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8/31/2009
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Review: T-Mobile myTouch 3G

HTC's touchscreen Google Android smartphone brings better hardware and a more refined user experience over the G1.

T-Mobile myTouch 3G
(click image for larger view)
T-Mobile myTouch 3G

T-Mobile and HTC have together enjoyed a reasonable amount of success with their joint Android offerings. The G1, released in October 2008, has sold over one million units (despite its shortcomings). That makes the G1 -- and Android -- a winner in the eyes of many.

In February 2009, HTC debuted the Magic, its second handset using the Android platform. The Magic went on sale via Vodafone in the United Kingdom earlier this year. The Magic has also sold more than one million units worldwide, and is now for sale from T-Mobile USA as the myTouch 3G with Google.

For anyone hesitant to adopt the Android platform in general or the HTC G1 in particular, the myTouch 3G should convince most to make the leap.

Hardware Improvements

Let's face facts: The G1 was not the most attractive smartphone ever made. Not only was it bulky and heavy, it had a difficult-to-use physical QWERTY keyboard and suffered from some serious battery life problems. The myTouch 3G is a vast improvement on all fronts.

It loses the physical keyboard completely. This means it is far lighter, smaller, and easier to carry around than the G1, but it also means you have to perform all text/data entry via an on-screen software keyboard. Some users have problems with that, but it works for many (i.e., the millions of iPhone users).

Even though there is less to love, the myTouch 3G is a better all-around device for everyday use. The plastics feel good in the hand, and all the controls are easily found and used with your thumbs. The myTouch 3G keeps the trackball from the G1, and this is a good supplement to the touch screen for navigating the menus.

Speaking of which, the capacitive display on the myTouch 3G is brilliant. It is bright, colorful, and sharp. E-mails, documents, applications, Web pages, and video all look fantastic. The display is responsive to user input, and I noticed very little hesitation or delay when interacting with the phone.

The one bummer is that the myTouch doesn't support full multi-touch (a la iPhone-style) out of the box. Some third party applications support their own flavor of multi-touch, and its possible multi-touch will come to future versions of the Android platform.

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