The waiting is finally over! The HTC Kaiser/P4550/TyTN II has finally made it to the United States and shows itself as the AT&T 8925 Tilt! As the Big Brother to very successful 8525 (HTC Hermes/TyTN) offered by Cingular (now AT&T), will the 8925 Tilt make the same impact? Come along and we’ll find out as I have been testing the 8925 Tilt and can hopefully bring you up to speed on this highly anticipated device!
- Author: Doug Smith (DSmithZ28)
- Vender: AT&T
- Price: $349.99 (W/Two Year Purchase Agreement and Data Plan)
- Rating: 90/100
It gives me great pleasure to introduce to you, the AT&T 8925 Tilt! The highly anticipated and widely discussed and rumored device from HTC which was code named Kaiser/P4550. HTC soon released this device in Europe under the TyTN II brand name. It was an immediate hit, and has been highly regarded by all that have reviewed it. But the real question is, will it be a sound replacement for the rock solid Cingular 8525? (HTC HERMES TyTN) I have had the luxury of the AT&T 8925 Tilt’s company for a while, so let’s take a look and see what makes the 8925 tick!
What Do you Get In The Box
Normally we give you the full contents of the box including some very snappy photo’s to wet your appetite! Unfortunately, the test unit we received pre-release was just that, a test unit that came in a plain white box and some very UN-secure packaging. Typically, AT&T will offer a really nice case, two stylus, power cable, and sync cable, manual and get started cd, USB hands free headset, oh, and yes, the device. It’s probably pretty safe to assume that they will follow suit. Check back in after the official release and we will update you with some photo’s and what you can expect!
8925 Tilt Hardware consists of the following:
- Windows Mobile 6 Professional
- QUALCOMM (R) 7200 400mhz CPU
- Tri-Band UMTS (3G) with Quad Band GSM/GPRS/EDGE
- HSDPA up to 3.6 mbps HSUPA (ah AT&T?)
- ROM 256mb and RAM 128MB
- 2.8″ 240 x 320 QVGA Touch Screen w/Tilting capability
- Built in GPS
- 360 Degree Jog Wheel with OK Button
- MicroSD Storage Card Slot
- WiFi 802.11 b/g, Bluetooth 2.0
- 3.0 mega-pixel camera with auto-focus
The 8925 is a very solidly built device that actually weighs a little more than the 8525 by a few grams. However, at 110mm(L) x 58mm(W) x 18mm(H) it is actually thinner by 4mm than the 8525. It still amazes me at how much more solid the 8925 feels. I really like the look and feel of the 8925 with it’s all black body and brushed metal faceplate. However the jury is still out on the chrome D-Pad and surrounding buttons.
Another change made to the 8925 Tilt was the new direction in which the keyboard slides out. With the 8525 in your left hand, presumably with your thumb on the jog wheel, you could open the keyboard from left to right by using the same hand position and just shift your thumb. The 8925’s keyboard slides out just the opposite requiring you to switch hands and slide the keyboard out from right to left. As I have become very accustomed to opening my 8525 with one fluid movement, this turned out to be a bigger aggravation than I thought. Check out the picture below and see what I mean. You’ll also notice in that same picture that the 8925 now has two lights that illuminate when the either the shift button is pressed or the function button. This is a handy little feature again that I noticed right away when using the keyboard.
This has got to be one of the top two features of the 8925, the Keyboard! Yes it slides out, but new to the 8925, the display now actually “Tilts” up! This is an amazing piece of engineering that is actually really useful as well. Now, while you are synced at your desk, you can “Tilt” the screen up and keep tabs on any number of functions more viably with this new Tilting feature! I also found that text messaging as well as responding to emails was more ergonomically correct using your thumbs with the keyboard horizontally level and watching the screen with it Tilted! When I first saw this on the HTC TyTN II, my first impression was, “well, that will be the first thing to break!” But not so! It is a very solidly constructed hinge that looks to have every bit of the muscle necessary to last until the next device comes out that we abandon the 8925 for!! (We really need help don’t we?) All in all, this is a very handy feature that I can’t see living without having to go back to my 8525! :(
C’mon HTC! What are you doing putting the same speed processor back into what is supposed to be an upgrade? That’s because it is NOT the same processor. New in the 8925 is the QUALCOMM(R)7200 processor replacing the 8525 Samsung 400mhz processor. And let me tell you, there is a noticeable difference in the speed! I had the luxury of testing the 8925 while I was traveling on business this week. So while driving I had it in the car mount putting the GPS through it’s paces when the phone rang, I answered it of course, but had to retrieve some information from an email to discuss and made all of these tasks without the slightest hiccup! Also, I was able to close all of the phone, and email applications and return to the GPS which was still rockin’ along, not missin’ a beat! So don’t let the numbers kid you, the 8925 has a much better processor in the QUALCOMM(R)7200!
So if you were paying attention above when I was running down the hardware specs, the memory has doubled! I cannot tell you how much this was needed! When I loaded Google Maps and Windows Live Search onto the 8925 there was no need to dump it onto a storage card. there is plenty of room on board the 8925 to handle plenty of third party software!
The AT&T 8925 Tilt, like it’s little brother the Cingular 8525, comes fully loaded with WiFi 802.11 b/g and Bluetooth 2.0 goodness. The 8925 WiFi fires right up and connects smoothly sitting here at the Hampton Inn on their free Wireless Service. Even though I have an unlimited data plan, I still find myself longing for the good ol’ days with my trusty Dell Axim x50v. Gone are those days now by way of the much improved EDGE network and the blazing fast 3G speeds offered in select markets. (hey AT&T how bout’ some HSDPA love!) But for those AT&T customers who do not need the high cost of unlimited data, they can rest assured that they can connect easily with the 8925’s WiFi capability. Moving on to the Bluetooth radio, again, I found pairing my Jawbone BT Earphone was easy and quick and also very stable as I used it quite often the last couple of days while driving and utilizing the GPS Function that is new to the AT&T 8925 Tilt. So concluding the 8925’s WiFi and Bluetooth both performed very well and with no issues.
Now, did I happen to mention that the new AT&T 8925 Tilt happens to come with a built in GPS? WELL IT DOES! And boy does it work well! I have spent over 750 miles this week putting the 8925 through rigorous GPS Testing! I tested the GPS in three different software environments, those being the trial software included TeleNav, Google Maps, and Windows Live Search. As this was my first real experience with a converged device with built in GPS, I was not sure what to expect. there still is not a lot known about the GPS radio, and you learn even less when you buy the device! There is no controls to initiate or turn off the GPS. It simply activates when you open up any given software. I have used several Garmin Units (Hertz Rent-a-car), and fell in love with the 3D mapping, and all the extra POI info that they include. You wont get that much of that with the TeleNav software, and you will get even less with the Google and MS Live Search software. But with the TeleNav, you will get solid GPS mapping that performs very well. It is amazing that the 8925 actually acquires satellites faster than the stand alone GPS Units that I have rented! the only real down side is that as good as the speaker phone is on the 8925, it is still difficult to hear sometimes when there is a lot of road noise. Hopefully someone will release an integrated speaker, mobile car mount like is offered for the 8525. And that would be the only gripe I have with an integrated GPS into a mobile device is sound level. I have thoroughly enjoyed the GPS and can say it works REALLY well.
The Camera has always been the last component that makes up the list in making a truly “converged device”. It has been long overlooked and has only slowly been upgraded. From the 8525’s 2.0 mega-pixel camera comes the new 8925 with a 3.0 mega-pixel camera. Okay, calm down, don’t get that excited. After all, it is only 1 lousy mega-pixel improvement right? Well wrong! this is actually pretty darn good camera! It take very clear pictures by making use of the newly added auto-focus ability. The 8925 takes significantly clearer pictures than my 8525. As you can see below, the pictures are sharp and does great indoors and out. (I can already hear Leckness making fun of me for the flower pictures, but as I mentioned, I am traveling on business and staying at a Hampton Inn! what else do I have to take a picture of?) I am very impressed with the camera and will be doing more follow-up testing as my time with this device permits in between me begging my wife to let me buy my own! )Yes, we have to give this unit back, it wasn’t given to us!)
So yes, great stand alone 3.0 mega-pixel camera, but where is the front facing camera AT&T? C’mon already, you have had to hear us complaining about this! just because your network does not support it yet, doesn’t mean we can’t use it with skype or any other third part application! So hear us roaring AT&T, leave the dang front facing camera on the next go around!
With so many other features packed into the AT&T 8925 Tilt, that I almost forgot it’s a phone! So how does the 8925 do? Well, as mentioned, I have been traveling through the south east this week on business and have been in and out of Atlanta, the home of AT&T and 3G heaven! So I have been in and out of these networks all week. I experienced no dropped calls, and no real reception issues. Lucky? Maybe, but like the 8525, the 8925 does a great job as a phone and I have been, and will continue to be very impressed with HTC’s radio quality. Which leads me to the speaker phone, it is much needed improvement over the 8525. I was disappointed at the loss of stereo and sound quality on the 8525 missing from the 8125 (HTC Wizard). I thought it did a great job at the time and felt that the 8525 took two steps backwards. But the 8925 as I mentioned is very clear and is a lot louder than the 8525, which is good for half deaf people like me. (huh?) Nice Job HTC!
It has been written on several TyTN II reviews that the battery life is less than stellar. Included with the 8925 tilt is a new style 1350 mAh Samsung battery. In testing the 8925, I did find that the battery life was less than the 8525 which could only be because of the GPS that was in constant use. But to increase battery capacity would likely only add more weight and size to the already “Full Bodied” 8925 which I think would cross the line in most peoples size and weight constraints. For me however, I am never far away from an electrical outlet either at my office or driving, so I just bought an extra power cord and car charger. Good to go.
The AT&T 8925 Tilt comes nicely equipped with Microsoft’s Windows Mobile 6 Professional. A lot has already been written on WM6 so I won’t beat a dead horse too much with the OS. AT&T loaded the 8925 down with it’s normal software such as Media Net, AT&T Mall, AT&T Music, & Cellular Video. also included is PTT, ADOBE Reader LE, Sprite Back Up, TeleNav, and all the other standards that we have come to know and love. But wait, as I scroll through the program lists there is something that appears to be amiss! WHERE’S TouchFlo!!! AT&T like the front facing Camera has dropped this cool little app from their lineup! WHY AT&T WHY! I was really looking forward to testing that out as it was included in the HTC TyTN II released earlier. Another source of small irritation is to why we are loaded up with trial software! There are nine different trial games chewing up precious memory! I could probably get past all of the trial software if they could offer more full evaluation versions that had a maybe a shorter test period. Who wants to play only the first hole on tiger Woods 2007?
So what’s the bottom line right? The bottom line is this: THIS DEVICE ROCKS! HTC and AT&T have put together a winner that not only is a solidly built, feature packed device! With features added like an excellent performing GPS, Tilt screen capability, Improved 3 mega-pixel camera with auto focus, more memory, and faster processor, this is a must have device. For anyone in the market for a GPS (like me), the AT&T 8925 Tilt is a one stop shop that will allow you to eliminate the need to carry extra devices while you travel, work, or play. The mobility world has tossed around the word “converged device” for quite some time now, but I think we finally have met what the true meaning of converged device meant in the AT&T 8925 Tilt. At 350 dollars and a two year contract, it also comes at quite a bargain. you can always purchase the device outright for 599.99 saving yourself hundreds from having to buy the HTC branded TyTN II. the only real sacrifice being the front facing camera. So am I going to get one to replace my 8525? You bet!
- GPS BABY!
- Improved Qualcomm Processor
- Increased Memory
- Excellent keyboard and functionality
- Tilt Screen capability
- Much improved 3.0 mega-pixel camera with auto-focus
- More solid look and feel with a thinner design
- Keyboard slides out in the wrong direction
- No Front Facing Camera
- Too much trial software and no HTC TouchFlo
- Battery life is questionable
Editors note: I would like to give special thanks to Chris Leckness for allowing me to review this device. Where many in his position would take such a high profile device and review it themselves to inflate their own ego, Chris has consistently spread out these cool devices to all his staff to enjoy. Thanks again Commish!
Some Additional Photos