The myTouch 4G: What You Need to Know
Avoiding the recent barrage of myTouch 4G TV commercials is becoming very, very difficult these days. In case you’ve been vacationing on Mars, the commercials are more than coincidentally similar to Apple’s annoying Mac/PC ad campaign – only this time the “good guy” is an attractive woman in pink and instead of one nerd there are two goofy men, representing an iPhone and AT&T’s wireless network, who don’t have a clue when it comes to what smartphones can really do. Thankfully, the handset is better than the commercials.
This MT4G is being called a 4G phone because the handset runs on T-Mobile’s rapidly-expanding HSPA+ network. Whether it’s really 3.5 or a true 4G source is in question, at the moment, because new international standards for 4G services that have just been proposed.
But, T-Mobile has decided to call the phone 4G to get in on the rush to cash-in on faster data services. Sprint ‘s 4G is up and running. MetroPCS’s 4G network is in a bunch of cities so far. And, Verizon’s LTE “4G” network is being promised for a number of markets before the end of 2010.
So, what T-Mobile has done is to change the little 3G notification at the top of the screen to an “H” to let you know you’re on their “4G” network. One other thing you should know – T-Mobile isn’t standing still when it comes to data download speeds. They’re reportedly on track to expand its HSPA+ to reach 200 million people by the end of this year – with plans to move to even faster speeds (42Mbps) in 2011.
The MT4G is a quad-band, candy bar-shaped worldphone (that means there is no slide-out QWERTY keyboard) which runs on Android’s 2.2 OS. Overall, it has a terrific 3.8-inch touchscreen, a second-generation, 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 5 MP camera and video camcorder, video chat capabilities, Wi-fi, Bluetooth, GPS, a terrific Swype keyboard, Flash 10.1, DLNA screen sharing for HD videos, Wi-fi tethering, 8GB memory card and more – all in a remarkably thin little package which weighs less than 5-and-a-half ounces. Although some might feel that the MT4G feels somewhat heavy we like the fact that the phone is solid and reminds us of a precision scientific instrument).
In our testing in the NY City metropolitan area, the myTouch 4G was, indeed, a very fast smartphone. Trying the carrier’s new video store called T-Mobile TV, the handset did an admirable job of streaming video via both the 4G network and via Wi-fi.
What it didn’t handle so well was video conferencing. During our trials we found a number of drop-outs, stalls and downright freezes at times when trying to handle a video conference call. I’m guessing that a software fix will be coming down the pike real soon. Those faster 4G speeds next year will surely help as well.
As for hardware, we wish that the myTouch would play a little louder. Maximum volume seemed somewhat limited to our ears. On the other hand, we found battery life to be in line for what we expect from a feature-laden Android phone. That means, with judicial use, you should be able to squeeze an entire day out of a fully-charged battery pack.
Just as an aside, I’ve never understood why someone would want an optical track pad (like the one on the MT4T) in addition to a touch-screen. It doesn’t make much sense.
MyTouch 4G currently comes in four nifty colors: White, Black, Red and Plum (no Pink to match their spokeswoman’s outfits?) and will set you back the somewhat standard $200 after discounts and mail-in rebate. Of course, you’ll have to sign a 2-year service contract as well to get that price.
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