What's Good: The myTouch 3G Slide has a nice physical QWERTY keyboard; speedy given its 600 MHz processor, HTC Sense UI partners well with Android 2.1.
What's Bad: Display may be on the small side for some; hinge is a bit wobbly.
The Verdict: The myTouch 3G Slide is a great smartphone for Android lovers that either need a full QWERTY keyboard, or aren't attracted to the Samsung Vibrant's design.
It's a solid mid-range device that offers a QWERTY keyboard for the BlackBerry faithful, and sports some unique customizations that make it worth considering. That being said, it's not 2009 anymore, and Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T have responded with mid-range Android devices of their own. Can the myTouch 3G Slide stand its ground in a sea of Android devices?
Design & Features
The HTC myTouch 3G Slide ships in a cool metal box with the battery, AC adapter, USB cable (which doubles as the power cord), 8 GB microSD card, and instruction manuals. Measuring in at 4.55 inches tall by 2.37 inches wide by 0.60 inch thick, and weighing 4.6 ounces, it's small enough to stow in a bag, pocket, or cup holder. Though smaller than the 4+-inch displays on the market, the 3.4-inch LCD gets the job done, and looks nice to boot. Offering 320 x 480 pixels, the display is crisp and displays images well.
The left side of the device contains the volume rocker, while the camera shortcut button can be found on the right side of the device. The power button and 3.5mm headphone jack are located on the top of the device, while the optical trackpad and usual Android buttons are on the front. The 5.0-megapixel camera and the flash, along with the speakerphone, are located on the back of the device. While it is made of plastic, I was pleased with the overall build quality. The only concern I had centered around the hinge; I found it to be a bit wobbly. It's not a dealbreaker by any means, but it's something that could get worse over the course of two years.
Usability & Performance
In a world of 1 GHz Android devices, the myTouch 3G Slide is powered by a 600 MHz processor. While it sounds slow, I was quite pleased with the performance of the phone. Applications opened with little to no lag, and the device was able to handle everything I threw at it. Thanks to Android 2.1 and the latest version of Sense (both of which offer improved performance), the barrier between the mid-range 600 MHz devices and the high-end 1 GHz models is falling. The myTouch 3G Slide offers Android 2.1 with a modified version of HTC's Sense UI. As with past versions of Sense, it works to make the stock Android experience more user friendly and does a good job in the process. Sense is even more customized on the myTouch 3G Slide, offering boxed icons and a customized dock with phone, menu, and MyFaves shortcuts.
Those that rely on text messaging and e-mail will love the myTouch 3G Slide's QWERTY keyboard. The keyboard on the device is roomy and easy to work with after just a few minutes of use. Instead of placing the "Z-M" keys with the space bar, the bottom row on the myTouch 3G Slide is dedicated to symbols and other shortcut keys. The keys are slanted to the right and centered like a computer keyboard, making it easier to type on than a touchscreen.
The phone offers a 5.0-megapixel camera with autofocus, and in my testing, picture quality was somewhat mediocre. Complete with a flash, the camera performed reasonably well in most situations I was able to throw at it, though pictures didn't seem as clear as some of the other 5-8 megapixel alternatives on the market. Editing options include the ability to adjust the brightness, contrast, saturation, sharpness, color effects (grayscale, sepia, negative, solarize, posterize, and aqua), white balance, ISO, resolution, quality, and self-timer.
I worked with the myTouch 3G Slide in Charlotte, and throughout testing, T-Mobile’s voice and data network were a pleasure to use. Voice calls have been clear on my end, and every one of my callers were pleased with the overall audio quality. I took the phone to a T-Mobile dead spot in North Charlotte, and despite showing zero bars of service, I was able to successfully complete a call without any fading. Speakerphone was sufficiently loud when I tried it in a local grocery store, and though there was noise in the background (checkout lines), my caller and I successfully carried on a conversation. As usual, I paired one of my Bluetooth headsets to the device, and used it without issue.
Though Charlotte is an HSPA+ market, the myTouch 3G Slide is an HSPA device. That being said, it benefits from the improved backhaul technology. The full CNN webpage loaded in about 18 seconds, and the PhoneDog homepage loaded in 26 seconds. I spent quite a bit of time using data-centric applications like Google Maps, the Android Market, Google Talk, the Amazon MP3 store, and downloaded apps worked well. I downloaded SpeedTest, and in my limited testing (in two areas), I averaged download speeds of 2,396 kbps, and upload speeds of 230 kbps. T-Mobile currently offers HSPA+ connectivity to 85 million people in 50 markets, with the goal of covering 185 million people by the end of 2010.
Packing a 1,300 mAh battery, the myTouch 3G Slide offers an estimated 6.7 hours of talk time, and just under 12 days of standby time. Given that it uses Android and has a large touchscreen. With moderate use including calling, text messaging, e-mail, use of Google Maps, browsing the web, and downloading apps from the Android Market, I was able to make it approximately 1 1/4 days with the unit - it died at about 11:30 PM, 27 hours after I removed it from the charger. It's no battery warrior, but it'll get the job done. Those that travel regularly will want to consider an extra battery and a car charger.
The HTC myTouch 3G Slide is a nice Android device that's worthy of consideration by first time smartphone buyers and/or those looking for a feature packed mid-range Android device. I imagine the physical keyboard and overall design will make current G1 owners happy, and the physical QWERTY keyboard should win over quite a few BlackBerry users. Overall picture quality was a bit mediocre and the hinge was a bit wobbly on my review unit, but neither issue was a dealbreaker. The HTC myTouch 3G Slide is available at T-Mobile retail stores for $179.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate and two-year customer agreement.