Another major addition over the Vario II is the inclusion of a built-in GPS receiver. This really does mean that the Vario III can do pretty much everything. Knowing that you’ve always got a sat-nav device in your pocket is pretty reassuring, especially if you have to spend a lot of time out at meetings. Of course you’ll need some kind of navigation software to go with the GPS receiver, and ALK was kind enough to send me a preview build of CoPilot Live 7. T-Mobile has quite a strong relationship with ALK, so you’ll probably see a bundle on offer with a Vario III and CoPilot Live 7 soon after the full version launches.
The GPS receiver seemed to be every bit as good as a dedicated sat-nav, locking onto satellites quickly, and rarely dropping the signal, which is more that can be said for a great many GPS devices. CoPilot is, in my opinion, the best Windows Mobile based navigation application and it worked flawlessly with the Vario III. When you factor in the cost of a decent dedicated sat-nav at around £160, the Vario III looks like a bargain of epic proportions.
All in all the Vario III, like the standard HTC TyTN II, is a stunning device with more functionality than you could shake a stick at. The usability is first rate, the call quality for both audio and video is excellent, the connectivity is second to none and as with all Windows Mobile devices, the synchronisation with your PC desktop just works.
The only negative point when Jon reviewed the TyTN II (Kaiser) was the price – nearly £500 is a lot of money, no matter how good a smartphone is. But with the Vario III, you’re not going to have to pay that kind of money. Although T-Mobile isn’t listing the Vario III yet on its own site, there are a couple of retailers taking pre-orders. If you go for something like a Flext 35 + Web’n’Walk contract at £37.50 per month, this handset will set you back £69.99 – this will also give you unlimited data, and a monthly allowance of £180, which equates to around 900 minutes or 1800 texts.
Put simply, if you’re in the market for a smartphone, this is the one to go for.
The Vario range goes from strength to strength with this third generation unit pushing the smartphone envelope. I’d be hard pushed to think of any features that are missing from this device (bar a 3.5mm headphone jack), and perhaps the next incarnation will just see the same hardware squeezed into a thinner and lighter case.
For me, the Vario III represents the perfect mobile device. It’s a phone, a diary, a web browser, an email device and a sat-nav all rolled into one. Whoever coined the phrase “less is more”, obviously didn’t have the Vario III in mind. I have actually been waiting for this device to arrive, since I will be picking one up as my own, personal handset – so in this particular case, the Vario III literally is the Editor’s Choice.
Score in detail