T-Mobile MDA Mail: close, but no cigar

Last week, I jumped at a decent priced opportunity to test the T-Mobile MDA Mail (a.k.a T-Mobile Dash, HTC S620) Windows Mobile 5.0 Smartphone.


I have to say, it’s a thing of beauty. It’s smaller than a Blackberry or Nokia E61, and sure as hell looks a lot sexier. It also features the things I REALLY love about WIndows Mobile: ActiveSync and charging via USB.

So, it’s a keeper, right?

I’m not really sure yet. First of all, the (german) T-Mobile version comes without WiFi. Yes, honest to god: without making a fuss about it, they seem to have convinced HTC to create a special version of the hardware that comes without WiFi. Even ‘updating’ to a non-branded HTC S620 firmware won’t help. This is a huge bummer – which must have saved T-Mobile at least $1 per device. grrrr…..

Then, what I’m looking for is a way to put my iPod podcast listening functionality into my mobile phone. Using the Juice Podcast receiver and a combination of ‘smart’ (HAH!) playlists in WMP10 I managed to create a playlist that syncs to the MicroSD card on the phone. A LOT less easy than iTunes, but hey, it’s not an iPhone, right?
Unfortunately that was about the same time that ActiveSync decided it didn’t want to connect to the phone any more.

Also, the two applications I’m using most (GMail and Opera Mini), both J2ME apps, work less than satisfactory. They have to be started from a J2ME management app, and they appear using tiny fonts. Not good.

So, while I’m quite impressed with the hardware (leaving the WiFi issue aside), the smartphone part of it leaves a lot to be desired. I may keep it for ActiveSync (if I can get it to be recognized again…), USB charging and the keyboard though – which is still a lot in a very beautiful package.