Tech, Autos, & Gear in Layman's Terms Since 2006

October 23, 2006 • Reviews

Unboxing the Universal — O2 Exec Version

The HTC Universal is the device-of-a-thousand-names: i-mate JasJar, O2 XDA Exec, QTek 9000, SPV M5000, and HAL 9000 for all I know. It’s a hefty (10.2 oz/290 g), big (5.2″ x 3.1″ x 0.93″), hi-res (640×480 VGA), versatile (3G/GRPS, wifi, bluetooth, 1.3 Mp camera, Window Mobile 5), expensive ($1000 retail–go to eBay!) SmartPhone/PDA/convergent device with a clamshell design that hides a decent-sized keyboard and an interesting open, spin, and fold screen that converts it from a sort of micro-laptop form factor to that of a regular PDA.

Judie has already reviewed the Universal at The Gadgeteer, but poor Judie got the i-Mate version, which apparently has one of the world’s most boring unboxing experiences.??

I scored an O2 Exec on eBay, and whatever else these O2 folks do–and I’ve heard some bad stories from folks in the UK, alas–they sure made one cool package for this device.

First, understand that I’ve had the device for a couple of months now, so this is not a “fresh” unboxing, but rather a “recreated” unboxing. But that caveat aside, I think you will enjoy it.

Here’s the box as it comes shipped–a blue rectangular solid:

Personally, I really like the O2 dark-blue-and-black color scheme.

The box opens in an unusual way, and I must have been tired or something, because it took me a while to figure it out. There are two “drawers” that slide out of either side of the box simultaneously. In other words, you have to push one drawer out while you pull on the other, or vice-versa. I know I’m not describing it well, but if you look at the picture, imagine that you have to slide both those drawers–which are attached to the box, and so don’t come *all* the way out–out of the main box component simultaneously:


The left-hand drawer contains the Universal in its plastic anti-static (one presumes) wrapping:


The compartment for the Universal is form-fitting Here’s our baby outside of her bed:



I like the color scheme of the O2 very much, for what it’s worth. The casing is almost all black, with the metallic portion a titanium gray. On the minus side, the back-lighting on the keys is a fairly-uncomfortable blue, which I find pretty hard on my eyes, particularly if the ambient light is dim.

As Judie showed here, it works a heck of a lot better when it’s plain, old-fashioned, boring white.

The compartment of the right-hand drawer is divided into two parts. On the top is a hinged file-folder-like compartment, which contains the manual, device paperwork, and software CD.


Underneath is a comparment that contains the (fairly cheesy) leatherette device pouch and the box containing the battery.

Here you can also see the software CD/documentation folder; it’s hinged and attached so that when you open it, it lays flat on top of the box.

Tucked into the compartment is the accessory box. The O2 folks cleverly put a little hole in the side of the box so that you don’t have to snap a nail off prying it out; just poke a finger on in there and slide it out. The accessory box contains a standard USB-ActiveSync cable, the AC adapter, and the headset/headphones (they work as both, and do neither job particularly well, in my opinion. I don’t have a picture of this because at this point, my accessories are scattered all over the place. But here’s a close-up of the right-hand drawer with the components removed:


So there you have it. This very much reminded me of some of Silicon Graphics’ lower-end packaging solutions–for the Indy system, for example.

But then, I’m an old phart. It makes you wonder what the American OEM who ends up reselling this device will do as far as packaging (if it ever makes it here). We can only hope it’s as cool.

5 Responses to " Unboxing the Universal — O2 Exec Version "

  1. MitchellO says:

    The XDA II Mini never had such a nice box 🙁

  2. Judie says:

    I think all devices over $400 should come with such awesome presentation boxes. 😉

  3. shooyu says:

    totally cool!!

  4. […] Fairly recently, I bought an HTC Universal (the O2 XDA Exec version–see the unboxing here. I fluxuate pretty wildly on whether I love this device (”God, this screen is nice!” “I love surfing the internet from my PDA!”) or hate it (”F($%& Windows Mobile!” “D#@*$ slow download speed!”), but one thing I continue to enjoy is surfing the web. […]

  5. […] recently, I bought an HTC Universal (the O2 XDA Exec version–see the unboxing here. I fluctuate pretty wildly on whether I love this device (“God, this screen is nice!” […]

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