T-Mobile (HTC) Wing review: T-Mobile (HTC) Wing

The T-Mobile Wing ships with Microsoft's Direct Push technology out of the box so you get real-time e-mail delivery and automatic synchronization with your Outlook calendar, tasks, and contacts via Exchange Server. In addition, you get more of a true Outlook experience since your Inbox shows messages that are flagged, marked as high importance. There's a new e-mail search function that works like the Smart Dial feature on Windows Mobile 5 devices, where you start typing in a word while in your Inbox, and it will automatically pull up messages with that term in the subject or contact field. You even can search your company's global e-mail directory, and there are nine new e-mail shortcuts that let you easily reply, delete, move messages, and more. Once again, with the upgrade to Exchange Server 2007, you get more robust e-mail capabilities, such as setting up an out-of-office reply.

There is, of course, continued support for POP3 and IMAP accounts, but now you also can view e-mails in their original HTML format, regardless of account type. If there happens to be a hyperlink within a message, you go to that page directly; if a phone number is listed, you can dial out from that message as well. The T-Mobile Wing includes a handy wizard to help you set up various accounts; it's a simple process entering your user name and password. We were able to configure the Wing easily to retrieve messages from our Yahoo and Gmail accounts every 15 minutes. The Wing also comes preloaded with AOL, ICQ, and Yahoo instant-messaging clients and supports text and multimedia messaging.

For voice communication, the T-Mobile Wing offers world roaming capabilities, a speakerphone, and voice commands and dialing. The Wing's contact list is limited only by the available memory (the SIM card holds an additional 250 contacts) and is quite robust. You can store up to 12 numbers for a single entry as well as home and work addresses, an e-mail address, an IM screen name, birthday, spouse's name, and more. For caller ID purposes, you can pair a contact with a photo, a caller group, or one of 23 polyphonic ringtones. Call history is sorted to the appropriate contact page, thanks to Windows Mobile 6. It's a minor feature, but it's actually quite handy to see when you received and made calls to that specific person, times of the calls, duration, and so forth, all on the contact page. Finally, the Wing supports T-Mobile's MyFaves service, which gives you unlimited calling to five contacts, regardless of carrier. Plans for myFaves start at $39.99 a month.

Wireless options on the Wing include integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 1.2. The smart phone supports a number of Bluetooth profiles, such as wireless headsets and hands-free kits. Sadly, there's no support for the A2DP profile, so you can't connect to Bluetooth stereo headsets. For surfing the Web, you can use the built-in Wi-Fi to hop onto a hot spot or alternatively, you can connect via T-Mobile's EDGE network. With EDGE, you'll get data speeds of averaging around 90Kbps. Unfortunately, T-Mobile has yet to launch its 3G network so the Wing lags behind the 3G-enabled handsets from Cingular, Verizon, and Sprint where speeds average around 300Kbps to 600Kbps. That said, our review unit had no problems logging onto the Net via cellular or Wi-Fi network.

The Wing allows for full HTML Web browsing, and you also get the new Live Search function via Windows Live for Mobile. The app is really useful as you can search for businesses by location, get driving directions and Navteq maps (aerial and map), and check local traffic conditions. Note that there is no integrated GPS so you won't get real-time tracking (though you can use a Bluetooth GPS receiver to add this functionality), but Live Search is still great for getting directions on the fly. In addition, if a number is listed with a business, you can dial directly from the search results simply by tapping the number.

Disappointingly, the new operating system didn't bring any major enhancements to Windows Media Player Mobile. And once again, unlike the other carriers, T-Mobile does not offer a music or video service to get new tunes or clips. That said, the player supports a number of popular audio and video formats--AAC, MP3, WAV, WMA, MPEG-4, and WMV, to name a few--and if you have TV shows recorded on your Windows Media Center PC, you can transfer them to your device for on-the-go viewing.

The T-Mobile Wing now sports a 2-megapixel camera, located on the back of the device along with a small self-portrait mirror.

The Wing's has an upgraded 2-megapixel camera with an 8x zoom and video-recording capabilities. The options are pretty standard for a camera phone. You have your choice of five resolutions and four quality settings. There's no flash, but you get white-balance settings, including one for night shots, and various effects you can add to pictures. There's also a self-timer, a time stamp option, a picture counter, and flicker adjustment, among other things. For video, the Wing can capture clips with or without sound in MPEG-4, Motion JPEG, or H.263 format. There are only two resolution choices, but you get the same white balance and color effect settings.

The Wing's camera took sharp pictures, but there was a yellowish tint to them.

Overall, the T-Mobile Wing took decent pictures. Image quality was sharp, but there was a slight yellowish tone to them. Video quality wasn't bad; there was some of the expected pixelation but clips were still viewable. We should note that when shooting pictures and videos, take care where you place your thumb along the bottom edge (when held horizontally) as it was very easy to nudge the sliding cover.

We tested the quadband (GSM 850/900/1800/1900; EDGE) T-Mobile Wing in San Francisco using T-Mobile service, and call quality was excellent. There was very little background hiss or ambient noise during calls to friends, and we had no problems being understood by an airline's automated voice response system. In short, we were really impressed by the clarity of sound. Our callers reported a similar experience and added that they couldn't tell we were using a cell phone. Speakerphone quality wasn't as great, however. There was a bit of tinny quality to the sound, and volume was on the weaker side, mostly when carrying on a conversation in noisier environment. We had no problems pairing the T-Mobile Wing with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset.

General performance was a bit sluggish. Armed with a 201MHz TI OMAP850 processor, 128MB of ROM, and 64MB of DDR SDRAM, the Wing couldn't quite keep up with our multiple demands and there was a noticeable lag when we had numerous apps open. Fortunately, it's now easier to close out of applications using the Task Manager utility, which you can keep at the top of your Today screen for easy access. The Wing definitely falls behind the competition in the Web-browsing experience. Where the Cingular 8525 has the benefit of Cingular's HSDPA network, the Wing only pokes along at EDGE speeds; pages took longer to load, and we grew impatient. Granted, EDGE isn't that slow, but you definitely notice a difference after having used a 3G handset, and for a device such as the Wing, that extra boost would make a powerful smart phone even more powerful.

Multimedia performance was OK. As we've noticed with many smart phones, music playback through the phone's speakers was on the weak side, and songs lacked richness in sound. Plugging in the pair of included earbuds helped, but we wish the Wing was equipped with a 3.5mm jack so we could plug in a pair of high-quality headphones. Video playback was OK, but we wouldn't recommend watching any full-length movies or such on the device.

The T-Mobile Wing is rated for 4.5 hours of talk time and 3 days of standby time. In our battery tests, the Wing got 9 hours of talk time on a single charge. According to FCC radiation tests, the T-Mobile Wing has a digital SAR rating of 0.717 watts per kilogram.

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