T-Mobile and HTC were focused on giving the user a very tactile experience with this phone, with 52 physical buttons including the clickable optical trackpad. The last phone I reviewed had a grand total of....three - power/lock, volume up, and volume down. Granted, that 52 figure includes the physical keyboard, but there’s still hardware buttons for most main functions. I really don’t understand optical trackpads on slates (which is why, for the most part, they no longer exist), and I didn’t get it when I had the G2 either. But after using the MT4GS, I can see how they can be useful on landscape sliders, in the sense of being able to navigate through the entire OS with just a thumb. If you are one of the seven people to ever use a UMPC, you know what I’m talking about. Having mouse-like functionality isn’t necessary with a touchscreen, but it’s nice to have when you’re hovering over the keyboard in landscape mode. 

Speaking of which, the backlit four-row keyboard is excellent. The single most appealing feature from the G2 is back mostly unchanged, and that’s a very good thing. Seriously, HTC does the best hardware keyboards in the business, and it’s been that way for a very long time. I’m in love. I waxed poetic about HTC hardware keyboards in my G2 preview last year, and my sentiments are exactly the same.

The only real complaint you could throw the way of the keyboard is that it’s only a four row board, not five row like the Touch Pro 2 (which, in my mind at least, is the all-time benchmark in landscape smartphone keyboards). And while this is true, I understand why the decision to dump the dedicated number keys was made. Now while this means that the easiest way to enter a phone number is to go through the virtual dialer, I’ll take the more compact packaging over that fifth row basically any day. 

The only other minor niggle I had with the keyboard is that it takes a lot for the backlight to be triggered. In fact, until I got the Slide into a completely dark room, I didn’t realize it actually had backlit keys. While the G2 backlit keys would be triggered by most low and dim lighting situations, the MT4GS needs to actually be in complete darkness before the keyboard light goes on. The easiest way around this is to trick the phone into backlighting the keys by putting your finger over the light sensor - if the light is dim enough, the backlight will stay on even after moving your finger. It’s not a big deal, just a minor annoyance I came across. 

  

The Slide also has the Sense 3.0 keyboard and Swype preinstalled. The awesome thing here is that HTC totally lifted everything about Swype and put it into their new “Trace” feature in the Sense keyboard, except now you get to choose your own path colour. The Swype keyboard is still available as an option, but they can’t be thrilled by HTC’s move here. I’m a bit sad to say that I like the Sense keyboard better than Swype, but hey, who cares, this phone has the best hardware keyboard on the market. I refuse to use either soft keyboard out of sheer principle. It’s like getting a Ferrari and driving it with the transmission in automatic mode. Completely eliminates the point. If I wanted to use a virtual keyboard, I’d just get a Sensation. 

T-Mobile MyTouch 4G Slide - Hardware: Industrial Design T-Mobile MyTouch 4G Slide - Performance and Battery Life
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  • FrederickL - Saturday, August 13, 2011 - link



    @Vivek Gowri

    Very informative review. With regard to your experience with the 2G I think that the problem may have been that the first shipments of the Desire Z (2G) did indeed have a problem with the construction of that hinge. As far as I can tell (from what I read on various fora at the time) the problem appeared to be largely cured with succeeding shipments. I have had a Desire Z for about half a year now and although the hinge-action has an unusual "feel" to it because of the structural design I have in fact not had any problems with it at all. The disappointment you experienced may be due to the fact that you were an uber early adopter of that phone!

    -:)

    Frederick
    Reply
  • FrederickL - Saturday, August 13, 2011 - link



    @Vivek Gown

    Another thought just struck me looking at your battery life tests (although I know that this is somewhat off topic). If Nokia manage to produce a WP7 phone with something like the N8's build quality, the camera *and* bring their traditional strengths in call quality and battery life to the table (I am thinking that nobody yet gets seriously near the iPhone's battery life) then they *may* prove the doomsayers wrong. Furthermore if they brought those qualities to one of their classic slider packages I think that even a gentleman like yourself who perhaps feels a touch jaded after seeing so many phones might feel pleased! -:)
    Reply
  • VivekGowri - Saturday, August 13, 2011 - link

    I definitely agree about the G2 - I went through two in the first week, and they both felt like crap. The later hardware revisions I played with at the T-Mobile store were definitely better, but they still weren't what I would call "confidence-inspiring". I'm comfortable with my decision to sell when I did, but man was that a brilliantly functional phone for it's day.

    The Nokia WP7 lineup has me so ridiculously excited, you have no idea. I'm an out-and-out Nokia hardware fanboy who has loathed Symbian since the N95 started to get long in the tooth. The first Nokia WP7 device (Sea Ray, the one that looks like the N9) is gonna be bomb, and if they do one like the E7 or the MeeGo slider phone (rumoured to be the N9 back in the day, don't remember the official name off the top of my head), I'll be basically thrilled. I've been using Mango on my HD7 recently, I'm pretty psyched to see it paired with Nokia's brilliant HW design.
    Reply
  • dlochinski - Sunday, August 14, 2011 - link

    You actually can buy a spring for the g2, (rather cheap and rather strong) and replace the spring inside the g2, then voila, no issues! It is rather unfortunate that it had problems in the beginning, but it is a good phone beyond that. Reply
  • FrederickL - Sunday, August 14, 2011 - link


    @Vivek Gowri

    Indeed. I currently run my "Z" as my primary and my dear old "Wildfire" as my backup. I will be looking to upgrade my main phone in about a year and as far as I can see my likely choices will be between HTC's then current Android slider and whatever Nokia has presented as its high end WP7 slider. My good lady runs an N8 and as far as the hardware is concerned she loves it but as far as the os is concerned she uses language that would make a Navy Seal blush! I would certainly be looking in about a year (we have an important anniversary coming up) at whatever is then Nokia's flagship cameraphone. All in all the coming year bodes well for choice of good kit in the marketplace. I look forward to it.
    Reply
  • Johnmcl7 - Saturday, August 13, 2011 - link

    This is the wrong way round:

    "The lower the F/#, the larger the aperture and the higher the diameter of the lens opening. This gets you a greater depth of field and allows more light to reach the image sensor"

    As you widen the aperture the depth of field is reduced, not increased although perhaps that's just the way I read 'greater' to mean deeper depth of field. Either way on such a small focal length the slightly increased aperture isn't really going to have a noticeable effect on depth of field which is going to be very deep anyway.

    Thanks for the review although frustratingly while there were rumours of this phone being released in Europe as the HTC Doubleshot (the G2 was released as the Desire Z with Sense intact) I can't see any sign of it on preorder lists so like the Droid 3 it looks like it's not going to be sold here. Which is particularly frustrating given there's no other high end qwerty sliders after the Desire Z.

    John
    Reply
  • anandtech pirate - Saturday, August 13, 2011 - link

    It looks like HTC needs to stop being cheap on the internal storage. 4GB when the standard now is at least 8gb to 16gb. Reply
  • bplewis24 - Saturday, August 13, 2011 - link

    Completely agree with the Custom UI rant you threw in there. I hope more reviewers keep harping on it.

    The Moto D1 had a dedicated camera button that could be long-pressed to open the camera application, so I don't think HTC was copying MS on that one.

    Lastly, great review as always. AT is the go-to site for smartphone reviews now. I can't tell you guys how many times I have debunked irrational and subjective criticisms of specific phone/hardware with objective analysis and evidence from these reviews.
    Reply
  • VivekGowri - Saturday, August 13, 2011 - link

    Yeah, I guess I didn't mean that they were copying Microsoft, but the idea was definitely marketed pretty heavily by the WP7 devices. HTC has put out enough WP7 devices in the last year that taking that feature to Android seems pretty logical. Reply
  • Bristecom - Saturday, August 13, 2011 - link

    Good find on the use of two different CMOS sensors. I'd be very interested to see some direct comparison shots and video - particularly in low lighting. I hope you can figure out what sensor the Samsung Galaxy S II uses, although I'm pretty sure it's the S5K3H2. Reply

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