Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Day 1 With The Pantech Matrix Pro

I have never owned a Windows Mobile device that did not have a touch screen. For that matter, I've never used a Windows Mobile device that did not have a touch screen for more than 15 minutes. As such, I knew the Matrix Pro was going to take some getting used to but it hasn't been as difficult as I imagined.

Certain options are not where I expect them to be and some just aren't there. Navigation isn't a challenge, as such, but it does seem to take longer to get to some functions (of course, maybe that's because I'm spending a lot of time looking for them). Overall, using the Pantech Matrix Pro has been an easy and enjoyable experience. Part of the reason for that is in the physical design. Answer a call? Slide up. Hang up? Slide down.

It has a Today screen called "slider" that fits the phone rather well. Today screen elements are grouped together so that you navigate up and down to get to different groups and left and right to get to different elements. Some of the setup options can be handled from here so I'm liking that so far.

The front of the phone has a reflective surface but it doesn't stay that way for long. It's a fingerprint magnet. The back, however, isn't so much and looks nice.

The QWERTY keyboard is okay but it is a bit cramped. In comparison to the Pantech Matrix (my wife has one), the keys are closer together and, because of the more rounded edges, the caps/shift key on the lower left and the back key on the lower right are almost cut in half diagonally.

One complaint I have is the voice command. Rather than using Microsoft's product, the Matrix Pro has its own flavor. It may be based on Microsoft's but it is lacking. First, the voice is lower in pitch and is more difficult to understand in the first place. Add to it that the voice quality when it is pronouncing a name is only slightly less clear than a 1970s-era drive-through speaker and you have difficulties like the one below:

Voice Command: Say command
Me: Call 'My Wife' mobile (I forgot to say the ICE1 that is in front of her name in the address book)
VC: Call bzzrtth mrafrozzth Mo-bile? Is this correct?
ME: (not understanding what it said but knowing it probably got it wrong due to my mistake) NO
VC: Dialing...

My friend, Greg, later called me back to ask why I had called.

As I was driving to work, I receive a text message. I know I can have it read to me but didn't know the command. With the MS product, you simply ask, "What can I say?" and the friendly voice inside your headset lists categories, then specific commands once you choose a category. I got no response from the Matrix Pro. I tried a second time - still no response. When I got to a stoplight, I took a look at the phone. It had a friendly help screen up. Now, isn't the point of voice command so you don't have to actually look at the phone to accomplish tasks?

I installed a couple of applications and tried out the camera. Directing the phone where to store downloads and photos is somewhat of a challenge akin to my experience with the sync partnership. There are a couple of different places to make changes and you're never quite sure if you've changed it in the right place. I figure I'll get used to that.

Other random thoughts:
  • The earpiece sound quality is clear and loud.
  • I haven't figured out how to close a program that does not have an exit feature on the menu without going through program manager (a general flaw of WinMo)
  • I haven't figured out how to add or subtract items from the Today screen
  • It works well with both my Blueant Z9 headset and my Moto H850 stereo headset
  • The camera has a dedicated button but no flash
  • It's a very likeable phone

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