So, you’ve considered buying a connected PDA but thought they were a little small for your needs. You’ve even looked at those with keyboards and felt your fingers couldn’t cope with the tiny keys. Next you’ve considered an Ultra Mobile PCs like Samsung’s Q1 and thought that was just a bit on the large side considering it is not a fully fledged laptop computer.
Maybe the device for you is something in between the two. Maybe that device is T-Mobile’s Ameo. Or maybe not. After a fortnight of pretty serious usage time with the Ameo, I have to say I wouldn’t choose it as my everyday smartphone, or as a replacement for a notebook computer.
But I do think it shows off what the Windows Mobile format can be made to do if stretched, and that there is certainly room for more experimentation of the Ameo kind. And I think anyone who has bought Nokia’s N800 Internet Tablet might be kicking themselves after reading this review.
So what is this beast? Well, it is a connected Windows Mobile 5.0 device with a separate keyboard, and it is absolutely brimming with features. Everything but the keyboard resides in a box 133mm wide, 98mm tall and 16mm deep. If you don’t need the keyboard you can just carry this box around.
Its 298g of weight will feel like a brick in your pocket, and when you get it out to make a voice call you’ll look like a proper Charlie (sorry to anyone reading this called Charlie). But when you want to read the screen its 480 x 640 pixels spread across an area that measures 5in corner to corner will make you smile.
The stylus that lives in a housing on the top right back of the casing won’t be needed much, as finger-tapping at the touch sensitive display is as easy as pie because the Windows Mobile icons are much larger than usual. You’ll only need the stylus for data entry such as making calendar appointments or writing SMS messages.
The keyboard is an example of clever minds doing clever things with system design. It is a slab about the same height and width as the main unit, but just 4mm thick. I weighed it at 78g. Lay it flat on the table and you can see a connector at its top edge. Bring the main unit alongside and align its connector and seriously strong magnets join the two sections together. The main unit’s sides are angled so that the screen is a little laid back and you get a pretty good viewing angle.