Armed with resolutions ranging from a thumbnail-size 160x120 pixels up to 1,280x1,024 (a "scaled" 1,600x1,280 mode is also available), the T-Mobile MDA's 1.3-megapixel camera boasts an LED flash, a 5- to 10-second self-timer, an 8X digital zoom (at the lowest resolution setting), a rapid-fire mode, and the ability to save snapshots as JPEG or BMP files. You can also add some goofy-looking picture frames to your images, tweak the brightness and ambience settings, and add a date and time stamp to your snapshots. The MDA also has a video recorder that saves clips to MPEG-4 or Motion-JPEG AVI files at resolutions ranging from 128x96 to 176x144 pixels. We were less than impressed, however, by the MDA's mediocre image quality (see).
You can listen to your tunes or watch videos using Windows Media Player 10 Mobile, which comes standard with Windows Mobile 5. The player handles MP3 and WMA music files (both DRM-protected and unlocked), as well as a variety of MPEG and AVI video files (no Ogg Vorbis or AAC support), and its snazzy interface includes beveled play/pause/skip controls and album art. Syncing songs via Windows Media Player is a piece of cake, and you can listen to your music while working on other applications; the MDA pauses tunes when incoming calls arrive. Unfortunately, T-Mobile doesn't offer an online mobile music store à la the Sprint Music Store or Verizon V Cast, and the player lacks an equalizer for tweaking the sound.
Besides the Mobile Office suite, the T-Mobile MDA comes preloaded with ClearVue PDF for viewing PDF files; a ZIP utility; an instant-messenger app that logs you in to your AOL Instant Messenger, ICQ, or Yahoo IM accounts; a calculator; notes and task apps; and a pair of games, Bubble Breaker and Solitaire.We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900, EDGE) T-Mobile MDA in New York City. Our callers reported solid call quality with no apparent echo or tunnel effects, and our friends sounded loud and clear. As expected, the MDA's speakerphone sounded tinny but reasonably clear. We successfully paired the MDA with the Bluetooth headset, and though audio quality suffered a bit, we think this has more to do with the headset than the phone.
Overall, performance for the T-Mobile MDA was good, given its middle-of-the-road 195MHz TI OMAP 850 processor, with 64MB of RAM and 128MB of onboard flash memory. Launching applications took only about a second or so, as did switching the display from portrait to landscape mode--unless you have numerous apps open. Also, we often ran out of memory while snapping photos (especially at the top 1,280x1,024 resolution), forcing us to dig into the Settings menu to quit other running programs.
The T-Mobile MDA had no trouble connecting to a T-Mobile hot spot at a local Starbucks and to our home 802.11b network with WPA encryption. We also experienced decent, if not bone-rattling, Web surfing over the phone's GPRS/EDGE connection; that said, anyone spoiled by the 3G networks of Verizon or Sprint will be sorely disappointed.
Image quality from the T-Mobile MDA's camera was ho-hum. Our snapshots boasted rich color but looked noticeably murky compared with those of similar 1.3-megapixel camera phones we've tested. Our video clips were especially dull and jittery, even more so than those of other handset-based camcorders we've seen.
The T-Mobile MDA is rated for 5.5 hours of talk time and five days of standby time, but the phone proved to have much more stamina than the advertised time. While the MDA had no problems reaching the standby time, it was the whopping 12.5 hours of talk time that blew us away. This handset is built to stick with through the long haul.