The Dopod 838Pro is a Pocket PC Phone designed and manufactured by the giants HTC. Codenamed Hermes, it is sold elsewhere in the world as the Orange SPV M3100, Dopod CHT9000, Vodafone v1605, and Cingular 8525.
World’s First 3G Windows Mobile PDA Phone With Sliding Keyboard
The Dopod 838Pro brings cutting edge technology into the hands of users. Packing 7 network bands into a slim package, together with WiFi 802.11g. The Dopod 838Pro is a the device for the modern executive.
Quadband GSM + Triband WCDMA
Not content with bringing Quadband GSM support, the 838Pro also supports Triband WCDMA (850/1900/2100).
Supporting the latest WiFi 802.11g network, the 838Pro can surf the Internet or download emails at speeds up to 54Mbps.
2 megapixel camera with macro-lens, flash and mirror
Bringing even more value to its customers, Dopod has continued with the innovative macro-lens solution first started in the 818Pro. Only this time, its paired with a flash and mirror as well to make snaps even more enjoyable.
INCLUDED IN THE BOX
- AC Adapter
- Companion CD
- Mini USB Cable
- Stereo headset
- User Guide
- Quick Start Guide
- Extra stylus
Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 for Pocket PC Phone Edition
2.8” display, QVGA resolution (240×320), 65K colour TFT LCD
GSM (850/900/1800/1900) / GPRS / EDGE / WCDMA (UMTS)
Primary: 2.0 megapixel / Panoramic Mode / Digital Focus / No Time Limit on Voice & Video Recording / Flash
Secondary: 0.1 megapixel
Samsung CPU 400 Mhz
128MB ROM / 64 MB RAM
QWERTY keypad / 360º jog wheel
Wi-Fi 802.11b/g / Bluetooth v2.0 / IrDA /USB 1.1
Micro-SD Memory Card (Max. 1GB*)
MP3, WMA, WAV, Polyphonic (40 chords)
176 g (With Battery)
58 mm (w) x 112.5 mm (l) x 21.95 mm (d)
Standby / Talk time
Standby: GSM – 220hrs / UMTS – 180-250 hrs
Talk (without back-light): GSM – 4-5hrs / UMTS – 2-4 hrs
Microsoft Internet Explorer / PocketMSN Messenger / Windows Media Player / Microsoft Pocket Outlook / ZIP / Camera / Wireless Manager
Note that the 838Pro has support for HSDPA, but it is disabled by default. Luckily there is a utility called fit4cat Hermes Tweaker that will allow you to do just that (and more.. think of it as "PowerToys" for your Hermes).
*1GB maximum according to the official specs — but I have used a Sandisk 2GB card with no problems.
Official pics provided by Dopod:
DOPOD 838PRO FRONT VIEW
Though aesthetically more pleasing, the buttons around the D-pad are not as easy to navigate as the 818Pro’s. In my opinion, the 6 keys around the D-pad are too tightly packed together and could have benefited from slightly raising the "Start" and "OK" keys. I always manage to answer a call prematurely when taking the phone out of my case.
|DOPOD 838PRO LEFT SIDE|
Moving from left to right – A 360-degree jog wheel makes this the first attempt by HTC at a "one-handed device", though the wheel felt more natural to use in my left hand. From there we have the "OK" and "Voice Commander" buttons. (Note the raised dot on the OK button to let you easily distinguish between the two) This button acts as the "x" in the top right of the screen inside WM5, but once you get to the Today Screen, it will invoke the Start Menu. Voice Commander has been improved and made more useable thanks primarily to the beefed-up Samsung 400MHz processor. Finally, we have the MicroSD slot (formerly known as TransFlash), and on the bottom right of the image is the phone-strap hole.
|DOPOD 838PRO RIGHT SIDE|
Moving from left to right – The stylus slot is at the bottom left of this image, followed by Camera, Comm Manager, and Power buttons. Again, because of the 400MHz CPU, the camera application starts up much faster than the 818Pro’s – this will reduce the chances of missing a "Kodak moment", a frustration I was all too familiar with while using the HTC Prophet!
|DOPOD 838PRO BOTTOM|
Starting from the left, we have the Infrared port, which HTC has already revealed plans to phase out. This is followed by the reset hole (which can fit the tip of the stylus or a paper clip), microphone, battery latch release and the mini-USB port. The irregularly-shaped USB port is to accomodate the included headphones, which no longer uses a 2.5mm round audio jack. On the bottom corners of this image you can see phone strap hole and the stylus.
DOPOD 838PRO BACK
|…the battery compartment, and underneath it, the SIM card slot. You can see from the sticker that this is a HERM100 model, which as far as I know differs from the HERM200 mainly in its button layout and overall shape. (The HTC TyTN is an example of a HERM200 part.)|
|CLOSE-UP SHOT of the 2.0MP camera. Immediately to its left is the self-portrait mirror, and to its right is the LED light that can be illuminated for indoor shots at night. Next to the light is a selector that switches between "normal" and "macro" modes. The black rubber gasket connects to the car antenna, while the slit beneath the mirror is the external speaker. From my usage these past weeks, the speaker has better volume and clarity than the 818Pro.|
THE QWERTY KEYBOARD was as far as I am concerned the Hermes’ main selling point. I absolutely loved the QWERTY on my XDA2s and it’s fantastic to have one back to peck out my SMSes! It’s not possible to type with one hand as it was with the 2s unless you want to risk dropping your precious 838Pro. Tactile strength of the keys is excellent, and each key’s minute curvature makes it easy to type on – you won’t find your finger tips "overspilling" onto keys next to your intended target. Don’t bet on becoming a touch typist with this keyboard, however, even though the "F" and "J" keys have the home row notches.
You can see above the "W" and "I" keys the hardware buttons that correspond to WM5’s soft keys; above the "P" key is a light sensor that detects the lighting to determine whether or not the keyboard should illuminate.
|WHEN THE KEYBOARD IS USED IN A DARK environment, the sensor will light up the 838Pro’s keyboard in this beautiful blue. To access the symbols and other alternate functions, simply press the • on the bottom left before the actual key. You can see that there is a shortcut for Wifi ("•" + "OK") and File Explorer ("•" + right arrow).|
|THE BOX shows the presence of SIS International, who acts as Dopod’s local distributor and is responsible for general repairs & exchanges.|
THE INCLUDED MANUAL (almost 400 pages!) goes into great detail on how to use your 838Pro. On the two CDs you will find ActiveSync 4.1, Outlook 2002, and Worldcard Mobile. The latter allows you to use the built-in camera to capture an image of a business card, and use the OCR capabilities to automatically "fill in the blanks" of a new contact. Chinese display software is required if you wish to scan business cards in Chinese.
|LEATHER CASE bundled with the 838Pro is of excellent quality and includes no exposed metal parts…|
|…as opposed to the 818Pro’s case (left), which could scratch the PDA if not taken out with care.|
|THE STYLUS is a telescoping one and fits snugly inside the 838Pro. You will need to use a good bit of force to pry it out of its slot, but it is quite comfortable to hold and use contrary to opinions I have seen out on the net. Move mouse cursor over the stylus to see the stylus in its shortened form.|
|THE BATTERY is a 1350mAh Lithium-Ion unit, whereas 818Pro’s was Lithium-Ion Polymer. (The 838Pro box incorrectly refers to the battery as being 1300mAh)|
|DOPOD 818PRO, DOPOD 838PRO, O2 ATOM comparison shot. Between the three, the 838Pro had the hardest time standing up straight!|
|STACKED SIDE VIEW of the Dopod 838Pro [21.95mm thick], O2 Atom [18.5mm thick], and Dopod 818Pro [18.2mm thick].|
|VIEW FROM THE BOTTOM, the same three devices. Here you can clearly see the difference between the USB-connectors.|
|COMPARISON: Dopod 838Pro and Dopod 818Pro.|
During the initial bootup, the machine applies Dopod-specific changes, and installs extra games and programs. This is the list of installed applications you will find at Start >> Programs after the 5-minute initilization:
- ClearVue PDF
- Download Agent
- Excel Mobile
- File Explorer
- MIDlet Manager
- MP3 Player – a nice alternative to WMP.
- Pictures & Videos
- Pocket MSN
- PowerPoint Mobile
- QuickMark – allows you to capture and decode QR Code.
- SIM Manager
- Streaming Media – for playback of Real Time Streaming Protocol files.
- Terminal Services
- Voice Commander – control your 838Pro with spoken commands.
- Wireless Modem
- World Mobile
- Zip – create and uncompress ZIP files on your PDA using this util.
- Bubble Breaker
- Magic Puz – "Connect two or more of same colored ball, horizontal or vertical, in a limited amount of time to make them disappear."
- Another World – "A young scientist was brought to another world during a lightning strike accident in his particle experiment lab. The goal of the game is to rescue the young scientest from this other world."
|Today screen after hard reset, showing Dopod’s included greyish theme.||After sliding out the keyboard, the screen automatically changes to landscape view. There is not noticeable delay when switching between the two thanks to the speedy 400MHz CPU.|
|Settings – About show the Samsung SC32442-400MHz CPU and AKU2.3. A2DP is supported without the need for hacks.||Device Information with more detail about CPU, ROM, etc.|
|Memory shows the 128MB ROM.||The default ROM with a date of July 21.|
|5 hardware buttons are programmable. Here I have changed the default Voice Commander button to screen capture.||The keyboard sensor can be disabled.|
|QuickMark uses the camera to capture QR Code.||Streaming Media opens media compatible with rtsp:// (Real Time Streaming Protocol).|
|Cyberon Voice Commander – on the default 838Pro ROM is Version 1.6 Build 606161.||Voice Commander is more "useable" due to the improved processor speed.|
|Comm Manager remains unchanged from 818Pro.||Windows Media Player Version 10.2 Build 14955. Still can’t figure out why the customizations do not automatically create a program shortcut.|
|WorldCard Mobile is a business card recognition program. It has 3 different language settings: English, Traditional Chinese, and Simplified Chinese.||The application comes on a CD in the box and is not installed automatically after a hard reset.|
|Camera viewfinder shows the adjustable options including LED light, zoom, etc., and has generally been improved over the 818Pro software. The most notable change, however, will be the speed at which the camera starts up.||When a MicroSD card is inserted, the camera app is smart enough to detect it and gives the option of automatically changing the storage to the removeable disk. It’s also smart enough to avoid filename issues like this.|
|The new MP3 player’s finger-friendly user interface.||MP3 Player – About info|
These results were obtained using Spb Benchmark, and taken immediately after a hard reset.
MAIN TEST RESULTS
|Test||Time||Speed||% of iPAQ 3650* speed|
|Write 1 MB file||1284 ms||798 KB/sec||100%|
|Read 1 MB file||287 ms||3.49 MB/sec||19%|
|Copy 1 MB file||1233 ms||831 KB/sec||105%|
|Write 10 KB x 100 files||3259 ms||314 KB/sec||56%|
|Read 10 KB x 100 files||470 ms||2.13 MB/sec||34%|
|Copy 10 KB x 100 files||3127 ms||328 KB/sec||69%|
|Directory list of 2000 files||1487 ms||1.34 thousands of files/sec||1%|
|Internal database read||774 ms||1292 records/sec||307%|
|Graphics test: DDB BitBlt||7.93 ms||126 frames/sec||469%|
|Graphics test: DIB BitBlt||40.3 ms||24.8 frames/sec||184%|
|Graphics test: GAPI BitBlt||13.3 ms||75 frames/sec||35%|
|Pocket Word document open||28162 ms||9.25 KB/sec||30%|
|Pocket Internet Explorer HTML load||3500 ms||7.07 KB/sec||54%|
|Pocket Internet Explorer JPEG load||1889 ms||134 KB/sec||254%|
|File Explorer large folder list||4172 ms||479 files/sec||93%|
|Compress 1 MB file using ZIP||4186 ms||242 KB/sec||228%|
|Decompress 1024×768 JPEG file||608 ms||462 KB/sec||145%|
|Arkaball frames per second||17.3 ms||57.7 frames/sec||53%|
|CPU test: Whetstones MFLOPS||4455 ms||0.083 Mop/sec||181%|
|CPU test: Whetstones MOPS||1176 ms||53.6 Mop/sec||157%|
|CPU test: Whetstones MWIPS||9394 ms||5.32 Mop/sec||179%|
|Memory test: copy 1 MB using memcpy||17.5 ms||57.2 MB/sec||81%|
*iPAQ 3650 running Pocket PC 2000
The score of 1% in "Directory list of 2000 files" looks a bit odd, but remember that "benchmarks are just benchmarks." Just know that if you are coming from the TI OMAP850 200MHz CPU found in the HTC Wizard (Dopod 838) or Prophet (Dopod 818Pro), there will be a very noticeable increase in overall responsiveness.
(For reference, the iPaq 3650 uses a 206 MHz Intel StrongARM Processor, 32 MB of RAM, 16 MB of ROM, and a 12-bit (4096 colour) Thin-Film Transistor (TFT) Display.)
CAMERA SAMPLE PHOTOS
- Taken with Dopod 838Pro
- 2.0 megapixels (1600 x 1200)
- Pictures have not been resized or edited
- All other camera settings at default
|Macro (click to enlarge)|
|Outdoor (click to enlarge)|
|Night shot (click to enlarge)|
As is the case with the HTC Prophet, the camera is at its best when taking shots in daylight. Anything else and your hands will need to be very steady, though the LED light helps somewhat for indoor situations.
It’s up to HTC to significantly improve the camera as it seems to have fallen behind the likes of Sony-Ericsson and Nokia in the camera department.
PROS OF THE 838PRO
Overall, I am liking the 838Pro a lot, for a variety of reasons:
- Keyboard, keyboard, keyboard. I use it as much as I can and sometimes wish it can be permanently extended. It’s comfortable to type on, and the blue backlight just makes it sexy, if you can call a gadget that.
- The speed of the CPU is fantastic; no more moments of frustration and impatience from the 818Pro’s OMAP850 200MHz CPU. One word comes to mind: freedom!
- Jog wheel – scrollable in all directions, it fully qualifies as a jog wheel and not a "slider" like the 818Pro.
- SKYPE WORKS! With the latest beta version installed, I have had perfectly clear conversations via wi-fi with another user on both a laptop and O2 Atom. This is the first experience I’ve had with Skype for PPC that was completely and positively hassle-free. (the XDA2s and 818Pro were both extremely dissappointing in this department)
- 3G and HSDPA-enabled, which would have been great – had SmarTone supported the 838Pro on HSDPA.
ANNOYANCES OF THE 838PRO
- The camera falls into this category, as hardware limitations prevent any hope of a change. The picture quality from the 838Pro is "acceptable" – but your digital camera’s job is safe for now.
- Hopefully SmarTone will hear our (my?) pleas and let us hop on their HSDPA pipe. I’d rather pay for the unlimited wireless package than get charged 1MB for an AvantGo sync that I *thought* was using Wi-Fi.
- Calls are "connected" too easily – I have managed to mis-dial people randomly (without me knowing!) and answer incoming calls prematurely when taking the phone out of the case. This could be related to the cramped layout of the buttons.
- MMS not working, despite numerous technical support calls and visits to SmarTone’s branches.
- Software keyboard bug, which I seem to be the only one experiencing. Basically I am not able to select suggested words with the directional pad. This is a bit of a letdown especially given that the Phone Pad input method has not made its way into the 838Pro.
The 838Pro is easily the best Pocket PC Phone I have owned to date, despite the above minor annoyances. The keyboard, CPU speed and other "pros" far outweigh the negatives.
I hope solutions can be found for the fixeable issues, and I will surely update if/when that happens. In the meantime, please leave a message below if you have questions or general comments. We also have a running forum discussion thread here.