Toshiba has recently re-entered the handheld market having left it a few years ago. The company has come up with two devices: the Portégé G500, which is a Windows Mobile Smartphone running Windows Mobile 5.0; and the Portégé G900, a Windows Mobile Pocket PC running Windows Mobile 6. We like the latter best.
The Portégé G900 is a tri-band GSM phone with GPRS, 3G and HSDPA. A front-facing camera caters for video calls while a 2-megapixel camera is on the back for shooting stills. There are several other compelling features. Both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are built in and the latter is complemented by a Voice-over-IP client designed for business users.
We also like the built-in keyboard. This slides out from the long left-hand edge of the device. As it does so the screen switches to a wide format display and you can hold the Portégé G900 in both hands and tap the keys with your thumbs. The keys are small but cleverly designed. They are raised in their centres making them relatively easy to find. No, you won’t type a novel on the Portégé G900, but you could probable manage some e-mails and a few short documents.
Then there is the fingerprint sensor. When the keyboard is hidden away, so is the sensor. That helps protect it from scratches. It can be used both to provide secure access to the Portégé G900 itself and to activate individual applications. You can assign each finger and both thumbs to software on the device. Good luck remembering which digit starts what software though. Maybe you’ll need to tattoo your fingertips as a memory jogger!
The other really good point is the screen. It is 480 pixels wide and 800 pixels tall. We’ve never seen a handheld screen with that many height pixels and it is really useful for reading long documents and ideal for Web viewing when the Portégé G900 is in its keyboard-open mode.
Toshiba includes the Opera Web browser which lets you open separate pages in different windows – a real plus point over Microsoft’s version of Internet Explorer which is also included. Also provided is the Picsel viewer for reading a wide range of document formats.
Battery life isn’t too bad, either. We got just over seven hours of non-stop music from the device with its screen forced to stay on. Of course, if you use Wi-Fi or 3G a lot then that will strain the battery more.
There are two things we don’t like too much though. That large screen and the keyboard mean that the Portégé G900 is a bit on the chunky and heavy side at 21.5mm thick, 119mm tall, 61mm wide and 196g in weight. And we found just over 30MB of internal storage space free after a hard reset. If you have a lot of data to carry around you’ll need a miniSD card, the slot for which is on the left-hand edge of the casing.
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