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Review: T-Mobile MDA

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Is It Your Type Body Three S's  

May 3, 2006, 9:19 AM   by Eric Lin

In-depth review of T-Mobile's feature-packed MDA Windows Mobile PDA phone, AKA the HTC Wizard. With Video Tour.

T-Mobile could have been satisfied just selling the MDA to the road warriors who spend more time on the road than in the office. The MDA has just about every feature those users need... and more, in a package smaller than past Pocket PC phones and even smaller than competitors like the Sidekick II. However, T-Mobile took care to include extra software and interface flourishes designed to make the MDA easier for the average person to use.

Despite T-Mobile's best efforts, you'll still have to deal with the occasional crash or hidden functions that are common to all Windows Mobile devices, but for day-to-day use, a little courage is all it takes to get the MDA working.


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Feb 26, 2007, 1:00 PM

Read UBS flash drive on MDA

Does anyone know if I can read the contents of my flash drive on the MDA if I connect it using the mini UBS adapter ? This adapter converts the regular size male USB port into a mini male USB port and the MDA has a female mini USB slot. Can I read my USB flash drive using this port ?

Feb 26, 2007, 12:55 PM

Hard case and Stylus for MDA

Hello all,
Most people who have used a MDA would agree that the stylus isn't the best. Does anyone knows a different stylus that I can use with the MDA which will still fit in the slot on the phone ? I am also looking for a hard case for my MDA. Best would be a hard case with stylus slot so that I can buy better stylus and put it in the slot on the hard case. anything like this exists ?

Sep 1, 2006, 3:45 PM

Verdict? MDA, 8125, or just wait for the 8525?

Which phone should i get?

May 3, 2006, 12:33 PM

Just so you know..the backlight IS adjustable

I've had the MDA since the day it came out.. (I work for TMO,) and while the screen looks pretty bad with the brightness down.. it can be turned up very easily. Go into settings>system>backlight. Voila! It gets bright enough to counteract most direct sunlight. As far as reception goes. Just flash a QTEK radio rom to it. I now have a phone with strong enough signal to make my computer speakers buzz from across the room. AS far as setting MP# and WMA ringtones.. the easy way to do it is to tap and hold on the music file until you get a dropdown menu. One of the first options you see it "Set as Ringtone." Done! My only problem is that the windows platform is not friendly enough. Granted.. I have no problem using it.. I'm a total phone...
BTW - P910a (w/850mhz) or Nokia N70 or equivalent is what I'm after. If anyone is interested in a trade.. let me know. I'd gladly pay a difference.
thank you. i found the backlight setting. the settings panel clearly needs some work if i didn't see the word backlight when looking for it. (or i need my eyes checked)
As far as moving to another platform goes, you really have to ask yourself one question: how important is correct synchronization and data translation to you?

If you're a power user of Outlook and have all your contacts categorized and are using s...
How do you "flash the Qtek rom"? I'm relatively savvy when it comes to gadget stuff, but I'm not a hacker -- is there any easy way to find/download/install this? And will it void my warranty?

Please help, I'm lonely and scared.

Jun 20, 2006, 10:04 PM

Question on: AIM & Internet Plan on the MDA

Im a perspective buyer. I have a Sidekick II and really like the T-Mobile MDA

Can anybody tell me if the MDA can use AOL Instant Messenger easily and what you guys pay for your internet plan for this phone?

Id really appreciate it,

May 3, 2006, 12:39 PM

Review in perspective

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 d...
Well said. 99% of my returns are because our sales staff is qualifying the wrong customer for the device.
I totally agree with everything you said. I think the MDA is an excellent device. 🙂
I have to say that I agree with everything WinHack said. I would like to add that in some ways this the device is not as "mature" as WM5 and unfortunatly the device shell can't mature without replacement.

The 8125 is great, don't get me wrong. I wo...

May 3, 2006, 11:52 PM

Replacement for Treo 650?

So I use a 650 for work and the poorly manufactured buggy thing frustrates me all day long. I need a new device and want the same advertised features inb terms of email, messaging, aim, browsing and interent sharing to a laptop - and am not particularaly attached to plam OS.

Granted my 650 reboots itself randomly, it barely syncs email, Blazer is practically worthless and when i answer call waiting, i usually (a) can't be heard by the incomming caller or (b) cant retrieve my original call.

I had hoped it would be great for email (blackberry would be better) that it would work for messaging and aim (any qwerty device would suffice for these features) and i had hoped I would be able to use the bluetooth to establish an internet EDGE c...
To answer your primary question: WM5 already "is" the refinement thus far, and since it was just released last year (11 months, plus or minus) you can expect it to be at least another 6-9 months before WM5-SE (Second Edition) will even hit the rumor m...

May 3, 2006, 10:43 PM

Just so you know, there is a zoom indicator in the camera function

In the bottom left corner, the third item is the zoom indicator. Starts at 1.0x, but displays arrows (up or down) to the right of it, indicating whether you can zoom in, out or both.
Perhaps this is something that the Cingular 8125 version of the Wizard has that the T-Mobile MDA version does not. I can certainly attest that my Cingular does in fact have a zoom indicator right on the main screen of the camera display and I didn't h...
Nope, it's on the MDA asswell. Suprised Phonescoop didn't see it. Good review nonetheless, though.

I hate/love my MDA.
I found the zoom just by pressing the navigation control up and down on my 8125. Don't be afraid to press some buttons!

May 8, 2006, 10:17 PM


Can you telnet and or SSH with this? And if so is it better on par or worse then the Sidekick II at it? Thanks.

May 5, 2006, 8:11 AM

Setting ringtones

"It took a few tries to find where to set the ringtone. It is assigned from the phone application while the rest of the MDA's sound effects (including the new message alerts) are adjusted in the system settings."

Not quite. You can set the default ringtone in the system settings, as well.

BTW, PPC Profiles Pro is a free app that lets you set profiles, including ringtones, alerts, BT & flight settings, etc. Very easy to use. Find it here at http://www.modaco.com/PPCProfiles-Pro-f151.ht ml
That software caused too many bugs in my MDA. Instead, I just created a "My Documents" folder on my storage card, and windows will automatically populate those ringtones in its sounds list. This way you dont take up the device's storage memory/ram.
eric Lin

May 4, 2006, 6:30 PM

thanks for all your help!

winhack and others, i want you to know that we appreciate your feedback. by tomorrow, when the video gets added to the article, corrections will also appear thanks to your posts here. it was lucky i had still had the mda, so i could test and confirm everything you said.

good lookin out my brothers
The updates are very well done. I like the new conclusion paragraph as well. Keep up the good work. Looking forward to the Nokia in-depth review!

May 4, 2006, 12:52 PM

Few bugs I have noticed....

Could be my version of the software, but every 1 out of 4 times I hit reply to a text message, it pulls up the voice command menu. The signal is also kinda touchy. I have never dropped a call with it, but sometimes when I pull it out of my pocket it is searching, even in a good coverage area. I then have to manually search for a network to get signal back. Anyone else having these troubles?

May 3, 2006, 1:59 PM

Just so you know...the time can be displayed in the title bar of most applications...

So there...
i'm happy to admit i'm wrong, but i'd ask for the sake of those who read this that you tell us how this can be done.

May 3, 2006, 1:55 PM

Buggy Software

My wife and I both picked up MDAs a few months ago. I had heard about all of the bugs in the software and other crippling that T-Mobile implemented in the device. The first thing I did was load newer firmware on mine (not official firmware. Search teh internets and you'll find info on how to load other manufacturer's firmware on your device).

With newer imate software loaded on my MDA, I have easier Bluetooth transfers, indicators for caps/symbol when using the QWERTY keyboard, a Java Virtual Machine, no more random radio system crashes, and more goodness. My wife continues to have problems where her radio will randomly crash, either giving the appearance that it is working as normal or spontaneously turning "Airplane mode" on. She's exp...
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