HTC’s newest smartphone packs a 3G punch. Will the MTeoR dazzle like a shooting star or sink like a large stone?
Wading into the smartphone ring clad in a slathering of macho black and slate grey, the MTeoR is a joy to behold. HTC have aimed it at the kind of people who want a Windows environment with zippy access to email but without having to put up with the embarrassing pocket bulge produced by a full-sized PDA.
Properly pocket-sized at just 15mm thick, HTC’s handset offers up 3G and EDGE for speedier email retrieval and a more satisfying lifeline to the WWW. Downloaded attachments are dealt with courtesy of the pre-installed Clearvue software which allows you to view Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents as well as PDF and RTF files; sadly, though, there is no facility to edit them.
Windows Mobile is as familiar as ever and performs beautifully with Activesync, allowing your phone and Outlook to share contact details, calendar information, tasks and emails. There’s no hiding from the fact that the interface feels a bit wheezy at times though – especially when trying to run more than one application at once.
The crisp 2.2in LCD shows off web pages nicely and navigation is a digit-pleasing delight thanks to the rubber-tipped joystick. The keypad is thoughtfully spaced and offers dedicated buttons for rapid access to emails and Internet Explorer; the only real letdown is the rocker control, which is unresponsive and tricky to operate.
A shot in the dark
Multimedia cravers are likely to be disappointed with the MTeoR’s spec list, though. Windows Media Player does handle a fair stack of file formats but it limps around and doesn’t feel as useable as its competitors’ software; the camera, too, is well below par, peeping out through its tiny lens and yielding nocturnal-looking discoloured and grainy images.
The expandable memory slot allows extra music and software to be tacked on, but this is hardly groundbreaking stuff. We’re also a bit disappointed at the omission of a front-facing camera for video-calling purposes.
One to miss then?
Well, not necessarily, but the point is this: why would you choose to splurge your hard-earned on HTC’s latest if the MTeoR’s features already appear on all our other favourite mobies? It would mean that you would be choosing not to buy, say, an N73, a K800i or a Z400 – all of which are endowed with 3G functionality and, using the supplied USB cables and software, will quite happily clamber into bed with your PC and sync up.
This device is a compromise, then, and in a world of handsets which pack in top-notch snappers, radios, and bigger screens, the MTeoR suddenly looks like it’s fizzling out.