Breaking from my normal routine, I’m going to start with the good news, since I don’t want to automatically turn people away from this handset based on my own dislikes. First, this phone feels pretty good in your hand. It’s a bit heavier than I expected, but I actually like that. This way you know your phone is on you, and you don’t have to reach your hand into your pocket every five minutes to double-check. Second, the fact that it has a QWERTY keyboard is a plus. Now this is something that is near and dear to my heart, as I am a total sucker for a hardware keyboard. I admit that phones without them are very sleek and stylish, but when it comes to functionality, a hardware QWERTY is a sure winner. Third, the UI is very attractive and the idea of an Android phone coming with themes you can easily switch between is fantastic. I know themes have been around for a while, but they usually a decent theme will involve a process that might not be as readily available to the general public.
Now for the bad… I was a little disappointed that this phone sports similar finishes that can be found on an original myTouch. Don’t get me wrong here, I do like black/white/red phones, and sometimes they look very sleek. However, I was kind of hoping for something brushed metallic-looking, or maybe just a new color scheme in addition to white/black, maybe a blue, or imagine… green? You know, for Android! Okay, so it can be covered up with a case, or even a GelaSkin (more on them later), but I wanted something new! Next come the hardware buttons at the bottom of the screen. I’m not sure why, but I found these a bit difficult to press. I’m also used to capacitive buttons now, so it took me a sec to remember these were real buttons that press down. While I’m sure there are other things I might not like, I was pretty much stopped in my tracks once I slid the phone open. Not only do I dislike the sound of plastic rubbing against plastic, I did not like the feel of the QWERTY. Yes, I realize I just jumped for joy in my earlier paragraph about its existence, but a QWERTY needs to be easy to use. I didn’t find this QWERTY easy on my thumbs with its slanted buttons (not sure who decided go with these), and the fact that the characters on the buttons are as big as the letters is pretty distracting (read: terrible).
Overall though, I find this phone to be a huge step up from the MyTouch/MyTouch 3G. And I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but it would be better off without a keyboard. The stock softkey that is on the phone (Swype) is superior to its hardware QWERTY, and probably wouldn’t even require you to replace it with something from the market. In fact, most people usually replace whatever is on their phone, WITH Swype! It’s definitely my personal favorite.