There’s a scroll wheel, which is often quicker and more accurate to use than removing the stylus and tapping the screen, but this suffers from a slight lack of responsive feel, much like the rest of the buttons surrounding the edge of the unit. You would also be forgiven for thinking that this would be the ideal communications device. Text input needs to be a pleasure, not a chore. But somehow they don’t. This is certainly one of the more well constructed PDAs we’ve seen. Pocket versions of Word and Excel actually suit the format quite well, although Excel’s limited field of vision is probably the first indicator that the MDA’s resolution is – like many of its PDA compatriots – not quite of the density that would make it useful. It’s partly down to Internet Explorer’s apparent intention to completely neuter your browsing experience at every turn, whether it’s rendering all but the most mobile of websites utterly unreadable or simply refusing to display them at all.

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The slide-out keyboard, while more tactile, isn’t the sort of thing you would want to use to write a novel. You start off well equipped, at least.

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The two megapixel camera is superb with the varioo inclusion of a switchable focal length, and the front-mounted camera is adequate when making video calls.

But is this phone-PDA hybrid really the answer? If you consider that the Psion 5 – a device nearly 10 years old – still possesses the best thumboard out there, it’s a good indicator of the state of the current market.

With many competitors lurking around the edges this doesn’t step into the ring as well as it should. This is certainly one of the more well constructed PDAs we’ve seen. Text input needs to be a pleasure, not a chore.

There’s a scroll wheel, which is often quicker and more accurate to use than removing the stylus and tapping the screen, but this suffers from a slight lack of responsive feel, much like the rest of the buttons surrounding the edge of the unit. You would also be forgiven for thinking that this would be the ideal communications device. Add the MDA’s generally poor 3G reception – especially compared to a trusty-yet- awkward Nokia N70 – and the appeal melts away. It’s partly down to Internet Explorer’s apparent intention to completely neuter your browsing experience at every turn, whether it’s rendering all but the most mobile of websites utterly unreadable or simply refusing to display them at all.

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Against x TFT screen. Unless you’re years old and have been mashing texts into your phone for the majority of your life, actually inputting data into a keyboard-free phone probably seems like the most pointless thing in the world.

T-MOBILE MDA Vario II (HTC Hermes) specification –

But somehow they don’t. Our Verdict With many competitors lurking around the edges this doesn’t step into the ring as well as it should. Attempting to type into a minute on-screen keyboard is even worse. There is a pervading positive overtone to the MDA – it’s mds powerful device packed with useful software – but it’s a hard sell with the likes of the Blackberry and Nokia’s E61 soon to arrive.

Pocket versions of Word and Excel actually suit the format quite well, although Excel’s limited field of vision is probably the first indicator that the MDA’s resolution is – like many of its PDA compatriots – not quite of the density that would make it useful.

Last modified: May 10, 2020