T-Mobile Dash Hands-on

I had the opportunity touse the T-mobile Dash –also known as HTC S620– for half a day and I have to say that I liked what I saw. First, the device is cute and feels great in my hand. It is half the thickness of my gigantic Treo 700w and weighs much less too. Finally, there’s no antenna to poke me (oh man, I hate this antenna) and the display is a nice 320×240 (QVGA) one, versus 240×240 for the Treo 700w.


The closest device that I played with is the Motorola Q (read review) with the notable difference that the Q has a faster data connection (as it is a 3G phone), while the Dash is a 2.5G one. The user interface is similar: there’s no touch screen. I did not go deep in the option menus, but while I was using it, I did not notice anything fundamentally different from the Q. The T-Mobile Dash user interface is sensibly more reactive than the Q. I got my friend Kevin to setup his personal email (accessed over GPRS) and his professional email (via WiFi) in outlook.

The part that was worrying me was the battery life, but after a work day of gooduse, the battery still had 30% left in the evening. It’s a good sign, but it means thatadvanced (email) users will have to charge it at least everyday. Heavy users (web browsing, email) would need tocharge itall the time. Reader comments would be welcomed om this subject.

Should you go for the 2.5G T-Mobile Dash or the 3G Motorola Q?

If you just want to read/send emails, go for the Dash. It has a better feel than the Q and T-Mobile’s mobile internet is a little bit cheaper -and slower- than Verizon’s data plan, but it’s good enough for email. The Dash also has WiFi, but I personally think that WiFi should not be relied upon – did you notice that there is never a decent hotspot when you *really* need one? Still, for the same price, WiFi is painfully missing on the Q. If you’re a heavy data user, I’d recommend skipping both these phones and grab a Treo 700w. It’s old, bulkier but it’s still the best 3G smart phone that I’ve tested.

Thanks to Kevin M. for loaning his phone.

Useful links:
T-Mobile Dash
HTC Home

Update (26 Nov 06): I received a number of questions and I wanted to share the answers with everyone here:

Does it crash a lot?
No I have not experienced any crash or slowdown. However I played with it only one afternoon. I frankly don’t think that recent Windows Mobile devices have stability issues, especially if users don’t install additional software.

Does it have Push Email?
Yes, but “true push email” works only if you have an exchange server. I don’t know if a T-mobile email account provides true push email.

How wide is the thing?
It’s the witdh of my Treo 700w, but half the thickness. I really like the feel of holding the Dash.

Is it strange to use as a phone?
A Qwerty phone is always different so if you never used one, it might be strange at first. If you used a Treo or any other Qwerty device before, you will feel at home.

What about Skype? Is there Skype for smart phones?
There’s Skype for windows mobile. I tried it only on my Treo. It works, but is somewhat slow (looks like a CPU hog). I didn’t try it on the T-mobile Dash. I suspect that the slow (200Mhz) CPU and the 2.5G data rate would make using Skype difficult, but I don’t know for sure.

Have you tried the WiFi and did it worked well?
WiFi was tested and, yes it works well. No issues there.

Was the keyboard too cramped?
It’s comparable to the Treo or the Motorola Q, although the Treo 700w has the best keyboard in my opinion.

Screen size is ok?
The display is really nice and readable. I’d try to use even smaller fonts.

No jog dial?
Unfortunately, no. It would have been a nice addition. I’m not so bumped by the lack of jog, but for Blackberry users, it’s probably like having a missing finger…

Was it easy to navigate the menu using the joystick?
It is, but I noticed that it’s too easy to click (OK) while trying to go up and down. The joystick button is too flat.

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