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HTC Shift exterior packaging
By Matthew Miller
The HTC Shift was one of the most anticipated UMPC/ultra-portable PCs of last year that is now finally available in the U.S. from Sprint. It has been available worldwide as a GSM device and this is the first release of an EV-DO capable model. HTC is well known for making the majority of Windows Mobile devices, but can they make headway into the Windows PC world with the Shift? Check out my full review to see what I think.
HTC silver outer wrap
The HTC Shift comes in attractive packaging, including a silver outer cover.
Sprint marketing sample
It looks like I have sample number 4 to evaluate for a couple of weeks.
The HTC logo is stamped into the silver out wrap.
High quality inner HTC box
HTC must have taken a few tips from Apple and has wrapped the HTC Shift in a very sturdy, durable, and attractive black box.
HTC logo on inner black box
The HTC logo is also etched into the black inner box in silver.
The A/C adapter and carrying case
HTC made a great decision and designed a rather small A/C adapter for the HTC Shift.
Screen protector on the leather case
HTC included a screen protector with the Shift. I attempted to put it on a couple of times, but there were large bubbles that were tough to remove.
Open flaps of the leather case
The included leather case opens in 3 flaps that are secured by strong magnets. The flaps are pliable and can easily be stacked under the Shift.
The Shift is secured in the case
There are 3 posts attaching the case to the Shift. HTC states that the case is non-removable and actually is required to meet the FCC approvals.
The small screws may remove the case
I didn’t try removing the case since it is a review unit, but if you have the right small screwdriver then you may be able to remove the leather case.
High gloss USB hub
HTC includes a USB hub with the HTC Shift. It is glossy black and a fingerprint magnet.
USB hub connects via a standard USB port
The pigtail cable of the hub connects to the Shift’s single USB port.
Mini USB port on the back of the USB hub
There is a mini USB port on the right side of the USB hub front adjacent to the cable leading to the HTC Shift.
Front of the USB hub
There are 3 USB ports on the front of the USB hub so you can connect peripherals, including keyboards, mice, flash drives, hard drives, etc.
Indicator lights on the USB hub
There are status lights on the top of the USB hub so you know what port is in use.
Bottom of the USB hub
The label plate can be found on the bottom of the USB hub.
Ethernet port on the USB hub
The USB hub includes an ethernet port with indicator lights.
HTC logo on the front of the Shift
The logo on the front of the Shift uses the green color scheme.
HTC logo embossed in the leather case
The HTC logo also appears imprinted into the nice leather case included with the Shift.
Closed leather case around the Shift
The Shift is ready to go in the high quality leather case. The material in the case is the same as the great leather used with the HTC Advantage Windows Mobile device.
First flap of the case is lifted
The flap is secured by magnets. The first flap exposes the top of the Shift.
Both flaps open
When both flaps are open the case lays out over a span of 17 inches. While the flaps can be folded underneath the Shift, the flaps can get in the way if you don’t have lots of room.
The HTC Shift in slate mode
The HTC Shift is a professional and well-constructed device in gray and silver.
Bottom indicator light bar
All the indicator lights appear in a single bar along the bottom of the front of the Shift. The lights glow different colors and are not too bright to detract from the display.
Left side indicator lights
The left side of the lights show power, battery, CAPS lock and hard disk activity.
Right side indicator lights
Moving to the right shows the Bluetooth/WiFi connectivity, CDMA/EV-DO data connectivity, and E-mail/SMS notifications.
Biometric fingerprint sensor
The biometric fingerprint sensor can be setup to log you into the computer and provide for secure access to your stored passwords.
Right speaker and microPad navigation
The Shift has excellent stereo speakers on the front of the display. The microPad is a wonderful navigation controller that lets you easily move around the display with your thumb in one location.
Control center and resolution switcher buttons
Pressing the top right button brings up the control center so you can choose CDMA, WiFi, or Bluetooth. You can also adjust the volume and brightness. A quick button to get into flight mode is also present.
The bottom button lets you easily switch between the native 800×480 resolution to a software controlled 1024×600 resolution display setting.
The light sensor allows the display to auto adjust if you select the auto brightness setting in the control center.
HTC Shift web camera
The HTC Shift includes a 640×480 webcam. However, with Vista running Skype calls are virtually impossible with a strong WiFi connection.
Left/right mouse buttons
The two mouse buttons are perfectly placed on the left side so you can use the mouse while having your right thumb on the microPad on the right side of the device.
Left speaker and SnapVUE button
The left speaker is positioned opposite the right stereo speaker. The SnapVUE button is at the bottom left of the front of the Shift and allows you to quickly switch into the “Windows Mobile” interface whether the device is on or off.
Right side of the Shift
The right side contains the Secure Digital slot, power/hold switch, USB 2.0 port, and DC-in port.
Back of the Shift
The only thing found on the back side of the Shift is the VGA port so you can connect an external monitor or projector.
Left side of the HTC Shift
The 3.5mm headset jack is found on the upper left side. The stylus silo is located farther down and at the bottom left are the holes for the internal microphone.
Stylus silo and stylus
The stylus is flush with the side of the Shift. To remove the stylus you press in on the stylus head and the spring extends the top of the stylus so you can grab it.
The metal and plastic stylus
The stylus has a decent heft and feel, but unfortunately does not stay in the extended position when removed from the Shift.
Retracted Touch stylus
The retracted stylus is 3 inches in length.
The extended stylus is about 4 inches in length. However, the stylus does not stay in this extended position and slides down close to the retracted position.
Bottom of the HTC Shift
The bottom of the Shift is smooth gray plastic. The bottom half of the device is removable with the battery extending the full width of the device. There are three air vents along the back as well.
2700 mAh battery
I was actually surprised at the capacity of the 2700 mAh battery rating since the much smaller HTC Advantage has a 2200 mAh battery. The smaller Fujitsu U810 I have has a 5200 mAh battery and I would have expected something in this range in the Shift. Battery life is only around 2 hours with Vista running, which is unacceptable for an ultra-portable device.
Battery extending across the width
The battery extends almost all the way across the width of the device.
Clips securing the battery
Two red clips secure the battery in the back of the Shift.
Battery and battery compartment
The battery fits easily into the slim back compartment.
Back air vent
There are two large air vents on the right and left side of the bottom. There is also a vent along the upper edge of the bottom.
Post securing the leather case
The leather case is secured to the bottom of the Shift.
The leather design of the Shift case
The leather is designed to protect the Shift and hold it securely in place.
Sliding open the Shift
You first need to slide the display up in a flat, horizontal position until it clicks into place. The display cannot be flipped up until it reaches the full extended position.
HTC Shift in notebook mode
The Shift can rotate up about 80 degrees or you can also choose an interim angle.
Bottom right of the keyboard
The bottom right has the great directional keys I like to see on small keyboards.
Back sliding mechanism of the Shift
The Shift hinge and slider mechanism is quite robust.
Full view of the back hinge system
There are two slide rails and a center mechanism.
Close-up of the center hinge
The center hinge is flat and wide.
The outer rail mechanism
The outer rail is stiff and solid.
Open Shift and leather case
The leather flaps extend out 17 inches.
HTC Advantage in front of the HTC Shift
The HTC Advantage is quite a bit smaller than the HTC Shift.
HTC Advantage next to the HTC Shift
A side-by-side view of the two premier HTC devices.
Similar form factor mobile devices
The HTC Advantage, Sony CLIE UX50, HTC Shift, and Fujitsu U810 devices all in one.
HTC Advantage on the HTC Shift
These two devices have similar leather cases and designs with one running Windows Mobile and the other running Windows Vista.
Side view of the Shift in the case
There is a gap of air above the Shift in the leather case.
Magnets that hold the case closed
There are two strong magnets in the top flap of the Shift’s leather case.
Starting up in Vista
The biometric fingerprint scanner is used to login to Vista.
Windows Vista Business and specs
The Shift has 1GB RAM running with an 800 MHz Intel A110 processor.
Where is the Vista rating?
The device shows as unrated on my review unit.
Driver and SnapVUE specs
Some misc. driver versions
Windows Sidebar is off by default
I do not recommend running Sidebar on this device as it consumes more processor power and bogs the device down unnecessarily.
Switching display resolutions
The 800×480 resolution is quite clear and crisp, but the icons are large and constant scrolling in the web browser and to see dialog boxes is annoying.
The 1024x600 virtual resolution
While this is a perfect resolution for a 7 inch display, using software to achieve it results in fuzzy fonts that distract from the device functionality.
Notice the fuzzy fonts
… in the 1024×600 resolution mode?
Fonts are quite clear and larger
… in the native 800×480 display resolution.
No portrait mode on this UMPC
Portrait mode is not an option on the HTC Shift. The case design would also make this an awkward position.
SlingPlayer on the HTC Shift
The Windows SlingPlayer client plays quite well, as does the Netflix streaming client.
Web browsing in the native 800x480 resolution
As you can see the native resolution limits your web browsing experience a bit.
Web browsing in 1024x600 pixel mode
Web browsing is a much better experience in 1024 mode and what I use 90% of the time while using the Shift.
Start menu in 800x480 resolution
Here is the Vista Start menu in the native resolution.
Start menu in the 1024x600 resolution
You can see more programs in the Start menu list using this higher resolution.
Spinning Vista icon
I saw this all too often while waiting for applications to launch or switch functions. Windows XP would be rocking on this device.
Control center in native resolution
When in 800×480 mode the control center takes up the entire viewable display.
Control center in higher resolution
As you can see the control center appears in a central black window when you are in 1024×600 pixel mode.
Welcome to SnapVUE!
SnapVUE is the slimmed down Windows Mobile component that you can activate whether or not the device is turned on or off.
There is a monthly calendar view in the upper right of the display.
Advanced SnapVUE settings
You can choose from several settings in SnapVUE to optimize your experience.
SnapVUE lower right options
You can easily tap an icon to launch a module in SnapVUE and these appear in the right side of the display. The modules include weather, contacts, and settings.
SnapVUE lower left options
There are three modules on the left side as well, Calendar, Messaging, and SMS.
Close-up of the time/date
The time and date appear boldly on the upper part of the SnapVUE display.
Familiar Windows Mobile calendar view
You can view the calendar in all the same views your are used to in Windows Mobile, including day, week, month, and year. Appointments can be added and synced to your Exchange account.
Messaging in SnapVUE
All of the email functionality you find in Windows Mobile appears in SnapVUE. However, hyperlinks in your email do not launch a browser or take you to websites. Phone numbers also will not dial your contacts.
Very basic weather information can be viewed in SnapVUE.
Weather options and city selection
You can change some of the viewable options and also select a single city to view weather information on. Multiple city support is not provided.
Weather options include when to update the weather and in what scale temperatures appear in.
You cannot make phone calls
Trying to make a call results in this error message.
Text messages work just fine
You can send and receive text messages on the Shift so the cellular connection is being made for data only.
The SnapVUE settings screen
These settings appear similar to those found in Windows Mobile, but on a much more limited basis. The black and white theme also does not appear to be changeable.
You can set up to 3 alarms on the HTC Shift and they will work even when the device is powered off.
Choosing your alarm sound
There are a few alarm sounds loaded by default. I haven’t yet figured out how to add sounds to the alarm folder on the device.
Certificates can be managed in SnapVUE.
Wipe the memory
You can wipe out the memory in SnapVUE and take this part of the device back to factory default.
More connection settings
You use the SnapVUE part of the device as a modem with the CDMA radio and wireless data service.
Radio versions and other device information is viewable here.
The input settings allow you a few options for text input. You can use an on-screen keyboard as well as the integrated keyboard on the Shift.
You can setup a password to protect your device in SnapVUE mode.
You can select when to turn the device off under battery power or when connected to an A/C power source.
An easy-to-view battery meter gives you a quick view of the battery status.
ClearType is an included option in the screen settings. There is no portrait option in the screen settings.
Strange error message
This message keeps appearing on the review unit I have and I haven’t figured out the meaning yet.
Setting up an email account
As you can see an on-screen keyboard appears as you enter a text field.
The same familiar Messaging settings are available in SnapVUE.
Hmm, no storage card here
The internal hard drive of the device does not appear as a drive in SnapVUE.
Origami Now weather module
The Origami Experience 2.0 was a major driving force behind having Vista on the HTC Shift.
Origami Now in 1024 mode
The viewable aspects of the Origami Experience change a bit with switching resolutions.
Viewing all the Now tiles in 1024
You can edit, delete, and add tiles with the Origami Experience 2.0 software.
Origami Now task list
You can create To-Do lists in the Now interface and select from a variety of colors.
Origami activation buttons
Switching to the Now or Origami Central parts of the Experience are handled by the top toolbar.
Menu for modifying the Now experience
Available menu options
Selecting background colors
You have a few choices in colors to customize your experience.
More settings in the Origami Experience
There are several areas where settings can be customized.
Media icons in the new Origami Experience
The Origami Experience adds a layer of interface icons to your device.
Notes, journal and programs shortcuts
Shortcuts to the Sticky Notes, Windows Journal and Programs areas appear in one part of the Experience.
Yellow sticky notes
Use virtual sticky notes on your device.
Checking RSS feeds
The feed reader in Origami Experience 2.0 with my blog.
You can use the Origami Experience as a program launcher
The Programs icon appears in the Experience and tapping it takes you to your installed programs.
Default programs in the list
A few select programs appear here and you can add more as you like.
Internet icon screen
Feeds and the web browser can be used in the Origami Experience 2.0
A ton of default feeds are included, but you can easily add your custom RSS feeds too.
Web browsing in Origami Exp 2.0
The Internet Explorer web browser is used in the Experience, but there are some menu changes and layout differences than what you see in Windows.
Full screen browsing in the Experience 2.0
Viewing my blog in Origami Experience 2.0
Photo slideshow in Origami Experience 2
The photo slideshows looked fantastic on the display and were a pleasure to view.
More slide show views
The photos can appear in different orientations too.
Watching video in Origami Experience 2
Windows Media files also play in the Origami Experience and this video of a bear catching fish was loaded by default.
Viewing feed details in 1024 resolution
As you can see the text is a bit fuzzy in the higher resolution.
Default 800x480 resolution with feeds
The default resolution looks much better when reading text on the Shift.
Shift image gallery thumbnail 1
First thumbnail for front page gallery links
Shift image gallery thumbnail 2
Image gallery thumbnail for HTC Shift front page links