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Review: T-Mobile myTouch 3G

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Menus Calls/Contacts Messaging  

The myTouch uses Google's Android platform, and runs version 1.5. Despite the new features offered in Android 1.5, the user interface is left pretty much the same as that of the G1. There's a reason for this. The myTouch 3G with Google bears Google branding, and such, Google has a say in what the UI looks like. That's why the UI is pretty much identical to the G1's. According to HTC, non-Google-branded Android phones, such as the Hero, are capable of using custom designed user interfaces, such as HTC's Sense UI. That tangent aside, the myTouch will feel familiar to users of the G1.

A Google/Gmail account is required to use the myTouch. When you first boot the device, you have to sign into your account. It will then automatically configure your Gmail, your Gmail contacts and other Google services. There is no hard syncing directly to a PC. It must be done via T-Mobile's network. This can take a while, depending on how extensive your inbox and contacts lists are.

You have a basic home screen that has six pre-loaded apps, plus a Google search bar (with voice search!) at the top. There are two additional home pages that you can get to if you swipe the screen to the left or to the right. Any of these three screens can be populated with pretty much whatever icons, shortcuts or widgets that you want.

There is a little tab at the very bottom of the screen. Swipe it up and the entire main menu will appear. This is where you'll find pretty much everything you need to use and control the myTouch. All the basics are here. Any new applications that you download from the Android market are stored here. Apps are listed in alphabetical order.

Tapping into the Settings menu, Android ditches icons in favor of a simple list of adjustments to make. Each has a pull-down arrow that opens up a folder with the choices for that menu selection. Most of these make sense and it's quick to figure everything out.

When using applications, hitting the Menu key on the front of the myTouch will open up a short list of additional options you can use to adjust whatever app it is that you are running.

Lastly, there is a notification bar that runs along the top. Any time you get a new email or other notification, it will sit up there. From any screen on the phone, you can swipe down from that notification bar and it will show you any missed calls, and what unread messages you have. That's a nice touch.

One thing to point out. There is a very slight lag in almost everything that you do with the myTouch. I don't know if it is my specific review unit (other reviewers have noted the same thing), but it could be a bit laggy from time to time. Just sayin'.

In all, Android is a highly usable mobile operating system. It may still lack the features that business users need (such as advanced security protocols), but we know it will only continue to become a more feature-rich platform.


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