Hands On HTC Shift EV-DO

HTC had their Shift UMPC on display here at CTIA, which packs Sprint EV-DO, an 800 MHz Celeron processor, 1 GB RAM and a 40 GB SSD into a tidy $1500 package. After getting touchy feely with it for a few minutes, I found it wasn't half bad. I was especially impressed by the proprietary HTC SnapView interface that runs on top of Windows Vista, and provides quick access to weather, calendars and emails (similar to the Windows Mobile 6.1 homescreen that it's based around).

Hands On HTC Shift EV-DO

Hands On HTC Shift EV-DO

Hands On HTC Shift EV-DO

Hands On HTC Shift EV-DO

Hands On HTC Shift EV-DO

Hands On HTC Shift EV-DO


I wouldn't exactly call the Shift a mobile computing powerhouse, but I found that Vista more or less ran smoothly on the UMPC. While running Microsoft Word and Internet Explorer, I loaded a handful of webpages over EV-DO that weren't too resource heavy, but had dynamic content and graphics. The webpages took about 20-30 seconds to load and suffered a bit of choppiness with Word running in the background. But they did format nicely and looked good, which should be expected since its running a full blown OS.

One of the better features was the SnapView interface created by HTC specifically for the EV-DO Shift. The interface is built around a stripped down Windows Mobile 6.1, and made use of the platform's more attractive features to build a quick-launch screen. It looks a lot like the homescreen on the HTC Touch Dual and, as mentioned before, provides access to weather, calendars, emails in a quick and well-designed interface. The Shift has a dedicated button on its front bezel to access Snap View and it transitions between SnapView and Vista with smooth animations and no lag (Vista is put into a sleep mode while running SnapView).

The hardware felt sturdy, and the 7" screen offered plenty of viewing space, but the keyboard was on the small side (it's intended for standard touch typing) and the touchscreen could have been more responsive. And the carrying case/sleeve is permanently affixed to the UMPC, which is kind of lame. Not a bad outing at all from HTC, but it needs just a bit more horsepower.