This is a new type of review that I'm experimenting with - rather than me doing an exhaustive review of a product, I'm giving a Windows Mobile smartphone to someone else for a couple of weeks and asking them about their experience using it. I think there's a lot of value in real-world testing of products by people who aren't experts, because as much as I try to put on my "Everyman Hat" when I'm testing a product, I still carry a bias with me. This first Real World Review fell together nicely: my wife had a phone on our local CDMA carrier in Calgary, Telus, so it seemed like a perfect opportunity to ask HTC for an S640 for review.
Q: Let's start off with the basics: this is your first Windows Mobile-based phone. What were you using before, and why did you want to leave it behind to try a Windows Mobile smartphone?
A: Before I started using my HTC S640 with Telus, I was using a Motorola KRAZR (also with Telus) and an iPAQ Pocket PC rx1955 as my PDA. I would sync it over WiFi or at home to my Exchange server in order to keep track of appointments and contacts - when it would work. The WiFi was really unreliable on it! I often couldn't connect reliably to WiFi with it and it would then be out of sync. I really liked the look of the KRAZR - sleek and sexy - but as I started text messaging more and more, I found it just simply wasn't meeting my needs, largely because I wasn't very fast at using the predictive text input. My iPAQ wasn't connected, so it was useless to me as far as a device for communicating with my friends and family. It was at that point I decided I wanted to look into getting a Windows Mobile smartphone.
Q: You always told me you preferred being a two-device person. What changed your mind?
A: I don't think I fully bought into the concept of a single device until I started using the HTC S640 smartphone. Now that I have my email, calendar, contacts, phone, etc. available to me no matter where I am on a single device, without having to remember to sync it when I get home, or am in range of a wireless network, I can't believe I waited as long as I did to make the switch! More than anything, using a smartphone gives me the ability to be productive no matter where I am. I don't have to worry about things like whether I'm missing appointments because my calendar is out of date. I also love having a QWERTY keyboard to use for texting and responding to email. Composing messages on my KRAZR took far too long. Now it takes me a fraction of the time. Read more...