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T-Mobile Shadow review

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The Shadow's name stays the same, but it gets a handful of upgrades, and new colours (drab sage green gives way to white mint and black burgundy).

Rather than have a two-tone front face, the top half of the slider T-Mobile Shadow handset is now finished in glossy piano black. Adjacent keys to the left and right of the handy jog dial (now with a button as opposed to a more joystick-like centre control) - home and talk, and back and end - are now part of the same button, rather than being distinct buttons as before. The buttons are convenient to press, and the jog dial moves with silky smooth ease.

We love the design of the jog dial: this navigation element, coupled with the T-Mobile Shadow's unique cross-bar adaptation of Windows Mobile 6.1, remain this handset's greatest selling points.

Other design points of this second-gen T-Mobile Shadow remain similar: volume controls on the top left of the unit, microSD Card slot on the lower left, dedicated camera shutter button on the lower right. A custom key is at the upper right.

The T-Mobile Shadow sports a slider design and a 20-button keypad (with shared character keys and predictive-text for typing, as with Research in Motion's design with the RIM BlackBerry Pearl) hidden beneath the 2.2in QVGA (320-by-240-pixel) display. We found that typing on the keypad took some practice, even with the device's predictive-text technology; we wouldn't recommend this keypad for composing long messages.

This T-Mobile Shadow also has a quad-band GSM radio (850/900/1800/1900-MHz), and a 2Mp camera (just like its predecessor). Even though this iteration's processor is supposed to be better than the first Shadow's, it still felt a bit slow to navigate among different screens and functions (perhaps a byproduct of the Windows Mobile operating system as well).

The camera remains slow to use. But, we liked how it now lets you save to T-Mobile's web-accessible My Album, at http://www.t-mobilepictures.com/, too; this is a handy feature that frees your photos from the confines of your handset.

The custom menu overlay for this Windows Mobile 6.1 smartphone (manufactured by HTC for T-Mobile) still looks nothing like you'd expect Windows Mobile. Rather, it's a vast and fun improvement over WinMo. The only tip-off that the T-Mobile Shadow is indeed a Windows Mobile phone is the familiar Start icon, which resides in the lower-left corner.

The menu lists the options along the left; use the jog wheel (which also has buttons for left/right up/down navigation) to move through the options, and then navigate the choices by spinning the jog wheel or pressing the wheel left or right to cycle through the options.

The menus choices have been tweaked as compared to the first Shadow: Now, the choices are MyFaves, Text Messaging, Message Center (email, text messages, audio messages, and picture messages), Appointments, Music, Internet, Photos, and Settings. Like other HTC-manufactured phones, this model lacks a dedicated headphone jack; this forces you to use the USB port-cable headphones that come with the unit.

The software functionality has minor enhancements to its photo album, adds threaded discussions for text messaging, and copy/paste-which was missing from the previous version. The new T-Mobile Shadow also is supposed to have a larger battery for improved talk time performance, too.

The most notable new feature: support for T-Mobile Unlimited HotSpot Calling service via the phone's built-in Wi-Fi service and integrated UMA technology.



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