The HTC Advantage is one of the latest Pocket PC's from HTC and should not be considered a PPC but UMPC (Ultra Mobile Personal Computer). HTC is entering the UMPC market in the near future, and this is their first attempt to release a device which is not just a PPC or Smartphone. HTC is soon releasing their newest device the HTC SHIFT. The Shift will offer Windows Vista, slide out QWERTY keyboard, fingerprint scanner, 7 inch display. Although the X7500 does not run Windows Vista or have a 30 GB hard drive, it is still smaller than most conventional UMPC's in the market today. The X7500 offers an 8GB microdrive, 5 inch VGA display, detachable QWERTY keyboard, 624 MHz processor by Intel, GPS, VGA out, and a whole lot more. How are the built-in phone features? Is it too big for my pocket? Do I have to use a Bluetooth headset or can I hold it to my ear? READ ON TO FIND OUT!!
The HTC X7500 has an outstanding never before seen design. The detachable keyboard was an excellent idea and I like the fact that you can use the phone without the keyboard. The phone and the keyboard connect using a very strong magnet, but be careful because the magnet is so strong that when it slams into place, it tends to scratch the device. When the keyboard is connected it acts like a stand and when the phone is closed the keyboard acts like a cover to protect the screen. The keyboard has a transparent strip along the bottom that allows you to see the phone's status when closed. You can see the time, signal strength, battery level, sound profile and more. I love the idea of the clear strip, but when using the phone especially when placed on a desk, the clear part tends to easily scratch.
The HTC X7500 has an 8GB microdive, WiFi, 3megapixel camera, GPS, Bluetooth, QWERTY Keyboard, 5 inch display and much more.
The X7500 has an 8GB microdrive made by Hitachi and also has a Mini SD slot for expandable memory. Presently you can have up to 12 GB if you buy a 4GB Mini SDHC memory card. Currently there is no other Pocket PC that has 8GB built in which also offers expandable memory. When the X7500 was first released people were complaining about there microdrives not working especially the T-Mobile branded ones. Anyone who had issues with their drive and sent it in for warranty repair got their microdrive exchanged for a flash drive. I think HTC should have made all the devices with a flash drive because it would have made loading times faster but more importantly the battery life would have been better too.
The X7500 has WiFi b/g and works exceptionally. Like other Windows phones it is very easy to connect to a nearby WiFi signal. All you have to do is activate WiFi from the Comm Manager and if there is a nearby wireless signal a notification will pop up displaying the various signals. All you have to do is click connect and wait a couple of seconds. Like other Windows phones with WiFi, you can select your connection preference. You can either select best performance or best battery or in between.
The X7500 has one of the best cameras I have seen for Pocket PC standards. The camera on the X7500 is 3.2 megapixel with auto focus and flash. The camera application and menu is the exact same as in past devices. You have options for the following:
The X7500 also records great videos. The video is saved in MP4 format (MPEG 4) which is also a plus because you can view them in almost any program.
The X7500 comes with TOM TOM Navigator 6 and one free city map download. You can also purchase any TOMTOM map from their website but prices vary depending on your location. Overall I like TOMTOM better than other GPS programs but it's all a matter of preference. The Navigation works great and you can still use your favorite GPS programs like; Destinator, Route 66, Google maps etc.
The phone also has a program called quick GPS which was also found on the HTC P3300. Quick GPS is a nice small program which updates your GPS data either using your data connection, WiFi or Activesync. If your GPS data is always updated your device will find a GPS signal a lot faster. The GPS data lasts three days before it expires.
The X7500 has an excellent 5 inch VGA display. Although the phone's specification states that it's VGA, the Windows Mobile OS doesn't look like it. You need to install a third party application called MvRTrueVGA if your want a real VGA experience. This application is great because it makes real use of the 5 inch display by making everything a lot smaller so more can fit on the display. Since the 5 inch display is bigger than any other PPC, it makes sense to make better use of the size. For example when going to Start-programs you can see all of the programs on your device instead of having to scroll trough all of them. Also you can view a lot more on the screen and is still readable. Web browsing is also a lot more efficient because you can view the whole webpage as if you?re on your home computer.
Currently there are only two devices from HTC that have a VGA display; HTC Universal and X7500 and both are very big in size. I am not sure why HTC only makes VGA displays on large devices when they can make it on even the smaller devices with smaller screens. Currently most HTC phones have a QVGA display with a 240x 320 resolution.
The X7500 is great for listening to music. The headphone jack is 3.5 mm so you can use any of your favorite headphones. In past HTC devices the audio port was the same as the charging port. I am not a big fan of having a mini USB for listening to audio.
The phone has two programs built in for listening to music; Windows Media Player and HTC's Audio Manager. For normal day to day use with headphones, I use Audio manager due to the iPod-like interface. With audio manager you can create play-lists, arrange songs by title, album, artist and more. One aspect of the audio manager I liked a lot was the ability to trim your favorite songs in order to use them for ring tones.
The HTC Advantage is great for messaging due to the large QWERTY keyboard. Each key is spaced out evenly and allows you to type very easily. The keyboard is ideal for typing when the phone is placed on a desk and is a bit difficult when holding the large device in your hand and using your thumbs to type with.
Like all Windows mobile phones there is built in MSN Messenger. MSN works great and now you?re able to have tabs for multiple conversations. With Windows mobile your not only limited with MSN and you can download any type of IM application.
The internet on the HTC Advantage is great. The phone comes with Opera and Internet Explorer built in. Internet is relatively fast but it also depends on your internet connection. Compared to the HTC Herald (P4350) the internet is a lot faster. I am not sure if it's due to the Processor or if it has a better WiFi Chipset.
My favorite feature of the X7500 is the VueFLO technology. With VueFLO you don't need to use the stylus or up/down keys to scroll the webpage. When the VueFLO is activated all you do is tilt the phone in the way you want to scroll. This feature takes a bit getting used to but it does make a big difference. To activate the VueFLO all you have to do is hold the internet explorer button until you see the VueFLO logo on the top task bar.
The X7500 has many connectivity options like; WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0, HSPDA, EDGE, GPRS, Mini USB and VGA out.
The X7500 offers a wide variety of internet connection options. The WiFi works great on the X7500, the range is quite good plus it seems faster than older HTC devices. The X7500 supports HSDPA, EDGE and GPRS. While other devices may have video calling not all of them will work in North America due to not having the right band. The X7500 has HSDPA and video calling works flawlessly.
The X7500 has built in Bluetooth 2.0 and has many Bluetooth profiles like A2DP, printer sharing, File transfer etc. The X7500 also has a mini USB built in like most new Pocket PC's. The Mini USB is strictly for charging and syncing and is not used as an audio jack.
Overall I liked the X7500 a lot. Many people complain that it is too big for a phone and I agree. If you?re carrying around a phone, mp3 player, laptop and have GPS for the car then this is not as bad as lugging around everything else. I also tell many people that I do not consider the X7500 as a phone but more of a PDA/Laptop. Many people by this phone strictly for the internet/PDA capabilities and still carry a phone.
The Advantage is far too big to hold up to your ear and that is why there is only the option for speaker phone, wired headphones or Bluetooth. If you put the volume really low on speakerphone you can hold the device to your ear and talk but other close by may still hear. Bluetooth is ideal because there is no wires and most importantly you don't need to pull out the phone every time you get a call.
The X7500 does not have a vibrate function. I think maybe because it would interfere with the built in microdrive. I did not know this when I first got the phone and you don't really realize how much vibrate matters until you don't have it.
A major issue with the X7500 is the fact that it easily scratches. The metal prongs on the keyboard which is used to connect to the unit often scratch people's phone. This is caused when you use the keyboard as a cover and accidentally slide the keyboard.
Currently there are only 3 versions of the HTC Athena; HTC Advantage X7500, Dopod U1000 and T-Mobile Ameo. In my opinion the HTC branded looks the best because of the black color but at the same time if scratched it is a lot more noticeable.
Overall the HTC X7500 is one of a kind device. There are no other Pocket Pc's in its class and no other device even comes close to having the same specs. The X7500 currently comes with Windows Mobile 5 but the newer North American version (HTC X7501) is will be released with Windows Mobile 6. The specifications will be the exact same for both devices and customers will still be able to upgrade their X7500 to Windows Mobile 6 when the update becomes available.
The X7500 comes with the following: