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Review: T-Mobile MDA

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Review in perspective

by WinHack    May 3, 2006, 12:39 PM

The real issue with this device (and the others like it that are coming down the road) is that they are becoming more affordable. When they become affordable, people who have no real need or use for such a device are likely to buy it anyway because it's so gee-whizzy-bang cool and then get frustrated with it because they don't understand some important aspect of their new device (such as the connection between the device, ActiveSync, and Outlook or Exchange for example). Then they write horrible reviews and trash-talk the device and the device gets a bad rap.

The reality is that a convergence device like this (or the Palm Treo 700, or the various Samsung and Siemens models prior, or even a Blackberry to some lesser degree) is really not designed to coddle the user the same way a lower-end LG or Samsung with limited functionality is. Yet with the pricepoints starting to blur a little bit (and more so over time), people will go for the cooler device before realizing that it's beyond their technology level--and that is the one warning most resellers don't give their customers (because they want sales).

Picking a phone/PDA/mobile device is not just about what you can afford, but what features and functions you require. Buying any device that has features and technology beyond your requirements can lead to the possibility of a bad experience. The wider that gap (what you need versus what you purchased), the stronger that possibility. To illustrate my point: if you read some of the negative reviews of the Wizard around the Internet and then do a little reading between the lines, you can almost tell when someone got in over their heads with this device but in their review that was the DEVICE'S fault, not theirs. (?!)

When looking to buy ANY new device, it's very important to understand more about what you need that device to do before taking the reviews to heart. A good review doesn't mean the device is right for you, and a bad review doesn't mean the device sucks either.

This review summarizes that this device is not for most people, which is true; it really isn't. It is for people who already use and understand how a PDA works with and connects with your PC and your PC-based PIM (Outlook, Organizer, etc.). It is for people who understand that browsing a local hard drive, a network drive, a usb drive or a flash memory card is the same basic experience and you don't need a drive letter to do so. It's for people who really "get" synchronizing their music between their PC and their MP3 player. I would NEVER recommend this device to my mother or most of my relatives--even the ones who have iPods.

All that being said, as I have described it in my review of this device, this is an EXCELLENT device, tremendously more stable than those prior, and I think that the user-friendliness level of this device far exceeds that of it's predecessors. Yes, switching between Wi-Fi and EDGE is more work than it should be, but I understand why it is the way it is and I can imagine that they will get around to making that simpler soon. Then again, the user-friendliness factor is really more about Windows Mobile 5 than it is about the device. The device itself is fantastic. It's WM5 that needs to grow and mature a little more, and the review doesn't quite make that point clear.

It was a long distance between Windows 3.0 and Windows XP. Comparing even Windows Mobile for Pocket PC 2003 Second Edition to Windows Mobile 5 is, to me, like the jump from Windows 95 to Windows 2000, comparatively speaking. While we're not at Windows XP on the mobile devices yet, WM5 is a helluva leap from where we were.

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