A step up from its predecessor the HTC Touch, the T-Mobile MDA Touch Plus is a 3.5G HSDPA handset running the Windows Mobile OS.

External appearance-wise, the T-Mobile MDA Touch Plus is not far removed from the Qtek PDAs with slide-out Qwerty keyboards that HTC was selling and building for mobile-phone carriers a couple of years ago.

The T-Mobile MDA Touch Plus's soft rubber casing and thick silver band spanning its circumference are certainly familiar, as is the 2Mp camera round the back.

Where the T-Mobile MDA Touch Plus surpasses its forerunner - the HTC Touch smartphone - is with the superb slide-up keypad the central navipad conceals.

From its previous incarnation as a solid but compact PDA with pretensions, the T-Mobile MDA Touch Plus has emerged as a desirable and functional smartphone that offers a range of ways to achieve tasks and to shortcut to items you need.

Where previously you had to depend on the touchscreen functionality, entering characters you intended or accessing menus you were after was all too often a stab in the dark. For the T-Mobile MDA Touch Plus HTC has added actual keys – of a usable size – along with direct access buttons for email and the main application menu, on the slide-up keypad.

General navigation now works better, with an improved meshing of the native Windows Mobile 6.0 interface and the touchscreen overlay that complements its intuitive access to items such as new email and SMS messages.

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The T-Mobile MDA Touch Plus is a quad-band phone (the original HTC Touch was a triband handset) but Wi-Fi has been sacrificed.

As a T-Mobile device (you can also buy it on Orange as the HTC Touch Dual), the T-Mobile MDA Touch Plus comes with Web 'n Walk mobile internet access and we found ourselves getting online and browsing standard web pages pretty satisfactory.

Weekly email updates let you know how much of your data allowance you’ve used and how much remains for the month.

NEXT PAGE: the backstory and our expert verdict > >

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The T-Mobile MDA Touch Plus is a 3.5G HSDPA handset running the Windows Mobile OS.

The backstory

When handset maker HTC launched its touchscreen HTC Touch smartphone in spring 2007, it stole a march on the Apple iPhone by nearly two months and garnered vast amounts of press along the way.

The HTC Touch smartphone could never live up to its billing as the Apple iPhone-killer, of course, but had many qualities that made it a decent smartphone option in its own right.

First, the HTC Touch smartphone is a 3G handset – the main flaw business customers have found in the iPhone being limited connectivity, of course.

Second, underneath the HTC Touch's Launcher menu full of icons large enough to select with a finger, it ran on the respected and familiar Windows Mobile platform, which made it yet more likely to appeal to the lucrative business buyer.

But the combination of Windows Mobile 6.0 and a touchscreen-only interface weren’t the complete success HTC and its customers hoped (HTC makes handsets for all the main phone operators). Some refinements were needed.

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While Apple has been busily defending the lack of 3G and half-hearted business credentials of the Apple iPhone, HTC went away and rethought some of the issues of its robust but not sufficiently touchy-feely HTC Touch smartphone phone, demonstrating this revised version around the same time the Apple iPhone hit the UK and other European markets.

The result is the HTC Touch Dual, badged in the incarnation we review here as the T-Mobile MDA Touch Plus.

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T-Mobile MDA Touch Plus: Specs

  • Quad-band GSM/UMTS/HSDPA 3.5G smartphone
  • slide-up screen with numeric keypad
  • Windows Mobile 6.0
  • TouchFLO touchscreen interface
  • 400MHz Qualcomm processor
  • 256MB RAM
  • 128MB ROM
  • 2Mp camera
  • Windows Media Player1
  • Audio Manager for MP3
  • Bluetooth
  • Mobile Office
  • ActiveSync
  • mini USB
  • stereo headset
  • headphone jack
  • micro SD Card
  • Quad-band GSM/UMTS/HSDPA 3.5G smartphone
  • slide-up screen with numeric keypad
  • Windows Mobile 6.0
  • TouchFLO touchscreen interface
  • 400MHz Qualcomm processor
  • 256MB RAM
  • 128MB ROM
  • 2Mp camera
  • Windows Media Player1
  • Audio Manager for MP3
  • Bluetooth
  • Mobile Office
  • ActiveSync
  • mini USB
  • stereo headset
  • headphone jack
  • micro SD Card

OUR VERDICT

The T-Mobile MDA Touch Plus is a solid and attractive smartphone that belies it PDA design roots, but in a positive fashion, bringing contact management and business productivity tools to a handset with excellent connectivity credentials, a large, clear screen and a far improved usability thanks to the keypad that works as an adjunct to the touchscreen.

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