The rest of the specification is also enough to get HTC worried. You get quad-band GSM, so you’ll be able to make phone calls pretty much anywhere in the world you can get a mobile signal. It has HSDPA up to 3.6Mbits/sec for fast mobile broadband connectivity, plus 3G and GPRS with EDGE for when that ‘H’ doesn’t pop up at the top of your screen. There’s a SiRF Star III GPS receiver, so you can add sat-nav to the phone if you wish. The memory complement is up there with the TyTN at a generous 256MB ROM and 64MB RAM, while the processor is a slightly nippier 500MHz Samsung, though in use it didn’t feel any more responsive. And you even get an FM tuner, just in case you run out of MP3s to listen to, though the device’s 2.5mm headphone socket means you’ll have to buy an adapter if you want to connect your own headphones.
I’d also like to point out that the call quality on this device is better than the TyTN’s. This is not to say the call quality on the TyTN II is poor, far from it, just that the M800’s is louder and clearer. This means you’ll be able to take calls in noisy environments – the pub or the train, for instance – without having to go outside or stick your finger in your other ear.
Add a raft of useful software extras that puts most other smartphones to shame, including business card recognition software, a facility that lets you use the camera light as a torch, and E-TEN’s own Today screen customisation – via the excellent Spb Mobile Shell plugin – which neatly places recent applications, alarms, weather reports and favourite contacts at your fingertips, and you have a phone, on paper at least, that looks to give the TyTN II a serious run for its money.
Use the M800 for a while, however, and you’ll soon discover that it’s less a talented reworking of the TyTN II and more a pale imitation. The main problem lies in its usability – specifically the design of the controls. There’s no scroll wheel, for instance – a couple of flat buttons for volume and a record button sit on the left edge instead. The telescopic stylus isn’t as nice to hold as the TyTN’s either. The keyboard is competent but though the keys look easier to press than the TyTN’s, I found myself hitting wrong letters more frequently while bashing out emails and notes. I couldn’t fathom E-TEN’s caps lock system either, which seemed to switch to all caps occasionally for no apparent reason.