But these are small gripes compared to the pair of screeching howlers that sit below the screen. The first of these is the buttons may look nice as they glow softly into life, but the fact that they’re touch-sensitive means they’re a real fiddle to use. Frequently I found myself hitting the pick-up key instead of Start, or hang-up instead of OK, and though the phone locks the buttons after a few seconds so you don’t activate them by accident in your pocket, it’s far too easy to brush a key with your finger while they’re not locked.
The second disaster is nestled in the centre of the touch-sensitive button cluster. The four-way clickable joystick you have to use to navigate through Windows Mobile’s menus is, frankly, awful. It’s small, fiddly, and after a while of using it I had a sore thumb. Worse, its size also meant that all too often I hit one of the touch-sensitive buttons either side of it, and if you have large hands or chunky thumbs it will prove even more of a pain to use.
Finally, battery life is none too impressive. Despite the fact that it has a larger 1,530mAh capacity, the lithium polymer unit in the M800 rarely yielded more than a day and a half of normal use. That’s with push email in use, the odd bit of web browsing and a few phone calls – nothing particularly intensive.
So although things start out well for the M800, the more practical aspects of the phone’s design brings it down to earth with a solid, uncomfortable bump. It may have the better screen, excellent call quality, a faster processor and nice design, but the controls are awful and the keyboard isn’t good enough to make up for these faults.
Even if all this doesn’t swing your opinion away from the M800 to the TyTN II, the news that E-TEN has yet to secure a network deal to subsidise the handset in the UK probably will. This means that, for the time being at least, this inferior phone will cost you a great deal more to own – £400 – than the equivalent TyTN II on Orange or a Vario III on T-Mobile.
Score in detail