For a long time, T-Mobile led the charge as the only carrier with Android phones. But in the past few months, Verizon and Sprint have brought out some crowd favorite Android phones like the Motorola Droid, HTC Droid Incredible, and HTC Evo 4G. However, T-Mobile's back with a new handset to add to its MyTouch 3G line called the MyTouch 3G Slide. It's not a powerhouse like the other smartphones, but it's not meant to be either.
The Slide is meant for customers making the leap to their first smartphone and offers a midrange feature set and a custom user interface from T-Mobile to help with that transition. Overall, we think the carrier's touches are successful, though some could use a little fine-tuning. More importantly, the MyTouch 3G's call quality is great and has the benefits of being an Android phone with a physical keyboard. That said, we think it's slightly overpriced at $179.99 (with a two-year contract) considering that the more powerful Evo 4G and Droid Incredible cost just $20 more. Hopefully, T-Mobile will adjust the phone's price at some point. The MyTouch 3G Slide will be available starting June 2 in black, red, or white.
Manufactured by HTC, the T-Mobile MyTouch 3G Slide resembles the rest of the MyTouch family with a rectangular, plastic body and subtle chin on its bottom, but it also steps out on its own with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. For such a device, we're impressed at how relatively compact it is as 4.6 inches tall by 2.4 inches wide by 0.6 inch thick. The handset is a bit heavy at 5.8 ounces, but it has a solid feel and is, in fact, a sturdy phone. We know because we might have accidentally dropped the smartphone at one point, with it open no less, and it came away with nary a scratch.
Of course, we don't recommend that you toss the MyTouch 3G Slide around like a toy; after all, you'll want to protect all of its assets, including its 3.4-inch capacitive touch screen. It has an HVGA resolution, which isn't quite as sharp as the displays found on the HTC Evo 4G or the Droid Incredible. It's still clear and bright, but the pixels are more noticeable and colors don't seem quite as vibrant. However, its touch screen is responsive and you get pinch-to-zoom support. In addition, it has a built-in accelerometer and proximity sensor, as well as a light sensor, but the display still washes out in bright sunlight.
You get access to the handset's full QWERTY keyboard by pushing the screen to the right. The sliding mechanism isn't the smoothest we've seen, but it seems strong and the screen securely locks into place. The keyboard itself is quite good. It doesn't have quite the high-quality feel of theMotorola Cliq's keyboard, but its spacious layout makes it easy to use and reduces errors. However, it did take us some time to learn where all the different symbols were, so we weren't able to compose messages quickly at first. The Slide also offers an onscreen keyboard in both portrait and landscape mode and a Swype keyboard, so you have plenty of options when it comes to text input, which is great.
Below the screen, there are four shortcut keys--home, menu, back, and the Genius button (more on this later)--and an optical track pad that doubles as a select button. The controls are somewhat small and close together, so we had a number of mispresses. There's a volume rocker on its left side, and a camera activation/capture button is on the right side. The top of the device has the power button and a 3.5mm headphone jack; the microSD port is on the bottom. As usual, you'll find the camera with flash on back.
T-Mobile packages the MyTouch 3G Slide in a snazzy plastic case and includes an AC adapter, a USB cable, a wired stereo headset, an 8GB microSD card, and reference material. For more add-ons, see our cell phone accessories, ringtones, and help page.
The T-Mobile MyTouch 3G Slide ships running Android 2.1, but according to HTC, the smartphone will be upgradable to the Froyo-flavored Android 2.2. HTC has not disclosed when the update will be available; however, according to the company, it hopes to have all updates released by the second half of the year.
That said, you're not getting the stock Android 2.1 experience with the MyTouch 3G Slide. You still get the staple features: Google services, Microsoft Exchange support, full HTML Web browser, Quickoffice, as well as some of the latest capabilities such as Google Maps with Navigation and speech-to-text. The quad-band world phone also comes with all the wireless options we've come to expect on smartphones: 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS. However, to differentiate itself from the competition and--more importantly--make the phone more connected and easy to use, T-Mobile also added its own custom user interface.