AT&T Tilt PDA Phone
At a Glance
It's a bit costly, but operates well as a device that fits in your hand and offers maximum flexibility.
Slider phones have become increasingly popular, but until now they've been limited to models that are best used with two hands. That changes with AT&T's newest Windows Mobile device, which you can either hold in your hands or rest comfortably on a surface.
The aptly named AT&T Tilt (also known as the HTC 8925) has a hinged display designed to accommodate various viewing scenarios. When open, the roomy adjustable screen gives the phone the look of a tiny laptop, complementing the phone's use for computing or entertainment. And good design isn't the only thing the Tilt has going for it: The device is a quad-band GSM world phone compatible with EDGE/GPRS and with high-speed 3G UMTS and HSDPA broadband networks. As a result, it's a great phone for travelers, especially if they can take advantage of high-speed networks.
I found the audio quality over AT&T's network pleasing. Though I heard a faint (but not disturbing) hissing noise in the background, the other person's voice consistently came through loud and clear. Another positive: The people I called could discern little background noise, even though I was in a noisy locale.
The AT&T Tilt's spring-loaded screen feels slightly sturdier than that of the T-Mobile Wing, another HTC slider phone of similar size. The hinge appears relatively strong, too: I could hold the unit by the screen and not feel as though it might detach from the phone at any moment.
The carbon-gray Tilt has multiple design points--both positive and negative--worth noting. On the negative side, the array of buttons beneath the Tilt's screen have a shiny metallic veneer that makes the labels difficult to see; the etchings are faint, and the colors are too muted to stand out against the sheen. Also, the buttons pick up fingerprints all too easily, much as the shiny back plate of an iPod does. On the positive side, once you figure out which buttons are which, they provide convenient dedicated controls and shortcuts to key functions, including Send/End, OK, Mail, Internet Explorer, and the Windows Mobile Start menu. At the center of the array is a five-way navigation pad.
The volume wheel on the upper-left side conveniently doubles as a navigation wheel, the SIM card is located under the slider screen for easy accessibility (a boon to world travelers who frequently interchange SIM cards), and the microSDHC card slot sits just beneath the screen near the USB port (the slot accepts high-capacity cards of up to 32GB, though that size isn't yet available).
Admittedly, all of that just skims the surface of what you can do with the AT&T Tilt. The device can function as a full-featured mobile computer, thanks to its mobile versions of Microsoft Word and Excel, its multimedia playback (via syncing with Windows Media 10 on your desktop), and its built-in GPS for use with the TeleNav GPS Navigator (an extra-cost service priced at $10 a month for unlimited routes). Whether you use the Tilt to type notes or to watch videos, its revolutionary adjustable and angled screen makes viewing a pleasure. And, hey, it's also a versatile cell phone.
--Melissa J. Perenson