Usually you wouldn't expect someone to start a review with the conclusion, but this is certainly the best Windows Mobile Pocket PC Telecom New Zealand have released since they brought the HTC Falcon to the market a few years ago.
The Telecom New Zealand Titan is based on the HTC Titan model, a small, pocketable Windows Mobile handset with a sliding keobard. It's not much bigger than other handsets I've seen around, and is actually a bit smaller than the BlackBerry curve I have around here for testing now. It measures 110 mm x 59 mm x 18.5 mm and weighs about 165 grams with battery.
The first thing you will notice is the sliding keyboard. The mechanism moves very easily and a spring will make the movement swift. The backlit keys are easy to use with medium sized keys with good tactile feedback. And it has leds indicating when capslock and function keys are active.
You will find dedicated keys for e-mail and Internet browser in front of the device, as well the standard Wiondows and OK keys, plus the hardware keys for the soft menu options.
The directional pad is nice, but it's a bit small for my liking though. You might not use it that much anyway, seeing that there's a scroll whell on the left side, which you can use to move the selection up and down and click to activate.
The screen is the standard QVGA (240 x 320 pixels) size found in most pocket size PDAs these days, and very bright - easy to use outside under sunlight too.
In terms of speed and memory, this is one feels like of the fastest Pocket PCs I have played with in the last few months. And with 170 MB flash memory for storage it's got plenty of room to install a lot of the programs from thelarge library available for this device class. If this is not enough you can use a microSD card - you even get a 512 MB microSD card with the Titan, in the box.
The Titan connects to CDMA EVDO Rev 0 networks, but I am told that an upgrade (not released nor promised) could set it to work on CDMA EVDO Rev A networks - not that I think it's something you'd need now, since the main difference would be upload speeds.
On top of CDMA EVDO you can also connect the Titan to Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) networks with WEP or WPA security. LEAP is also supported. A good and interesting addition is a hardware switch that allows you to turn Wi-Fi on and off without having to find the Comms Manager. However I can't understand why you can only turn Wi-Fi if the CDMA radio is on. You must have the CDMA radio on otherwise the switch makes no difference.
In terms of personal peripherals you can also connect to other Bluetooth devices, including headsets and PCs - for ActiveSync and Internet sharing for example.
Even though I think this is a great device from Telecom New Zealand, I am stunned to find how hard it is when it comes to using it as a modem for Internet access. If you use the Internet Sharing application to connect via USB it will actually look like another networked router and your computer would be able to access the Internet through it. It works in theory but when I tested I never connected long enough to actually load a full page from Geekzone. You might have better luck using Bluetooth though than using the USB cable.
In terms of applications the Titan is running Windows Mobile 5.0 for Pocket PC Phone Edition. Why it is not running the newer Windows Mobile 6 Professional is something that I can't answer - seeing this is already released for the Sprint version of this handset.
Because this is most likely to be used by businesses I would say its native integration with Exchange Server is one of the selling points, and in this case the combination of Windows Mobile 6 with Exchange Server 2007 would make much more sense in terms of features.
Nonetheless, Microsoft Direct Push works really well making all your e-mails, contacts and appointments appear on the handset when you have t parnered with an Exchange Server. But if you don't, no reason to dispair because Outlook Mobile supports POP3 and IMAP - great if you have all your e-mails going to GMAIL now for example.
Also part of the "mobile office" is Office Mobile (no pun intended) with programs that support documents created with Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint. Again, it's a shame that it's not running Windows Mobile 6 because the newer version supports many more features - including an upcoming upgrade with the new DOCX format for example.
The built-in 2 megapixel digital camera is surprisingly good, and with a flash. The camera application uses the full screen as a viewfinder and all the options can be accessed from there.
Internet Explorer Mobile does a good job of browsing standard web sites - not only WAP ones, but you might want something with an extra set of features, such as Opera Mobile. And this is one great advantage of these devices: the large number of programs avaialble from different sources that will enhance your experience.
Evaluating battery life is very subjective though, because it can be impacted by different configurations. In my specific case I use the Wi-Fi feature while at home mainly to browse a couple of sites while away from my desk. When I don't have Direct Push enabled on this device it can get up to a couple of days of battery life on a full charge. If I have the e-mails constantly synchronising with my Exchange Server than I know to expect about a day. Note that I don't place that many voice calls so of course your experience will vary.
And if you are worried about finding contacts or applications while driving, the Titan comes with a voice dialing application that will find your contacts or applications by listening to your voice - but it requires "training", i.e. recording voice tags that will be recognised when the voice dial is invoked.
Like its predecessor, the Apache, you will find an extra battey and a dual cradle in the box. This way you will always have a spare battery ready to go if the need arises.
Overall, as I wrote before, I think this is the best Windows Mobile device Telecom New Zealand launched so far and a great business tool.
Great keyboard and sliding action
Plenty of memory
Poor USB connectivity for tethered modem operation