Name: T-Mobile myTouch 4G Slide
Price: $200 (w/two-year contract)
The Back Story: Since its birth two years back, the myTouch series has become as, if not more, signifigant as the Sidekick to the T-Mobile lineup. Stellar outings from the myTouch 3G Slide and myTouch 4G, along with those D-Wade and Charles Barkley commercials, have made the phones a popular buy amongst network subscribers. But the franchise has been put on the back burner lately, as network heavyweights like the HTC Sensation 4G and T-Mobile G2x have stolen the Android spotlight thanks in part to high-profile specs and refined software. That is until now.
With a dual-core chip under the hood, QWERTY keyboard, and the most advanced smartphone camera to date, along with the latest user-interface, HTC creates the best phone under the myTouch umbrella: the MyTouch 4G Slide. So where does carrier's latest offering stand among the T-Mobile elite?
• Phenomenal camera: T-Mobile’s always prided itself in having the best camera smartphone on the market with the myTouch series, and we can co-sign. The rear 8MP captures amazing images in both dark and bright settings, plus it sports a dual-LED flash and BSI (backside-illuminated sensor) that adds to the vibrancy and contrast levels of each snapshot. The shutter speed is easily the fastest of any smartphone and takes pictures at the semi-click of both the touchscreen and dedicated camera button. Video wise, it captures sharp and clear 1080p HD clips in both indoor and outdoor settings, and catches good sound from close distances. A variety of new editing and effects tools have been integrated into the software. Lastly, you can take photos while the phone is locked.
• Updated Sense UI and special features: Speaking of software, users are blessed with the most favorable Android overlay: Sense 3.0. HTC's enhanced interface comes equipped with several delicacies like accessing customizable shortcuts via the lock screen and enhanced 3D graphics. Check out our Sensation 4G review for more UI details. But the coolest feature found on the Slide 4G is the Genius button, which enhances the voice activation commands found on the myTouch 4G and allows you to text and e-mail, as well as browse the web and search for directions using your vocals. It's capable of synching your contact list and music catalog, too. Clever.
• Bigger CPU and faster speed: HTC continues to stick by Qualcomm’s 1.2GHZ dual-core and it’s a vast upgrade over the myTouch 3G Slide’s obsolete 600MHz chip. Navigation was swift, apps launched instantaneously, and one-touch commands were spot-on. Our device came preloaded with Speedtest.net, so we tested the carrier’s 4G speed and clocked about 7.65Mpbs to 10Mbps, which varied depending on our location in the Tri-State area. It’s not LTE speed, but when you take into account the lack of 4G-speed found on previously released T-Mobile devices, it’s an improvement. When you can download Angry Birds in less than 10 seconds, we like to think that says a lot.
• Impressive form factor and touchscreen: For a phone that squeezes a QWERTY keyboard into its build, somehow, the Slide 4G finds itself slimmer than its 3G predecessor—measuring at 0.55 inches thick. The sturdy aluminum frame is probably the most durable we’ve seen on a smartphone since the Motorola Cliq 2 and the soft touch-rubberized back shell feels smooth in hand. The 3.7-inch Super LCD generates bright output and quality visuals with the 800x400-pixel resolution, which is another noticeable enhancement from the 3G Slide’s 3.4-inch HVGA screen.
• Great network coverage and call quality: We basked in strong 4G-coverage throughout New York City, as well as certain parts of New Jersey (Atlantic City). Even under a 3G signal, the Slide 4G performed up to par. Phone calls were clear and loud with unnoticeable background noise, plus the speakerphone was loud and responsive on both ends.
• Stiff keyboard: We give HTC credit for squeezing a QWERTY keyboard into the device. But on the negative end, the 43-key keyboard is both flat and rigid, making typing a little difficult for messaging mongers. We found the Swype virtual keyboard better to use.
• Limited memory space: Like previous Gingerbread-ready HTC phones (the Sensation 4G and EVO 3D), there isn't much internal memory to work with. You're only looking at 4GB. The phone does come with a pre-installed 8GB microSD, but considering its vast array of multimedia capabilities, you're best bet is to upgrade to a 32GB.
• No HDMI port: Being that the myTouch 4G Slide captures such incredible images and good HQ videos, it's a bummer that you can't mirror the content onto an HDTV.
• Bad battery life: After utilizing wireless features such as wi-fi and the mobile hotspot, we noticed the energy bar was fully depleted within less than eight hours of heavy use. Recharging the phone was also an issue, as the battery took nearly two to three hours to gain a full charge.
Final Say: myTouch enthusiasts will find everything they want and more in the Slide 4G. A high-powered dual-core processor, the latest software (Android ingerbread and Sense 3.0), great call and messaging features, and arguably the best camera of any smartphone—you can’t really ask for anything more. On top of that, special features like the Genius Button, group texting, and global calling make the device a standout among T-Mobile titans like the Sensation 4G. But considering the myTouch series is best known for its messaging capabilities, T-Mobile subscribers might find themselves debating over the Sidekick 4G and Slide 4G. Truthfully, you can’t go wrong with either one, but if we had to choose one at this moment, considering its up-to-date spec sheet, we suggest sliding with HTC’s latest handset.