Confused by dual Duals

As you’ll have seen on p57, I’ve been playing with the HTC Touch Dual – or rather I’ve been playing with a couple of them. As I mentioned in the review, there are two versions of this phone, and that’s likely to trip up a few people. Not all shops and networks stock both versions, and many don’t even admit to there being two versions available.

Confused by dual Duals

In fact, with some vendors you can’t even tell which version you’ll be getting – I happen to know that Orange is shipping the 16-key variant, but you’d never know this from looking at its website. The company only shows a picture of the device in its closed state, and the text simply refers to a “slide-out keyboard”. I’ve even seen some online vendors that show a photo of one model but mention the other in the text.

It’s all very confusing for the end user, and it could so easily have been avoided if HTC had chosen more distinct model names for the two variants. Despite that, the Touch Dual is a brilliant little phone. I know from your emails that many of you want a Windows Mobile Professional device (that is, one with a touchscreen, spell checker and so on), but have been disappointed by the fairly bulky phones that run this version of the operating system.

The Touch Dual is a perfect device for these people, and the 20-key variant is easily good enough for typing short emails. As I mentioned in the review, I’m not totally convinced by the touchy-feely interface HTC has layered on top of Windows Mobile. It’s great as far as it goes, but it just doesn’t go anywhere near far enough. But power users won’t care about things like that – in fact, they’ll probably switch off the fluffy interface altogether.

Some people will prefer the Standard version of Windows Mobile – it’s the one without a touchscreen, more suited to candy-bar-style phones. Regular readers will know I’ve been recommending the HTC S710 to such users for some time now, but this device has recently been replaced by the S730. I’ve been playing with one of these for the past week or so, and can report back that it’s brilliant! The only real criticism I had with the S710 was that it didn’t have 3G, but the new version has fixed that, even including HSDPA. There are a few ergonomic tweaks (the keyboard in particular is much nicer), and the

CPU speed has doubled. On the down side, it’s very slightly bigger, but you’d only really notice if you put the two devices side by side.

All of the previous goodies such as the sliding keyboard and the Wi-Fi are still present. What would really make the device perfect would be if it also had GPS, and that’s where I start to get slightly annoyed. It seems like this device does have an built-in GPS receiver, and in a few pre-production samples the GPS worked just fine, but in the shipping version the GPS has been disabled. Right now, I’m not sure whether this was due to a hardware modification, or whether it’s simply a firmware issue (in which case, it might be possible to re-enable the GPS). I’ll keep you posted.

Not a Netgear fan

Three months ago, I wrote about how Netgear’s DGFV338 became one of my favourite all-purpose wireless routers, for both SME and “work at home” domestic use. However, I’ve just received an email from reader Clive Burford, who already had one of these devices before I wrote that column. Clive writes:

“I needed a new router, specifically one offering more than the normally available four ethernet ports. Having been an extremely happy Netgear customer for a number of years now, the DGFV338 seemed an obvious choice. Yes, I could have bought a network switch and daisy-chained the two devices, but I opted for a single, tidy solution. I also perceived that any decent switch would most likely have a built-in cooling fan that would add unwanted noise. I need the device to be placed centrally within my house – it won’t be shut away, so any noise will be obvious.”

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