Universal (ly acclaimed)


Well I promised it… I’ve had lots of email on the theme of ‘lucky devil’ as I declared I’d got an HTC universal device.  I wanted to share my initial thoughts on the device and my experiences over the last few days.  I’ll focus on the Universal as a Phone/Data device initially and expand over the coming days….


Form Factor and Device Build


The Universal is a BIG device – no question.  I’ve referred to it with colleagues as re-assuringly big!  It is however packed with features and technology.


The Combination of the VGA Screen, Wifi and 3G make it unique in the Market for Windows Mobile devices.  I have found myself spending a lot of time browsing the web marvelling at the gorgeous screen which seems to render web pages (especially with Windows Mobile 5.0) incredibly well. 


The swivel screen like a Tablet PC allows you to close the screen and protect it when it isn’t in use and also is really handy if like me you listen to music on the device as you can close the screen preserving battery life whilst also allowing the Music to play on!  The screen also switches neatly between landscape and portrait which is great for Word Documents and Spreadsheets alike. 


The device has an SD card slot (which currently holds my 1GB card full of apps and music) .  It also has a mini-usb sync/charge slot which allows me to charge the device from my laptop and also use a small usb charger cord.  The Headphone socket is at last 3.5mm which means I can use my decent headphones to listen to music! 


With the Soft keys and Windows Mobile 5.0 I’ve found myself pulling out the stylus much less frequently and actually driving the whole UI with my finger. 


It is a really well built device and feels very solid. 




The Keyboard is a full QWERTY keyboard and has keys for commonly used items such as making calls, Internet Explorer, Email and Contacts.  The Keyboard interestingly can either be used whilst holding in your hand or placing it onto a hard surface.  It reminds me of my old Psion 5 (which I loved!)


I’ve been responding to emails pretty rapidly and even drafting this blog entry on the device so it’s certainly good for long documents, emails or instant messenger conversations. 


Battery Life


My tests are completely unscientific and I’ll leave those to other people.  My tests are simple:


1) Does it last all day for all my voice calls, email access and other activities.

2) Will it last all weekend without a charge.

3) Will I leave the power charger at home.


The Universal passes all three of my tests. I haven’t yet seen the battery low warning even after a long day of customer and conference calls.  With persistent storage (in Windows Mobile 5.0) means I can run the battery and I don’t event take the power charger because ultimately if it does run out…. Who cares!  I won’t lose my data! [:)]




The Phone application in Windows Mobile 5.0 is much improved and I’ve been using the Universal device with a BT headset which paired simply – it also paired seamlessly with my BMW Bluetooth Car Kit – something which challenges many mobile devices today.   


The large size of the device means I do prefer using the Bluetooth headset much more than holding the device up – it’s not a problem – just for long calls it is quite heavy.  The bundled headset is also an option but I prefer to confuse people by wandering the corridors talking to myself (with my BT headset hidden in my ear)




What is ultimately the coolest feature is simultaneous 3G and Voice capability – that is I can use my Universal as a 3G data modem whilst also talking on the telephone.


A little U for UMTS appears on the connectivity icon which tells me I have 3G data capability when it’s available – browsing the Web whilst mobile with 3G is superb.  The Universal is switching between 3G and GPRS seamlessly and I’ve yet to experience an issue.


WiFi connectivity is also enhanced in Windows Mobile 5.0 so I can really easily connect to both corporate and my home network and synchronise email as well as browse the Internet and Intranet.



Conclusions so far…..


So that’s where I am so far with my usage/testing.  When I met with Guy Kewney ( http://www.newswireless.net/ )  recently he shared with me his one rule of Mobile which is (and I paraphrase) – if a device/technology is really useful/amazing…. Then you won’t leave home without it.  If it isn’t in your bag or on you… it doesn’t count.


So far the Universal hasn’t left my side.

Comments (26)
  1. The HTC Universal is the first 3G Windows Mobile 5.0 device with a QWERTY keyboard. It’s a lot of cool stuff but it’s *big*. How’s life with it? Jason says…

  2. Nino.Mobile says:

     Hopefully my negative travel karma is now gone – I had some travel troubles in my journeys to and…

  3. Nino.Mobile says:

     Hopefully my negative travel karma is now gone – I had some travel troubles in my journeys to and…

  4. Paschal says:

    I want one 🙂 When you think it will be on the European market (UK) ?

  5. Chris says:

    Been watching this baby, but he reality is it’s just too big, wait for an I-Mate Jam sized version, that quote is very correct, never leave the house without the Jam

    I’m also one of those people who gets on fine with an on-screen keyboard (cos I’m a one finger typer at the best of times)

    3G and voice, that is the killer feature.

  6. Ross Carlson says:

    I’m curious what provider you were testing with. I’ve been following this device too and can’t wait to play with one…

  7. Does it support EDGE technology? if so, I’m going to pick one up with all possible speed. 🙂

  8. Jeff says:

    Can someone clue me in on Windows Mobile 5.0? Is it compatible with Windows XP apps I already own? I’m guessing not.

  9. Michael says:

    I’m a sidekick user; primarily because of cheap easy to use ssh client that lets me connect to my server and run emacs on a landscape mode screen. Usability is great, speed is terrible on TMobile’s network. Anyone know if there are good/inexpensive ssh clients for this device/OS?

  10. dave says:

    That thing is crazy huge! Granted it does umts but does it autoswitch calls between umts and wifi? can I run pocket skype on it? It looks bigger than a PSP which plays movies..does this thing have decent audio and games at least?

    yikes.. I may have to wait for the nextgen ipaq 6315 or mot mpx

  11. While we here at symplification have confined ourselves to symbian S60 devices, because of the combination …

  12. Mike W says:

    What type of storage card does it use, spec says MMC but expansys are taking pre-orders & suggest that you buy an SD card at the same time.

  13. Edicted Blog says:

    Enfin un vrai test de ce très attendu smartphone, le plus puissant que l’ont puisse trouver. Petit rappel de ses caractéristiques : – Connectivité complète : GPRS, 3G, Wifi, Bluetooth – Ecran VGA 640×480 portrait/paysage – Windows Mobile 5 – Design à la tabletPC avec un vrai clavier – Double camera pour visio et photos – Lecteur SD – Gros proc, de la ram… Ce premier article a l’air assez prometeur, je craignais en particulier sur l’autonomie, mais ça à…

  14. DROOLER says:

    hi !

    finally an opportunity to ask about this baby to professionals who actually have one in their hands…

    i want to know about SKYPE phone calls in wifi, and auto roaming parameters when in UMTS range as well

    i’d like to know whether you can stream a movie from your wifi PC to this baby at a distance of 7 meters: is the 802.11b signal strong enough ?

    is the processing power of the HTC up to it ?

    can i do multitasking while streaming ( i mean run some apps in the background ) ?

    …and last but not least, how does multitasking feel in general ? ( is it slow or responsive ? )

    THANKS GUYS, you can answer these questions, you TOTALLY RULE !=)

  15. JAmerican says:

    Have you experienced any issues with it at all? How does the battery compare to other devices? Can we see sample camera pics? Does the device have a FAT32 driver?


  16. nicolas says:

    This looks like the one. Your comment that it is reminiscent of Psion 5 got me. I loved mine too & never bonded to same degree with "upgraded" pda.

  17. Fab's blog says:

    InfoSyncWorld vient

    de publier un premier article assez complet sur l’appareil qui, je


  18. Fab's blog says:

    InfoSyncWorld vient

    de publier un premier article assez complet sur l’appareil qui, je


  19. Fab's blog says:

    InfoSyncWorld vient

    de publier un premier article assez complet sur l’appareil qui, je


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