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REVIEW: O2 xda II - Part 2b - The Features
Posted by Arne Hess - on Wednesday, 22.10.03 - 18:04:35 CET under 08 - Reviews - Viewed 11394x
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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.

Multimedia
The camera on the backside of the xda II can be either launched through the dedicated camera button on the side of through the Start menu.

IA Style provided the camera application which let's snap a simple picture or even record a small video.

Because the camera is a VGA 0.3 Megapixel camera you can snap photos up to 640 x 480 pixel. If you use a smaller resolution then VGA, the camera also supports a digital zoom.

The camera can be used in portrait or in landscape mode and you can switch between the orientation. After you've started the camera the display acts as view finder:

After you've snapped the photo IA Style Camera asks you what you want to do with the picture you made and offers you several options.
First icon: return to camera, second icon: send by E-Mail or MMS, third icon: delete, 4th icon: watch album.

If you select send a pop-up window asks you how to send the photo. If you select E-Mail you switch to Inbox but if you select MMS you switch to the MMS composer.

As before, the xda II doesn't includes a OS-based MMS client but a 3rd party client. However, it's not from EZOS anymore now but from ArcSoft.

The MMS client works pretty intuitive and lets you add photos, videos and tones to the templates.

After you've composed your message you can send it to the recipients, either as MMS to MMS or as MMS to E-Mails.

The ArcSoft MMS client is also used to view received MMS messages and also includes a Today plug-in.

In addition to all the multimedia stuff above, the xda II also includes IA Styles IA Caller ID.

And Caller ID also incorporates directly with the camera.

Other Applications and Programs
Beside the special apps above the xda II will also include the standard Pocket PC 2003 applications like Pocket Outlook and Word and Excel but O2 also added ClearVue PDF and ClearVue PPT as bonus software.


Also it includes tools like a SIM card manager or a backup utility.

Final Conclusion

If I take part 1 and part 2 of my reviews I get the feeling that this Pocket PC is the most complete device available today. Yes, it misses built-in Wi-Fi but that's something you can expand with t Wi-Fi SD card anyway and if you also add this LAN feature to the xda II it supports PAN, LAN and WAN - in just one device! 8O That's really amazing!

But anyway, the hard and software features are amazing enough anyhow even without Wi-Fi support and the device convinced me for several reasons:

  • It's the most up to date and state of the art hardware you can get today for Pocket PCs (Windows Mobile 2003 for Phone Edition, XScale, 128 MB RAM, 64 MB ROM, GSM, GPRS and Bluetooth)
  • It's not heavier or larger then other Pocket PCs in this calls (HP iPAQ H 5000 series)
  • It includes the most useful software by default and you can start using it right out of the box

Maybe there is one disappointment and that's the price. While you will get if from PPCW.Net for 849 US$/Euro it's even not cheaper if you buy it from O2 (Germany) without a contract. There it will costs 799 Euro (499,95 Euro if you subscribe for a 24 month contract).
That's a lot of money for a Pocket PC "only" but for that price you get the latest mobile technology at all. HTC and O2 did their best to fulfill all the customer wishes they get in the past and therefore I really have to admin: "a job well done"

Cheers ~ Arne

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


 

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Comments
Posted by Mohd on 22.10.03 - 18:15:34

Thanks Arne! Great review! I believe this device worth every penny you spend on it. It is amazing, truly an all in one device wink

Posted by Mohd on 22.10.03 - 18:21:34

Totally impressive, thanks for the info, seems to me the XDA II and i-mate are very identical smile

Posted by Arne Hess on 22.10.03 - 18:24:52

Indeed they are! Part 3 - the O2 Active User Interface will be the most important difference between both devices!

So no reason not to buy an i-Mate Phone Edition from PPCW.Net (soon) ;-)

Posted by Steve on 22.10.03 - 18:25:55

XDA II on Ebay

In case you just can't wait...

Ebay Item: 3054529911

Posted by Rob Ellis on 22.10.03 - 18:29:01

O2 official Xda 2 release date - Nov 1.  http://www.theregister.co.u...

Posted by Rob Ellis on 22.10.03 - 18:29:46

£349 with contract!  Cripes!

Posted by David Jacobs on 22.10.03 - 19:45:44

GREAT REVIEW ARNE,

Can hardly wait for my PPCW.NET Imate XDA2 to arrive, as you know.  smile Yes price is expensive but no other device has as much.

Posted by Laurence on 22.10.03 - 19:57:48

Great Review. I wish it would be available soon. If it would not be available here in the Philippines, then I would want to buy it from here.

Posted by R K on 22.10.03 - 20:28:53

Great review Arne.

Can you tell us more about the audio aspect of the phone?

Does it use the 2.5mm jack that the original XDA used?

Are there any special apps to adjust bass/treble on the device?

How's the sound quality during phone calls?

Does it have reception that's as good or better than the original XDA?

Posted by TS on 22.10.03 - 21:32:52

I am new to the world of devices that integrate the functions of a PDA and phone and happened on to this site.  Will this new device play MP3 files and allow one to surf the WWW?

Posted by Oliver C. Jung on 22.10.03 - 21:33:16

Arne, you mentioned the O2 Active User Interface.

Does that mean, that the O2-Active User-Features are only useable with a XDA II and not e.g. with an MDA II?

Greetings,

Olli

Posted by Arne Hess on 22.10.03 - 21:39:43

@TS: Welcome to the world of Pocket PCs, Smartphones and PPCW.Net! :-D Sure you can listen MP3s, WMAs, watch videos, surf the web, send and receive E-Mails, etc, etc... That's "basic" features of a Microsoft Pocket PC! :-) Best is you also check out Microsoft's Pocket PC site here: http://www.pocketpc.com

Oliver C. Jung: The O2 Active User Interface wont be part of the MDA II at all. O2 Active is O2's kind of "Vodafone live!" or "T-Mobile t-zones" so you will find the O2 Active UI on O2 xdas only. And yes, it's pre-configured for O2 networks and can't be used with other networks!

Posted by Oliver C. Jung on 22.10.03 - 22:00:29

Arne, thanks for the fast answer.

Just to confirm I got it right:

That does not mean that O2-Active-Services (such as the WAP-Flatrate) are not usable with the MDA, does it?

I bought the MDA II (which I did not get yet) and want to use it with O2 and the WAP-Flatrate.

Olli

Posted by Abdul Rehman on 22.10.03 - 22:04:49

@Arne: The details about the amount of ROM in XDA II are very ambigious. In the start of Review Part 2a, you mentioned it has 32MB ROM and at the end of Part 2b its written that it has 64MB ROM. Could you please clear me this confusion? Moreover can you please let us know the exact difference of specs between HTC Himalaya and Andes Editions?

Posted by Arne Hess on 22.10.03 - 22:10:49

@Oliver C. Jung: Nope wrong... The O2 Active User Interface is a kind of special application for the O2 xda II (wait until my 3rd part of the review) which allows you to use O2 Active more convenient. This doesn't mean you can't use O2 Active as service on your MDA II. Sure you can do this, like using O2 Active on other WAP enabled devices but you will not have the nice O2 Active User Interface (stand-alone application on the xda II) which makes using it easier and smarter!

@Abdul Rehman: Ups - you are right! The sample device I had for the review had 32 MB ROM - however the final version which is already available as i-Mate and soon available as xda II has 64 MB. I've mixed it up in my comments above! Sorry!

Regarding the differences between Andes, Himalaya, i-Mate Phone Edition and MDA II: All of them are the same! Andes is the overall project name from HTC for that PPC PE 2003 device, Himalaya is the project name from O2 for the same device as the Andes, the i-Mate is based on the Himalaya (also from the design) and therefore it's an Andes and I have no clue how it is called internally at T-Mobile but the only differentiation between the T-Mobile version and the O2 version is that the MDA II from T-Mobile will have that black "fancy" design inlays around the buttons (which I personally don't like).

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