So I’m back from a great trip to Vegas. I had a great time and met some awesome people. That’s for a different post though. I want to debrief on the Sony Mylo. The verdict is that I am going to return it. Here’s why:
- The screen is too small to browse the web easily. Even if you use the single column or zoomed out display it is annoying. The device lets you scroll around a web page by hitting the Function key twice (locking it) then using the arrow keys. Alternatively, you can just use the arrow keys which jumps your cursor and the view focus from one link to the next available link in that direction. I found that since links aren’t always in a direct line, I needed to constantly cycle between the function’d movement and non-functioned so I could view the page and then select link I wanted.
- Every time I try to connect a wi-fi network it asks if I want to register it. Registering essentially puts a given wireless zone in your “favorites.” The thing is that wi-fi clouds are very transient, the device should have an option to save a particular wi-fi network but not offer every single time. I don’t need to be asked if I want to save every network I come across, the answer is almost always no.
- No hotswitch between messaging and the browser. I can hit home and be immediatly back at the nice application interface, I can cruise into the Gtalk IM client and back out with ease. But if I want to go from the main menu to the browser, I have to choose “last page visited” and there is a 3-8 second pause while it loads the browser back into memory. It doesn’t even seem to hold the last page content into a cache.
- Greyed out menu items are selectable. When you hit the option button, you might have a few items that can’t be used at a given time. However, when you hit the down d-pad, it still highlights them. It should skip over to the next selectable menu item. (This is an obvious UI usability oversight IMO)
- Copy and paste is a pain. One of the things you want to do all the time in chat is send links, but I couldn’t find out how to select a portion of text from a webpage. If I want to send the current URL I’m at to someone I’m chatting with I have to go to the edit current URL, then do a Fn-C. No thanks.
- Proprietary audio connector. I was astounded when I realized that the device doesn’t offer a normal headphone miniplug out.
- No upload ability! That’s right. If you want to upload a picture to Flickr and you click the browse button, it won’t open a dialog box to your file system. This was the deal breaker for me. I searched around and could not find anyway to do this.
- I also tried attaching something to an email in gmail, and still nothing happens. As far as I can tell the only way to access the file system, (local and duo card) is through the tools->file manager. But that only lets you move, copy delete or rename stuff. If you can’t access it in your internet applications who cares?
- Battery. The battery charges very slowly on this thing, and I wasn’t able to figure out how to properly shut it down w/o removing the battery. You can hold the power switch, but that only puts it in a relative sleep mode. I found that this modedrains the battery.
- The keyboard. As much as I’d like to say it is ok, it just isn’t. I found that I would use my thumbnails rather than my thumbs to hit the keys. It is just too small, and my hands aren’t that big.
Get the T-Mobile MDA or Cingular 8525. and load windows Mobile 6 “Most Beautiful” edition. This software includes stuff like Adobe Reader, Macromedia Flash, etc. This is the kind stuff you could really make use of on the road. The Mylo is less than useless in this regard.
These devices have wi-fi just like the Mylo, yet you can install any of thousands of user/community written applications like sound recorders etc. and then use real internet applications. This means you can run FTP, you can run SSH, you can browse for and upload from the file system, and the keyboard is nicer than the Mylo’s.
With the Cingular 8525, you get a more powerful 400mhz processor and a 2 megapixel camera as well. That device costs about $350 used, which is still $30 cheaper than the Mylo! The T-Mobile MDA is available on Craigslist for $170! That’s a full $110 less than the Mylo.
Plus, you get the option to pay for 2.5g or 3g cellular data connectivity. I demo’d the T-Mobile version last year and found that the EDGE data plan was just too expensive. But in a bind I could see wanting Cingular/AT&T’s HDSPA 3g solution.
The big difference as far as I can see is the ‘college friendly’ form factor of the Mylo, and the simplicity. Some things on the MDA are a bit complicated. They aren’t super smooth. You may have to do a restart on occasion, but that’s the price you pay for a device that can actually do stuff.
My plan now is to seek out a low cost ~$125 MDA or an 8525 for around $250. Those prices are a little low, (though MDA is fair at $170, and 8525 at $350). But the prices won’t be low once the new Windows Mobile 6 devices hit the streets. The Toshiba G900 and the Samsung i760 are going to drive the price down on mobile computing, so that hopefully, some day soon we’ll see some good prices on smartphone/pda convergence.
Until then, your best bet may be to stick with a laptop. No matter how big of a bummer it is, it is going to serve your needs better for the price than the Sony Mylo.