The HTC Hermes / Dopod 838Pro Review

Many of you by now will recognize the name HTC as the abbreviation for the Taiwanese based company High Tech Computer. They are the world’s largest manufacturer of Pocket PC and Smartphone OS based PDAs, and as such they are responsible for many of the more recognizable devices which are rebranded by companies including Hewlett-Packard, i-mate, Audiovox, and Dopod – to name a few.

The device we’ll be looking at today is known by several names including the O2 XDA Trion, the MDA Vario II, Orange SPV M3100, and the Dopod 838Pro. This review will specifically cover the HTC Hermes branded as the Dopod 838Pro; while some of its included software may differ from other branded versions, the general hardware specifications should be about the same.

Similar to the HTC Apache / Sprint PPC-6700 which I reviewed last year, the Hermes features a compact touch-screen PDA form factor with a left-sliding keyboard which only appears when needed. The Hermes is intended to function not only as the user’s mobile phone, but also as a fully functional PDA, an email and text messaging center, and a compact means to wirelessly surf the internet.

Unboxing the Hermes:
The Dopod 838Pro includes a manual that is almost 0.75″ thick! I wonder if anyone ever really reads it. πŸ˜‰ Also in this section are the leather carrying pouch, user manual, quick-start guide, getting started CD, and an application CD.

Nestled in the bottom of the box are the Dopod 838Pro, its battery, a round prong (Asian) AC adapter, two styli, a USB sync cable and a USB hands free headset.

Before we talk about the hardware, let’s look at the device’s specs…

Battery Type: User removable / rechargeable 1350 mAh Li-Ion
Battery life: Up to 5 hours talk time, up to 220 hours standby
Measurements: (with a micrometer) 4.44″ tall x 2.29″ wide x 0.85″ thick
Weight: 6.1 ounces
Processor: Samsung 400MHz
Wireless: GSM Quadband (850/900/1800/1900)+WCDMA Triband (850/1900/2100), EDGE/GPRS/UMTS, Bluetooth (v2.0) and WiFi, IrDA FIR
Messaging Support: SMS, MMS (English; Chinese support via CE-Star)
Email support: Outlook, multiple POP3, Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo mail
Platform: Windows Mobile 5.0
Expansion Card: MicroSD (hot-swappable)
Memory: 128MB ROM, 64MB RAM (persistent storage)
Screen: 2.8″ 240×320 resolution (QVGA), 65536 colors TFT screen (effective)
Audio: Dual Receivers/Speakers, Hands-Free supported, microphone
Multimedia Player: Windows Media Player 10 Mobile
Supported ring tones: 40 chord polyphonic, MIDI/SP-MIDI/WMA/WMV/MP3/AMR/SMF
Cameras: Primary: 2.0 megapixel CMOS w/flash and mirror, 0.1 megapixel CMOS for video calls and self-portraits, video recording capable

The Hermes measures exactly 4.44″ tall x 2.29″ wide x 0.85″ thick and with its memory card installed weighs 6.1 ounces. In hand it is quite comfortable and feels very solid – there is no creaking and the keyboard is not loose.

Those who read my PPC-6700 review may remember that I thought the silver painted plastic of that particular device made it feel and look cheap; there is none of that here. While the 838Pro’s case is still composed of plastic, it is matte black with matte silver plastic trim. There is a muted silver metal trim around the right side of the screen, and the only truly shiny area on the front is in the center of the directional pad. As I’ve stated previously, I believe that this center button was left shiny so that it could also operate as a mirror when making video calls.

Overall, the 838Pro’s style greatly appeals to me; it feels nicely weighted without being too heavy, and it looks like the expensive device that it is.

Previous to using the Dopod, I was alternating between the HTC Universal or the DualCor cPC as my daily driver, depending upon the circumstance. You can see in this line-up that the Hermes is quite diminutive when compared to my two favorite devices.

It’s amazing what can be crammed into such a tiny space…

The left side of the Hermes introduces a feature that I immediately fell in love with and that I truly believe should be on every PDA – the scroll wheel. Measuring just 0.25″ long, when used in conjunction with the OK button directly below it the pressable scroll wheel makes it possible to quickly move through a screen full of options and make a selection – all without taking out the stylus or touching the screen. The black button to the right is the voice recorder, which will create a voice note when pressed. This button is generally mapped to eReader on all of my PDAs, it’s not a function that I ever need.

For those that aren’t familiar with what an OK button will do, look at it as a type of “Back” button. When in a program, pressing the OK button will minimize the window of the screen that is open. If four programs are open, it will back through each of them until the user is back to the Today screen. When at the Today screen, pressing the OK button next to the scroll wheel will expand the Start menu.

Even at half-brightness, the Hermes’ 2.8″ QVGA screen is quite vivid and bright. I never know if it is because the device is newer or simply because screens continue to improve as new devices come out, but it always seems as if the screen on a newer device is clearer and crisper, and the Dopod’s is no exception. It is compared to the screen on the HTC Universal…Hermes on the left, Universal on the right

While I missed the Universal’s larger screen when reading eBooks, believe it or not I found that the scroll wheel almost made up for it…almost!

Towards the bottom of the device is a slot for one of the tiniest memory formats available – microSD. The card presses in and out of the slot, similar to the way a spring-loaded SD card slot accepts and ejects its card.

On the one hand it drives me crazy that I now have yet another memory card to keep up with, on the other hand microSD memory card prices are not too outrageous at all. I would like to think that the space saved by not installing an SD slot allowed the Hermes to add an extra feature…or two.

The button cluster on the front of the device is quite complex – not only is there a four-way and selectable D-pad, there are also seven other buttons surrounding it. From the top left corner and going clockwise…

The first button activates the Video Call Button. Those that are not on a UMTS system, and that therefore can’t use the video call features, might want to remap this button to another function…but you can’t. Ha!

Instead, you can press the button to call up the video call function and just make voice phone calls – dreaming of the day when your area has an upgraded 3G network. The other six buttons are pretty self-explanatory: left and right confirmation buttons, another OK button (this one does not activate the Start menu from the Today screen), a red LED backlit call Hang-Up button, a green LED backlit Talk button, and a Start Menu button – ah, that explains why the OK button wouldn’t do that particular function…

Phone calls are made by pressing the green LED Talk button on the left. When pressed, an onscreen keypad will pop up and the numbers can either be tapped in with the stylus or a finger. Numbers can also be entered without ever touching the screen – pressing the D-pad to the left will pull up the sped dial screen, while pressing it to the right will pull up recently dialed numbers. I found that it was possible to do much of the navigation one-handed – without ever touching the screen or using the stylus.

The bottom of the Hermes has an Infrared port, a small reset button hole, a small microphone, the battery compartment lock/unlock latch and the mini-USB port which not only serves to sync and charge the device, it is also the headset jack. This was a new feature to me, and I have to admit that while it is nice to eliminate yet another orifice on a device, it means that a separate adapter must be purchased if the user does not find the included headset acceptable…or if, in other words, you want to use your favorite 3.5mm plugged headset to listen to MP3s.

On the bottom of the right side is the stylus silo, the button above it activates the camera. Further up the side of the Hermes are the button that triggers the Communication Manager screen and the Power button. There are a couple of things that should be pointed out about the Power button – a quick press only turns the screen on or off. The device is not actually shut off unless the button is pressed and held for five seconds. When the screen is turned off calls may be received, when the device is turned off no calls will come through.

Dedicated Messaging Center and the Pocket Internet Explorer buttons – each button is set on the end of a brushed metal toggle which reminds me of a dignified see-saw. Both buttons are remappable for those that are using other than the default programs. Under this toggle bar are two LEDs that surround the call speaker. The left LED indicates WiFi or Bluetooth status, while the right LED indicates event notifications, charging status, and UMTS/GSM status. Looking mighty splotchy in the upper right corner is the video call camera.

The top of the Hermes is smooth and domed – and missing an external antenna of any kind. I found that the reception was quite excellent in my area, and although displayed bars may be a lame indicator of signal strength, it was still reassuring to see a full line-up when indoors. Calls made on the handset were clear, and I did not experience any dropped calls during testing.

Since I got it almost a month ago, I have made a habit of opening and closing the slider even when I don’t need to use it – trying to see if the repeated action will cause the action to loosen or “sloppy”; the keyboard still feels as tight now as it did the day I got the device.

When the keyboard is opened the Hermes immediately converts from a portrait oriented PDA to landscape. The keyboard has a bright blue backlight which while pretty seems slightly “blurry”; personally, I would prefer a sharp white LED. The keyboard itself is very well laid out, the buttons have a good tactile feedback, and using my thumbs to tap out text messages and emails is quite comfortable.

Here is a shot that shows the keys when backlit. The selection of accessible features from the keyboard is quite good…but wait, what is that I see? Is that yet another OK button?! Enough is enough already. πŸ˜‰

Similar to the HTC Apache I previously reviewed, the keyboard on the Hermes is moves on twin rails which slide open and shut. Unlike the Apache keyboard, when opened there is no play between the two halves of the device whatsoever; everything feels rock solid.

The user replaceable battery is accessed by sliding the battery cover latch to the unlock position; the thin plastic back will immediately unlock and release into a lifted position.

Although the battery compartment cover is as thin as that of the Apache, there is a huge difference between the closure quality. Unlike the Apache, the Hermes’ cover can not be slid off when too much pressure is applied; it is only released when the compartment release is triggered.

The SIM card slides into a receiving tray underneath the tightly fitting battery.

To the left of the camera is the rubber cap which covers the car antenna connection; it also pokes through the battery compartment cover when it is in place.

The Hermes is outfitted with two cameras, the main one being the 2.0 megapixel CMOS with a white LED flash and round mirror. The camera has two focus settings, normal and macro. This camera can also be used to capture videos.

Although there is only a 1.3 megapixel camera, there is a setting that allows a two megapixel capture size.

The video camera on the front of the Hermes is a lesser quality 0.1 megapixel CMOS; it can also be used for self-portraits. πŸ˜‰

The stylus is housed in the bottom right of the Hermes…

…it is of the telescoping variety.

When completely compact, the stylus measures just a little over 2″ long.

When extended, the stylus is 3.25″. As one can imagine, the stylus is “okay” for jotting a quick note, but it is not comfortable for extended text entry; its tip is also quite sharp and scratchy. I have noticed scratches in the Block Recognizer area of the lower left screen. Thankfully I put a left-over PPC-6700 screen protector on the first day and there is no permanent damage to the actual screen.

A feature I might have scoffed at years ago, but that I greatly appreciate now is the lanyard hole. If you are the type to often walk around with your device in hand, it only makes sense to add a simple wrist lanyard. The first time you forget what you are doing and reflexively open your hand, you’ll be grateful. If you never walk with your device in hand, the hole is nicely designed and easy to overlook.

The included leather pouch is as expected – better than nothing, but still pretty lame.

It has a clip that will accept up to a 1.5″ belt on the rear…

And while it provides excellent screen protection, three sides of the Hermes are left greatly exposed.


As I mentioned in the Specifications section, the Hermes has built-in GSM Quadband (850/900/1800/1900)+WCDMA Triband (850/1900/2100), EDGE/GPRS/UMTS, Bluetooth (v2.0) WiFi and Infrared. In a nutshell, this means that you will be able to connect just about anywhere – except perhaps in the middle of nowhere.

The only thing that might be out of the ordinary here is that since the Dopod is set up for Asia, mine did not have the T-Mobile wireless internet settings pre-programmed. This was solved by creating an internet connection through the process mentioned on the T-Mobile site. Once that was completed, I was able to surf and email to my heart’s content.

Battery Life:

I was able to read an eBook for several hours, check my email via T-Mobile GPRS, and make a few calls without dipping below 80%. That’s not a very scientific test, but since I am not far from a plug for much of the day, it will have to do for now. I will try to get a more thorough battery test performed and posted in the next day or two.

A Potential Problem:

As mentioned previously on this site, several HTC Hermes owners are having issues with their digitizers. At this time I have not had any problems with mine, but it needs to be a consideration.

Included Software:

Since the usual included Windows Mobile 5 software has already been covered many times already, I’ll just briefly touch upon the Dopod 838Pro’a add-on software…

It came loaded with Cyberon Voice Commander, a “Hands free voice command & control for PPC phone with highly accurate continuous speech recognition.”

Aidem MP3 Player, which is a Dopod add-on for MP3 and WMA files.

Magic Productions Magic Puz, a very simple bubble pop game and Magic Productions Another World, an old Amiga role playing game that has been translated to the PPC, which even if it is corny is…kind of cool. Someone needs to translate Leisure Suit Larry! πŸ˜‰

And SimpleAct QuickMark, which is best described as a bar-scanner and decoder program for mobile devices.

The Application CD includes a copy of World Card Mobile, an interesting application which allows you to use the camera to take pictures of people’s business cards, edit them, and then file the transcribed info directly into Contacts. Clever!

Hermes owners interested in a little bit of fine-tuning should also check out fit4cat Hermes Tweaker.

I will admit that I was somewhat prejudiced against the Hermes coming into this review. It should be obvious that I have become quite spoiled by the larger screens of the Universal and cPC, and “downgrading” to 2.8″ again just seemed so backwards. However the HTC Hermes turned out to be a very robust wireless PDA, and it quickly won me over.

Perhaps because of its smaller size I found myself holding it more often and using it when I might not have otherwise thought to. Battery life has turned out to be quite good, and the bright screen has been a welcome treat for my eyes.

Overall, this is a PDA phone that I would recommend to anyone that wants a “can do it all” device. While this might not necessarily be a mobile phone for a PDA beginner, it is intuitive enough that almost anyone could easily learn its functions. I have to admit that I will miss it once it’s gone…I hope the new user enjoys it as much as I have. πŸ™‚

The HTC Hermes is available from various distributors under various brand names.

MSRP: Approx $999US, approx. $1499AU

What I Like: Excellent style & finish, snappy performance, bright screen, A2DP, Quad Band, easy wireless connections with multiple options, 2 megapixel camera with macro-mode

What Needs Improvement: The non-standard mini-USB headset jack, digitizer problems on some Hermes devices

Added Later: These are the results gathered by running Spb Benchmark on both the HTC Hermes and Universal. Each device had been freshly reset and had no programs installed…

Hermes2 Universal
Spb Benchmark index 352 276
CPU index 1351 1737
File system index 151 127
Graphics index 1185 285
ActiveSync index
Platform index
Write 1 MB file (KB/sec) 697 601
Read 1 MB file (MB/sec) 4.77 4.03
Copy 1 MB file (KB/sec) 720 624
Write 10 KB x 100 files (KB/sec) 297 224
Read 10 KB x 100 files (MB/sec) 2.45 1.77
Copy 10 KB x 100 files (KB/sec) 306 194
Directory list of 2000 files (thousands of files/sec) 1.32 1.15
Internal database read (records/sec) 1219 1649
Graphics test: DDB BitBlt (frames/sec) 180 181
Graphics test: DIB BitBlt (frames/sec) 26.3 12.1
Graphics test: GAPI BitBlt (frames/sec) 127 26.7
Pocket Word document open (KB/sec) error 7.79
Pocket Internet Explorer HTML load (KB/sec) 6.66 6.84
Pocket Internet Explorer JPEG load (KB/sec) 131 160
File Explorer large folder list (files/sec) 459 427
Compress 1 MB file using ZIP (KB/sec) 230 212
Decompress 1024×768 JPEG file (KB/sec) 482 564
Arkaball frames per second (frames/sec) 81.9 24.4
CPU test: Whetstones MFLOPS (Mop/sec) 0.081 0.094
CPU test: Whetstones MOPS (Mop/sec) 52.5 71.4
CPU test: Whetstones MWIPS (Mop/sec) 5.16 6.3
Memory test: copy 1 MB using memcpy (MB/sec) 55.6 95
ActiveSync: upload 1 MB file (KB/sec)
ActiveSync: download 1 MB file (KB/sec)


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About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
Judie is the co-owner and Editor-in-Chief of Gear Diary, which she founded in September 2006. She started in 1999 writing software reviews at the now-defunct; from mid-2000 through 2006, she wrote hardware reviews for and co-edited at The Gadgeteer. A recipient of the Sigma Kappa Colby Award for Technology, Judie is best known for her device-agnostic approach, deep-dive reviews, and enjoyment of exploring the latest tech, gadgets, and gear.

47 Comments on "The HTC Hermes / Dopod 838Pro Review"

  1. Great review once again Judie!!! I can’t wait to get one of these babies!

  2. Excellent review!

    So, a question asked many times before, which I’ll also ask as I am considering the same:

    Which would you prefer now? A Universal at a slightly *cheaper* price, or a TyTN? Please answer based on personal experience… I know it will depend on the individual, but I think I’ve very similar criteria as you do (e.g. size is important, but not as important; ebook reading is important). I notice that the Universal has: 3.5mm jacks, VGA screen, faster CPU (despite the claims [dunno who originated it], the Samsung is slower, although the Universal is slower in all other aspects especially graphics speed, the CPU is a lot faster by Spb Benchmark!), built-in stereo speakers. The TyTN is smaller, triband HSDPA [versus single-band UMTS], faster overall [?] and better software. Anything else I miss, especially in everyday use?

    How’s battery life in comparison (I know you’ll update)? The Universal also has a sweet extended battery (e.g. which is 3600mAh, twice the original!)

    P.S. The Universal *is* cheaper in some places in Asia now. Think they are clearing the stock.

  3. Well I ALMOST bought a used Universal on eBay the other day, but restrained myself because I knew I would not be happy with the size, even though I have never actually seen one. It would be an ultra cool device to have, and I would love it to death, but ultimately it would be too large for me to carry daily.

  4. I will say though that if a HTC Universal does come up on eBay and does go for the right price, I would buy one just to try it out at least. Then if it doesn’t suit me, it can go right back on eBay.

    But for now, I have me eyes on the Hermes.

  5. Your reviews are among the most “personal” along with being informative. (And I’m not just buttering you up so that I’ll win it… but I thought it might not hurt!) At this time, the DOPOD (gotta love the logo!) 838Pro seems like one of the best choices for solving a number of gadget issues in one device. Just what every busy, gadget freak pastor needs!

  6. Nice review. I go mine for 4 weeks now. One thing to note, the inverted “C” aluminium cover around the screen can get scratched easily, so watch out.


  7. Nice review, as usual. I’ve had my other Hermes variation, the I-Mate JasJam for about a week and I love it.

    One important question, however – where’d ya get that great gorilla theme?

    – Mike in Chicago

  8. @Mitchell – I think you would be surprised by how pocketable the Universal is if you gave it a chance. Just remember that the rotating clam-shell cover makes all the difference; it’s not as if you are walking around with a 4″ exposed screen in your pocket and you don’t ‘need’ a case. πŸ™‚

    @atl068 – Well, I have to admit that for personal reasons (meaning the bigger screen and the larger keyboard), if I had to purchase one over the other today…it would be the Universal. If I didn’t read eBooks, it would be a toss-up. Of course, the Uni’s new lower price might influence me a little bit. Plus the whole metal body versus plastic body thing…even though HTC did get the finish on the Dopod ‘right’.

    You did a great rundown of some of the different features of both devices…and I guess the device to purchase would truly depend upon the person. They are both really good wireless PDAs, and to be honest – I think a lot of speed issues that people have are Windows Mobile 5 related in general. Like if there are certain plug-ins on the Today screen that bog the system down, or if there are too many programs running at once. It all makes a difference.

    For the person that uses their device primarily for the phone and PIM features, the type person that doesn’t add a lot of extra programs, they would probably have no idea what we are talking about when we even say that the device will slow down. πŸ˜‰

    I’ll think that the OEM batteries are going to end up performing very similarly between the Universal & Hermes. I am runnning on the Hermes as I type, and I will post the results when they are ready.

    I had already done the same on the Universal when I did the Mugen 4800mAh replacement battery review – the OEM battery gets about 5 hours with only the phone wireless on and medium brightness, while the 4800mAh gets almost 15! I suspect that the Hermes battery will be in the 5 hour range, too. Of course, running WiFi or GPRS constantly will cut those results, perhaps by as much as half.

    My fingers are crossed that there will be a upgraded Universal coming out soon. One that is even a little zippier, runs “Crossbow” and that has a brand new – even brighter screen. That would be an awesome Universal II.

    @Mitchell again – I think you are trying to talk yourself out of the Uni; it is calling to you… πŸ˜‰

    @WebPastor – Well, my reviews are always personal because I personally use the things I review. πŸ™‚ Of course, the compliments are much appreciated, but they really won’t help your chances of winning. Good try! You are right though, the Dopod would be a great device for a busy, gadget freak pastor (or anyone else, for that matter). πŸ™‚

    I should end by saying that those that want to use their device as their primary phone would probably be happier with the Hermes. While you can hold the Uni to your face and talk – it just seems, looks, and feels weird…although it can be done!

  9. Mike, I made that theme. If you would like a copy, send me an email and I’ll shoot it to you. πŸ™‚

  10. Vic, thankfully mine has been in the Vaja case when not in hand or on my desk, so it hasn’t gotten scratched up…yet. I can totally see how it could, though. Thanks for the reminder to watch out! πŸ™‚

  11. Judie wrote:
    “My fingers are crossed that there will be a upgraded Universal coming out soon. One that is even a little zippier, runs ?Crossbow? and that has a brand new – even brighter screen. That would be an awesome Universal II.”

    The fact that the Hermes has a scroll wheel gives me hope. If the Universal had a scroll wheel and was just a *little* zippier, it would be durn near the perfect PDA/phone/convergent device, at least for me.

    On that note, a few comparison questions for you, Judie, regarding the Hermes and the Universal:

    o) Do you notice any significant difference in speed between the Hermes and the Universal? The Universal is 520MHz, and the Hermes 400MHz, but I’m guessing the difference isn’t noticable unless one is running several applications, or trying to watch “The Matrix” Windows Media Player, or something.
    o) Was it wonderful having the scroll wheel, or what? I’m so jealous. The one thing that I really really miss on the Universal is a scroll wheel or page down button in easy reach for one-handed operation.
    o) How much of a comedown is the smaller screen size?
    o) Did you notice much of a difference between the photos you get with the Hermes (2.0Mp) and the Universal (1.3Mp)?

    I must say that, like you, seeing some of these features gives me high hopes for the Universal II. I’m gettin’ all staticy thinkin’ about it.

    Judie writes:
    “I should end by saying that those that want to use their device as their primary phone would probably be happier with the Hermes. While you can hold the Uni to your face and talk – it just seems, looks, and feels weird?although it can be done!”

    For you folks worried about that, let me say this: I had the same issues. I have a Motorola V180, and I loved the small size, being able to carry it around in my pocket and (literally) not notice it. But with my Cardo Bluetooth headset, I *enjoy* using the Universal as my primary phone (switching to the Motorola only when I absolutely have to have something very light). I carry my Universal in my gear bag, and my Cardo headset in my pocket. When the phone rings, I put on the headset, hit the button, and hey, presto, I’m on the phone. No muss, no fuss. It’s so cool and so much fun, both my wife (Treo 650) and daughter (Motorola RAZR) want to buy one, too!

    The nifty thing is, you can press the button on the side of the Cardo, wait for the beep, and do your voice-dialing without even pulling your Universal out of your bag and turning it on. And the Universal’s voice recognition has been excellent; not a single mistaken call in over a month. The Cardo’s charge lasts a long time, it has good sound quality, and the cost is very reasonable (mine was only $30 or so).

  12. Hi Doug! πŸ™‚

    – I really haven’t noticed much of a difference in speed between the two devices. I will be running SPB benchmark on the empty Dopod, and I don’t mind doing a hard reset on my Uni and conducting the same test. I’ll add all of those results ASAP.

    – Mmmmmm…the scroll wheel. I can’t say enough good about it. It makes the PDA. πŸ˜€

    – I’ve read three books on the smaller screen. Don’t get me wrong, it is do-able. I just knew what I was missing and I really did miss it.

    – Okay – I’ll go take a couple of similar pictures with the Uni so you can compare. I’ll add them to the review shortly.

    Yes, I should say that a BT headset goes a long way in making the Universal a proper mobile phone. Although I did make voice calls on it while in Thailand – and it worked well – it just felt awkward. I generally carry a separate phone (currently the Samsung A900), so the Uni is mainly my data device.

    Thanks for the awesome discussion, guys! πŸ™‚

  13. Doug – comparison photos have been added…

  14. Awesome review Judie! However, after reading it you make me want to seek out and get another Universal back in my hands πŸ™‚ I had one for a short time and am again looking for a good Pocket PC Phone Edition device and it really did have an excellent keyboard. I’ll have to see what they are running for in the market and maybe joining you with a Universal.

    I look forward to your future reviews and blog posts. Keep up the good work.

  15. Matt, I really, really am hooked on my Uni. Ask Joel how much fun he and Derek (in particular) had in Thailand teasing me about the JasJar…I wrote my entire Mobius article on it during the sessions. People kept snapping pictures of me using it – like it was odd or something. πŸ˜›

    I thought Mobius was all about mobility! πŸ˜‰

  16. Argh, Judie!! You have too much influence over me. There are now 5 Universal auctions in my eBay watch list!

  17. Well, hopefully you will get one for a great price…and if you do, I fully expect you to come back and report your thoughts! πŸ™‚

  18. Mitchell: I was able to get mine on eBay for around $550 or so. It is the O2 version, and I should have filmed the unboxing experience, because the O2 has a very cool box.

  19. …pictures, please! πŸ˜‰

  20. Hey dougom, is that in Australian dollars or USD? A great price either way, but if its Aussie $$$s then it is outragously good!

    And if I do get one I certainly will let you know how it goes πŸ˜€

    I still have this nagging to get the 838 Pro though. Argh!

  21. Mitchell: US dollars; sorry.

    Judie: Was that pictures comment to me?

  22. Yes. I have the i-mate version, so there was nothing particularly special about the packaging. I want to see what got you excited. πŸ™‚

  23. Hey Judie, would you say the Universal is about the same size as the Jornada 928?

  24. Mitchell, I think the width is similar, but the height is actually shorter.The Universal measures exactly 5.175″ tall x 3.134″ wide x 0.932″ thick and weighs 10.2 ounces.

    Let me know about the 928, I’d be curious to see how they compare. πŸ™‚

  25. Well based on the model I built (albeit squared off instead of rounded like the real thing) I couldn’t stand the size. Its just too big for me I think.

  26. Mitchell, great idea, but that model is not even close. Really…!!! And no way could that white paper hard-edged box feel like the smooth metallic rounded-ness of the Uni. πŸ˜›

  27. Sweet review. I’m itching to get one now.
    Question on the WiFi. Can you send/receive calls even while using the WiFi? Some devices turn off the phone when WiFi is on, and I haven’t seen info regarding this on the Hermes.

  28. Well thats great then! I didn’t think that that “mockup” could be accurate. The Universal simply doesn’t look that big.

    Besides, I think I broke the screen when I tried it in my pocket πŸ˜›

    Well those auctions are still in my eBay, so they may still get a bid from me πŸ˜€

  29. catrane, I am 99.99% positive that WiFi will stay on when calls are made and received. I have already removed my SIM card and put it back into the Uni, but tomorrow I will test it for you and report back. πŸ™‚

    Mitchell, that picture made me spit diet coke on my laptop’s screen…a little warning next time, please! πŸ˜‰ ha ha!!

  30. Lol πŸ˜€

    So how does it feel to be back at the VGA Universal?

  31. For the record, my old (ha ha, “old”) KJAM could have WiFi and Bluetooth both active and working, while on a call. I would say that this device will be the same.

  32. Come to think of it, I think that WiFi restriction was only on certain Verizon CDMA Pocket PC Phones. IF anyone remembers differently, correct me – but I seem to recall that it was always an issue with them, but there were hacks that would remove the limitation.

    The Universal welcomed me back with open arms. There is something comforting about its metal body, and the larger screen is a treat. As a bonus, after running comparison benchmark tests today, I gave it a hard reset and then reloaded my favorite software…it seems to be running faster than before, too. πŸ˜‰

  33. Nice πŸ˜€

    Yes I remember reading about one of the Samsung PPC PE devices (the i730 I think) that could only use WiFi with the phone radio turned off. Someone found a hack though that allowed both to be active. There was no technical limitation, just Verizon mucking around so that you wouldn’t use WiFi as often, and stick with using a data plan.

  34. Ok, Judie, thanks for the long feedbacks!!! Thanks for your dedication to the readers!

    Ok, now a difficult/personal question from me, since I am convinced about the Universal:

    How can I convince my fiancee that it’s a better gadget? She thinks the Universal is BIG, ugly, and old tech. What do you have to say about that, huh? πŸ˜› (She has seen and played with a 838 Pro but only seen the 900/Universal).

    P.S. gSmart announced a VGA screen PDA phone for Q1, 07! Hope it has 3G!

  35. Great review … very nicely done. Now if I could say the same thing for the version Cingular intends to release. I can’t for the life of me figure out why they got rid of the front facing camera or changes it to a silver color.

    Oh well. Loved the review – making me second guess my decision to go with a Treo 750 when they come out…

  36. Hey Judie, I guess I should have paid attention to the Sony battery recalls….

  37. @atl068 – You’ll convince her when she sees a large picture of her shining back from the almost 4″ screen. Better yet, throw a couple on there…how can she say no? πŸ˜‰

    @netsyd – it’s typical for different carriers to put “their touch” on HTC’s hardware. I guess Cingular doesn’t want anyone making video calls with their device…ever. πŸ˜›

    @Mitchell – I hope those pictures were staged…they were kind of scary. 😯

  38. Lol, no it burnt up πŸ˜›

  39. are the different names due to the fact that the phone is going to be available on different types of networks, from different carriers, or are their any differences besides the name? if there is nothing majorly different, would a purchase with any name branding be able to be used on t-mobile? i’m quite excited about this phone and want to make sure that i don’t make any mistakes.

    Thanks so much.

  40. shimmike – the basic device is the HTC Hermes, but there can be slight changes to the hardware and offerred software depending upon the carrier. You’ll need to watch out, because there is also an HTC TyTn that is technically and basically a Hermes, but it doesn’t look nearly as good (in my opinion).

    TyTn link from Mobility Today

    I believe that as long as you purchase a version offerred by an unlocked carrier such as i-mate (JasJam) or Dopod (838Pro), then you will be able to use it on either Cingular or T-Mobile.

    American carriers typically lock their phones so that they will only work on their particular network. In other words, if Cingular offers one, it will not work with a T-Mobile SIM unless you are able to get the device “unlocked”.

    You can get a lot of technical information from this excellent resource.

  41. Now Now, the HTC Universal is a great machine if you have another phone to actually do the basic phone stuff.. πŸ™‚

    Nothing beats the large screen, the great keyboard and the fact that you can use any headset you want with it for listening to MP3s! I hook up my Bose Noise Cancellling headset and its great! Am also working out how to use the Bose headset with the new Bose phone accessory kit for those really long conference calls!

    The only thing that will make me change the Uni out is the new UMTS on 850 being rolled out by Cingular and Telstra (AU). The radio on the Uni is the old version for 900..

  42. I think this qualifies as the first PPC PE unit that I have seriously lusted after. All the major features appear to be accounted for, and the form factor fits into my personal preference for a mobile unit – I the guy that has stuck with the iPaq 4150 for so long because even with the aluminum case I carry it in, it still rides in my pants/shorts pocket every day, and goes every where. It looks like this Dopod 838Pro comes closer to that form than most others I’ve seen, AND offers things like Wi-Fi even with all other connectivity options.

    I am a bit bummed about the headphone port thing…I needed to use a 2.5mm to 3.5mm adapter with my iPaq 1945 – something I don’t miss on the 4150! The thought of having to have another “dongle” just to sit back and listen to tunes or watch a movie on the train is discouraging. It’s fine if I have my briefcase with me that I throw all those bits into, but if I’m just out at lunch or whatever, I’d have to remember to carry it – just more junk in the pocket.

    Still, it is a pretty lust-worthy device for my needs. I’m going to have to sit down and do some hard ‘calculatin’ to see if I can swing one of these units.

    Nice review, Judie! Always appreciate the detail and focus on the practical aspects of a device, instead of just feature buzz.

  43. @Drew – “The only thing that will make me change the Uni out is the new UMTS on 850 being rolled out by Cingular and Telstra (AU). The radio on the Uni is the old version for 900..”

    Maybe that bodes well for a Universal II in Quad Band? (fingers tightly crossed)

    @mcsouth – I thought the 2.5mm to 3.5 dongle was a pain. But when I realized they had made the miniUSB port into the headphone jack, I figured I had seen it all. πŸ˜›

  44. Judie, that is true, the Dopod does have the quad band AND the new 850 UMTS covered.. Of course that said, the current networks are in place through 2012 at least and I’m sure by then we’ll be running new hardware! A quad-band UNI with EDGE would be great though for the US market. Everytime I go back to the US, my coverage is a bit dodgy with the UNI due to the 900 tri-band radio… :-O

  45. Thanks for the clear pictures taken of the Dopod 838 Pro. Almost felt like I received my order from that I have been waiting for almost a month now!

    Anyway, you pointed out what type of memory card goes in the slot, but did not mention if it can handle a 2GB micro SD. Also read that the 838 Pro coming out of Hong Kong had the HSDPA disabled, but can be enabled with the fit4kat website.

    And for those concerned about battery life, I just bought a 1500mah from ebay for GBP 13.90(shipping included) that I still have to test whenever I get my 838 pro. A very good quality black or natural finish aluminum case w/ strong screen protector and removable rotating belt clip also available on ebay for less than $25 (shipping included) to protect it.

  46. Hi jessie, the 838Pro should be able to accept the 2GB microSD without any problem. πŸ™‚

  47. Thanks Julie, I just thought I’d ask after viewing the specs from this other review
    Hope I get a good 2GB microSD deal from ebay!

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