T-mobile has put its faith into five devices that it believes will allow it to dominate the mobile business arena, but does the mobile operator have the right formula for success? We take a look at the MDA pro one of the models the company has high hopes for.
The MDA pro is the successor to the MDA III and seeing how we liked that model, (reviewed here) we have high hopes to this. The main noticeable difference is the addition of a QWERTY keyboard.
The MDA Pro features a large 3.6in VGA-quality screen that can be used viewed in widescreen format, to view word documents or web pages, or like many traditional PDA devices is portrait.
Tucked behind the screen is a keyboard big enough to type on and the whole unit looks like a miniature tablet PC. In fact, we have actually filed this review from the device.
Sitting comfortably inbetween your two hands the keyboard does have to be thumb affair, rather than something you can touch type on. That said, the keys are big enough and rounded enough that you aren't constantly pressing the wrong button by mistake, and as this review is around 500 words it shows that you could easily use the MDA pro to fire off long emails with ease.
Getting past the keyboard and touch screen, the device runs the latest version (5.0) of Microsoft's Windows Mobile operating system and therefore comes with all the relevant applications that are associated with it. Office users will be able to benefit from Word, Excel and easy syncing via Active Sync amongst other applications included and available.
Where the MDA pro is hoping to succeed however is with web support via the bundled Internet Explorer and wireless technology under the bonnet.
Users can opt for Wi-Fi when within a wireless hotspot be it home or one of T-Mobile's or via the handset's built in 3G or GPRS receiver.
Disappointedly the former has not been backed up with support from T-Mobile and its network of hotspots. Users wanting to connect will have to pay full whack just like everyone else even though they're holding a T-Mobile product. We would have thought it the operator would want to encourage new users to use the Wi-Fi element of the device as much as possible.
Grumbles aside, when you do decide to surf the web the experience is a good one. While Pocket-lint does offer a PDA friendly version of the site, the software on the MDA pro automatically reformatted the website for us so it would fit on the screen. You can opt to turn this off, but it's certainly a nice feature to have.
Reminiscent of a Psion PDA from yesteryear, the MDA has a lot going for it, even if it is on the large side.
The lack of Blackberry support however will force a lot of people to give this a miss, even if it does offer internet, Wi-Fi, and 3G with its video calling (the MDA pro also includes two digital cameras one of which is a 1.3 megapixel).
As a unit however that offers all the easy of use of a PDA with the added benefit of a QWERTY keyboard like the MDA III this is a good unit to have. But whether people will want to use this as their main phone to take out and about with them away from the office, we very much doubt it.