indicates whether they use encryption and their signal strength. Data speeds using WiFi are excellent and we got an average of 1250 kbit/s using DSL Reports' mobile speed test. Range is good for a device this small and we managed 45 feet from our 802.11g access point through walls. As with all Windows Mobile products, you may find that you'll have to create a separate connection profile for WiFi (under GPRS settings even though WiFi obviously isn't GPRS). And you may have to tell IE not to automatically detect network settings if it doesn't manage to connect when switching to or from WiFi.
Re: T-Mobile Launches the Dash Windows Mobile Smartphone
Some more about this T-Mobile Launches the Dash Windows Mobile Smartphone:-
1. The Dash and HTC S620 come with the usual Windows Mobile 5 software including mobile versions of Outlook (Messaging for email, contacts, Calendar and Tasks but no Notes since Smartphone Edition doesn't have Notes). You also get a mobile version of Internet Explorer (landscape orientation is nice for browsing), Windows Media Player Mobile, Pocket MSN, a voice recorder, calculator, solitaire, Bubble Breaker, SIM manager, Clear Storage (to wipe out the device's contents), a file manager and task manager. Both devices come with HTC's Comm Manager which you'll use to turn the device's three wireless radios on and off and Westtek's Clearvue Office suite which is a collection of viewers for Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF files. T-Mobile adds their MyEmail application, a T-Mobile Hotspot locator and WinWap (a WAP browser for visiting T-Mobile's TZones web site).
2. We generally haven't been fans of HTC's cameras which lagged behind the feature phone competition. The Cingular 8525's 2MP camera is an exception and it takes quite good photos. The Dash takes photos that are better than last year's (and the year before that) HTC camera phones such as the SDA and MDA, but the photos still aren't as good as those taken by the better 1.3MP camera phones on the market by LG and Samsung. But they're not horrid either, so don't panic. Colors are decent, with an occasional purple bias (see the black Chevy SSR which acquired Zune-like secondary color highlights with the help of the Dash). Bright sunlight leads to whiting out (see the pool photo below) but under medium indoor or outdoor light, the camera does pretty well. It handles low light better than many Nokia camera phones, even the high end ones.
The 1.3MP camera can take photos up to 1280 x 1024 resolution in JPEG format as well as lesser resolutions for MMS and caller ID. It has four quality settings, a time stamp option, four color effects and 5 white balance settings including auto. You can take video in up to 176 x 144 and MMS videos.
3. We've been quite pleased with the Dash and HTC S620's battery life, which lasts about 2 to 3 days of use (without Direct Push email which eats up any Windows Mobile device's battery). The 960 mAh Lithium Ion is supposed to be good for up to 5 hours talk time and we got about 4.25 hours with additional use of the PDA functions. Lets face it, if you only talk on the phone and don't use the PDA features, you probably didn't need a smartphone anyway. We used the phone surfing the web on EDGE for 45 minutes per day, talked on the phone 20 minutes per day, did several PIM lookups each day, reviewed a Word and an Excel document, watched a 6 minute short video stored on a MicroSD card, surfed with WiFi 20 minutes per day, checked email once every 30 minutes (9am -6pm) and listened to MP3s for an hour per day. The Dash lasted us 3 days. If you use Direct Push and set the phone to notify you of each new email, expect 2 days on a charge. By PDA and smartphone standards, that's good. If you use the phone less (perhaps you don't check email frequently and surf the web for 30 minutes or less per day) then you might manage 4 days on a charge. That's better than the Samsung BlackJack, though the BlackJack does even things about a bit by providing a second battery and spare battery charger. It's most definitely better than the Motorola Q. To be fair, the Samsung has an HSDPA 3G radio and the Q has EVDO, both of which consume more power but get you must faster data speeds.
4. Like the Motorola Q and Samsung BlackJack MS smartphones, the Dash has a landscape QVGA 320 x 240 pixel TFT color main display. It measures 2.4" diagonally (the same size as the Moto Q and .2" bigger than the BlackJack's display) and supports 65,000 colors. The display is the best we've seen on an MS Smartphone to date: most everyone who sees it compliments it immediately. It has great color saturation, strong sharpness and that "something special" that sets it apart. First thing, change that boring T-Mobile wallpaper to a photographic image and you'll see what we mean. Since the Motorola Q was the only landscape MS Smartphone until this month, you'll find that some apps, mostly games, don't support it. But that should change quickly now that we have 3 hot landscape models on the market.
The Dash makes a good portable music player using the standard Windows Media Player 10 Mobile or your favorite 3rd party application. Sound quality is good through the included Merry Electronics brand stereo headphones with inline mic. The bad news is that the Dash, like most recent HTC phones, uses a proprietary audio connector rather than a standard 2.5mm jack. But at least you get the stereo headset in the box: Cingular left that out of the Samsung BlackJack box. The Merry headset (included with most recent HTC devices), sounds pretty good with decent bass and no shrillness on the top end.
Windows Media Player Mobile 10 supports MP3, WMV, AAC, WMA and PlaysForSure DRM-d files. We were pleased with the Dash's audio quality when using the included headphones. The phone supports Bluetooth stereo headsets and headphones, so we tested it with Plantronics Pulsar 590 stereo Bluetooth headset profile and it worked well.
In short i can discribe this smartphone is
The T-Mobile Dash is available for T-Mobile customers from beginning October 2008.
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