T-Mobile’s HSDPA service launched in the summer and to date has been largely aimed at business users. The first device to appear was a PC Card data card, and it’s also available on the MDA Vario II, a keyboarded Windows Mobile Pocket PC. I reviewed the very similar, but non HSDPA powered HTC TyTN.
It took till late November for T-Mobile to bring HSDPA to the masses, in the shape of the Samsung SGH-Z560. This is a 16mm thin clamshell handset in the style of Samsung’s Ultra Edition mobiles.
Its main problem, in terms of ergonomics, is that it is large. Even before the clam is opened up you are holding something 97mm tall and 51mm wide, and with the clam opened the SGH-Z560 jumps to a little more than 180mm tall. That is taller than my home DECT phone by quite a margin. On the plus side it is very light at just 94g and it feels good in the hand, its shiny black casing lending it a certain softness when held. The hinge is good too, and I found it easy to slide my thumb under the lower edge of the closed clam and open and shut it one handed.
On the outside of the phone is a 65,000 colours, 96 x 96 pixel display, measuring 26mm corner to corner. I’d have liked this to be a bit larger, but that’s just because the phone itself is big and the screen looks a little lost.
Beneath it are three touch buttons for controlling music playback. If you’ve read any of my other reviews of handsets with touch controls here at TrustedReviews you’ll have got the message that I don’t like them.
But the controls on this handset are actually quite impressive. They are sensitive to the heat in your fingers and so can’t be tapped by other stuff in your pocket. When you put a finger to one it is backlit brilliant white to show you’ve pressed it, and during testing each of the three keys, performed as I wanted it to every time I tapped it.
The centre one pauses and resumes playback, the two outer ones skip within tracks when you hold a finger on them and move to the next or previous track when tapped once. I have to say that they are the most impressive set of touch controls I have used on a phone.
On the left edge of the phone is a volume rocker and a covered slot for mains power, the provided stereo headset and the provided PC connection cable. The connector type is proprietary so you can’t use your own 3.5mm headset.