I’ve been using the HTC Advantage for five days, which is definitely not long enough time to pass true judgement on the device, but it is enough time?to talk about some of my likes and dislikes.
The screen is glorious…absolutely fabulous. 5″ of diagonal goodness that is clearer, and easier to read from, than any other available Windows Mobile Device. If a lot of screen isn’t important to you because you aren’t reading eBooks, editing documents or entering data in a spreadsheet, then you will most likely be turned off by the overall size of the device.
With the keyboard covering the screen?and wrapped in its included brown leather case, the Advantage measures exactly 5.5″ tall x 4.1″ wide x 1.2″ thick and weighs one pound 0.4 ounces. Yeah…I said one pound!
Frankly, it doesn’t bother me. I carry it in my bag and?I don’t see this as a mobile phone replacement; I see it as a mini-laptop with wireless capabilities. I could make a call from it in a pinch with a BT headset…but is that very likely? Not so much.
The keyboard is “okay”. I would not want to tap out a novel (or a 3000 word review for that matter), but it is more responsive and better overall than I had?first thought it would be. If the buttons could have been a bit more raised, I would have been more pleased…but you can’t always get what you want. I’ve had questions as to whether or not the device feels top-heavy when holding it and tapping with my thumbs, the answer is a possibly surprising “not really.” The base stabilizes the top very nicely, and the magnets have such a tight grip that I have not yet had a fear that the entire package might topple over. Tapping the keys on a tabletop is certainly easy enough, too, but this is not really something I would want to use to do a bunch of texting, emailing or any other things that I do without thinking on my Treo 700wx’s thumboard. It just feels awkward, for lack of a better word.
The clear plastic ring around the joystick (in the upper left hand) corner glows orange while charging, and green when complete. Since I don’t have the Advantage plugged in for these photos you miss that glow, but you can see how the “OK”, Start Menu, and Internet Explorer buttons have a lovely orange glow.
But do you see anything missing here? Right – the keyboard is not lit up at all. Although the screen does cast a light?glow on the keyboard, it is barely enough to type by.
Here is a left side-view showing the volume slider, speaker, VGA Out, miniUSB sync & charge port, and earphone jack. Instead of a volume slider, I wish this was a scroll-wheel, which would make reading and other one-handed uses so much more convenient, especially when using the Advantage in tablet mode without the keyboard.
This is the right side-view showing the stylus in its silo, the camera button, speaker, voice recorder button, and power button.
The brown pebbled leather case is really wonderful – it has a metal plate sewn in between the layers which the keyboard’s magnet?strongly grips against.
The Advantage?almost looks like a favorite leather-bound travel journal, doesn’t it?
HTC and its logo is embossed on the side which holds the Advantage; a cutout allows the use of the camera when in the case.
As you can see in this photo, the Advantage is held in place by three black plastic clips.
It looks like the keyboard is just lying on top of the leather flap – and in essence it is, but the magnets are keeping it very secure.
The keyboard can also be removed if you would prefer to travel without it, or use the PDA mainly in portrait mode.
This is generally my favorite way to carry it…so far.
But since the Advantage will primarily be seen by many as a landscape oriented device, I’ll start with screenshots reflecting that…
This is a view of Gear Diary in?the included Opera Browser…
…and Pocket Internet Explorer.
This is the landscape view when reading a book in eReader. It’s an absolutely amazing reading experience because the screen is so large and clear. I’m quickly becoming spoiled, except for one thing…turning pages. 🙁
The itty-bitty?joystick is the weak link in all of this: turning pages in landscape mode is easy enough, but in portrait mode it is rather awkward; I guess it is too much to?ask for a proper scroll-wheel or even a usable D-pad.
Here are some screen shots in portrait mode, which I think help illustrate why I am willing to deal with doing whatever it may take to make scrolling pages work…look at the screen real estate!
So that’s it for now…any questions? 🙂