|[img 5 R]In a nutshell: The myTouch 4G is the latest in T-Mobiles line of myTouch Android smartphones. It has quite a few upgrades over the most recent version of the cell phone, the myTouch 3G slide. However, were happy to report the myTouch 4G has kept one of the lines signature features, the Genius Button.|
Although, the cell phone has a plastic casing it still feels solid; thanks to metal plate that covers the battery and 5-megapixel camera and LED flash . The myTouch 4G is available in black, red, or white so youll have no problem picking a model thats fits your style. It feels comfortable in the hand and fits easily in a pant pocket or small purse. It has a fairly slim profile, thinner than that of the myTouch 3G Slide so you probably wont want to cradle it between ear and shoulder while on long calls. Like other Android cell phones, the front of it is essentially a large touchscreen display. At the phones base are a touchpad for navigation and four keys: Home, Menu, Back, and Genius Button (this take the place of the Search button found on other Andorid phones) and the top of the display are a speaker and a VGA camera for conducting video chats. The silver lining surrounding the face of the cell phone gives it a more sophisticated look. We particularly appreciate that the smartphones spine isnt too clutterd. On one side youll find a well-placed dedicated camera key. On the other side are volume keys, three Gold dots so that you can place the phone in a desk or car dock horizontally, and a microUSB port. At the top of the cell phone are the power button and a 3.5mm headset jack.
Like other Android cell phones the myTouch 4G is a touchscreen phone. The display is bright and easy to read. Stationary at the bottom of each of the seven customizable screens is access to the phone, applications, and the Faves Gallery that offers a quick glance at whats going on with your favorite contacts. As noted, the myTouch 4G lacks the slide-out tactile QWERTY keyboard found on the myTouch 3G Slide. This means youll need to use the onscreen keyboard, which we found quite usable. Additionally, the cell phone comes loaded with SWYPE for faster typing. You can also use the keyboard in horizontal mode if you desire more room.
Testing the myTouch 4G
Making calls: During calls we could hear callers loud and without distortion, while callers said they had no problem hearing us clearly.
- Volume Adjustment: You can use the side buttons to adjust the volume, but we rarely needed to use them.
- Speakerphone: Accessing the speakerphone during calls is easy, simply look at the phones display and select Speakerphone. When using this feature we found we could still hear callers clearly, though it did sound a bit tinny. We didnt cut each other off when speaking simultaneously.
Operating System: The smartphone comes loaded with Android 2.2 OS and sports a a speedy 1GHz Snapdragon processor. Read: You dont have to wait for applications to launch, web pages load quickly (it also has pinch and zoom for web pages), it can play streaming videos with minimal lag time, and switches between apps on the cell phone with ease. The new OS isnt a huge departure from those found on previous models, its just easier to use. There are a few things to note about navigation. If youre in an application screen and want to go back to the previous screen simply press the back arrow. If you want to exit a program simply press the button with a picture of a house. Whenever youre in an application and want to do more, press the Menu key and a set of options will appear.
T-Mobile has added a few enhancements to the user interface. First, all the applications are surrounded by a square that resembles the iPhones display of applications. Youll also find MyModes (a feature that lets you change the phones set-up to meet a certain life situation such a KidZone so kids wont be able to make calls from the phone), RockBand, T-Mobile TV, WiFi Calling, Asphalt 5, and a T-Mobile App Pack.
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- Genius Button: This is the yellow button found at the base of the cell phone and its unique to the myTouch line. This is a voice-activated feature that lets you call, send an e-mail or text, search the web, find a business, or even launch applications. Theres a reason its called Genius, it wont let you perform tasks that you if you dont have the pertinent information. For example, if you say Send John a text and theres no cell phone number in the contact information for John, it will let you know.
- E-Mail: We were able to easily set-up and access both corporate e-mail and web-based e-mail accounts such as Yahoo!, AOL, and Gmail.
- Web Navigation: T-Mobiles Web2Go application appears when you first launch the Internet on the myTouch 4G. This is essentially a set of bookmarks of your favorite sites and RSS feeds that can be customized. Theres also a Google Search bar and a browser bar so you can manually type in websites. The myTouch 4 does a good job handling multiple windows. You can also zoom and scroll around web pages with ease.
- Social Media: While applications for popular social media sites like Twitter, MySpace, and Facebook arent included on the cell phone it does have Friend Stream. This is a HTC widget that lets you view friends updates in a single stream from multiple social media sites.
Camera features: The myTouch 4G sports a 5-megapixel camera with a flash on the back of the cell phone. It lacks a tiny mirror for framing self-portraits. Although, it has a VGA camera on the front cant use it for snapping self-portraits. To access the camera simply press and hold the silver button at the bottom of the right side of the cell phone.
- Shutter speed: The shutter on the myTouch 4G is fairly fast, but youre probably wont be able to capture a lot of action shots.
- Picture Quality: We found colors to be true and details sharp.
- Photo Settings: You can control the flash, zoom, set a self-timer, white balance, ISO, Face Detection, Grid (to help frame shots) select an effect (Distortion, Vignette, Vintage warm and cold, Depth of Field, Grayscale, Sepia, Negative, Solarize, Posterize, and Aqua), and add geo tags.
Video features: You can record video with this phone. Quality was acceptable, however, we much prefer watching videos on the display that we found on the web. A nice plus is that you can add effects (Grayscale, Sepia, Negative, Solarize, Posterize, and Aqua) to the video and zoom in and out while youre capturing video. You can use the front facing camera to conduct video chats using the QIK application. [img 4 R]
Music features: Playback of music through the myTouch 4G speaker is a bit tinny. Since the speaker is on the back of the cell phone, turning the cell phone face down on a flat surface makes it sound a bit louder. That said, music sounded much better through headphones connected via the 3.5mm headset jack.
- Formats supported: We were able to play MP3, unprotected WMA (Microsofts audio format) and unprotected AAC (Apples audio format) formats.
- Features: Repeat, Shuffle, Playlists (you can even create playlists on the cell phone), and you can rate songs as theyre playing. We should note that audio files from the RockBand game are stored in the same place as your songs, so we recommend creating Playlists.
- Radio: The myTouch 4G also comes with Slacker Radio for streaming music over the Internet and a FM Radio .
Connectivity: The cell phone works with T-Mobile HSPA+ network, so surfing is fairly fast. That said, you could do a lot theWiFi connection. You can even tether the myTouch 4G to a notebook and use its data connection as a modem.
- Bluetooth: The myTouch 4G worked seamlessly with the Motorola T505 and callers didnt know we were using a Bluetooth connection. We were also able to connect to a MacBook Pro and transfer contacts, pictures, and music to other Bluetooth-enabled devices.
- WiFi: It has 802.11b/g/n WiFi (thats pretty secure and you shouldnt have issues connecting to just about any WiFi network). We we were able to log onto available WiFi networks to surf the Web or send/receive e-mail. It just takes moments to set up. The only thing you need is the WiFi network you want to use and password if needed. We were also able to share music and other media over the WiFi network a definite plus. Theres also a WiFi HotSpot application that you can use to share the data network on the myTouch 4G via WiFi with two other WiFi-enabled devices. Additionally, you can place calls over a WiFi network using the WiFi calling feature.
Battery life: The myTouch 4G performed well when it comes to battery life. We were able to go a couple of days before needing to recharge the the cell phone, when we used it to occasionally check e-mail, surf the web, listen to music, and take a few pictures. If you use the data features a lot youll likely need to charge the cell phone nightly. Additionally, leaving WiFi and Bluetooth activated tends to drain the battery a little faster, but not drastically faster.