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Review|HTC TyTN Review

[Say hello to TyTN_BeAN]

[HTC TyTN: The Packaging is in Black and Green are HTC's Company Colours]
Just got myself a HTC TyTN :o)

I had to unbox it at the store to check the serial number (HT64XXXXXX so I knew it was from the newer batch with less issues) as well as the screen and buttons. I also had a screen protector applied :-) I was all set so I went home to play with my new toy (ehem... tool)
First Impressions:


[TyTN Open]
This device is small compared to my Exec (duh!), just about the same size as my dopod 838 (HTC Wizard 100) but somehow it looked smaller probably due to the design. As I said in the past I like the TyTN (HTC Hermes 200) design more than the dopod 838pro (HTC Hermes 100) design, one of the reasons I snapped up this baby in the first place... :-D It looks very professional with a brush metal finished on the front, a healthy serving of buttons, a slide out QWERTY keyboard and a scroll wheel to boot! It's coloured silver and dark gray very sexy! HTC branding was not over the top which I really appreciate. Enough of the physical aspects... now on to the specs.
I'm posting the specs for those too lazy to Google for them.
Cellular Radio: Quadband GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850/900/1800/1900) + Tri-band UMTS w/ HSDPA (850/1900/2100)
Processor: Samsung® 2442A 400Mhz
RAM: 64Mb
ROM: 128Mb
Display: 2.8 in Touchscreen 65K Colour @ 240x320 (qVGA)
WiFi: 802.11b and 802.11g
Bluetooth: v2.0 with A2DP
IR: Yes
ExtUSB (HTC's lame spin on the miniUSB) data/power/audio
Mono rear speaker
Data/Text Entry: Slide out QWERTY keyboard + Touchscreen
Dual Cameras: 0.3MP (Video Telephony) 2MP w/ macro mode (Photos/Videos)
Others: Lot's of Buttons and a Scroll Wheel (Yeah!)
OS: Windows® Mobile 5.0 AKU 2.3 with MSFP (PocketPC)
Battery: Rechargeable/Removable 1350mAH

Package contents:

Stylus x 2
AC Charger
USB to miniUSB sync/charge cable
Wired Headset with End Call and Volume Control (ExtUSB connector)
User Manual and CDs
Horizontal Belt Case with Clip
Standard HTC Package nothing special IMO. I'm sure I won't be using the case as I think it lacks protection and I've never cozied to the clip (the thought of my device flying off is not nice). I'll probably have to order an aluminum case online I think boxwave has one already (I've ordered from them before and they have excellent service), for now the TyTN will stay in my Caselogic MPC-7 case (yes it's still in one piece and has protected 3 of my past PocketPC phones). I'm also getting a handstrap for it. My Exec's AC adapter and cable work on the TyTN so the one's in the box are left inside their packaging. The wired headset I don't need as I have Motorola H700 and HT820 for calls and music. Now let's go to the review.
ROM and SuperCID
As a self confessed geek I found myself reading a lot about the Hermes (trivia: Hermes is the internal codename for the TyTN and it's variants) even before getting it. I also love playing around with different ROMs just to see if they are any better than what's currently on a device.
I got a device with this ROM:

[Here is a screenie of the device info when I got it]
It had Bootloader SPL 1.06 which at the time of this writing couldn't be SuperCID'd. SuperCID allows you to try out different ROMs even if it ain't from the same vendor (i.e. You could load a dopod 838pro ROM to a HTC TyTN). So I went online got an older ROM image for the TyTN ( with SPL 1.04) did a SuperCID unlock using tools available online, then I upgraded it to the latest ROM I could find for the TyTN (South African WWE it has SPL 1.09 with added protection so I won't be able to do OS, Radio, or ExtROM only upgrades... yet! (while that sucks I'm pretty happy with this ROM). To date this is the fastest bbooting WM5 device I've owned and that's with my usual apps... I'm impressed :-)

[Screenie of device info after SuperCID and ROM update]
Around the TyTN:
Let’s take a tour around and see what we have shall we.

Like most new PocketPC Phones this unit has a sub 3 inch display, honestly I thought I would be pissed off with it since I’ve been using an Exec for close to 6 months already (Exec has inch screen). Now like all PocketPCs there is a touch screen which you can use for data/text entry. The screen is responsive and I have no complaints. It’s bright and clear as well so my poor eyes aren’t strained that much! Also being a qVGA resolution screen most PocketPC applications display really well on it (I’ve had some problematic apps with the VGA display of my Exec). I have set brightness to 1 since it is more than enough for me and of course to save juice. The stylus is very similar to the Wizard's telescoping one. I wouldn't be using it anyway so I don't really care too much about it, get a different stylus.

[QWERTY is the key]

[The Included Stylus]
Like the Wizard before it this device has a slide out QWERTY keyboard. I am no stranger to QWERTY keyboards (I’ve owned a dopod838, and currently own an Exec) the keyboard is better than the Wizard100 which I owned previously as the numbers have now been moved to a much more easily accessible location (you still need to use the ‘dot’ to input numbers and symbols), when you have the CAPS on a C appears on the the lower portion of the screen (softkeys area), when you press the DOT you see a DOT (really helpful, I had it on the 838 but not on my Exec) there are also shortcuts included in the keyboard (there’s one for wifi and another for file explorer).

[Oooh! The pretty blue lights!]
The keyboard is also backlit with a blue colour, it’s really bright there is a sensor which tells the device to activate the backlit, nice touch. Note: if you set the Brightness to the last point the keyboard won’t light up – that’s why it’s called powersave... duh!)

On the front top part we see 2 buttons: Messaging and Pocket Internet Explorer we also see the 2ndary Video Telephony Camera (Note: unlike the Exec the 2ndary camera on the TyTN can’t take self-portraits)

On the front lower part we see quite a few more buttons: Video Telephony, Send/End, 2 Softkeys, Start Menu and Ok button, plus a dpad. I’ve missed dedicated buttons for the softkeys on my Exec whilst using it PDA mode. So this is a welcome addition.

On the left side we see: The scroll wheel, another Ok button, VoiceCommand button and a microSD slot. The scroll wheel is fantastic! Usually you just get volume controls but with the TyTN we get a real scroll wheel (press in to initiate an action press and hold acts as tap n hold)It has really made navigation and doing things much more easier. MicroSD it’s expensive and small, I don’t like the format but what can you do but adapt. I got myself a Transcend 1Gb microSD card (which I will cover in a separate review). As of this review the 2Gb is the highest capacity for microSD [aka transFlash] haven’t seen one here (in Manila) granted was too excited to really look for 2Gb since I wanted to play with my TyTN already, 1Gb is really enough for apps and a few albums. Besides I have 4Gb on my Exec :P

On the right side of the device we see: The stylus slot, the power button, and the Comm Manager button. Like the Wizard pressing and holding the Power button turns off the device completely. The Comm Manager is mapped to HTC’s Comm Manager which controls all the Cellular Radios plus the volume/vibrate shortcut. In previous HTC devices pressing and holding the Comm Manager resulted in the device going into vibrate mode, with the TyTN this function is not there. No biggie never used it anyway as the vibrate is still audible [true to all mobiles!]

On the bottom of the device: We see the IR port, soft reset hole, battery cover lock, ExtUSB connector and the eyelet for a lanyard/handstrap. Nice to see that the IR Port is still there it’s really convenient for beaming small files on the fly between my 2 PDA phones. The ExtUSB is a bummer but we can get over it using Bluetooth headsets so it’s not a major hump. I hate wired headsets anyway…


[Here's a close up of the camera, flash, self-portrait mirror and mono speaker]
On the rear of the device we see the battery cover and the 2MP camera with flash and self-portrait mirror and the mono speaker. The 2MP Camera has macro mode a welcome addition of course. I’m not a big user of PDA cameras, never was, but the TyTN’s camera is one of the best on a PocketPC that I’ve owned [of course this is under well lighted conditions], still if you want nice pics bring your DSC (that’s Digital Still Camera). The mono speaker… Why couldn’t they fit a stereo speaker like on the 838 or the Exec? As with all pocket pcs the speakers could be louder.
Kudos to HTC for including a lot of buttons, you can never have enough buttons! Extra points for the awesome scroll wheel. The combination of the scroll wheel the Ok buttons and softkeys make one handed use really easy. HTC also included a very useful scroll wheel, with all these control and data entry options you barely need to use the stylus when operating/using this device. I’m taking away points for the ExtUSB connector though jeez some people want to use better quality earphones with their devices. Wake up yo!
This is one of the most well connected WM devices in the market today. It’s basically a world phone with support for hi-speed UMTS (3G and 3.5G). It is unclear how Globe or Smart have deployed their 3G/3.5G networks but it is clear that Smart still out performs Globe in terms of coverage. I did a few speed tests with my Smart SIM (2 UMTS and 1 GPRS test). Here are the results:

[UMTS Test 1]

[UMTS Test 2]

[GPRS Test 1]
Pretty decent speeds, remember this is network dependent so YMMV. WiFi (don’t buy a PDA without one), I had no problems connecting to my home 802.11b network and the offices’ 802.11g network. Bluetooth, HTC has opted to go with the MS stack no doubt to save on the license cost from Broadcomm. The MS stack has always been crappy but I think the MS stack has improved significantly. I listened to R√∂yksopp’s The Understanding (the whole album) and I experienced only 2 skips (whilst I was opening Resco Explorer and beaming a file). The sound quality over A2DP is kind of hoarse compared to my Exec (which has more drops but better sound I will investigate this further maybe a couple of registry tweaks are in order, Update I did some tweaking and it sounds better now… still very little, to no drops or pauses). AVRCP works well, I can switch between tracks, and play/pause as well with my HT820s. Calls on BT now I don’t know if this is a headset issue or TyTN issue (most probably the headset cause I get the same complaints even when using the headsets with the Exec both my headsets don’t have noise cancelling) anyway. The TyTN is small enough to be used like a normal mobile unlike the huge Exec :o) Call quality and reception are very decent, again YMMV.
As I said earlier this device is one of the fastest WM5 devices I’ve owned. It boots faster than my Exec [Intel® PXA270 @ 520Mhz]. Granted it’s still AKU2.3 (my Exec has a hacked AKU3 ROM) I find that I am not missing much of the AKU3 improvements… still I am not saying I don’t want AKU3 for my TyTN, I do wish HTC hurries up and releases it.
Pros and Cons:
+ Ultimate Connectivity [Quadband GSM/GPRS/EDGE and Triband UMTS + HSDPA]
+ WiFi + BT + IR
+ Slideout QWERTY + Scroll Wheel + Lot's of buttons
+ 2MP camera + 0.3MP for Videocalls
+ WM5.0

- microSD - expensive and has low capacities ATM
- Pricey
- Standard audio jack is absent
- Battery meter counts in 10's only [this is weird hopefully future ROM updates fix this]
Some Comparison Shots:

[TyTN over Exec: Way smaller than the Exec]

[TyTN over Exec: Almost the same thickness]

[TyTN closed, Exec Opened]

[TyTN over Exec]

[TyTN + Exec Both Opened Side by Side]

[TyTN vs Carton of Cigs]

[TyTN side-by-side Carton of Cigs]

[TyTN on top of Carton of Cigs]

[TyTN and Motorola HT820]

[TyTN and Motorola H700]

[TyTN and my Stylus/Pen]

[TyTN & Included Stylus]
In hand pics:

[HTC TyTN: slide out keyboard hidden]

[HTC TyTN: slide out keyboard extended]
Click: Photos Only [Flickr]
©2006 bnycastro


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