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REVIEW: O2 xda II - Part 2a - The Features
Posted by Arne Hess - on Wednesday, 22.10.03 - 18:03:34 CET under 08 - Reviews - Viewed 12077x
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After we have seen in part 1 of the review how the O2 xda II (aka HTC Himalaya/Andes, aka i-Mate Phone Edition) looks like and compares to the previous O2 xda Pocket PC Phone Edition, this part of the review is about the features and specialties of the O2 xda II.
It's not a generic Windows Mobile 2003 Pocket PC or Phone Edition (see the Microsoft website for the overall features) overview but dedicated to the xda II features itself.

Device Specifications
The xda II is based on Microsoft's new Windows CE .Net 4.2 operating system and runs on an Intel XScale CPU with 400 MHz.

It includes by default 128 MB RAM and 32 MB ROM. The RAM space can be used to install additional applications or to store files like documents, etc. and this RAM size doesn't forces the user anymore to install applications on the SD card because of the limited memory available.

In addition to the RAM and the ROM, the xda II also includes a non-volatile memory to keep files or personal data available after a hard reset. The size of 14 MB is even enough to keep a ROM backup on the device.

Unlike the xda before, the xda II includes a removable main battery now which allows you to change the battery if it drains. In addition to that battery the device also includes a backup battery. However this one is designed to keep your data alive for 20 minutes only and isn't a backup if your main battery is empty but only to allows you to replace the main battery without loosing all your data.

To save battery power you can also adjust the backlight. However, unlike with the xda before now you can control the brightness instead of turning it on or off only! Also the xda II supports ClearType by default now without using 3rd party applications to enable it.

Talking about standby and usage time is always subjective but from my experience the xda II is at least as good as the xda which was/is one of the best Pocket PCs available concerning standby and usage time.
In my daily intensive usage (general PDA stuff plus GPRS with web and E-Mail) I've used the xda II for about 4 - 6 hours before I had to recharge it and without any usage but switched-on and logged into the GSM network it ran for at least 4 days or so.

According to HTC the xda II should have a talk-time from around 2 - 4 hours, a PDA usage time of around  13 hours with an overall standby of 150 - 170 hours and a data retention time up 72 hours (if your main battery is empty and the device switch's off automatically).

The xda II includes 2 connection types beside the typical ActiveSync and IrDA connection: WAN (Wide Area Networking) using GSM and GPRS because it's a Phone Edition and PAN (Personal Area Network) with Bluetooth thanks to the Bluetooth support of the Windows CE. Net 4.2 system.

For your WAN connections you can use either GSM CSD (Circuit Switched Data) or GPRS (General Packet Radio Service).
CSD connections supports now either analogue v.32 or digital (ISDN) v.110 connections.

And also the GPRS connection types and settings are enhanced - compared to the xda before. While you can select now between PAP and CHAP for your network authentication (which is supported with the previous O2 xda in the latest ROM's only) new is the support for the GPRS speed you want to connect.

While class 8 offers you 4 slots for receiving data and only 1slot for sending data, class 10 allows you to receive data with 3 slots only but sending data with using 2 slots.
Which class is the best for you depends on how you use GPRS. If you only receive data (like for downloading E-Mails or surfing the web), class 8 is the perfect one for you as it allows you to use up to 4 timeslots to get the requested data.
If you also send a lot of data (sending E-Mails with attachments or sending MMS messages), class 10 might be the better configuration because it doubles the speed for uploading data.

In my tests I've reached connection speeds up to 51 Kbit/sec which is close to today's GPRS limit. An amazing result!

Also the xda II is a real GPRS class B handset now which means it stays connected during voice calls but goes into the idle mode only. This means you don't have to reconnect to GPRS after you had a voice call and also you don't need to turn off GPRS to receive voice calls. You simply can stay online and if you get a call, GPRS suspends during the call.
However, unfortunately Microsoft left the option to disconnect from GPRS anyway in Pocket PC Phone Edition 2003.

Only with 3rd party tools like Spb's GPRS Monitor you can disconnect from GPRS if you don't want to stay online anymore - for instance to save battery or you press and hold the red call button for around 2 - 3 seconds.

But the xda II isn't the first Pocket PC 2003 Phone Edition only, it's also the first Pocket PC Phone Edition ever which includes Bluetooth and unlike HP, HTC decided to use the original Microsoft Windows Mobile 2003 Bluetooth wizard.

The xda II supports multiple Bluetooth profiles including headset, ActiveSync or Modem which lets you use the xda II as a wireless modem for Bluetooth equipped Notebooks:

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Related Links : [REVIEW: O2 xda II - Part 1] [REVIEW: O2 xda II - Part 3]


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