But let's not ignore the hardware. As is customary with HTC phones, the Orbit is rammed to the gills, with quad band GSM, EDGE-enhanced GPRS, WLAN, 3G and HSDPA up to 3.6Mb/sec. It's powered by the same 400MHz Qualcomm processor as the TyTN II, has plenty of RAM (128MB) and a generous 256MB helping of ROM for internal storage.
Battery life from the 1,350mAh battery is similar to the TyTN II - I managed two to three days normal use from the Orbit per charge, which is about par for the course on a Windows Mobile smartphone of this size. You get an FM tuner in this phone too and a three megapixel camera, though there's no flash or assist light.
The main attraction, however, is the device's GPS receiver, which in the version sent for review was complemented by ALK's excellent CoPilot Live 7 Professional, preinstalled on a 2GB microSD card. As we've pointed out before, CoPilot Live 7 is an excellent navigation package: it has remarkably clean and clear maps, superb voice instructions and all the features you'd expect to see in full-blown sat-navs costing around the £200. Plus it has the ability to receive traffic information over the phone's data connection and an up-to-date speed camera warning database. It's also good to see not only the software included with the phone, but also a solid goose-neck windscreen mount and car charger attachment.
The downside is that you only get UK maps with the Orbit. But the fact that, on an inexpensive 18 month tariff of £25 the phone will cost you £199, means you're getting a highly competent sat-nav for very little extra money and this is one of the reasons why the O2 XDA Orbit 2 is more than the competent-but-boring PDA smartphone it looks at first glance.
A superb touchscreen with accompanying software enhancements, and the inclusion of the excellent CoPilot sat-nav software and kit, all elevate the O2 XDA Orbit 2 from potential also ran to viable choice. If you don't need the keyboard of the TyTN II it's a competent and reasonably priced alternative, even if it isn't quite as compact as one might desire.