27 January 2010

Getting a "sense" of the Toshiba TG01

As you may have gathered, my phone was upgraded, and I am now in posession of a Toshiba TG01. The shocking thing is that this phone is, for whatever reason, not very popular on Orange, and they are in the process of getting rid of them. I was amazed that they gave it to me entirely for free (on a contract, albeit a low one); we are talking about a Windows Mobile 6.5 smart phone with a 4.1" WVGA screen and a Snapdragon processor humming along at 1GHz encased in one of the most gorgeous and thinnest shells I have ever seen. Bargain!

Naturally, hardware alone does not a good phone make, and software also plays a very big role. I did try using Toshiba's own stripe interface which wasn't really as bad as people make out, and Orange's customizations which I think are truly dreadful and ugly, as well as Titanium, the default Zune-like interface of WM6.5, but because I have been using the HTC Diamond for so long, I have gotten used to the default HTC interface. I think the Diamond was the first device to use TouchFlo 3D, and with time this has gradually been upgraded and is now called HTC Sense. In fact, my Diamond currently runs HTC Sense 2.1, so I was seriously missing the interface.

Well, the good news is that this being Windows Mobile, if you don't like the UI you can always change it, and one enterprising soul has created a Sense 2.1 cab installer. This runs very well on the TG01 as you might imagine, and is both fast and responsive. You do get all the amazing 3D weather animations which never cease to wow me. Here is a video I made of it in action.

Sadly there are a few tabs which don't really work fully. The first is the contacts tab which, while you are able to assign favourites, on my device and setup crashes when you click on "All Contacts" on the left soft key. Also, video doesn't appear in the pictures and videos tab, nor does the picture viewer open when you click on a photo. HTC Album (HTC's own photo viewer) doesn't seem to install properly on this device. Obviously, and link to an HTC proprietary program is non-functional either.
None of these are deal breakers for me, and I have to say it does make the transition from my HTC Diamond to the Toshiba TG01 that much easier. I know that many people are hesitant about using a non HTC phone because they will lose Sense (which explains why HTC is going after the low end with the HTC Smart to get you hooked on the UI). HTC Sense on the Toshiba TG01 serves as a bit of a reassurance to those who are thinking of taking on leap with this great deal of a phone.

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