Editors' note: Portions of this section are taken from our review of the Google Ion/HTC Magic, to which the MyTouch 3G is almost identical. We lowered the rating of this product on October 14, 2009, to reflect new Android handset releases.
Sometimes, good things come to those who wait. Almost 10 months after the G1, we finally have the carrier's second Android phone, the T-Mobile MyTouch 3G. And after giving it a shakedown, we're happy to report that it improves on its predecessor in a number of ways. As a rebranded HTC Magic, the design is familiar, but we like the sleek profile, expansive touch screen, and user-friendly controls. We don't miss the G1's physical keyboard, though we recognize that some people may not agree.
Inside the phone offers everything you saw on the G1, plus a few extra goodies thanks to the Android 1.5 Cupcake update. And we can't thank T-Mobile enough for adding Microsoft Exchange Server support. On the downside, the MyTouch has some usability quirks, the Web browser remains iffy, and some important features are missing. But when you factor in its agreeable performance and broad degree of customization, the MyTouch does much to broaden Android's techie base. You can get it for a reasonable $199.99 with a two-year contract. Also, keep in mind that you'll need a data plan.
Where the G1 was boxy and a tad clunky, the MyTouch offers a sleek profile and a glossy skin in white, black, or merlot. You can attribute the slimmer shape to the lack of a physical keyboard, but whatever the reason, the MyTouch is an appealing device and we're glad to see an Android phone that actually looks cutting edge. At 4.65 inches tall by 2.19 inches wide by 0.65 inch deep and weighing 4.09 ounces, the MyTouch has a sturdy, comfortable feel, and it slips cleanly into a pocket or bag for easy traveling.
Yahoo e-mail syncing wasn't as fluid. Messages often showed up as new in our in-box,even though we had read them. Also, when we deleted messages on the phone they weren't subsequently gone from our PC in-box. But even worse, we occasionally got a message that our username and password were incorrect. The syncing error corrected itself over time, but it was annoying until that happened.
The 3.2-inch touch-screen's color support tops out at 262,000 hues, but thanks to a high resolution (480x320 pixels), the HVGA display shows colors, graphics, and photos beautifully. You can personalize the screen with a selection of wallpaper, and you can adjust the brightness setting and backlighting time.
The user interface is standard Android. The home screen is made of three panels side by side, which you can move between by swiping your finger across the display. And of course, you can populate the screen with any number of shortcut icons that give instant access to the related applications. The MyTouch comes with a number of default shortcuts, but you can delete them if you wish or organize them into folders. The Cupcake update also introduces a home-screen widget bundle of an analog clock, calendar, music player, picture frame, and search. Such customization and ease of use makes for one of the best cell phone UI's around.