Customer Reviews: HTC P3470 PDA Phone with GPS - Unlocked
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VINE VOICEon February 20, 2009
This phone has a very unique design, and incorporates a lot of features. I give it four stars (instead of five) because of the lack of WiFi. The phone is difficult to find in the US, since it was sold only overseas. Along those lines, you should be aware that the phone may come with different customizations. My particular model offered me the choice of English or Turkish menus! I believe that my model is the "generic" HTC world wide English version, and that is what this review is based on.

The Good:

- The phone operates well. A single charge will last almost three days with occasional EDGE downloading. The GPS drains the battery in about 5 hours.

- Phone conversations are clear on both ends.

- WM 6.0 operating system, so one has access to Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Outlook functionality, and easy Sync with a PC.

- Adobe Reader LE is provided for PDF viewing.

- Bright 2.8 inch screen.

- The speaker phone is the best I've heard.

- Good memory capacity - 256Mb ROM and 128Mb RAM. Expect around 98Mb ROM and 80 Mb RAM available before you load your extra programs.

- Overall, the phone has a very sophisticated design:
o It has rounded edges on the back, quite stylish.
o High gloss band around the side that somehow manages to NOT pick up fingerprints.
o On the left side is only the volume up/down button.
o The top has only the power button and the speaker.
o The right side has only the "camera" button (it can be customized to other functions). The bottom has only the connector and microphone input.
o The front top has a connection panel (lights for GPS and GSM, plus charging indicators).
o The back has the lens for the 2MP fixed focus camera, which also has a manual "Macro" feature. There is a small mirror for self-portraits, which can be removed to provide access to an external GPS antenna connector. Another unique feature is that the ENTIRE back comes off, rather than just a battery door. It makes the back look very smooth and elegant.
o The front bottom is a VERY innovative section, which has a platform with switches at the four corners, the top left being the left softkey, the top right being the right softkey, the bottom left being the "Windows" button, and the bottom right being the "OK" button. To use a function, the entire platform moves, rather than an individual button. In the center of this platform is a four way rocker "ring", which also rotates to perform scrolling, and an "Enter" function by pushing the center of the ring. This bottom platform replaces the normal four separate buttons and center switch. The Phone and End buttons are placed on the Left and Right center portions of the platform. It took a bit of getting used to, but it looks and works well.

- HTC includes a TODAY plug-in which works very well. It presents horizontal tabs for:
o Home (includes LARGE digital clock (no analog option), messaging, and missed call status)
o Favorite persons, that allows you to call 9 people, with their picture
o Weather for one location
o Program launcher that will launch any of 9 programs you select.
o Phone profile selector, with options for ON, Vibrate, Off and Calendar Select.

- There are special settings to have large text on the "Windows Menu" and on the Title bar. The Title bar also has the capability of providing a "call out"; when you touch the title bar it presents large icons for each function. I find these to make the phone much easier to use.

- Navigation software is included - TomTom 6.0, with one city download. The software worked OK, but it is cheaper to buy after market Nav software rather than purchase the TomTom maps.

- There is an included program that downloads the current location so that the GPS will acquire satellites faster. The program has to be updated every three days or so.

- There is a special "Long key-press" feature that puts a task manager on the Today page (on the upper right corner, where the "X" usually resides). This lists all running programs and allows one to close any or all of them. It also has the capability of allowing the short or long press of the "X" close button to actually close (rather than just minimize) a program. This is a nice feature when used by itself.

- HTC provides a "TouchFLO" option that allows you to touch and drag the screen in all applications. This isn't as capable as the phones from HTC that actually are completely "touch based", but is useful for Word or Explorer screens.

- EDGE provides faster downloads than normal GSM, about 50kb/sec.

- HTC includes a custom COMM Manager software to quickly turn features on and off. The application works, but it looks clunky rather than slick.

- By default, a long press of the "End Phone Call" key will bring up a menu of some favorite functions, like the COM manager, lock device, etc. This is an application programmed by HTC, but is slicker than the COM manager.

- A voice dialing application is supplied with the phone. It requires recording the name of each person to be called.

- There is an Audio Manager application to play music. I did not test this except to see that it runs, since I don't use my phone for music.

- There is also a picture manager included, as well as a picture manager associated with the phone, which for some reason would not allow one to view pictures on the storage card.

- The Camera software will save directly to the storage card if desired.

- The phone supports HDHC MicroSD cards. I have read it supports up to 32Mb, but I can only vouch for the 8Mb size I use in my device.

- There is also an included Blue Tooth Explorer, which is supposed to allow the device to browse another BT WM device. I haven't tried this one.

- An "RSS Hub" program is also provided, to connect to RSS. It works well, provided you have an Internet connection.

- The GPS worked well with both TomTom, IGuidance, and Google Maps.

- They include a utility to automatically configure the device for your provider, and it automatically looks up the network based on your SIM settings. I prefer to manually configure mine, so I'm not sure how well this works.

The Bad:

- No 3G. If you are on AT&T, you have the capability to run high speed internet. But this phone will only do EDGE. I don't mind since T-Mobile doesn't support 3G yet.

- No WiFi. My understanding is that the OMAP 850 chip itself has WiFi built in, but for some reason HTC CHOOSE not to make the P3470 WiFi capable. Inexplicable, and a major omission in my opinion. In my particular case I don't use WiFi, so it didn't matter.

- The case is rounded in the back on all edges. It looks very stylish, and it feels good in the hand, but on several occasions I've almost lost my grip on the phone and sent it flying across the room. I've found that I have to wrap my fingers around the front edges to ensure a firm grip.

- The "Long Key Press" feature can be disabled, but somehow it is not completely gone. I tried to load both the Spb Pocket Plus and Battery Pack Pro (both of which have similar functionality). SPB Pocket Plus did not show the "X" button, and the Battery Pack Pro caused the device to be unstable.

- The "Long Key Press" task manager works ONLY on the today screen. It would have been vastly more useful if it were present at all times.

- The Weather application only loads weather from the HTC servers. This means that it will only display information for the limited set of cities provided with the software. I'm in Los Angeles, so it is fine, but many cities are NOT on the list, and one cannot add custom cities.

- The phone is only 2 megapixels. Most are above three these days. Additionally, there is no autofocus. The "macro" mode requires the user to manually turn a switch next to the lens.

- The "ring" around the enter button is interesting, but using it essentially requires two hands, where as a jog wheel on the left side would have encouraged single hand operation. With the rounded back edges of the device, trying to manipulate that ring in order to scroll is living dangerously. It works reasonably well with two hands.

- There is built in functionality to lock all buttons except for the power button when the phone is locked, but for some reason this doesn't lock the VOLUME buttons on the left side. Therefore I will periodically hear the INCREASE / DECREASE volume sounds from my phone while it is in the pouch.

- The MicroSD card slot is UNDER the battery, so there is no way to "hot swap" cards. With the larger HC cards available today, it is not as important, but still, is seems to be less than optimal.

- Also UNDER the battery cover - the reset switch. At least you don't have to pull the battery, but this is the first PDA phone I've ever had that didn't have the soft reset switch on the outside. Weird.

- I'm not sure if this is really a "bad", but because of it's minimalist design, there is only the "camera" button on the side. There is no button for voice recording, and therefore that button can't be mapped to a different function. It is a bit disconcerting to see buttons in the "BUTTONS" settings that cannot be pressed.

The Ugly:

- This is SO bad it has to be UGLY. The voice dialing application is VERY basic, and it has a fatal flaw. It will work, but when the device is connected to a BT hands-free device, the program puts out a beep, and I mean a BEEP - so loud it hurts the ear - when the voice dialing is activated. And heaven help you if the software doesn't find a matching entry, because then there is a loud BEEP BEEP, which again kills the hearing. Not only that, but the default "Voice Dialing" program will ALWAYS be invoked when you press your hands-free call button. You can get around this by buying an aftermarket hands free program, but you have to rename the executable file to match the "voice dialing" software file name in the Windows directory. Very clunky. Why didn't they just provide Microsoft Voice Commander?

I like the phone. It has a good feature set for those not needing 3G or WiFi. It is small, elegant, relatively light, has a good speaker phone, and good battery life. I think because of the lack of WiFi it may not be worth the price, and availability is very limited. However, if you don't use WiFi, this may be the phone for you. This is one of the few HTC phones that do not have slider keyboards, and do not have a pure touch interface, which is a plus in my opinion.
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