28 October 2006

HTC S620 Excalibur

Introducing... the HTC S620 Excalibur. I was fed up with my previous mobile and tired of carrying around a PDA to keep track of all my appointments, contacts, and notes. I thought it would be more convenient to only have to carry one device around so I started looking into smartphones.

I wanted something that could comfortably fit in my pocket, with a full QWERTY keyboard, quad-band GSM, MP camera, and could easily synchronize with Microsoft Outlook. Treos are nice, but they're big with an external antenna (though it looks like that will soon change). I'd basically given up on finding something because everything I saw failed my 'size' requirement. Then... the Motorola Q arrived. I would have snapped this up if it had been GSM--but no... it's with Verizon.

I started paying attention to technology sites/blogs like CNET and Brighthand to keep up to date on soon-to-be released models. I read about the Blackberry Pearl carried by T-Mobile. However, it didn't have a full QWERTY, and I had reservations about the trackball. That's when I read about the T-Mobile Dash. It met all of my requirements, in particular reviews described the call-quality as very good--an important consideration as that would be its primary function. Unfortunately, right now it's only at T-Mobile, and I'm still under contract with Cingular.

I looked into what T-Mobile was asking, and whether it was unlocked. It wasn't. T-Mobile would only unlock the Dash after 3-months of a contract, or if I bought the phone full-price without a contract. Hmmm... I thought about the latter option, but it peeved me that even if I bought a Dash without contract it would still have T-Mobile branding and whatever software/alterations they put on it.

Never say never. I searched various places on-line to see if any unlocked Dashes were being offered. It turns out the T-Mobile Dash is a modified HTC S620 Excalibur. Retailers were offering the Excalibur (unlocked) at a significantly higher price than T-Mobile, but after much thought I decided this was the way I would go. I ordered an Excalibur last week and it arrived a few days ago.

Wow! Simply amazing! First, I had read about the physical dimensions (S620 specifications) but it didn't really sink in how small it is until I held it in my hands. Here's a picture of the S620 beside a AAA battery.

I should note that in the picture at the top of this post, the display is much brighter and vibrant in person (my camera flash kind of bled out the screen). The HTC S620 met all of my major requirements: good call quality, GSM, MP camera, QWERTY keyboard, small size, and synchronized with Outlook--with one caveat. Despite what it says on the T-Mobile website, this device does *not* synch with Outlook Notes. The way I worked around this was to convert my Notes into Contacts, which does synch.

Today I tried connecting the S620 to my computer using a USB-Bluetooth adapter, but eventually I gave up. I'm blaming this on my lack of experience with Bluetooth rather than on the S620. Regardless, Bluetooth and WiFi were never on my 'must have' list.

It's only been a few days but so far I'm extremely pleased with my purchase. Now I'm just waiting for someone to come out with a good case for the S620. I picked up one from T-Mobile as a stop-gap measure, but I prefer a horizontal holster rather than a vertical one.


Stargazer (original profile) said...

Wow, that looks great! What kind of OS does it run?

r32argent said...

Windows Mobile 5.0. I'm glad I bought it as soon as it came out, because once T-Mobile released their version the prices for the S620 have increased--I would have guessed the opposite.