The screen also shines during Web surfing, thanks to the TG01's Wi-Fi and 7.2Mbps HSDPA, for speedy downloads over 3G. Pages render quickly, although not as fast as with the current champion, the iPhone 3GS. Unlike the 3GS, however, the TG01 offers Flash support.
With all the tiny links on Web pages, zoom is important. The TG01 doesn't have multi-touch capability, though. Instead, the silver bar underneath the screen allows you to zoom in and out by sliding your finger along it, but it's so unresponsive that we couldn't be bothered to use it. Dragging your finger up from the bar towards the screen brings up the most bizarre user-interface option we've ever seen: five floating on-screen direction buttons. We were gobsmacked when Toshiba told us you're meant to use the buttons 'like a mouse' -- it seems to go against the whole point of a touchscreen, and implies that even Toshiba doesn't want to tap away at the TG01 when the going gets tough.
Windows Mobile may be painful to use, but it packs in the features. Not only does the TG01 have built-in versions of Word and Excel, there are zillions of apps that you can install if you can find them. Currently, though, there's no easy-to-use app store for Windows Mobile.
Such an app store is on its way, according to Microsoft -- it'll be called the Windows Marketplace for Mobile and it'll be a part of Windows Mobile 6.5, the next version of the OS. Orange told us that the TG01 will get Windows Mobile 6.5 as a free update when it arrives, which could help with some of the phone's user-interface issues.
In the meantime, you can enjoy the apps pre-loaded by Orange, like its sat-nav software. Using the built-in GPS, it can find car and pedestrian routes in 26 European countries, and also give you live traffic alerts.
If your company uses Microsoft Exchange Server, you can get push email with Outlook Mobile and manage your calendar like a pro.
The TG01 has a 3.2-megapixel camera that does a good job of capturing shots in good light. It also shoots video at 320x480-pixel or 640x480-pixel resolutions.
The video did a solid job of capturing our shenanigans. Although slightly jaggy and compressed, it looked good on the TG01's big screen. There's plenty of room to store your clips too, thanks to a microSD memory card slot that supports capacities of up to 32GB. The TG01 comes with an 8GB card.
Apple's iPhone became the current king of touchscreen phones not by having the most features but by being a pleasure to use. Even a very speedy processor can't save the TG01 from the fact that Windows Mobile is a nightmare on a touchscreen phone. We appreciate the TG01's wide range of Windows features, but we wish Toshiba had taken a punt on Android instead.
If your colleagues in the IT department insist you get a Windows Mobile device, and you decide not to just punch them in the guts and quit, the TG01 is sure to elicit a few oohs and aahs, thanks to its slim design and epic screen. Otherwise, like a fit but dumb date, its drawbacks far outweigh its looks.
Edited by Charles Kloet