The HTC TyTN II (codenamed Kaiser) was officially launched in Hong Kong on Thursday, September 13, 2007. The Dopod brand has been phased out due to HTC’s acquisition
of all Dopod assets and facilities in the Asia Pacific region. Thus this device is named the TyTN II instead of being a successor to the Dopod 838Pro. This is
a plus for consumers as only HTC is responsible for providing
universal ROM upgrades and support.
Let’s take a look at the specs of the TyTN II taken from HTC’s page. On the right-side I have included the 838Pro’s features; features with notable differences are highlighted in red.
Because the Kaiser was meant to be the successor of the
Hermes (Dopod 838Pro), throughout this review I will be referring to it often. You can view the Dopod 838Pro’s review in its entirety here.
|HTC TyTN II (HTC Kaiser)||Dopod 838Pro (HTC Hermes)
||Windows Mobile® 6 Professional||Upgradeable to WM6 Professional|
||2.8” colour TFT Tilt Up LCD touch screen
QVGA resolution (240 x 320)
|Same size and resolution, but with no tilt function|
||Qualcomm® MSM7200, 400MHz||Samsung 400MHz|
||ROM: 256 MB
RAM: 128 MB
||112mm(L) x 59mm(W) x 19mm(T)||112.8mm (L) x 58mm (W) x 21.95mm (T)|
||190g (With battery)||176g (with battery)|
||Sliding QWERTY keyboard||Sliding QWERTY keyboard|
– 3.6Mbps / UMTS (Tri-band, 850/1900/2100 MHz) GSM / GPRS / EDGE
(Quad-band, 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900MHz) (The device will operate on
frequencies available from the cellular network)
|Quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900) /GPRS/EDGE; Tri-band WCDMA (2100/850/1900); 3.5G HSDPA|
||Wi-Fi® (802.11b/g) / Bluetooth® 2.0 / HTC ExtUSB™ / External antenna connector||Wi-Fi® (802.11b/g) / Bluetooth® 2.0 / HTC ExtUSB™ / External antenna connector|
|Camera||Main camera: 3.0 Mega-pixel CMOS colour camera with auto focus
Second camera: VGA CMOS colour camera, support video conference
|Primary: 2.0 mega-pixels CMOS camera
Secondary: 0.1 mega-pixel CMOS camera
||Built-in microphone and loud speaker.
Supported ringtone formats: MP3、AAC、AAC+、WMA、WAV、40 polyphonic, MIDI
|Built-in microphone and loud speaker. Supported playback formats: WMA, MP3, WAV, MID, AMR, AAC, M4A|
||Internal GPS antenna||N/A|
||1350 mAh removable and rechargeable Li-ion battery||1300mAh removable and rechargeable|
|UMTS: 350 hours / 264 minutes
GSM: 365 hours / 420 minutes / 120 minutes (Video Conference)
(Depends on RF network environment)
|WCDMA: 200 hours / 240 minutes
GSM: 220 hours / 300 minutes
| Expansion Slot
|Value Added Application||Sprite Backup
INCLUDED IN THE BOX
- AC Adapter
- Companion CD
- Mini USB Cable
- Stereo headset
- User Guide
- Quick Start Guide
- Extra stylus
- Screen protector
- Slingbox coupon
Included in the the Hong Kong retail box was a $600 discount coupon for the Slingbox
– presumably due to clearance of stock as new models will be introduced soon. At
the time of this writing, the Slingbox is retailing for close to HKD
2,000. The coupon also provides a free registration key for Sling Mobile Player. There will be screenshots of SMP later in the review.
DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION
The TyTN II uses a mixture of finishes on its exterior.
The front half screen enclosure is wrapped by a glossy black piano finish that is reminiscent of the O2 Xda Atom. In contrast, a brushed matte aluminium grey surrounds the screen itself. The buttons below the LCD also have an alternating glossy/matte finish and feel. I do have some reservations about the layout of the "soft keys" – the small sliver of Call/End Call buttons were too often pressed accidentally when trying to use the soft keys. HTC would have done well to get rid of the top and bottom slivers that serve no practical purpose.
The back of the unit has a semi-rubberised coating. While not 100% slip-proof, it does help marginally when you are working with your Kaiser on the surface of a table. Note that when placed on a flat surface, the GPS antenna protrudes enough from the bottom to raise one side slightly. However the stability is not affected greatly – there is no wobble and you will still be able to work with the TyTN II’s keyboard.
As for other hardware buttons, the TyTN II’s placement is more or less identical to the 838Pro, with the one exception being the omission of the Comm Manager button. I find myself to be using Comm Manager often enough to have remapped the Voice Commander button to make up for this shortcoming. Personally I find Voice Commander to be unimpressive so this was not much of a loss.
A very welcome change was made to the camera button on the TyTN II. Previous users of the HTC Hermes/838Pro might know all too well the frustration in accidentally starting the camera. With the TyTN II, HTC has redesigned the button to require a harder and deeper press before the camera will start.
On the bottom of the unit are the usual suspects: stylus, mini USB plug, microphone, reset and strap holes.
The stylus measures 91mm which is an absolute joy to use, considering the telescopic Hermes stylus was a paltry 75mm when fully extended. The MicroSD slot moves to the bottom of the device with a cover added for protection, though dust still manages to find its way in. The card does not need to be flipped for insertion on this device as was the case in the Hermes. Infrared has been completely eradicated from the Kaiser, but interestingly the corresponding software setting can still be found in Windows Mobile.
The SIM card slot has been moved to behind the screen, contrary to past positions of under the battery compartment. The device auto-powers off as soon as the slot cover is opened as shown in the picture below.
The finish of the keys on the keyboard has been modified slightly to match the Kaiser’s exterior. The majority of keys are exactly the same but there have been changes in the positions of several symbols. New to the TyTN II’s keyboard are two orange indicator lights that turn on if either the Caps Lock or Function buttons are active. The keyboard backlight sensor is retained, but if there is one small negative, it is the placement of the soft keys. Because there is less space to work with (due to the screen’s hinge), the soft keys awkwardly eat into the space of the R, T, I, and O keys. During the initial period of use, it was quite common to press either of the two keys accidentally.
One of the most touted features of the HTC Kaiser is the tiltable LCD screen. The screen rests on a sturdy metal hinge and is capable of tilting upwards to a maximum of 40 degrees. Practically speaking, it is possible to rest the Kaiser on a table and use it as a tiny "laptop", poking at the keys with your fingers.
Click on the image below to show an animation of the tilt screen:
The upgraded camera is a 3.0 megapixel part with auto-focusing capabilities. There is no dedicated macro switch but it still does a good job on close up shots as can be seen from samples photos later on in this review. Sadly HTC has removed the camera light which I have found to be quite useful – in emergency situations!
The included headphones do a respectable job, but true audiophiles would probably want to invest in a pair of better headphones to take advantage of the improved A2DP quality. Compared to the Hermes, this device functioned noticeably smoother while listening to A2DP, with less machine lag while performing normal tasks such as SMS and Pocket IE web browsing. A nice change is that the music will continue to play after pressing the power button to turn off the screen – on the 838Pro the music would stop after turning off the screen.
(Note: if you are listening to music using the USB headphones, the music does stop if you turn off the screen)
I have been pleasantly surprised listening to music on Windows Media
Player Mobile with my A2DP wireless stereo player on the TyTN II.
I have been an A2DP user for listening to music since my O2 Atom and
then more recently the D810, before switching to the TyTN II.
Both the Atom and the D810 had problems reproducing clear treble. The
mid to high range was annoyingly scratchy and made it quite
uncomfortable to listen to as you increased the volume.
Ever faithful to the idea of wireless stereo, I invested in the Sony
Audio Controller VGP-BRM1, which seemed to improve the sound a little.
I was still aware of the scratchy high range, however. I managed to tame
the treble by finding a pair of headsets that was heavy on the bass – the Creative EP630’s. This helped in two ways: firstly the bass wasn’t
drowned out by the noisy ambient sounds on the crowded streets of Hong
Kong, and second it also soothed out the treble, albeit dampening it a little
at the same time.
Now enter the TyTN II and all this has changed. The mid and high levels
sound pleasant and clear. More important for me is that the scratchy high
end is gone. I am really happy with the sound coming out of the
wireless audio controller now.
I have a pair of Sony MDR-EX90 which tends to be more trebly and it is
quite comfortable to listen with now. My recently acquired
Audio-technica ATH-ES7 (pictured above) sound great! Bass is deep, but not over-powering
and doesn’t drown out the high end. Your ears do get a little warm with
Hong Kong’s hot summer weather, but they should come in handy when the
weather gets cooler. My Creatives are still my daily use workhorse
earbuds. I do like to have some soothing bass while listening to my
music and these buds keep the bass in noisy environments. The great
thing now is that I have music quality from my phone which is
on par with many portable MP3 players available today.
The bundled case is made of a synthetic suede material and like the headphones, it bears HTC’s logo on the front. On the back is a non-detachable belt clip. Retrieving the phone is a two-step process: first you have to pull the strip with the HTC logo down, then the top flap up. Returning the device is a similar process but in reverse. Thus, when attached to your belt the case cannot be operated with one hand reliably. I actually prefer to use the simple leather case that came with my Dopod 838Pro.
This is HTC’s new Today Screen plugin. It provides a lot of useful information such as the time, missed calls, weather, quickdial/program shortcuts, and ringtone profiles. They need to add in an option to shrink the clock which takes up too much precious real estate, especially when your TyTN II is in landscape mode.
The default phone dialling skin has been improved and looks sleeker and smarter. You will notice that the number keys use the full width of the screen so the buttons are much bigger, making them easier to press.
Phone reception on the default radio 188.8.131.52 is fantastic. I’m getting either full strength signals or zero reception (when in elevators, etc.).
Video quality during 3G conference was good. However the speakerphone was a bit problematic on my unit. Turning on microphone AGC in WM settings helped somewhat but I still experienced far too much static during the 3G video calls. The experience improved using Bluetooth-enabled headsets.
HTC’s task manager works like O2 Plus – it handles the closing of and fast switching between programs.
Some screenshots from Settings > System.
The TyTN II’s battery is 1350mAh. How much you get out of that 1350mAh per day of course depends on how you use your device. If you are constantly connected via 3G/HSDPA, hop onto various WiFi spots throughout the day, and do a moderate amount of voice calling and texting, then the Kaiser’s definitely going to require a nightly charge.
Microsoft has included the all-important Windows Update for WM6. Let’s hope for everyone’s sake that patches are not released regularly as is the case for Windows XP!
Screenshots relating to Bluetooth, WiFi, and general networking. With support for 802.11b/g, the TyTN II performed very well in Skype as the new Qualcomm CPU is "officially" supported. The Dopod 838Pro’s Samsung CPU is not supported in Skype 2.2.
Shots of what comes installed on a factory default TyTN II, with the exception of my Valksoft screen capture software. Not shown are HTC’s bundled applications of GPRS Monitor,
CE-Star, Sprite Backup, and WorldCard Mobile. While the latter
application was included with the Dopod 838Pro, the former 3 are very
useful utilities that no serious Pocket PC should do without. Kudos to
HTC for bundling them with the TyTN II!
HTC’s Audio Manager is a great alternative to Windows Media Player because it just works. There is no more fussing about with missing songs in your library. The one drawback, if you can call it that, is the lack of album art.
For the GPS part of this review, we turn it over to our resident GPS expert, Mr Jawis.
If you want to avoid a frustrating time setting up your GPS for the
first time I would suggest you take your TyTN II outside to catch the
satellites. I initially thought that I could get a fix indoors sitting
by a big window as I did with my previous D810. Unfortunately after
half an hour I still had not managed to set anything up. I was a little
worried thinking that the GPS was faulty. I decided to give it one more
try by going outside, where I was able to get a fix within a minute! Half an hour wasted indoors! Since the initial setup I can now get a GPS fix within seconds.
As suggested in the manual I would advise that you run QuickGPS before
you set up. The utility will load up satellite data to your PDA to
enable a fast connection. This utility was not available in my previous
D810. Comparatively the D810 took much longer to get a fix.
If you are still having problems connecting to your GPS I suggest you
check to see if you have the right com port activated. On the TyTN II
it is com port 4:
The GPS software I use most frequently is Mapking. This program allows for auto-detection of the COM port, but I found that on
occasions Mapking was not able to detect the port. If you are having
the same problem change the option to manual and choose COM port 4.
Recently I have also been playing around with Google Maps Mobile, a nice piece
of freeware from Google. I found that the map of Hong Kong is very
detailed now and most of the street names are there. Getting a
satellite fix with Google Maps is quick and without hassle. The only
disadvantage with Google Maps is that you need to download the map in
real-time while it is tracking you. If you have an unlimited data plan
then this is not so much a worry for you.
I recently tracked a trip while driving on an errand from Mong Kok to
Shatin. Under light traffic the trip takes about 20 minutes. Google Maps
was able to work out the route to be 12km and the trip would take 19
minutes. It took about 700KB of HSDPA data to track the trip.
SLINGBOX & SLINGMOBILE PLAYER
Using the $600 discount coupon I got myself a Slingbox along with a free registration key for Sling Player Mobile. Here are some screen caps of SPM running on my TyTN II. Overall the experience is very smooth using either WiFi or HSDPA. The battery will drain faster during constant Slinging and you will definitely want to watch your bandwidth: we estimated that every minute of Slinging = 3MB.
As mentioned earlier, the camera button has been given additional protection to avoid accidental startup. Also worth noting is that the application defaults to storing media (that includes photos and videos) on Storage Card\DCIM\100Media. Nothing special about the camera, except that another year has passed and the mediocre lens is retained from previous generations of HTC phones.
Note: photos have been scaled down to 1000 pixels wide.
As expected, outdoor daytime shots looked best. Macro shots were good as long as there was ample lighting. Indoor shots, as usual, require a lot of light – and unfortunately even then they sometimes do still turn out blurry.
As is the case with photography, video-taking requires ample light. The sample clip below is from Ocean Park and features the very cute panda An An.
There’s a whole lot to like about the Kaiser. The inclusion of
different network technologies including 3.5G/HSDPA, EDGE, and WiFi
means you will never be stranded on the road. Smooth A2DP playback is a
plus, and GPS means you won’t get lost – whether in a car or on a
hike. True road warriors will want to pack an extra battery as
drainage can happen quite quickly.
HTC has managed to take the best out of the 838Pro and make improvements. The camera has been
improved but it still has a ways to go before it can rival the levels
of Sony Ericsson and Nokia. Besides this and other minor quirks, there
is nothing that will stop me from recommending the HTC TyTN II to users
who require all of these features.
- Full featured with GPS, HSDPA, WiFi
- Smooth A2DP playback and great audio quality
- Lots of memory
- Tiltable screen
- Placement of both sets of soft keys awkward
- Cannot charge and connect headphones at the same time, without a USB splitter
- Could use a bigger battery
Click here to view the HTC interactive e-learning page for the HTC TyTN II.