The most interesting thing about the G910, however, isn’t its keyboard or its screen, but its unusual design. Flip the lid shut – it closes with a satisfyingly solid thwack – and you’re presented with a very sparse exterior. Instead of a numeric keypad for dialling numbers or a touchscreen, all you get is a small, monochrome display which shows the time plus message and missed call status. This is accompanied by a small directional pad with up, down, left, right and select buttons, plus keys for answering and ending phone calls.
It certainly looks good – and thumbs up to Toshiba for innovation – but a phone such as this must, first and foremost, be a practical work tool and, unlike the keyboard and screen, the unusual exterior design doesn’t work well at all. In fact I’d go so far as to say it makes the G910 a complete nightmare to use as a standard phone, because there’s no sensible way of quickly dialling telephone numbers.
Because there’s no numeric keypad, you have to use the directional pad to select numbers from a grid on the tiny screen, but this is simply daft. I found it easier to flip the phone open, fire up the Phone application and dial using the numbers set into the QWERTY keyboard. But again it’s not ideal – in order to then speak to anyone, you have to flip the phone shut again before you can hold the G910 to your ear. This is not a phone you can use one-handed.
Elsewhere, the specification is up with the best Windows Mobile devices. You get HSDPA mobile data for high speed browsing and data downloads, tri-band GSM, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0, a GPS receiver and both a two megapixel camera with flash and a front-facing VGA camera for video calls. There’s even a fingerprint reader on the right edge of the phone, but don’t get excited – it’s not used for securing the phone. You simply assign an application to each fingerprint and can then use it to launch those applications; it’s a gimmick to put it mildly.
The software complement is pretty good, too. You don’t get any major interface enhancements along the lines of HTC’s Touch phones, but there is the full Office Mobile here (including OneNote Mobile), Opera Mobile is pre-installed, plus there’s an application for reading business cards captured with the onboard camera and then saving them to your contacts database.