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Review: T-Mobile myTouch 4G

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Just like the myTouch 3G Slide, the myTouch 4G doesn't use HTC's Sense UI, but it doesn't really use stock Android, either. HTC and T-Mobile have made some subtle changes that make the myTouch at least different from other Android handsets, if not more usable.

The myTouch has five customizable home screens. The central home screen lacks the search bar along top as is customary for HTC Android handsets. What you get instead are four software apps loaded on the home screen for contacts, messages, browser and Qik Video Chat. Unlike the "free-floating" Android icons we're using to seeing, these (and all the icons in the Android main menu) are framed in an opaque square. It doesn't make them any easier to use. They simply look different.

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The main menu tab at at the bottom of the screen is flanked by two permanent icons. The one on the left launches the phone, and the one on the right launches the Faves contact list. These buttons persist across all five home screens, making it easy to get to the phone in a hurry.

Another thing that is slightly different is the notification shade. When you drag it down, it displays notifications as normal, but it also includes the four most recently used apps. This means if you've used apps W, X, Y, and Z, it will show the icons for those apps when you pull the shade down.

The myTouch also offers HTC's "myModes." Modes are collections of settings that alter what apps are prioritized. For example, there are a handful of preloaded modes, such as KidsZone, which disables access to messaging and the dialer, and lets kids use the phone without harming it. Another is Home, which turns off email notifications. The Work mode prioritizes all messaging features. Users can also create their own modes. The modes make it easier to alter the behavior of a handful of settings at once rather than one at a time.

Lastly, another change I noticed is that the unlock screen contains more notifications, such as missed calls, SMS messages, and emails.

Other than that, not much has changed about the way Android's menus behave.

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