Saturday, September 29, 2007

Two weeks with the Dash

Well, after two weeks what is my opinion of the T-Mobile Dash?
It's not perfect but I like it. The screen is bright and the phone feels good in the hand with a rubberized exterior.

I wasn't a fan of previous Windows Mobile/smartphone interfaces but this one is pretty good. It didn't take much to get into it, although I have used earlier versions of Windows Mobile Pocket PCs fairly extensively. With no touchscreen, the Windows Mobile Interface on the Dash relies on Menus and icons, which are selected using soft keys and a Navigation Control. The icons with captions of the most recently used applications right at the top of the Home screen are really handy, and reduce the amount of time spent looking for applications in the Start Menu.

The Dash is easy to use as a cellphone - typing is anything while on the Home Screen starts a search of contacts. From there making a call is simple. The speakerphone works well and pairing with a Bluetooth headset was easy enough.

Treo and Dash

The Dash compared to my previous phone, the Treo 650 - keep in mind that the Treo is 2 years older than the Dash, has a totally different OS, and weighs 2 oz more than the Dash.

As for email, setting up email accounts was a snap. All I needed was my email address and password for Yahoo, GMail, AOL and Hotmail (now called Windows Live). I didn't set up Instant Messaging as I don't really use it that much anymore. I liked that I could select weblinks within email messages and they would open in the web browser. Word or Excel attachments can be saved and edited as well. Browsing the internet is not too bad on T-Mobile's EDGE network, I wasn't expecting a high speed connection. Once Wi-Fi is set up and a connection is made the browser uses the Wi-Fi connection, which is obviously faster.

Battery life on the Dash hasn't been bad - when I first got it and was playing with it a lot I recharged once a day - but keep in mind that I usually do not let the battery level of any device go below 60% before recharging it. Since then I have gone for six days without recharging, although I do not keep the Dash on all the time, especially on work days. One thing I have noticed is that it takes quite a while to boot up, but that doesn't really bug me. I've disabled the volume touch strip, and the other con of the phone, is the camera interface - CNET's review of the Dash says "The camera interface is also confusing" and I have to agree.

Typing anything on the Dash is quite easy. There is an intelligent auto-complete feature which remembers any words you have typed in. I'm actually considering doing some blogging from the Dash.

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