There are a couple of negative points, however, about the Orbit’s design. First up it isn’t particularly slim for a phone without a sliding keyboard: it measures 110 x 58 x 15.5mm, which is about the same size as a TyTN II but not as thick, while it’s also 60g lighter at 130g. Second, I’d have liked to have seen a screen upgrade – this phone’s QVGA (240 x 320) is beginning to look a little like yesterday’s technology.
But if the screen isn’t incredibly high resolution, it does work brilliantly in conjunction with the Orbit 2’s host of interface enhancements. There’s HTC’s TouchFlo interface, of course – which adds much-needed finger-swipe scrolling and panning to Windows Mobile’s fiddly scroll bars – but you also get enhanced screen keyboards that offer not only mobile phone-like XT9 text entry, but also a BlackBerry Pearl-style, pseudo QWERTY keyboard with two letters per virtual on-screen ‘key’.
I particularly liked the finger-friendly enhancement to the top taskbar. With non-enhanced Windows Mobile you have to make sure you get your finger in exactly the right place, or the wrong option bubble will pop up. Here a larger bubble appears when you tap the taskbar, allowing you to choose between options such as notifications, Comm Manager and the volume control, but with larger icons.
The phone comes with other useful software extras. In addition to the usual Windows Mobile 6 Professional selection, there’s Audio Manager – a big improvement on Media Player; Camera Album – a handy picture viewer; Zip – for unpacking and compressing archive files; and a really useful RSS reader – RSS Hub. There’s also a simple, but much-needed, profiles tool, which allows you to quickly switch the phone between various different settings quickly.