Nice job Dave. Are those blue & white shorts yours???
If you think this device is too big for a phone or if you are the guy who told me its one-handed use is terrible, please stand up. You are dismissed. You may go now. Thank you for your time.
Now for the rest of you, my intent in this review is to focus on the X7500’s usability.
There are really only two things about this device that make it different from other Windows Mobile devices. It has an 8gb hardrive, and most importantly it has a 5 inch screen. This is one of the most significant changes we have seen in a Windows Mobile device. There have been lots of innovative changes made to converged devices, but few in the area of mobile computing. With the X7500 I like to call it “non-desktop computing” The 5 inch screen enhances the viewing capabilities of Windows Mobile by leaps and bounds, as I will show later with screen shots and pictures.
Before I get too far into this review I want thank Paul and Igor of SuperiorGadgets for putting the device in my hands for a few days so I could review it.
The complete specs are available here.: http://www.htc.com/product/03-product_x7500.htm
X7500 or UMPC –The dilemma-
One of the most debated issues with the X7500 is that with its size and price range you can get a UMPC. (Ultra Mobile Personal Computer) This is very true. I’m not here to try to stop anyone from buying a UMPC, but I would like to point out a few reasons, that you might agree, make it more functional as a mobile device.
One of the main reasons I prefer the X7500 over a UMPC is that it uses an operating system with an interface designed for use on 5” screens and smaller, while a UMPC uses an operating system that was designed for use on 15” screens and larger, in conjunction with a big mouse and a big keyboard, which is then adapted for touchscreen tablet use. The next advantage I see is the X7500 is an instant on device. This is a very important issue for mobile devices considering the magnitude of things we use it for throughout the day. Even with hibernation mode UMPCs don’t compare. The X7500 takes pocketability to the limit. Most UMPCs are just that much bigger that they now start to become too big for a pocket. Another issue that I don’t hear discussed very often is the use of 3rd party apps used on the two types of devices. I’m going to use Quickbooks as an example. I use it as my accounting software, where among other things I make invoices and take sakes orders. Quickbooks like most 3rd party apps was designed for use on desktops. They are not easy to use on small screens. Quickbooks like many 3rd party desktop apps now has versions for Windows Mobile devices that are much easier to use when on the go using smaller screens, and can be easily synchronized with their desktop partners using Activesync or over the air.
I tend to be a very practical person. When it comes to technology, I’m not easily swayed by fast processors and tons of features if they are of no use to me or even impede what I want to use a given device for. Having said that, I think a UMPC even though it has more features and abilities than an X7500, the X7500 is actually more functional as a mobile device. Consider for a moment, a Greyhound bus, it has many more features than your average car. It has seating for 50 passengers, room to store all their luggage, and it even has a toilet on board. Now which is more functional for you as you travel about for the day, the bus with all those features, or the car that was designed with the idea in mind of getting your around town and elsewhere? More features do not necessarily mean better functionality.
As I mentioned, the 5 inch screen on the X7500 is what sets it apart from other WM devices. In my 6-7 years of involvement with Pocket PCs, now Windows Mobile, the biggest complaint I hear about them is the tiny little screens they have and how hard it is to view anything on them. Well, the 5” VGA screen changes that. One of the first things I did was install MvRTrueVGA . It is an application that allows you to toggle between VGA, and “True VGA” (must soft rest) True VGA expands its capabilities and ease of use over smaller 2.8” and 3.5” devices tremendously. Below I have a few screenshots comparing the 5” screen in VGA, true VGA, and to a 2.8” screen.
NOTE: I have a 19”monitor with the resolution set at 1280x960. With these setting the screenshots below are actual size.
I read a lot on my mobile devices. I’ve read hundreds of books on them over the years. I know many people are turned off because of the small screen, but as you can see below the 5" screen in True VGA puts almost a full page of a paper book on a single page on the device.
The first picture is in true VGA mode. The middle picture is in the standard mode, and the picture on the right is a QVGA 2.8” screen
Something like the programs folder which takes considerable scrolling to view the whole folder can be viewed on a single screen.
The same is true for Excel. Excel is probably one of the worst programs to view on a small screen. Here you can see how much easier it is to see and comprehend Excel data forms.
The keyboard is magnetic and attaches to the tablet very quickly and easily. Just hold it an inch or so from the bottom edge of the tablet and it will snap into place. Be careful of small children. If they get caught between the two it could be nasty.
Every chain has a weak link. The keyboard is the X7500’s weak link. In all fairness I have to say, the more I use it the better I’m getting with it, so after a bit of a learning curve it may not be too bad. Compared to the keyboard on the Universal this one is very lacking. The keys are smaller. They do not have very good tactile feedback. The keyboard does NOT have a backlight. The screen throws a slight reflection across it similar to dim moonlight on a wall a split second before you walk into it, otherwise, in the dark you’re lost.
On the positive side the keyboard can be used like a thumboard as you walk around with it. The magnet is strong enough to use it like this. You can’t hold it so the screen is parallel with the floor, it will fall off. Similarly you can’t lie in bed and hold it above you and type. Otherwise, just normally walking around, is no problem.
The next hotly debated issue of the X75000 is size. If you want a nice little Smartphone or Phone Edition device with a 2.8” screen the X7500 is not what you are looking for. This does not mean that it is not pocketable, because it is. It is much more pocketable than an old iPaq with a sleeve. In fact it isn’t much different in your pocket than an old legacy iPaq without a sleeve. It is about the same length, slightly thicker, and about an inch wider. As illustrated below it fits in many pockets and can easily be carried around during your daily activities.
Of course you pockets may vary.
Compared to other devices available today such as the new P4000 or 6700 it is no thicker. I think the picture of it beside a paperback give you a good perspective on its size.
The X7500 is a quadband GSM/GPRS/EDGE device with 3G capabilities that can be used around the world.
It can not be used as a traditional phone held up to your ear. It does have a speakerphone and mic. Used as a speakerphone the volume and quality of sound are very good on both ends of the call. Used with a Bluetooth headset it is superb. It is the loudest BT phone I’ve used. Again the quality of the sound is very good as well. The Bluetooth signal on the X7500 is exceptional. I live in a two story 4 bedroom house with a full basement. I can leave the X7500 on my kitchen table on the first floor and wonder down to my office in the lower level, or go upstairs to our bedroom. I can even go outside on the balcony off our bedroom. I can make calls using Cyberon voice dialing, or answer calls while wondering about the house. I tested it with a Jabra BT320s stereo headset, which when used with my new P4000 sounded terrible.
The X7500 is simply the best phone I’ve ever used with a BT headset.
Cyberon Voice dialing is HTC’s own voice command application. It allows you to make calls, or open applications using voice activation. With Cyberon you must give each contact a voice tag. While this is ok if you have a limited number of people you want to call using it, you may want to install Microsoft’s own Voice Command, which does not need to be voice trained.
Here’s another area where the X7500 excels. It comes loaded with Pocket Internet Explorer as well as Opera v8.65. Opera has much more functionality than PIE, but for basic surfing I prefer PIE. I have PIE set in default mode and text size as large. For me this seems to give me the best rendering with the least amount of scrolling, yet big enough that I can easily see the page. I also leave it running in true VGA mode. I find myself wondering around the house, sitting on the balcony, or out on the front porch surfing on it. I honestly have to say that surfing on the X7500 compared to a smaller 2.8” or 3.5” device is a totally different experience, and very enjoyable.
Being a converged device allows you to be connected almost anywhere, any time, whether it is through its cellular 3G abilities or using wifi.
As with all Windows Mobile device you can keep up with your email using a pop account, Hotmail, or and Exchange account providing push email.
The X7500 has an application called VueFLO. When activated VueFLO allows you to scroll up and down, as well as side to side, by simply tilting the device. It’s a bit awkward at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty cool. In reality I’m not so sure it will catch on though. It seems a bit gimmicky. I just finished a review of the Nokia N800 and it has grab and drag technology, which allows you to tap the screen and drag it around with your finger. This is much easier than the tilt effect of VueFLO.
For those who are slightly technical you can connect using Terminal Services. For those of us who take the “Coles Notes” approach orb.com and LogMeIn.com both work exceptionally well. With this big VGA screen when using LogMeIn to connect to your desktop scrolling is cut way down. It is much easier to use. Orb worked very well for me over wifi to stream video. It was very clear, but slightly choppy. Not enough to have an impact on viewing enjoyment.
The screenshots below illustrate some of the qualities of internet use on the X7500:
This picture shows it connected to my desktop using LogMeIn.com. I have it set at 50% zoom and it covers my whole desktop screen. It’s just a couple of taps to zoom in and out
VGA Out -Mobile Presentations-
How cool would it be to step up to the podium, whip out your X7500….sorry…your instant on X7500, plug it in and start you presentation? No need for the awkward couple of minutes while you wait for your laptop to fire up. No need to lug the heavy thing around either.
Using the VGA out capabilities is very simple. In the box is a short adapter that plugs into a monitor cable or projector. You then go to setting and turn on TV out. Below is a picture showing a PowerPoint presentation on the X7500 and a monitor.
The X7500 comes with a surf III GPS chip and Tom Tom already loaded on it. It comes with one free USA map. Since I don’t have any Tom Tom maps I loaded iGuidance on to it. Loading iGuidance was no problem. Connecting to the GPS receiver wasn’t a problem either. In the X7500’s settings I checked GPS settings which told me what port was being used. I then went to iGuidance and chose that port in its settings, and off it went about a minute or two later. It does seem to be slow to lock in on a cold start, but otherwise it works well. Viewing maps on the 5” screen is as expected much easier and nicer. The speaker volume is loud enough even over normal road noise.
I’ve never been much of a fan of watching video on Windows Mobile device, that is, till now. Watching videos on this big screen is totally unmatched in any other Windows Mobile device. Even compared to something like the Nokia N800 with its 4” screen and 800x640 resolution, it doe not compare to the X7500. I used nothing but Windows Media Player and WMV files either stored on the device or streamed over my wifi network, as well as through Orb.com. I didn’t bother steaming over the air since Rogers does not have 3G in my area, only EDGE.
Its music abilities are comparable to any Windows Media device. Although it does have an Audio manager which gives you some added organizing abilities. Music over A2DP is very good. It also has 3.5mm jack for wired headphones.
Picture viewing is quite good as well. Your friends will no longer need to squint to see who’s in the picture……
The X7500 has a 3 megapixel camera as well as front facing VGA camera for video calls. Considering the length of this review and the fact that this has been covered by sever other reviews I’m not going to go into the camera abilities. Below is a picture taken with the X7500.
BITS and BYTES
Pictured below is the access door for the battery, SIM card, and Mini SD card. Taking the battery in and out isn’t much of a problem, but taking the Mini SD card out is frustrating. It is difficult to grab, plus it has a lot of friction holding it in as you pull it out. The SIM card goes in without much difficulty, but taking it out is an entirely different story. To take it out the tools required are: tweezers, glass of water, and two Valium tablets. The procedure is to swallow the two Valium tablets, wash them down with water, pull out the battery, wait twenty minutes for the Valium to take effect, then pick up the tweezers and see how many scratches you can put on your nice new device trying to remove the SIM card.
The keyboard is held to the front of the device by magnets. This acts as a protector for the screen. When the keyboard is attached to the face when the device is on it shuts off the screen, except for the grayscale icons in the corner showing you the status of the device, as well as other things such as the time.
Below are some assorted pictures that may be of interest. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, so here you go.
Every once in awhile a device comes along that changes the scenery of Windows Mobile. The first 3650 iPaq had a huge impact on the launch of Pocket PCs. The Dell Axim X5 made an impact on the pricing of Pocket PCs. The Wizard added the ever popular slide out keyboard, and the Universal with its mini laptop style opened new doors for data-centric devices. I think the X7500 falls into that elite group of influential devices. I have very high expectations for X7500 like devices. They definitely are not for everyone though. As a first generation device I think it showcases what I called earlier “non-desktop computing” For the individual it takes video viewing and internet surfing to new levels. For the enterprise worker whether it be a salesmen, IT manager, road warrior, or a plethora of other types of workers, it can make the work experience easier while at the same time allowing the individual to carry less cargo around with them.
As mobile devices become more phone-centric, data-centric devices are becoming fewer and fewer. Stand alone device, such as the Dell x51v, which were the real computing devices on the paltform are becoming rare as well. I think this opens a fairly wide door for devices like this.
I see the price being a bit of a barrier for many. In the future I wonder if they may be better without cellular capabilities, and use Bluetooth to connect to a data capable BT phone. This would cut the price. I have a feeling that many people who would buy a device like this would have a smaller phone to use when they go out for the evening, or to places where such a heavy duty device is not required, so the thought of having a phone to keep it connected when out of wifi range isn’t much of a factor.
I should mention that while the X7500 runs on Windows Mobile 5.0, HTC will be releasing the X7501 in the coming weeks running WM6.0. They have officially stated that they will be offering a free upgrade to WM6.0 for the X7500. Rumor has that happening in June.
Last edited by Dave Evans; 04-24-2007 at 06:33 PM.
Nice job Dave. Are those blue & white shorts yours???
now i want one
good job.......I wasn't gonna mention the shorts
Ha! Ha! Ha!
That is my son. I took a series of pictures with him wearing black cargo pants, yeah, black on black didn't work too well. He whined like a baby when I asked him to change to a different pair of shorts. He didn't believe me when I told him people were going to make fun of him.......
.......anyway, I've been having a great time with the X7500. Everyday I find myself doing more and more things with it. I'm really going to miss it when I send it back to SuperiorGadgets.
Last edited by Dave Evans; 04-24-2007 at 06:20 PM.
I have had mine for about 3 weeks now, and loving it. Even my wife wants one now (though she hates the price tag I paid to be one of the first to have it)
My only complant is I can't find a belt clip case at all for it?
You have any ideas on a good belt clip case???
Note: If you need support for your HTC device, please contact HTC Customer Support. I am not a support technician and will not be able to help in most instances.
Fantastic review! What an amzing device, but I think it's still a no-go for me, almost strictly because of the keyboard. I like the Uni's attached flexible display/keyboard alignment, I really can't consider that giving it up. Really really really wish there were more WinMo choices in the 5", VGA, 128MB RAM, VGA out, USB host, 3G category.
Kudos to HTC for offering such a beast of a machine!
I have a feeling there will be more like this in the future, Galt. I really see the X7500 as an experiment for HTC. I think the intent with this device was to get it out there to see what people think of it, go back with what they learn an put out much better future generations.....by then maybe my piggy bank will be full enough top actually buy one.Originally Posted by Galt
Awesome review dave.
Underground Inventive, Overground Effective.
Great Review Dave.
I agree with everything you stated. I am really liking my advantage. Yes, it is big (as you have stated tho, not much bigger than the universal), but that is why I got it. The 5 inch screen makes everything so much more usable. No need to use the laptop or desktop just to surf HoFo or XDA. I tried using my tytn for a day and found that it was no comparison to the 7500.
The only things I find better on the Tytn, is the current ability to run WM6 and the ease of answering the phone. With the 7500, either you must have your bluetooth readily available or get used to using the speaker phone.
The other disadvantage is that the 7500 does not have vibrate mode.
I really miss WM6, oh well soon the 7500 will have WM6.
But would I buy it again for $1100, yes I would.
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Originally Posted by cis4life
You know that is also one of the downsides of the 7500, no included belt case. The leather case included is really nice.
I found that a case I had for an old Ipaq 6315, works perfectly. Added some velcro to the case just to make sure I wouldn't drop it. You can pick up the original leather t-mobile 6315 on the internet for less than $25.
the 6315 case will work for me until some better after market cases begin to show up.
It didn't seem to stop her...Originally Posted by juiceppc