Round Robin Review: Fuze/TouchFlo 3D Final Impressions

CrackBerry's Final Impressions of WinMob HTC AT&T Fuze
By Kevin Michaluk on 29 Dec 2008 09:36 am EST
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Developing a Short Fuse for the Fuze?!

[ This is an official Smartphone Round Robin post! Every day you reply to an official Round Robin blog post or forum thread on CrackBerry.com, you automatically gain an entry ballot for a chance to win a BlackBerry Bold, Spare Bold Battery, and Case Mate Second Skin! If you somehow still don't know what this is all about, visit SmartphoneRoundRobin.com!! ]  

2008 is coming to an end as is my time with the AT&T Fuze. Of all my reviews in the Smartphone Round Robin, this one is going to be the shortest (not necessarily the sweetest though). There are a bunch of good reasons for the brevity.

One, Christmas and the holidays happened, which has made getting more than 30 minutes of uninterrupted work time basically impossible these past few days. Two, my iPhone 3G final review was wayyyy too long, so I need to take it easy here and bring my words per review average down a bit. Three, Rene over at The iPhone blog knew how bad I've been jonesing to get my Bold back in possession so he got his final Bold review done in speedy fashion and shipped back my device ahead of schedule (I'm itching to hit publish on this post so I can yank the SIM out of the Fuze and officially be allowed to get back on the crack!). Four, I'm fresh out of smartphone philosophy lectures to embed within this post, and last but not least, this review is going to be short because I never fully got up to speed on the Fuze. You might say I developed a bit of a short fuse for the Fuze.

In my initial impressions video I gave the Fuze a hard time on the usability of its touchscreen, which was echoed in many of the comments left by readers to that post. Despite some tips from the gang at WMExperts, the resistive touchscreen on my particular device simply hated my fingers. Maybe it was my technique, maybe it's the fact I've been spoiled by good capacitive touchscreens (iPhone 3G, G1, Storm) or maybe something with the hardware itself is actually messed up (listen to our second Smartphone Round Robin Roundtable podcast and you'll hear that this may partially be the case). I even went so far as installing a FuzeBerry TouchFlo 3D skin onto the Fuze to make it more Berry-like which I was sure would help out with my usage issues but unfortunately did not. Regardless of my difficulties, you can Read on for my HTC AT&T Fuze Final Impressions >>

HTC AT&T Fuze - Overview

HTC AT&T Fuze

To give the Fuze a fair overview, I'm going to borrow from AT&T's website:

Go the next level with the HTC FUZE now featuring a sleek new touch screen design. The multi-faceted HTC FUZE is a 3G tri-band HSDPA Windows Mobile smartphone brought to you by AT&T, allowing you access to the world and a host of world class features. This powerful smartphone fuses technology with style. The large VGA touch screen includes HTC's one touch TouchFlo 3D user interface for quick access to your favorite features. Keep connected with email, text and instant messaging, Internet access, a personal organizer, video, satellite radio, and more - all at broadband speeds. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS navigation, add to the rich feature set making the HTC FUZE the ultimate mobile smartphone.

In the 2007 Smartphone Round Robin, our Windows Mobile powered smartphone of the choice was the AT&T Tilt. I hated that device. Too bricky, too slow, too much of a battery killer and for me at that time I was overwhelmed by the Tilt having too many methods of input (I never knew how to use the dang thing at any give time). Compared to the Tilt, the Fuze is much improved. The Fuze is still bricky, but it's a nice, compact brick (albeit a little on the thick side) that feels good in the hand. The hardware is improved all around (much nicer keyboard), as is the operating system which made the jump over the course of the year from Windows Mobile 6.0 to 6.1. To be honest, I don't know enough about the WinMob OS to relay where all those improvements come into effect, but I assume they're something that Dieter would be excited about! If you want to take a stroll down memory lane to see how far HTC has taken this form factor over the course of the year (I think of the Fuze as the next generation Tilt - whether or not that's the right assumption to make or not I don't know) you can check out my AT&T Tilt First Impressions and Final Impressions reviews.

HTC Fuze Hardware Impressions

Of the five smartphones participating in this year's Round Robin, three of them are actually manufactured by HTC - the Treo Pro, T-Mobile G1 and the AT&T Fuze. BIG representation from HTC, and it's fairly easy to see why, as all in all the devices they put out from my experiences/observations appear to be quite solid. If you missed my initial impressions video, you can get a good look at the Fuze in action below.

Like the Treo Pro and G1, the Fuze packs some decent performance into its hardware. Here are the Fuze's key specs:

  • Platform: Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional
    • w/ TouchFlo 3D and Opera Mini included
  • Processor: Qualcomm 528 MHz MSM7201A
  • Radio: GSM 850/900/1800/1900 (Quadband) / WCDMA 850/1900/2100 (Triband)
  • Wireless Connectivity: IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, Bluetooth 2.0 EDR
  • Memory: Installed RAM 288 MB; Installed ROM 512 MB
  • Camera: 3.2 megapixels with digital zoom, autofocus, and flash
  • Display: 2.8 inch TFT active matrix; 480 x 640 resolution; resistive touchscreen
  • Stylus: Included. Booyahh!!
  • Dimensions (W x D x H): 2 in x 0.7 in x 4 in
  • Weight: 5.8 oz
  • Talk time: Up to 444 min
  • Standby time: Up to 456 h

As has been mentioned several times now in the Round Robin by other editors, it sucks that HTC has decided to ignore putting a standard headset jack onto their smartphones in favor of just using MiniUSB as the single connection port, which for wired audio requires the use of an adapter.

A good look at the Fuze and the TouchFlo 3D homescreen. The back of the case features a funky diamond cut. Annoying! The device doesn't sit flat on a table.

AT&T gave the Fuze a Push to Talk button that can't be missed. Awww...the stylus. I'm starting to grow fond of them. NOT!.
A hands-on look at the AT&T Fuze

Overall, my experiences with the HTC's Fuze's hardware were positive, minus the usage of the resistive touchscreen. At 480 by 640 pixels (in portrait), the display itself is impressive, but I don't get why HTC couldn't have put in a capacitive touchscreen here. HTC built the G1, which had a very smooth touchscreen, so it's not like they don't have the ability to do it. Maybe it's the cost or maybe capacitive touchscreens and Windows Mobile don't play well together, or maybe it's another factor - I don't know but it's too bad.

Resistive touchscreen aside, the rest of the Fuze gets the job done well. I'm not a fan of slider keyboards - to think bigger is better when it comes to keyboards is a false assumption. The bigger the keyboard the more you have to move your fingers, which makes it slower and more exhausting to use (ideally you want it to be as small as possible, but not so small that it becomes unusable with lots of errors being made). That said, the Fuze's keyboard is probably the nicest I have used on a slider. It contains lots of additional functions too. With the function key pressed, you can launch popular apps and settings (calendar, contacts, email, WiFi, etc.) and there's even a Windows key for launching the Start menu. This played a big role into my usage with the Fuze, as due to my frustrations with TouchFlo 3D I found myself immediately sliding the keyboard open every time I went to use the device (like I did with the G1).

The Fuze lost in a sea of BlackBerry smartphones. Curve 8900 left; BlackBerry Bold right. The Fuze is narrow in comparison with slider closed.

The Storm's display is much bigger than the Fuze's and is capacitive. When closed, the Fuze is most similar to the Pearl Flip in terms of dimensions and pocketability.
The Fuze Compared to a Bunch of BlackBerry Goodness

Component hardware got the job done also - the camera worked well for me, the GPS was decently quick, WiFi worked though I had some issues with it never wanting to save my settings (software gripe). Another hardware/software gripe was in terms of the speed. The Fuze is a lot faster than the Tilt, but overall the device still seems very slow, especially compared to the ultra fast BlackBerry Bold. Either it needs a bigger processor or work has yet to be done in speeding up Windows Mobile.

In terms of fit and finish and feeling, the Fuze was good. It's a shiny device, but looks pretty cool and the diamond-cut back puts some fashion into the mix along with the function. If they could only make it a quarter inch thinner the form factor would be impressive.

Be sure to zoom in on the images above for bigger photos and some extra details that I slid into the picture captions.

TouchFlo 3D & Windows Mobile 6.1 Pro

The Fuze is running the same Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional Edition operating system that the Treo Pro ran, with one exception. To give the Fuze more of an iPhone-like front end experience, the boys and girls at HTC have tried to sex up WinMob with what they call TouchFlo 3D. 

Fuze
TouchFlo 3D in action. Lipstick on a pig or ??

What's TouchFlo 3D? I have two ways of thinking about it. One, it's kind of like another operating system layered on top of the Windows Mobile operating system. Or you can think of it as a theme, but a theme that's hopped up on steroids. Regardless of your thinking, with the slider closed and the phone in portrait mode, TouchFlo 3D delivers a good looking homescreen experience that delivers your basic smartphone functions in a non-standard Windows Mobile way. You can preview emails, browse your media, listen to music, launch apps, adjust basic settings, check the weather, etc. all within the TouchFlo 3d interface. Then when it comes time to "do more" (such as view your whole email inbox), with a tap you're back into the familiar Windows Mobile OS.

Fuze
Left - The TouchFlo 3D homescreen in landscape is just an app launcher.
Right - Opera Mini is native to the Fuze and does a good job of rendering pages.

Do I like the concept? Yes AND No. Let's start with the No's. Rewind to my Treo Pro review, and I had this to say about Windows Mobile:

The thing I like about Windows Mobile 6.1 is the familiarity factor. With Windows Mobile, it's not that the operating system mirrors Windows XP or Vista in terms of appearance or navigation, but that the names and basic premise are the same: Start Menu, File Explorer, Media Player, Internet Explorer... these are all things that anybody who has ever used a PC for more than ten minutes will be familiar with. This makes feature discovery on the Windows Mobile OS quite easy - with no reading of the instruction manual or jumping onto forums you can pretty much accomplish your basic smartphone tasks.

Fuze
Left - Fuze settings in TouchFlo 3D skin
Right - Or you can click into standard WinMob Pro settings

When it comes to using the Fuze with TouchFlo 3D active, you now lose a bit of that familiarity factor. You're no longer "looking" for Windows Media player, but you're looking for "Music". This isn't a big deal really, but it does strike off the list one of the good things I normally have to say about WinMob. The other negative with TouchFlo 3D is the redundancy. For a person who knows Windows Mobile, this isn't a big deal. You "get" what TouchFlo 3D is all about and understand that it's a layer added onto the OS. But I can only imagine that first time smartphone owners who purchase this phone would be confused as heck as there's now duplicate ways to do things. Do I scroll through TouchFlo 3D and listen to music there? Or do I go to Programs on the Start Menu and launch Media Player? This is basically the case with everything. Take settings for example. You can do it the Windows Mobile way by going Start Menu > Settings, or you can do it the TouchFlo 3D way. It's a bit messy and seems inefficient. I'd rather just see a well-designed OS that does this right from the start.

Fuze
TouchFlo's email preview is pretty, but is really a waste of time.
Show me the message!

As for what I like? The look!! Gotta love that animated weather app! And as you can tell from the pictures, just like in the BlackBerry space where we have a thriving theme developer community, it looks like the same is the case for Windows Mobile themes. WMExperts.com pointed me to the FuzeBerry theme you see pictured in this review, which helped provide some of the comforts of home. Though I gotta say, this developer has never actually used a BlackBerry before as his icon selection is completely out of whack in some cases. Example - he used the Word Mole icon to represent Contacts, the BBM icon to represent Messages, and the Application Center icon to represent settings. WTF?!

Fuze
More TouchFlo 3D action - Weather app is pretty cool as is the Fuze media player skin.

By the end, I was using getting things done with the Fuze, though not in the way I think HTC intended me to use it. Regardless of my efforts, I just couldn't come to terms with the touchscreen. It just HATED my finger. As a result, I found myself always using the Fuze in landscape mode (except when talking). And in landscape mode, TouchFlo 3D takes on an even more BlackBerry-like appearance. In this mode (as shown in the image at the very top of this review), the homescreen simply lists eight icons that you can jump into. Using the phone this way I was really bypassing TouchFlo 3D altogether and was back to the familiar Windows Mobile OS.

Fuze
TouchFlo redundancy - launch apps via TouchFlo or from the standard WinMob Start menu

HTC AT&T Fuze - Some Final Thoughts

When it comes to the Smartphone Round Robin check list, the Fuze easily nailed off all the tasks. Windows Mobile does not have an issue when it comes to functionality. Of all the platforms/devices in the Round Robin, the Fuze is probably the one that can get the most "stuff" done without compromising any other features.

Where the Fuze and Windows Mobile suffer is on usability. A device like the iPhone delivers a Wow Factor out of the box and is easy to use right away. The BlackBerry OS takes a bit more to learning effort up front compared to the iPhone (you need to discover the joys of the BlackBerry menu key), but once you get it are effective with the device and get hooked. Windows Mobile lacks this out of the box consumer experience. Part of it could be that Microsoft is putting out the platform while the device manufacturer/reseller is delivering the product, so the integration isn't as tight as say Apple or BlackBerry who put out both the hardware and OS. On the other hand, it could be that Windows Mobile just needs a big overhaul - not in terms of functionality, but in terms of usability. TouchFlo 3D tries to solve this problem, but it's a band aid fix to a wound where more than stitches and a little cosmetic surgery are required.

Up Next in the Round Robin - Back on the Crack, I got my Bold Back! Stay Tuned... 

Topics: SPE Round Robin

Reader comments

Round Robin Review: Fuze/TouchFlo 3D Final Impressions

151 Comments

While I like to look of the phone and some of the features (software wise) that it appears to offer, I dont like the windows part.

I really like Windows Mobile, it really does have a lot of powerful features and options to setup things just how you want them. But for sure the OS feels and looks dated, particularly the drop down start menu. But the biggest issue I have with Windows Mobile devices isn't Windows Mobile, but the lame ass touchscreen technology. I know in Asia they love hand writing recognition and all, but why not limit resistive touchscreen to markets that are into such handwriting recognition and go capacitive for the rest of the world.

TouchFlo 3D looks nice, but most of you guys I dont think its the answer and more times than not it makes thing worse, not better. I dont know anyone with those new phones that has TouchFlo 3D, keep it on for more than a day after getting their phones.

Because i am visual, as i read your post, i really focused on your pics. the conclusion i came to was---all that glitters aint gold.. i really liked the pics and how things were laid out, the font etc. however, reading your post i would not want this phone..

Coming from using Windows Mobile devices prior to getting a Blackberry, I think the Fuze does have some potential. The hardware does seem like it is well built, and could be a great phone. I can definitely see where the multi-input can become confusing, as well as layering interfaces making the device slower and possibly more confusing.

Good review, though!

One thing I have to give credit to the iPhone for, it really shows that a phone can be pretty and functional. As a result we're seeing better looking interfaces and interaction on mobile devices than just a few years ago.

Phones like the Fuze really show this point off well. It is also a testament to what can be done with Windows Mobile if someone will just take the time to develop on it and do so really nicely.

That's one advantage that WinMo and iPhone have going for them is the dev environment to create applications. Until RIM can work out the dev issues in developing for multiple devices, they'll be behind in this dev-centric smartphone world. Things are getting better though and I expect to see great things come to the BlackBerry app wise.

Great review as always Kevin. It would be great to see some of the variety available in windows mobile phones come to blackberry.

Keep up the good work.

Here I am again...coming from Windows Mobile and also having used Palm I keep running back to RIM. The stability and speed of the Blackberry are just the beginning of the story as to why I am a Crackhead. I seriously looked at the Fuze this year when I wanted to replace my Tilt. Windows Mobile is just not for me.

its a nice phone but id never leave a bb for a winmobile again. under all that touch gimick its still sucky windows.

My co-worker has the Fuze and it seems like a nice phone. It felt a little clunky in the 5 mins I messed with it but its still pretty slick. I guess like anything it takes some getting used to.

Windows mobile is getting more people this year.. with the wireless sync in exchange 2003, 2007 more people is buying phones with WM...

I really dont like it, but.. thats my taste.

all the HTC phones are very nice indeed.

Always so in depth, thanks! The Fuze was my second choice next to a blackberry when I was shopping for a smart phone early this year. but neither the bold or the fuze came out soon enough for me. I still have my 8320, for now.

bold.bold.bold.bold.bold.bold.bold.bold.bold.bold.bold.bold.bold.bold.bold.bold.bold.bold.bold.bold.bold.bold.bold.bold.bold.bold.bold.bold.bold.bold.bold.bold.bold.bold.bold.bold

kev your reviews are spot on and ive used this phone and i dont like the touch responses or lack there of but your so biased to our over blown pagers that is what pin is and i use it and i own a bold myself but you would defend the berry till u die ur a true berry fan boy so your reviews of non berry phones are taken with a grain of salt at best

I had an HTC phone with Windows Mobile. While not bad...not good. The Fuze has very attractive styling...but I LOVE my Bold and won't think of any alternative unless God creates another miracle!

I like the phone, I like to os and the touch flo but it is still winmo and that does not sit well with me. As a person who sits in an office with a bunch of minmo phones and just a couple of blackberry I can tell you that my coworkers are always going about what they wish there phones did or how it should be easier to use at times.

Blackberries may take some time to get use to but I have never my phone to be easier to use it has always been perfect

A friend bought this, and he thinks it's the bee's knees. I think I'll point him to this article and bring him down a notch!

I agree with Kevin--I'm not a fan of slide phones.
Still hoping Verizon will get the iphone at some time, but I'll probably never see that as mentioned on the roundtable podcast.

i think the fuze is just too heavy...reminds me of a brick. altough it does look better than the tilt.

Seems like a nice phone but I think I still prefer my Storm. Interesting how high the resolution is, yet a smaller screen than the storm. Pixel density is important but who wants to watch a movie on such a small screen? I don't even like watching movies on my storm :/

Haha!! WinMob fails again, when will they learn no matter how much you "pretty" it up, it will still be WinMob.

PS: That email anitmation would drive me bonkers!!

KEVIN MICHALUK!

I don't care about this Round Robin Thing.

The BlackBerry Storm Has Been Out for Over a Month Already.

No Decent Reviews On Your Part.

It's Unfair that your waiting this LONG to let that Thing COOK.

Everyone else has reviewed it-

You Don't Think its ready for Review-

Who CARES!

RIM Thought it was READY for RELEASE.

REVIEW THE DARN THING ALREADY!

Then UPDATE the review LATER.

You never even comment about which device you use-

Presumably because you don't want the community to know that you don't quite like it.

Redeem Yourself and Review the Device Already.

Stop Prancing Around the Things You have to Do.

Tend to your Site, Before You Tend To Others.

DUDE... aka. Mr. Anonymous , Where have you been? I did up a 90 minute podcast review dedicated to the blackberry storm which says it all. Find a review that's more comprehensive than that. I dare you. I also updated the pre-release review with a link to the podcast. My views are out there for everybody to know. TAKE A LISTEN. Here's the link: CrackBerry.com Storm Podcast Review Shoot me an email when you're done listening. Satisfied? Good. And next time you're gonna go off in the blog comments, do your homework. And next time you're gonna leave a comment like this, why don't you try logging in to the site so I can PM ya or email ya afterwards and let you know I responded. Chicken :)

I am a customer with Sprint PCS and I purchased their version of this phone the Touch Pro as what I thought would be an upgrade to my BB 8830WE (what was I thinking). Out of the box the phone was very sexy and appealing to the eye. But from a functionality stand point the phone was very lacking in speed and reliability. I returned this device after 3 weeks of use and got back on my much missed crackberry addiction. I have owned Winmo and palm devices in the past and I really tried to like this device but its lack of OS stability, true push email and battery life was a reminder to me of why I bought a BB in the first place.

Lack of true push? Outlook defines true push w/ active sync. I have outlook and get e-mails within 20 seconds and even less.

As a brand new doctor (the implication being that I really NEED my medical tools/dictionaries/books/uptodate.. in my hand at all times i.e.: on my phone) I can say that one thing that kept me FROM iPhone and drove me TOWARDS windows mobile initially was the idea that I could get rid of my clunky palm and put everything on the phone!

Having been a BB user since 4 years ago (about halfway through medical school) I have found ways to phase out the Palm and put everything on the BB (Epocrates, QxMD etc most of which are now available in iPhone and BB format) but it was with the addition of Documents to Go (a lot of medical books are available in PDF only format!) that finally made the Palm obsolete (for me). That and WiFi (which the Storm cursedly doesn't have?) ... this being necessary for real-time update of patient labs I can get off the hospital's WiFi.

My rambling point is... Windows Mobile still has some program functionality out-of-the-box that BASIC versions of BB Os and iPhone don't. ... and no, Opera Mini doesn't cut it (to date)... just saying.

That said, I doubt anyone needing the full WM capabilities I'm referring to wants to fiddle with a Fuze to get it.

the touchflo 3d definitely makes the winmo os experience a lot better looking. and if it works well, i'd think that the touchflo 3d would be awesome. with the enhanced animations and graphics, can the phone handle the workload without being slow or sluggish?

The aesthetics are pleasing but the functionality is poorly lacking. My boss had a TouchFlo phone a month or so ago and despite my best efforts whatever I "touched" opened the wrong featurer/app. I’m just not a touch screen user.

I like the look and feel of the Fuze, but I hate the software. Windows Mobile just isn't nice to use coming from using an iPhone and a BlackBerry. Oh well.

TouchFLO 3D is an amazing looking interface, but that resistive screen has to just kill it... No matter how fast they make WinMo (which has always been a tad sluggish in my experiences), that screen just has to kill any fluidity in operating it.

I love how HTC gives you this many ways to control, but I have to wonder what they were thinking. If I were under ATT, I would really be struggling to buy one of these. Between the Bold and the iPhone, I just don't see a reason. If I was in real need of WinMo, I feel I could probably find a phone for much less than they are asking for the Fuze.

It's such a great looking device, but that screen would definitely be a deal breaker for me...

This is the kind of thing I expect from touch screens. Either they are too touchie or not enough. I'm really just not a fan of touch screen devices at all. Maybe one day they will come out with the technology to really wow me, but as of now, I just can't get into touch screen. I would imagine that the Storm has problems been too touchie, but that's from looking at people's reviews and from talking with a Storm owner.

Fuze also keeps me from ever considering it because it is a Windows Mobile Device. I am a PC user, it is true, and I do use Windows, but I try to stay with Windows XP, because Vista is terrible, and from what I've read on Windows Mobile, it's basically Vista for phones. While the 3D aspect is kind of nice, I would rather wait until RIM figures that all out, or a nice theme comes for my 8220 that can do that. Also, while sliders are cool, I just love my clam shell device. It feels more like a phone.

In addition, it looks like WM doesn't allocate resources very well (like Vista) and has too many icons on the home screen, at least that's how the screen shots make it look. I am not 100% sure, having never messed with a WM device, but I would imagine this to be true, and Vista is STILL a resource hog and Microsoft seems to be more focused on looks than actually usability.

I don't know whether it was the device or Windows Mobile OS, but instability issues in the past have not exactly impressed.

it doesnt look like that great of a phone and touch flo 3d is like a wig on a rock...itll never be pretty lol blackberrry bold please lol

Nice review. Still think the device would be infinitely better if it had a capacitive touch screen. Still the touch pro has definitely moved the smart phone world forward. Looking forward to seeing the the next generation from htc.

I've been following the HTC 'Touch' phones since they released the Touch Dual, but I always had the same problem as you and the other reviewers did with the touch screen not being as responsive as I'd like. Oh well, maybe the next HTC will have a much better screen; not that I'll be able to set down my Curve for anything running WinMo.

Thanks for the review. A friend was thinking about buying one, but after he sees this I doubt he will go that route.

its looks pretty nice but....i have to say im a first time blackberry user and have used my friends WINMO phones but the blackberry seems to be easier to navigate through compared to WINMO

things just seem to get complicated when going through different menus and trying to exit menus... forgive me but i havent used the WINMO phone enough to get through the learning curve but it definately took me a lot less time to get used to the blackberry than it was to attempt to learn the WINMO OS

I'm trying to focus on my new BB storm and then you throw this at me . . . How am I supposed to concentrate?!?!

I do like some of the apps on there. The weather one specifically looks very nice and I wish we had something more like that on the Berry (besides the push signal).

I guess you have to be a Palm user to get this thing, but once you go Black(berry) you never go back!! I will join the touch screen revolution when I get an unlocked 9520 Rogers Storm, I have the Curve 8320 with the Wifi which makes things so much faster(and VPN capable) that when using my Mother-in-law's 8310 to download a simple little app I just toss it aside while I am already using it on my 8320. What was Verizon thinking?

I tried the Fuze out at an Att store. The awkwardness of its touchscreen made me turn away from this phone real quick. I dedided on my Curve instead.

Good review. Pretty accurate too based on my testing of the phone. I found it to be quirky, it does look appealing but it doesn't cut the muster. I left me with a little more con-fuze.

I gave it a try, and even though ATT sold it to me at no charge under a new contract, I sent it back. It's certainly an interesting and capable device, but almost nothing was easy. Maybe next year Dieter can customize something, with spb mobile shell and tweaks already in place, so everyone can get to see what WinMo looks like for an experienced user. I'm very good with XP or Vista, and still didn't enjoy the experience. Need a Bold to replace what I sent back. :)

Windows is enough reason for me to avoid these devices, but I also find a lot of complaints with the devices themselves. I'd rather have a Palm than these unbalanced slider devices. Or, you know, stay with the Crack!

I agree with your findings on the Fuze. I played around with the Bell version of the HTC Touch Pro (Fuze). And it wasnt my favorite phone. I get the whole, touch screen + physical keyboard. But the touch screen is frustrating to use, and I found the keyboard too small for my fat thumbs.

I'd still like to win that bold though :)

I'm sick of windows on everything, and NO i don't want any frickin apple nasty product- it's good to have variety on different things- so no, I don't want any windows phone- windows on my computer is enough -
and that 'phone' is ugly and so is it's display
no blackberry communication bonus no blinking red light, no thank you!
ok bold please lol

this is the most interesting phone I've read about so far. HTC is one of the best kept secrets in the cell phone market. They're the guys to watch....

Good review and I think it would be hard for me to go back to Windows Mobile in its current state after becoming a Blackberry user.

Man i am going to miss the round robin. Its been a great experience, i really liked reading all the reviews on all the sites, even the ones on sites other than crackberry.com. I would like to see more reviews though. I would like to see

A) the storm
b) touch hd
c) lenovo android phone
d) curve 8900
e) centro

damn iphone is going to keep us from doing another one for a while though. unless they release the iphone nano. or we just dont review an iphone (but let rene review all the phones still, i like his reviews)

Very impressive looking phone although I don't know if it's enough to pry me away from my 8320. Would love to give it a spin sometime.

really like the fuze, , ive used winmo devices as well in the past and im in need of one for a second phone line and it might just be the fuze, too bad winmo 6.5 or 7 isnt out yet

Kevin forgot to mention one important thing with sliders; they can be a total pain when you want to quickly reply. I played around with the Fuze and found that it is near impossible to type without sliding out the keyboard (WinMo fans argued that this device would have an iPhone like interface for typing, so that the user doesn't have to bust out the keyboard). While it sounds stupid, it really can become a pain when you simply want to reply to a message with one short sentence.

Also, I owned a Tilt and Kevin is right; the overall feel of the operating system seems slow and clunky and forces the user to tweak with the device to get it to the point where it is functional for the individual user. This is where Blackberry's excel, and most devices fail. The iPhone is way too simple with no customization or depth because everything is too locked down, and WinMo is way too complicated out of the box for most users. Blackberry's strike the right balance; that is why RIM is the leader in the smartphone market in the US.

One more point on Windows Mobile; i found the stability of the OS to be a big problem. I can definitely say that my Blackberry OS (4.6) has frozen a couple of times, but it seemed that this is a very common occurance with WinMo. My Tilt routinely needed soft reset's and it usually froze at the most inconvenient times.

I would take WinMo over an iPhone but never over a Blackberry!!!!

looks nice, i prefer a keyboard but if touchscreen get better then keyboards maybe a thing of the past.

My Bold came in the mail today. I am in love with it. If I were to win another one, it would be like having a threesome. I cant wait.

I looked at the I-Phone, Fuze, and Bold. I really like the feel of a physical keybpard, and I didn't like the thought of learning a new OS for the BB, so I went with the Fuze. On the plus side, it has a fantastic camera and captures great video to boot. At first, I liked the hefty-nest of it, but found that my arms were killing me trying to watch a movie on it. Also, the roomy keyboard was initially a big draw, but having it launch the landscape menu every time i opened it was really getting annoying.

I also originally thought that the touch screen was a far more efficient way to navigate content (versus the t-ball), but again, living with it for a couple of weeks found that half the time i would trigger an action that i didn't want (similar to Kevin's experience, sounds like)...and it would take forever for the action to run its course. The straw that broke the camel's back was the PTT button: every time I answered a call I would activate the PTT.

Needless to say, I am in my second week with a Bold, and despite some of my earlier concerns I find myself much more efficient at having it do what I want, and am pleasantly surprised with how solidly it performs.

I carried the blackberry (pager style) back in 1998 and loved it. Over the last several years I've moved to a Palm and them WinMo. I love the way WinMo is similar to outlook, allowing me access to my folders, etc... I would like to try a blackberry again (i live in NYC region, so ATT is not much of an option around here due to coverage). Please sell me on the switch over and please let me know if there is any way to avoid having all my sent email messages appear in the "messages" folder with a check mark; I think it's annoying to have to keep skipping over so many "checked" and "sent" email messages throughout the day. Is there anyway to route these "checked" messages to another folder automatically? thanks, guys!

more help please...is a new BB coming to Verizon soon? I have tried the Storm for several extended periods and cannot type two correct words in a row. so sad about that!

I just returned my Fuze after 29 days of usage for the Blackberry Bold. The Fuze is a very customizable phone but the touch screen (and the whole phone) is not very responsive, even with the XDA Developers's cooked ROM. It takes a few seconds to load certain application. The phone hangs at least twice a day. A normal consumer would not put up with the frequent resetting of the phone. It is a very fun phone if you havent experienced the Iphone 3G or the Blackberry Bold

That phone looks (aesthetically) very nice, although I agree with you in that Windows Mobile is very lacking and that HTC needs to develop its hardware a little more. Great review!

It always will be two kind of people, the intuitive and the analytic.

Analytics have (in their genes) the NEED to explore. They can't be stuck with monolitic systems, they need versatility to acomplish You cannot take that away from them. Winmo fullfil that need. That doesn't make Winmo a bad system, in fact it's perfect for them.

For Intuitive people versatility equals chaos. It must be simple and direct. WinMo is much to satisfy their instints. Winmo is not for them, that doesn't mean it is not valuable.

The truth is that intuitive and analytic people will never undertand why the other thinks that way.

I'm a long-time resistive touchscreen user and I found the Fuze to be unresponsive too, so it's got to be something about the device itself and not the whole concept of resistive touchscreens themselves (which I like because they're more precise than capactive). Great review anyway!

I have just finished listening to the Round Robin on my Bold PodTrapper and I have to say it was fantastic!!

You guys are awesome and have to do that again, it was an insight to hear "experts" comments on other phones.

I have used Palm, Windows Mobile and now Blackberry - for me Blackberry is still the winning solution but I also love the iPhone, that I have never owned but I have played with.

My cousin has 9 pages of iPhone apps, but when asked which ones he actually "needs" he was unable to offer more than a handful where as I use almost every app on my bold.

As for other apps I have added, I use Antair anti spam which I don't think I could live without. In fact when I first got my BB (last year Curve) I almost got rid of it due to the amount of spam I got, but with the Antair program it was almost all gone!!

Another app I love is Pocket Informant - I am on their Beta trial and their ability to adapt to user requirements is something I have not experienced before.

I would love to have the ability to get the iPhone and the G1 on an extended trial to see if it can be the BB experience but sadly prices are too high to own them all.

Quick word on PodTrapper - pretty good, it crashed once for me, loosing where I was up to but other than that the play was very good, pretty clear and easy to use - except for deleting a podcast once you had listened to it - I found you had to exit the app before it would allow you to delete a podcast.

Final note - please do this again, it was much better to listen to you all justifying and fighting for your own platforms rather than the biased view that will always come from one a single source.

Great podcast keep it up!!

Simeon.

Definitely a lot prettier than I originally thought it'd be. The design in general has surprised me in how much I actually kinda sorta like it. I don't think I would've give the Fuze a second glance before this, but maybe I'll take a closer look next time.

Even though it seams the Fuze is the WinMo device to beat, I didn't care for it either. A buddy of mine was looking at one, I steered him to the Curve. He's not disappointed in the least!

Windows mobile kinda seems like a high-maintenance spouse.
It works nicely when it works, but requires too much attention when you just want something simple, doesn't do what you ask it to, demands all your free time when you'd rather be out having fun, and can generally be a nuisance.

iPhone is more like "the stunner" who would be that one person who's just out of reach, and dream as you may, you'd never take them home. Until, of course... by some freak fateful moment, they go out with you. Then you start to see their little annoying flaws. But its okay with you, because its sooooo good looking. Then those flaws get persistent, and annoying. You begin to question if you really wanna spend your mobile life with this device. The looks fade, and their value is lost in the MANY annoyances which accompany the personality of the phone.

Palm is like a dirty hooker who is sleeping with Windows Mobile, and completely unashamed about it.

And then there is BlackBerry. Not bad looking, but its no iPhone. Its fast, reliable, always there when you need it. You wonder about whether or not you should ditch it for a hotter option, but decide to stay loyal. All your friends are bragging about their hot new iPhones, but you stay faithful. Then, when their iLooker devices start to show their annoying little personality quirks, there you are. BlackBerry in tow, walking off in the sunset together.

Don't be sucked into the hype. Don't buy into looks, when they're a shallow cover for a dark personality which lies beneath the iPhone's software. And as for Windows Mobile? Well, if you would rather go shopping with the missus than be at 'the game' with a few mates, well... go right ahead.

But for those of you who are looking for true smartphone companionship. BlackBerry is there for you.

I was going to write a "smartphones are like men" but instead I'll note that you walked right by the quirky and extremely talented G1 Android who accepts you for who you are and asks only that you be open to new experiences. Too scary for most guys, I guess.

I was deliberately trying to keep it gender non-specific, but okay :p

The Android platform is more like the teenage version of Windows Mobile. Its less demanding, perhaps more attractive, and more likely to pull people in. But sadly, that wonderful fun-loving personality is (at the moment) buried in a hideous exterior (the G1). It accepts you for who you are, because you're its 'first'; because its insecure about who it is... but you'll soon tire of its immaturity.

Oh sure, its fun to hang out with in the club (er, phone store), but once you take it home, you'll be disappointed when you try to have any serious discussions with it. Its all about the party, and is just too immature to deal with the complexities of the real world.

And just wait til you get the G1 home, and discover its only 16!
You're in trouble then!

The phone looks nice, If i can't bring my wife to the Crackberry side, I might pick this up for her.

I'm a novice to the world of smart phones, so before purchasing my BB Bold (yay for me!) I had actually considered the FUZE. I liked the fact that it was "touchable," yet had a full slider QWERTY keyboard. And since I was looking for a phone where I could access and edit Microsoft documents, it seemed like a viable option.

Well, I went to AT& T to see and hold both the FUZE and the BOLD and let's just say the FUZE was NOT the business to me. In terms of "touching," it was not very smooth/accurate like the iPhone (hubby has one, so I play with that when I need a touch screen). It also wasn't very pretty either. Not that I'm a "looks" type of gal, but the chunkiness coupled with my not being able to get it to do what I wanted sealed the deal against the FUZE and into the BB Bold world for me!

During the time you had the Fuze, did you ever full turn off TouchFLo 3D and just use just plain old Windows Mobile? If so what did you think of the phone then?

Going by the review its clear you know at least the basics about Windows Mobile (maybe quite a bit more) so that's why I asked, to see if your experience was any better.

I've been let down by a HTC smartphone before - the keypad became very unresponsive after a while. Although I see from your shots above where you hold it - the Fuze is a lot smaller than I expected it!

But not crazy about the WinMo OS....been there...kept the phone about 4 mths and bought a Blackberry Curve for retail (well minus my equipment discount)

i liked how the review was structured, the pictures and info showed. Mmm i still think its a little biased towards RIM`s products.
I´ve used the Touch Pro and HTC HD`s touch flow interfase without a problem.. so maybe Kevin´s fingers are the problem ;-)

The video Dieter just put shows that alot of the hassle can be bypassed by doing things like putting in a different ui.

I think I've figured it all out: The Bold is for people who want to get as close as they can get to being an out-and-out omnipotent ruler of the universe because it lets you be always and instantly in on and in control of everything in your business and personal communities. The iphone is like the new tetris - once you start playing with it you just can't stop no matter what you do, and it doesn't really matter whether you get any calls or emails or ims or even talk to anyone else ever again because the device itself is completely addictive on its own. The Winmo devices (the Fuze more than the Pro) are like those lego kits where you can build a spaceship or whatever. It's the building part that's the real fun - once the thing is built, you don't really play with it as is, but rather you take it apart and built it over and over and again, changing and tweaking stuff as you go along. And the G1 is for people who just like being first in line - regardless of the thing itself, the victory is in beating out everyone else in getting it.

And there you have it, my philosophical musings of the day.

I wonder how the new Palm device being unveiled today will stack up against the Fuze and the Bold...can't wait to find out!

I just wanted to get in one last post for good measure. Kevin, thanks for all the hard work and helpful information. I bet you're glad this is over...