Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer HTC has recently settled on a "look" for its handsets, a look which the P3470 adheres to closely. However, looks can be deceiving, particularly if you think this look is indicative of the P3470 featuring matching specs and features of the other HTC handsets it resembles.
Like the HTC Touch Cruise, the P3470 is a PDA-style touchscreen smartphone without a numeric or QWERTY keypad. There are several mechanical keys on the face of the phone, for beginning and ending calls and limited selections, but otherwise all input is performed via the 2.8-inch touch-sensitive display, or by using the rotating jogwheel. A short stylus is included for those of us who hate leaving fingerprints smeared over the screen.
Out-of-the-box the P3470 is an attractive handset to have and to hold, and has a combination of matte black plastic with glossy piano-black trimming. On the back of the handset is a 2-megapixel camera and self-portrait mirror, but no flash. On the bottom of the device is the micro USB port for charging, data transfers and plugging in the bundled hands-free headset.
HTC seems to be positioning the P3470 as a GPS navigation device that makes phone calls, rather than a smartphone with maps. The P3470 comes bundled with Co-Pilot 7 navigation software and an on-board GPS chipset. While the P3470 will fit the bill while you're speeding through the city listening to the turn-by-turn directions, don't expect the P3470 to match this speed with lightning fast data transfers.
Unlike every HTC smartphone released in the last 12 months the P3470 is only a tri-band 2G handset. While the success of 2G BlackBerrys suggest that this fact alone may not guarantee commercial failure for the P3470, there's little doubt the market is crying out for 3G handsets. The lack of mobile data speeds in BlackBerrys is often offset by the inclusion of Wi-Fi, but there is no such consolation here. The P3470 is just not made to surf the Web in a timely fashion.
The P3470 features the same software suite as others in the Touch family. Running on Windows Mobile 6, users have access to Mobile Office (Word, Excel and PowerPoint), Internet Explorer, and Windows Live Messenger, amongst others. Strangely, the P3470 runs on a processor with half the clock speed of its counterparts; a 200MHz OMAP 850 chip with 128MB RAM.
We were surprised to discover that the seemingly underpowered processor actually performs everyday tasks at a similar pace to the P3470's more powerful siblings, which is to say at an adequate pace but still a bit sluggish in opening and switching applications.
Call quality was about average during our tests, we heard calls clearly but were told by others that we were difficult to hear during calls. Sending text messages and e-mails is as expected for a Windows Mobile handset.
One issue that we urge users to be wary of is that by default the P3470 unit we reviewed automatically downloaded data for the Weather tabs on the Home screen. This option can easily be switched off, and the packets of data downloaded were quite small individually; however, they would add up and could be quite expensive for people without data packages attached to their voice and message capped plans.
While no 3G is a big downside in our opinion, the upside to this is superior battery life to HSDPA-capable smartphones. With a 3G phone we'd expect to see three or four days in a single battery cycle, with the P3470 we experienced an average of about five days with light to moderate use.
With such a great selection of HTC smartphones available, not to mention the competition, you might be left wondering why in the world you'd buy a P3470. The AU$649 price tag may help clear the confusion, being a little more than half the price of others in HTC's range.
We can definitely see where the P3470 could be incorporated into certain business situations, transport and taxi services where fleets of drivers need access to a GPS device and to a phone, and for just about anyone else who doesn't require the convenience of the Web while away from their PCs. However, most professionals looking to upgrade from the last generation of PDA phones will struggle to see the value in P3470.
Considering that the P3470 seems to be a GPS device first it would have been a smart move for HTC to have included the same windshield mounting accessories bundled with the Touch Cruise, and a car charger. Buying these separately could take the sheen off that budget smartphone pricing.