HTC Wizard / Cingular 8125

I can not even begin to describe how long I had wanted a Pocket PC.  Like many geeks, I was obsessed with PDA’s.  Well, I got one a few years back only to look online a month later and see the same version of what I had purchased…. with phone functionality as well.  I nearly cried.

In some sick captain Ahabish sort of way, ever since then I have been watching and reading to find the “perfect” combination of Pocket PC and phone.  I was almost ready to make a purchase about a year back when Windows Mobile 5.0 was announced.

I was unable to restrain myself and purchased an Motorola MPx 220.  It was not a full blown pocket pc, merely a “SmartPhone”.  As such it had limited abilities, but it satiated a desire for a time and allowed me to bide my time until I could achieve my goal.

A few months back the HTC Wizard was announced around the same time as the Treo 700w.  My time was near… I just had to wait.  Well, it seems that the Treo isn’t on the GSM bandwagon just yet, so I went with the 8125… and I don’t regret it for a second.

I have only had the 8125 for a day now, but so far I am delighted.  It is not overly large and fits in the hand very well.  In a size comparison with the MPx220, it is actually not that much larger.  The added functionality that it packs is decieving for its size however.

Probably the most notable feature about the 8125 is its slide out keyboard.  This is executed flawlessly.  When the keyboard is open, the screen automatically adjusts to landscape mode for typing, and the 4-way button adjusts itself as well making left become down, up become left etc. The softkeys reappear on the keyboard as well so that you don’t have to use the exterior soft keys to use the menus.  The keyboard itself is very easy to use. The buttons are slightly beveled and the keyboard is backlit making it very easy to find and stay on the button you want.  My only real complaint about the keyboard is that it does not stay backlit for more than a second or two, so if you do not continually type, then you have to guess at the key you are hitting (assuming you are typing in semi-darkness).

The screen is a mere 320×240, but that is more than enough for a lot of the applications that are running on it and given the physical dimensions of the screen allows for relatively clear images and text.  The visibility of the screen in outdoor situations is superb.  I was able to read the screen in direct sunlight, something that I have trouble doing even on my MPx220.

The machine itself is a full blown computer.  My first laptop wasn’t this capable.  All the office documents can be displayed flawlessly from the computer to the PDA, synchronization with Outlook is of course seamless as it has always been with Pocket PCs.

The only problem that I have really encountered with the phone aspect of the OS is that the keys are on the screen, which makes it slightly difficult to dial as one is used to.  To combat this however, the contacts are very easy to flip through, and if you don’t mind a little setup time, you can configure voice commands for all of your contacts so that you only need to press a button and speak.

I have yet to try out the bluetooth functionality as my headset is still charging at the moment.  It is my hope however that once that is in place that with the combination of the voice dial and the headset, the phone can sit snugly away somewhere until I need to use the PDA functionality at which point I fully expect everyone around me with a PDA to gaze on in awe.