Sitting front and center is the Cingular 8125's 2.8-inch-diagonal TFT screen with a 64,000-color output and a 320x240-pixel resolution. Overall, text and images were clear and defined, and the colors were bright and vibrant. We did notice, however, that the display had a tendency to hold a lot of smudges and fingerprints. As with the T-Mobile MDA, the shortcut keys to your in-box and the Web are above the screen, while two soft keys, the Talk and End buttons, and the navigation toggle are located below the display. The keys have a spacious layout, so you shouldn't have any problems using the phone. Although you can reassign the shortcut keys, we wish there were a dedicated shortcut key to the Today screen. As it is, you need the stylus to exit out of any apps and get back to your home screen, which deters one-handed use--something the Palm Treo 700w excelled at.
What lies beneath the Cingular 8125's screen is a beauty: a full QWERTY keyboard. To access it, just slide the face to the right. As with the T-Mobile MDA and the Sprint PPC-6700, the sliding mechanism isn't the smoothest, but it does snap into place with a satisfying click, and the screen automatically switches from portrait to landscape mode. The keyboard features large, tactile buttons, and as with the MDA, there are no dedicated numeral keys, so you have to hit the Function button first to input numbers or symbols. The backlighting is a bit faint, but it provides enough illumination for typing in darker environments.
On the Cingular 8125's left spine, you get a volume rocker and a one-touch button to open the Comm Manager, where you can turn on Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ActiveSync, and vibrate mode. The right side has a voice-record button, an infrared port, a reset hole, and a camera-activation key. The 8125's camera lens is located on the back of the device, along with a flash and a small self-portrait mirror. In a nice move by HTC, the placement of the Capture button actually mimics the feel of a real digital camera to avoid any awkward hand placements when taking horizontal pictures.
Rounding out the Cingular 8125 are a 2.5mm headset jack, a mini USB/power port, and a stylus holder on the bottom of the handset. There's a Mini SD card-expansion slot on top, but unfortunately, a card isn't included. Cingular packages the smart phone with an AC charger, a wired stereo headset, a carrying case, and a USB cable.The Cingular 8125 is one of those everything-but-the-kitchen-sink smart phones, just packed to the gill with features. A 200MHz TI OMAP 850 processor, 128MB of SDRAM, and 64MB of ROM are the muscle, while Microsoft's Windows Mobile 5 operating system (Pocket PC edition) is the brains behind the device, offering improved mobile versions of Word, Excel, and the new PowerPoint presentation viewer. The ClearVue PDF viewer is also on board for those of you who need to view such files, as well as a zip utility, a task manager, and Download Agent.