"9 = Spectacular...and it is"4.5 starson by timabouttown
Pros: Sleek, easy to use, highly customizable, Win XP and MCE integration, dandy phone. It's powerful enough that it feels like a real computer.
Cons: Truly minor stuff -- don't worry about it
Summary: First, let me get some of the negatives I've seen mentioned elsewhere out of the way.
I HATE camera phones, and have been thrown out of way too many places for having one --that I never used anyway -- to ever consider having one again. So no camera is an absolute requirement for me. (My ratings, my rules.)
Ditto on the objection to not using WiFi and the phone at the same time -- an utter non-issue. Trust me, once you get a taste of Verizon's EVDO network, you're never going to want to use WiFi again. This assumes that you're getting the phone from Verizon, and that you live someplace that has EVDO (I'm in Boston)...and if you do, you'll laugh merrily at the poor souls stuck with WiFi. Heck the EVDO network feels faster than my home DSL (also Verizon).
(BTW, if you are indeed getting this phone from Verizon, be sure to look at the plans that bundle unlimited data -- yes, you need an unlimited data plan -- with voice plans. In my case, the bundle saved me a bundle over pricing them individually. There's a big gap between the voice plans, though, from 1350 to 4000 minutes, so if you fall in the middle, the bundles might not work as well for you as they did for me. Check it out, though.
Hey, and one reason you'll want an unlimited data plan is that it saves you $100 on the phone.)
I've also read objections to not being able to use the phone as an EVDO modem over BlueTooth. A speedy trip to your favorite search engine will turn you up a couple of ways to work around this.
So having blown through most of the big objections I've read about, I'm left with the tiniest of issues that leave me with a score of Spectacular rather than Perfect. You'll read in other reviews about how short the life of the smaller battery is - all true -- although I've been pleasantly surprised at how good the life of the larger battery is. The cradle connection could be better. I can't figure out how to change the text on the Today page (the basic startup page) from white to black, which would look better with my desktop picture. After it's gone to sleep, the backlight doesn't come back on when I tap the screen even though I've set that as one of my preferences. I'd be happier knowing that I can definitely upgrade the software to the next version of Windows Mobile (I've heard definitely yes, definitely no, and maybe), although I'm mostly happy with it as it is. One of the reasons why I'd like to upgrade though is so my company's server would be able to push Outlook data without my computer being logged on (which is how it currently works...and does very well, thank you).
That's about it for the negatives, which really are pretty minor in the scheme of things.
So now let's talk about why I'm so happy with a phone that costs so much more than many in its class.
One of the major issues that I've had with both the Blackberry and Treo are the inferior OSes. I make no apologies for preferring Windows, and my familiarity with it makes the computer parts of the phone that much easier to use.
Make no mistake -- this IS a computer, and a darn zippy one. Among my favorite features is how well it mirrors the functions of my business apps on Windows XP and takes advantage of the best parts of the Windows Media Center PCs I have at home. It brings me almost ridiculous glee to think about playing the shows I record in the MCE My TV folder on my phone.
In fact, anything related to multimedia is a joy on this thing. Adding MP3 ringtones is literally point and click easy (I'm using The Who's My Generation, ripped from one of my CDs), I watch movie trailers and music videos from the Windows Media website, and I have as my phone wallpaper the same image I use for my desktop -- automatically scaled and positioned whether I have my screen oriented horizontally or vertically.
That's another thing that makes the phone so easy to use -- vertical (like Treo) is the right orientation for the phone, horizontal (like Blackberry) the right one for the web. This phone provides the best of both. Switching orientations is a couple of clicks if you add the Launcher application to your Windows menu (do that on the Menu control panel, natch). Among the things that Launcher includes is a shortcut to switching orientation, which I do constantly throughout the day.
The phone's a real pleasure, with the best speakerphone I've ever used. The voice commands work great for both dialing contacts and dictating numbers. I haven't used a BlueTooth headset, so nothing to add on that front. I'm just enjoying it as a plain old phone. Who knew?
I like the keyboard a lot, although my fingers are big enough that I find myself typing with my fingernails. (Better than Treo to me, just a little less roomy than Blackberry.) So far so good, though. It's also easy to type with the stylus, especially when browsing the web. Clicking in a text field anywhere on the page brings it directly into focus, and automatically pops up the onscreen keyboard if you're browsing with the keyboard closed.
In fact, as cool as the keyboard is, I generally keep it closed. The touch screen is so responsive, even to my fingers, that I move around it very quickly indeed. It also appeals to the geek in me to have a more context sensitive UI than a fixed keyboard.
Oh, and it really does fit in my pocket just fine.
Bottom line: if you're going to spend this much money on a phone, you should get this much phone for your money.