review

4 stars
A sleek new version of an HTC Windows smartphone with GPS and free Co-Pilot software, is the Orbit one of the great all-rounders?

We’re not out to steal O2’s thunder, but the Windows Mobile 5.0 Orbit is far from its own work. The operator has taken HTC’s SIM-free P3300 PocketPC, rounded off the edges and stamped it with an XDA badge.

But it’s not just a cheeky piece of re-branding – to spice things up, O2 has teamed up with Co-Pilot and is bundling its Live 6 sat-nav software with the phone. With a built-in GPS receiver and one of the best sat-nav solutions on the road it makes for one hell of a tidy, convenient package.

Into Orbit

For a smartphone, the Orbit is sleek and compact, and sports a spinning clickwheel trackball – first seen on the excellent Blackberry Pearl – and a touch-screen for navigation. With so many options, it’s easy to get around the menus.

Connectivity is less impressive. The Orbit doesn’t pack 3G and, although the built-in Wi-Fi is a boon for web surfing on the Pocket Internet Explorer browser, the phone reverts to EDGE tempo outside the high-speed zone – not ideal.

On the road

Still, the Orbit more than compensates with its GPS functionality. The maps come on a bundled microSD card, and there’s a dedicated sat-nav button if you need to make a quick Dukes of Hazzard-style getaway.

You don’t want to be squinting at a tiny screen while driving, but luckily the Orbit’s copious 2.8in display renders the 3D maps superbly. The only slight caveat is that the processor can be a bit sluggish when calculating routes, but it’s not bad enough to induce expletives.

Finally, a 2MP camera is on hand for when you arrive at your sunny location. The images aren’t quite good enough for the family photo album, but it’s an adequate point-and-shooter. And when you add that to the Orbit’s Windows smartness and road warrior potential, you get a smartphone of the highest order.

Use it with…

Stuff Essentials – Bluetooth headphones

says

A sleek stylish smartphone that’s transformed into an accomplished sat-nav road warrior
 review
4 stars
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