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The keyboard looks a little lost in the surroundings where others tend to stretch to the full space available. But actually I found it as quick and easy to use as that of Orange’s SPV M5000. The overall weighting of the device is such that it sits neatly between two hands while you thumb tap. One handed use is possible but only with a bit of finger contortion. The keys are illuminated by a blue backlight which is rather nice.
Two keys map to the Windows Mobile left and right soft-menus which saves you prodding at the touch screen, but sadly HTC has not found room for a number row. Number keys are embedded into the main qwerty section, and you can use them by hitting a key marked with a large dot. If you are on the Today screen this will start you entering numbers for a call and if you are in Word Mobile you’ll start putting numbers onto the screen.
There are a few other useful odds and ends on the keyboard. The same ‘dot key’ can be used with other keys to launch the Windows Mobile file explorer and to ‘page up’ and ‘page down’ though on my review model these two functions seemed to be inverted. It can also be used with another key to toggle on and off the built in Wi-Fi (802.11b and g are supported). Bluetooth is also built in but frustratingly, there’s no keyboard shortcut launch key.
There are a few symbols such as ‘@’, ‘?’ ‘&’ and ‘!’ accessible from the keyboard but no ‘£’. Another ‘dot key’ combination opens the symbols section, where this and plenty of other symbols are hiding. You can feel smug knowing that the ‘$’ also needs to be accessed like this.
Much of the rest of the hardware design will be very familiar to those used to SIM supporting Windows Mobile Pocket PC devices.