I love reviewing gadget but sometimes it is more fun to outsource especially when the reviewer is a gadget-loving-tech-savvy-MIT-bound-neighbor who had some time to play with the new T-Mobile MyTouch this summer. Meet guest reviewer Joe Lynch. Joe was the perfect person to review the new MyTouch since he uses the G1, aka Google Phone. Having just graduated from high school, he lends a teen’s perspective on the use of SmartPhones and explains why the new MyTouch is a great choice for anyone shopping for a new device.
The T-Mobile MyTouch is the second iteration of T-Mobile’s “Google Phone”, the first being the G1, which was reviewed by Tech Savvy Daddy last December. If you have ever find yourself swearing off any webmail client but GMail, forgoing more traditional scheduling implements like pen and paper for Google Calendar, relying on Google Maps to get you to and from daily events, or generally finding yourself slave to gLife, then this phone is the perfect candidate for you.
To be more accurate, Android is for you … but other than the G1 or the MyTouch, Android options in the US are slim. Apart from some nice user interface (UI) changes and much needed performance modifications, Android has not changed much from when Tech Savvy Daddy reviewed the G1. So enough about that old news…What about the phone?
What the MyTouch does right:
Right out of the box, the MyTouch gives the impression of being a sleek, snazzy phone that finally gives the iPhone a run for its money in the looks department. Unlike the G1, where I was constantly telling friends not to judge the phone by its cover, I am perfectly content to whip out the MyTouch because I know I won’t get the, “what is that blocky thing in your hand” look. Aesthetics are not the only improvement, however, as the MyTouch also sports a slew of under the hood improvements that will make it a well justified upgrade over the G1, or any other Smartphone for that matter.
First and foremost of these improvements is the battery. Anyone who owns a G1 quickly learns that 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, and constantly syncing data comes at a price; for the first generation Google Phone that price was abysmal battery life. Simply put, the battery in the G1 (1150 mAh in case you were wondering) just couldn’t sustain all the electronic goodies within the phone. Luckily for consumers, the MyTouch comes with a better battery (1340 mAh!) which should technically yield ~15% more battery life. What is even better is that in reality the gains appear to be more around 25-30%. What does this all mean? This means that you can forget to charge your phone for a few days – hooray! Don’t forget for more than a few days though, or you will be carrying around a useless 4 ounce block of plastic for the rest of the day.
In addition to the battery upgrades, the MyTouch includes twice the memory of the G1. The memory hungry operating system that is Android (those background apps come at a cost!) has an extra 256 MB of ROM. This new improvement brings the phone’s total ROM to 512 MB and leaves the same 192 MB of RAM, although if you buy the phone outside the U.S. the phone comes with additional RAM. The increased ROM is very important because it means more applications can run at once and the phone can theoretically accept larger and larger OS upgrades. Although the last big G1 rumor concerning free upgraded batteries turned out to be false, there is a very substantiated (i.e. based on a tweet of course) claim that the G1 will not be able to receive future Android updates but the MyTouch will because of it’s greater memory capacity.
What the MyTouch does wrong:
Overall, the MyTouch did not have too many glaring flaws, or at least they did not reveal themselves during my testing period.
The only real problem I noticed very frequently was that the MyTouch does not have an actual keyboard. Even though the autocorrecting touch keyboard sort of works, it still only sort of works when compared to an actual keyboard like what the G1 and many Blackberrys have.
Some other minor perturbations existed, such as the need for a headphone adapter (what is so hard about having a 3.5mm jack, hmm??), and the accidental phone calls that occasionally occurred when hanging up the phone as a result of the touch screen failing to turn off quickly enough, but nothing too bad.
It also looks like U.S. MyTouch owners possibly won’t be getting a fancy new user interface (UI) that is debuting in Europe and Asia, but the U.S. cell phone market is fairly used to getting ‘worse than Europe/Asia” versions at this point.
For those wondering about all the other features this phone provides, here is a quick run down:
- Camera – A 3 megapixel camera with autofocus; takes decent pictures, nothing to write home. The phone does feature one touch sharing through Picasa.
- Outlook Email – Although I could not really test this as I have no outlook accounts, it was nice to see this commonly requested feature added.
- Sherpa – A very cool program that allows you to search your nearby location for dining, entertainment, etc … Pretty cool and very “Google”.
- Video Recording – Same as the Camera; decent, but nothing special. Upload to YouTube with a single touch.
- Bluetooth Headphones – Seems to work fine with no discernable loss of audio quality.
- Call Clarity – I had no problems whatsoever with call clarity. T-Mobile’s network let me down occasionally, but nothing to do with the phone.
- Built in Speaker – Pretty standard for a phone, nothing better, nothing worse.
- Touch screen – The capacitive touch screen is wonderful, but every phone has ‘em these days …
- Applications – Although there are no apps that let you share contact info with a bump (or at least I don’t know of one), the Market does have pretty much anything you actually would need. And now that the MyTouch has more ROM, more apps can run at once!
On paper the MyTouch outperforms the G1, all iPhone models before the 3Gs and almost any Blackberry. Even with just my limited experience with the latter two I would confidently say that this assessment is correct, as the MyTouch seemed to easily speed through my daily tasks. This apparent speed is most likely due to the vast advantage in ROM the MyTouch has over other phones, as well as its ability to multi-task (a well known flaw in the iPhone). This additional ROM keeps the “darn computer-whatchamacallit” moments at bay, which I always find to be a good thing. Android also continues to deliver a smooth user interface and OS, but we have come to expect nothing less than this from Google. This Phone has many positives, and a number of noticeable flaws, but overall I would say the MyTouch should certainly be a strong contender in any Smartphone decision, although I am slightly biased.
Come back later this week for a list of the top 10 Android Back to School applications. At the end of the week, the giveaway for the T-Mobile MyTouch will be live!
This review was written by Joe, a current MIT freshman. Joe spent his summer applying his math and science skills to design and build his family a gorgeous new deck featuring a tapered staircase and ipe boards that are held with a fancy but complicated fastening system. Joe probably would have finished his deck much sooner had he not spent lots of time patiently answering all of Little Miss Techie and Captain Computer’s questions as they peered over the fence at the construction.
Joe received a gift certificate from me for his time as a product tester and for writing this review. No additional compensation was received for writing this review. The MyTouch was provided by T-Mobile for review purposes and has been returned per our agreement.
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Original post by Tech Savvy Mama