Now for the next acid test – size. One of the things that has put me off about smartphones in the past is their sheer bulk. I want to be able to stick the phone in my pocket when I scoot off to a meeting on the train, and I don’t want it to make an unsightly bulge in my trousers or jab into my leg when I sit down. I’ve discounted phones such as the Sidekick, Nokia’s Communicators and various flavours of Blackberry in the past for these very reasons.
And while there’s a limit to how small devices with full-size keyboards can get, the G900 does feel unnecessarily bulky. It’s the thickness and weight of the thing that does it – it’s as thick as my K800i is at the lens cover (22mm) and a good 4mm thicker than the Orange SPV E650, while weight is a not-inconsiderable 200g. And though it doesn’t look very big face-on, even with the sizeable 3in touchscreen, when you pick it up it becomes obvious that this is not something that’s going to fit comfortably in your trouser pocket. Anyone who favours Russell Brand-style jeans need not apply.
Despite all this, the keyboard is certainly tempting me to give this phone a chance. So what else do you get stuffed into this not-so-small package? Well, one of the features that Toshiba is pushing hard is its fingerprint reader, located on the underside of the screen. It’s certainly worth having if you’re worried about security and it can be used to quickly lock and unlock the device. As with most fingerprint readers it’s not 100 per cent secure as you have to register an alternative password in order to activate it and provide a back-up, but it does make it easier to use longer, stronger and harder to type in passwords.
The G900’s fingerprint reader isn’t just a security feature, though. Toshiba also includes a ‘fingerprint launcher’, which allows you to assign applications to different fingers. Bizarrely, you can also use it as a kind of alternative mouse pad. Move your finger over it in a vertical direction and you can swiftly scroll up and down web pages and lists of items. It works laterally too, and you can even tap it to select items. Ingenious, but a bit on the gimmicky side and fiddly to use compared to the d-pad next to the screen.