The MDA Vario was designed to be a younger sibling to the MDA Pro, with a few less features including 3G functionality and a massive reduction in processor speed.

It's a lot smaller than its big brother, though, which helps with portability. The smaller, slide-out keyboard works, even if it's more of a double-thumber than the proper touch-typer you get with the Pro. Thumb-typing also saves the frantic tapping on the little touchscreen.

This can't follow in its brother's footsteps

Unfortunately, a 200MHZ processor isn’t quick enough. You can almost see the circuitry settling down for a stint of deep concentration as the colourwheel spins.

When you slide the keyboard out and watch the screen orientation change, it’s almost painful to watch it try to balance its priorities between flipping the screen and the other operations you’re asking it to carry out.

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All that said, though, it still fits in your pocket easily and it runs Windows Mobile software – the same that you get on its more expensive older brother – along with the same unlimited Web ‘n’ Walk tariff from T-Mobile.

It’s a real shame that the software wasn’t designed to view full websites on the MDA Vario’s diddy screen, otherwise we would have been able to recommend it with more enthusiasm.

Stuff says... 

T-Mobile MDA Vario review

A portable, feature-packed, pocket sized smartphone that is frustrating to use and lacks 3G
£Free