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(Pocket-lint) - HTC, continuing to forge its own name for itself rather than be known as the white label brand it has in the past for operators such as T-Mobile and O2, has launched its latest smartphone - the HTC P3300.

Okay, so the first sentence isn't completely true - yes HTC has launched their own version of this phone, but you'll also know it as the T-Mobile MDA compact III or the O2 Xda Orbit. Either way, apart from a few tweaks, they are all virtually identical with the O2 variant coming in a tasteful black while the T-Mobile and HTC variants are identical slivery grey.

The quad-band smartphone follows the slim PDA style form factor complete with large 2.8-inch touchscreen rather than providing QWERTY keyboard for those business email junkies, however it does feature a built in GPS unit so you can source directions wherever you happen to be.

Depending on which model you opt for depends on which satnav software is shipped in the box. T-Mobile and O2 offer have rather annoyingly opted for ALK CoPilot Live 6 software while HTC's saved TomTom Navigator 6 for itself.

The GPS function is the main selling point here and the TomTom software works a treat either in the car or on foot.

But the device isn't just about offering GPS. Other features include a 2.0 megapixel camera, MP3 player, radio and Wi-Fi functionality and if that wasn't enough all three variants run Windows Mobile OS 5 software.

In use and although the P3300 lacks the keyboard the unit performs well. The inclusion of Wi-Fi and and the GPS are a great addition and it's surprising that both are present as the device is rather slim - certainly compared to the Treo 750v and Treo 680.

Although the majority of tasks are done via the touchscreen, that hasn't stopped HTC offering some hard buttons for quick access. Here you'll find the usual answer and reject buttons, shortcuts to the GPS, Internet Explorer option and menu features.

At the centre is what initially looks like a d-pad, however on closer inspection it's actually a selection wheel that, although mechanical, works in a similar way to the Apple iPod click wheel. In the centre of this wheel is a ball that is identical to the BlackBerry Pearl's control mechanism, although this one doesn't light up.


Although this misses the keyboard that you know you want, the hand recognition software is pretty good when it comes to writing contact details and the odd notes - we wouldn't file a story on it however.

The HTC P3300 is a great little phone come PDA for those wanting more than just a phone but not yet ready to go the whole hog and get something with a keyboard.

The inclusion of the GPS is a great feature (it's the next big thing) and if you can, we would recommend opting for the own brand with TomTom rather than either the T-Mobile or O2 variants.

We love it.

Writing by Stuart Miles. Originally published on 4 January 2007.