Sprint Mogul Hands-On

sprintmogulhands.jpgLike we said in the announcement, the Sprint Mogul by HTC is more than a worthy successor to the Sprint PPC-6700, an aging device that's ready to be let out to stud little smartphones. But how good is it really? Pretty darn good, in the grand scheme of Windows Mobile handsets.

The Mogul, or Titan, is the next generation of slide-out QWERTY phones from HTC. It follows up the HTC TyTN/Hermes (confusing naming, we know) by making the keyboard slide to the right and adding the caps lock/function key indicator lights to the top. It's quite similar to the T-Mobile Wing in the way it slides out, but it's definitely closer to the Cingular 8525 than anything else we've seen.

With Windows Mobile 6 and the 400MHz Intel/Qualcomm CPU, this phone is probably one of the snappiest WM phones we've used yet. But like being the tallest dwarf, it's not really an achievement you should be bragging about.

The keyboard is more rubbery than we saw on the 8525, but definitely still ranks among the best QWERTY keyboards for text input on the phone. It's spring loaded, like the T-Mobile Wing, but unlike the T-Mobile Wing, the function menu keys (top left and top right when open) are actually in the right place—on the top edges of the keyboard instead of in the top middle. And they're big too, which is fantastic.

Call quality is HTC's usual goodness, which means it's clear even when driving and has excellent speakerphone capabilities. There is one quirk that I'll note later, though.

Sprint's special features like EV-DO Rev. 0 (Rev. A to come with a software upgrade) are fast, but loading Web pages really depends more on the processing power platform than the connection on these types of phones, we think. There's Sprint's Software Store, where you have to pay for add-ons, and Sprint's Music Store, where you can pony up some cash for mobile tunes. AudibleAir and AudiblePlayer are also in there, for Harry Potter on the go. And as customary with WM6 phones, Windows Live is also included.

One thing we really like is the inclusion of the "Internet Sharing" app, which lets you use your phone as a USB or Bluetooth modem to your laptop. We're not sure whether this is Mac compatible, but we'll check that out and report back.

Sprint has the default theme set up to their atrocious yellow scheme by default. Luckily we weren't blinded enough to not be able to switch it to the Windows Mobile 6's sea green motif we're used to.

Another odd thing I noticed that never existed on other HTC phones was a weird echo of my own voice if I placed the phone up to my head and angled the speaker right into my ear canal. Move it a centimeter away in any direction—still touching my ear—and no echo. I tried calling a bunch of other phones to make sure it wasn't the other party, and it was the same thing. Definitely strange.

But quirks aside, if you're on the aging PPC-6700 and want to stick with Sprint and Windows Mobile, the Mogul is definitely a good upgrade. If you're thinking of switching to Sprint and you're wondering if there's a good WM6 phone for you? This is it.

Product Page [Sprint]

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