HTC Shift just days away

The HTC Shift handheld computer is now available in the United States.

HTC Shift
The HTC Shift: Like a DVD case, but thicker. Michelle Thatcher/CNET Networks

Amazon is quickly joining the FCC and U.S. Patent Office as a source for tech product leaks. Case in point: This morning the long-awaited HTC Shift showed up for preorder on the retail site, spoiling the company's plans to officially release the product Monday.

The device itself defies easy categorization; it could be described as either a larger OQO Model 02 or as a Samsung Q1 Ultra with a keyboard. Essentially, the HTC Shift is a small Vista tablet with built-in CDMA connectivity. About the size of a DVD case (though a tad thicker), the Shift weighs just over 2 pounds. Its 7-inch touch screen slides up to reveal a tiny keyboard with Chiclet-sized keys. The tablet also has a USB port, a headphone jack, and a VGA connection, plus an SD card slot.

HTC Shift
Honestly, I don't have giant hands--the keyboard is just small. Michelle Thatcher/CNET Networks

HTC sent us a Shift review unit last week, and I've found myself using it more like a smartphone--albeit one wrapped in a permanently attached brown leather folio--than a laptop. I seem to reach for it primarily when I'm away from the desk and want to pound out a quick e-mail or browse the Web (though, given the screen's small size, there was a lot of scrolling to be done). But when possible I've reserved more substantial work for when I got back to the office, mostly because the Shift's keyboard is a bit too large for comfortable thumb typing and a bit too small for standard 10-finger typing, especially given my medium-length nails.

That's a problem for a device that costs $1,499--though, to be fair, the pricing is competitive with UMPCs and similar small tablets. I'm still working out the finer points of comparison, so keep an eye out for the full review this week.

About the author

    Tech expert Michelle Thatcher grew up surrounded by gadgets and sustained by Tex-Mex cuisine. Life in two major cities--first Chicago, then San Francisco--broadened her culinary horizons beyond meat and cheese, and she's since enjoyed nearly a decade of wining, dining, and cooking up and down the California coast. Though her gadget lust remains, the practicalities of her small kitchen dictate that single-function geegaws never stay around for long.

     

    Join the discussion

    Conversation powered by Livefyre

    Show Comments Hide Comments
    Latest Galleries from CNET
    This is it: The Audiophiliac's top in-ear headphones of 2014 (pictures)
    ZTE's wallet-friendly Grand X (pictures)
    Lenovo reprises clever design for the Yoga Tablet 2 (Pictures)
    Top-rated reviews of the week (pictures)
    Best iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus cases
    Make your own 'Star Wars' snowflakes (pictures)