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T-Mobile Shadow: Three Weeks Later

02.29.2008 @ 4:41 PM in Technology
After going over my minutes (600/m, I use text more often, ~3k/m) for the first time by the end of January, i figured it was about time to find a new plan in the T-mobile package to suit me right. So I called up T-mobile with the ploy of finagling some more minutes and get my overage charge dropped (most of the time first time offenses can be reversed if you ask nicely). What I was offered was a new contract, 1k minutes for 39.99 and a "great deal" on the New T-Mobile Shadow, the "fun phone" that they've been pushing of late. Since I was a over year in and moving out of a spending limit account the phone discount was only a partial. The shadow runs for 349.99 and the discount was only 100 off. I decided that wasn't enough so I tried a new tactic. I kept the guy on the phone for  about 30 minutes, wasting precious support time and ho humming about commitment. The support guy finally took the bait and offered me a "previously unknown discount just starting today" and the phone now became $99 after a $50 mail in rebate. Sold.  (quick tip: the longer you wait with support without a decision and keep mentioning your interest but that you want proof of the carriers commitment and other fun ploys, you can unlock special deals just to get you off the goddamn phone). my_shadow.jpg So for $99 bucks, the Shadow is a steal, by far better than the shatty Razr i've been carrying around. and despite being windows mobile (though it is WM6), a fancy homescreen interface called "Neo" makes the Shadow one of the most bearable and aesthetically pleasing WinMo phones on the market. shadow_screens.jpg

[Pardon the OMGGAYBBQ11! homescreen, this is a fag's blog after all]

A row of icons on the left allow you to easily browse through the most used features of the phone: Notifications, Mail, Calandar, Media Player, Photos, T-Zones, and Settings. There isn't a phone I won't try to debrand and make my own, and with the help of a registry editor, I was able to replace the useless t-zones menu with quicklinks to all of my most used windows Smartphone applications. Most of the icons (png format FTW!) I found around the web, but the Shozu icon I made myself. shadow_quicklinks.jpg

[Custom sidebar icon, Opera, Google Maps, and Shozu]

The response time on the Shadow is pretty decent, far superior than a few other HTC phones, but as with all winmo phones, there is the oft occasional hiccup while typing and opening too many apps. And despite being T-mobile's Official Phone of Fun, HTC (the phone is the HTC Juno before T-mobile slapped the Shadow brand to it) couldn't give it a better battery to use all the fun tool and applications. keep a usb cable nearby and you should be fine, but even with that I'm normally tapped out by the end of my day.

Roughly the same size, yet slightly thicker than a Razr 2, this is my first slider, which brings up new worries and gripes that i've never had before,
  • Within a week the top half loosened a bit, making a once seemless edge when closed slightly offset. Is this normal or a defect?
  • The camera button is on the top half on the bottom righthand side, the weakest spot of the phone, and also the location of the offset. I feel more comfortable sliding the phone before activating the camera because I'm afraid I'll put more strain on the slidetracks.
  • The screen is a beautiful crisp 2.6 inch screen with 240x320 resolution.. that smudges instantly. I suppose I should get a screen protector to prevent against scratches, too.
  • The jogwheel/dpad is very loose and sometimes too responsive.
  • I like to take the micro sd card out from time to time and move lots of files around, its quicker that way, however getting the flap open to pop the card out is a pain in the ass and I fear losing the plastic flap. I'm sure that HTC intended me to keep a card in at all times, but I like the faster read/write speeds when the card is read separately.
Now for the praises
  • The slide out keypad is a qwerty SureType layout provided by RIM (Blackberry). Within the first week I was able to type faster than on the Razr with one finger. The shadow learns new words very quickly, however "it" always ends up as "iy."
  • the bottom of the phone is coated in a soft-touch antislip finish that frees me from worrying about scratching. Makes it easier to slide, too.
  • Its brown (officially called Camel)! I love brown and I haven't seen such a well done Gui that matches the finish evar before.
  • Not too many flashing lights, but just enough. Two small indicator lights near the ear speaker show you standby, call, bluetooth, and wifi in use. the control pad has a lighted ring that flashes when a call or text is recieved and stays lit when in use. the keypad is back lit as well with a soft white.
  • Despite the slight track worries, i feel like I have a sturdy phone that could survive a fall. I hear the screen will crack if it lands the right way, but what do you expect from a slider?
  • It really is a fun phone. Not as super powerful as most smartphones, the Shadow is the perfect blend of a  medium-grade media phone (Stereo Bluetooth, music and video player, decent  2.0MP camera, yet crappy video recording) with all the standard smartphone features (email, full internet, applications, voice recording, etc.)
  • I like that it has wifi w/Hotspot (no Hotspot@Home though) access. I have a quest of connecting everytime i smell an open SSID, mainly for validation of the feature, but it helps when I want to download a podcast while on the go.
The Shadow is a great phone if you can snag it for an acceptable price ($99-$150), and if you are looking for a grown up version of the Sidekick, you have it here. If you enjoy the debranding/modding process, you must visit MoDaCo.com and AllShadow.com, for the latest in tips and tricks. If you just picked up the Shadow, make sure you get the update from T-mobile that fixes a few bugs and adds a few fun features (like Audio Postcards).
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