There’s no doubt that the Vario is a good deal smaller than the SPV M5000 (or the MDA Pro as T-Mobile calls it). The Vario also undercuts the SPV M2000 significantly, while the landscape orientation of the keyboard makes it far easier to type on. Pretty much everyone in the TR office found the Vario comfortable to hold while typing, and surprisingly the general consensus was that this device was small enough to use as your everyday phone. I’m not sure that I’d want to carry the Vario in my pocket at all times, but I do admit that I’d feel far less stupid holding it to my head to make a call than I would using either the SPV M2000 or M5000.
Every edge of the Vario has been utilised. On the left is a sliding switch for adjusting the volume, along with a shortcut menu button – on the shortcut menu you’ll find soft switches for the integrated WiFi and Bluetooth adapters, along with mute on/off and synchronise soft buttons. On the top is the main power button and a mini-SD card slot – this is a change from the standard SD card seen in the MDA Pro and SPV M5000/M2000 units.
On the right side is a shortcut button to the voice recorder, a shortcut button to the integrated 1.3 megapixel camera and an IrDA port. Finally, on the bottom is a mini-USB port for charging and synching, a battery release switch and a headphone socket – unfortunately a 2.5mm socket. Of course the bundled hands-free headset uses a 2.5mm plug, but don’t expect great sound quality from this if you want to listen to music, and you won’t be able to plug in some decent headphones without an adapter.
At the bottom right corner of the Vario you’ll find the stylus, which is unfortunately one of the most disappointing aspects of the device. When you remove the stylus it’s tiny, but it is telescopic and almost doubles in length when extended. However, even when extended it’s a bit on the small side, and is far from comfortable to hold.
The Vario runs Windows Mobile 5 like the SPV M5000, but the Vario doesn’t have quite as much horsepower under the bonnet. With a 200MHz processor driving things along the Vario isn’t quite as swift as other smart phones that have made their way into the TrustedReviews lab, although in general use this won’t really be an issue. Were it does become an issue though, is if you wanted to use the integrated WiFi capability for Skype – mobile Skype requires a 400MHz processor to operate.
Talking of WiFi, strangely T-Mobile has disabled 802.11g support, leaving only 802.11b as a connection option – this is odd because the HTC Wizard, on which the Vario is based does support both standards. A quick look around the web showed that a small registry edit will allow the Vario to connect to 802.11g networks – if you want to know how, try clicking here.