The HTC Shift is another Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC) but this is from the Taiwanese OEM Manufacturer, HTC. When I first heard about the HTC Shift, I originally thought that it was going to be a PDA phone but when I checked the specs, I was baffled by the 7 inch screen. I thought 7 inch was a little bit too big for a PDA. When I took a closer look, it was actually a UMPC AND a PDA.
The HTC shift houses a 7 inch 32k color touch screen, there’s a VGA out so you can connect it to an external monitor in case you want a bigger screen. This UMPC has two processors, one is an Intel A100 800 MHz processor for running Windows Vista and the other is a 400 MHz Qualcomm MSM7500 processor for running Windows Mobile. The HTC shift also has an integrated Intel GMA950 integrated video chipset, 1GB DDR2 RAM, 40 GB hard drive, integrated VGA web cam, fingerprint scanner, built in stereo speakers, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Connectivity options include WiFi 802.11b/g, Bluetooth 2.0, Ethernet, Quad Band GSM, and Triband HSDPA. Since the HTC Shift is so small, the ports available are limited, you get one USB port, VGA port, SD card slot and a 3.5mm headphone jack, however, HTC remedied this by including a USB adapter which has 3 USB ports and the Ethernet port.
One of the great advantages of the HTC Shift is that you’re always connected. You can take your pick; you can connect either through WiFi, Ethernet, GPRS, or HSDPA. The UMPCs from Samsung, Fujitsu, and Sony don’t have integrated HSDPA which puts one up for the HTC Shift. Another advantage is that this is a two in one device; a UMPC and a PDA, it even has separate processors and specs for both functions. The 800 MHz processor on the HTC Shift handles Vista OK but we’re talking about Vista here so don’t expect speed.
Though the HTC Shift has GSM connectivity, this is only for data so don’t expect that you can make calls but you can send SMS and have an instant access to email. Typing experience on the HTC Shift is also very good considering it is such a small device but compared with U810 you can actually do a lot of typing without feeling cramped or without your fingers taking the toll from the cramped space.
I really don’t get why HTC felt the need to include Windows Mobile on the HTC Shift. I think this is one of the reasons why the HTC Shift is so expensive. Though this device has Windows Mobile, it’s not the complete Windows Mobile. Some familiar programs like Pocket Internet Explorer, Office Mobile, File Explorer, and Windows Media Player mobile is missing. So what is Windows Mobile good for? Just for SMS, instant-on email, and modem for WAN connection.
Speaking of connection, the HTC Shift’s WiFi antennae is not really good at handling WiFi signals. What I mean is that the antenna is weak compared with other devices or regular laptops. There’s one to three bar difference when you’re using WiFi on the HTC Shift compared with regular laptops.
There’s also no way of downgrading the Vista to Windows XP, at least not that I know of. Also, the 1GB memory is not upgradeable.
You think since you’re running a mobile device that battery life could last a bit longer than regular laptops. After all, you’re not exactly going to be doing a lot of photo editing or other battery hungry function on the HTC Shift but battery life is only 2 hours. Also, don’t expect quiet computing since the fans on this device tend to be a little noisy.
You can’t do a lot of damage if you’re running an 800MHz processor so you’re limited to using the HTC Shift for Office applications, email, web browsing and music playback—wait, isn’t that what the ASUS EEE PC is also good for? Hmm, let’s see, which shall I pick for my basic computing needs, a $400 7 inch UMPC or a $1,499 7 inch UMPC? You get where I’m leading to?
Sure, the HTC Shift is totally cool but if you’re not exactly into hacking to make full use of the Windows Mobile side of the device and you just really need a replacement for your laptop and don’t mind that you don’t have WAN connection, I say save your money and go for the ASUS EEE PC.