HTC TyTN II review: Kaiser of PocketPCs

GSMArena team, 5 November 2007.
Pages: 123456

HTC TyTN II 360-degree spin

Slide and tilt

The HTC TyTN II comes in an eye-pleasing black box with all the necessary gear to get you started - charger, USB data cable, stereo headset, spare stylus, and a carrying case, plus tons of paper about the device. The only thing we lacked was a memory card perhaps, but you can get one easily. We didn't like the case either, as it uses Velcro instead of a magnetic clip, which is always our preferred choice.

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The contents of the retail box: charger, USB data cable, stereo headset, spare stylus, and a carrying case

The HTC TyTN II doesn't run on a Samsung processor, unlike most previous models of the brand. Instead, this time the Qualcomm MSM7200 chipset platform is the power plant of this Pocket PC. A primary 400MHz Qualcomm ARM11 processor runs applications, while a secondary 274 MHz ARM9 microprocessor is in charge of radio equipment. The hardware specs include 128MB of RAM (double the size of the original TyTN) and 256MB of ROM (133MB are available to the user as storage space).

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Some of the TyTN hardware specs, as reported by Windows Mobile

The front panel is dominated by the 2.8" 65K color touchscreen TFT display. It supports QVGA (320x240 pixels) resolution only - and yes, we would have preferred VGA. Above the display, there is the video-call camera and the earpiece slot.

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The front panel is dominated by the touchscreen display the video-call camera

The D-pad below the display is the next thing to draw attention. It's rather packed, hosting a total of 8 keys plus the navigation button and its confirming center. The original TyTN had two keys above the display and that prevented the clutter of keys below the display. But the keys above the display tend to be somewhat uncomfortable when using the handset single-handedly, so lately HTC have ditched that option.

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Focusing on the D-pad below the display: a total of 10 keys share the limited space

The left side of the HTC TyTN II hosts a scroll wheel, an OK button and a Voice Dial button. They are really comfortable to use - the wheel is really soft and responsive, scrolling and selecting is a piece of cake. This key layout really gets to shine when you use the TyTN in desktop mode - holding it tilted in landscape view. In this case those keys are easily accessible with your right index finger. The voice dialing is not something we use often, especially as you have to pre-record voice labels to your contacts in the case of Windows Mobile. So, as there is no dedicated Communications Manager key, we were quick to reassign that function to the Voice Dial key. The Comm Manager is among the most frequently used applications on any Pocket PC.

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We really liked the addition of a scroll wheel and a dedicated OK key on the left side the voice dial key is also there but people that don't use voice dialing might want to reassign that one to open the Comm Manager

The HTC TyTN II comes in an eye-pleasing black box with all the necessary gear to get you started - charger, USB data cable, stereo headset, spare stylus, and a carrying case, plus tons of paper about the device. The only thing we lacked was a memory card perhaps, but you can get one easily.

The right side of the HTC TyTN II hosts only a couple of keys - the On/Off key and the camera shutter key. The camera will only start upon a longer press on the shutter key. That's good, as it's unlikely that you start your camera by accident. Otherwise the key is elevated enough and easy to use. That cannot be said about the On/Off key, which is rather hard to press and almost impossible to find in the dark, as it doesn't have any elevation whatsoever. That's a really bad move from HTC, with this key being probably the most used one in a Pocket PC, as it puts your portable computer in standby and wakes it back up. The stylus the TyTN II is equipped with, is the regular non-telescopic one that we're used to seeing on recent HTC devices - so no surprises here.

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The right side is home to the On/Off key, the camera shutter key and the stylus

The top side of the HTC TyTN II doesn't feature any controls at all. The bottom side however hosts the standard miniUSB port, microSDHC card slot, the wrist/neck strap hole, the microphone pinhole and the reset hole.

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The top is bare, while the bottom is home to the miniUSB port and the microSDHC memory card slot

The back panel of the device is made of matt plastic with a somewhat rubbery feel to it. It provides a firm grip, but is a real fingerprint magnet . Beside the camera lens/LED flash combo, there is also a rubber cap with a GPS sign on it. If you lift it up you will find an external GSP antenna connector.

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The back is made of plastic with a rubbery finish next to the camera there is a rubber cap for an external antenna

It gets really interesting when you slide the keyboard down and take a look at the back. The SIM card slot is right behind the display. After you release the lock you can slide your SIM card in and close the latch shut. The SIM card however is not hot-swappable - removing it will shut down the Pocket PC automatically with no warning shots fired.

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The SIM card bed is hidden behind the display - slide the SIM in and lock it with the latch

With the SIM card bed placed outside, you will hardly need to open the back cover. Even so, it gets removed easily to reveal the 1350 mAh Li-Poly battery. It's quoted at 400 h of standby time and up to 6 hours of talk time. In reality the handset lasts around a day with a single charge when you use it heavily. We also did a dedicated video playback battery test and the HTC TyTN II managed to keep on playing video (registered to a 3G network) for good 5 hours. It performed pretty much the same at the dedicated GPS test, where it scored 4 hours of continues GPS lock and lit up screen (again registered to a 3G network). We were a bit let down by the fact that it takes the battery good 3 hours to charge completely - but hey, it's an accumulator of serious capacity.

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The Li-Poly 1350 mAh battery offers relatively good performance

The HTC TyTN is pretty comfortable to work with but you can't exactly call it pocketable, so this PocketPC is best carried in its case strapped on a belt - there's no doubt about that. However, we found it nice to hold in hand and working with it was a pleasure.

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The HTC TyTN II is on the hefty side but feels solid and is a pleasure to work with

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