Telstra Corporation HipTop Slide
- Well designed, great for messaging, intuitive controls and shortcut commands, display
- No 3G, no video playback or recording, 2.5mm headphone jack, no A2DP, poor camera
The HipTop Slide maintains its reputation for delivering a great mobile messaging solution, but its features are pale in comparison to some newer, more feature rich smartphones on the market.
Price$ 679.00 (AUD)
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Exclusively available on the Telstra network, the HipTop Slide is a re-branded Sidekick device, an extremely popular smartphone in the US for teenagers and the early 20s age bracket. Although it will appeal to the same demographic here, the lack of multimedia functions and minimal feature improvements over its predecessor means that many will give the Slide the slip in favour of newer, feature rich smartphones.
Manufactured by Motorola, the Slide is an extremely well designed device. The biggest change from previous HipTop units is the display; it now simply slides up instead of swivelling and flipping up like previous models. The 2.5in screen is crisp and clear, though many users will miss the swivel mechanism.
The design of the Slide has been slimmed down immensely and despite the smaller size, it manages to feel like a pretty solid device. The sliding mechanism is smooth and the buttons and controls (with the exception of the two difficult to reach function buttons on the top) are easy to use and well placed, particularly the intuitive trackball. Many will be disappointed with the smaller keyboard, but we managed to pick it up in minimal time and were typing at very reasonable speeds after just a few hours.
The menu system and user interface in general is excellent and the trackball makes it a joy to use. Menu icons are situated on the main screen in a semi-circle layout which are easy to select using either the trackball or the four-way navigational pad. Animated menu screens when switching between applications is a nice touch, as is the multitude of button shortcut commands.
The biggest drawback of the HipTop is the lack of 3G or Wi-Fi connectivity. The included Internet browser works reasonably well, but network speeds on EDGE will leave you frustrated. Also perplexing is the Slide's lack of multimedia features -- although it includes an MP3 player, songs can only be played through a microSD card (not included), the headphone jack is 2.5mm rather than the standard 3.5mm and there is no A2DP. There is also no video playback or video recording and the 1.3-megapixel camera doesn't include a flash, self-portrait mirror or autofocus.
The strength of the HipTop is its messaging and e-mail functions. The interface and ease of use is excellent with both Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger applications installed. The Slide can handle up to three POP3 and IMAP e-mail accounts, in addition to the included HipTop e-mail address. The e-mail application works well, but the slow network speeds mean that downloading large applications can take some time. The Slide also comes with a MySpace Mobile application which is a mobile version of the popular social networking site. It is quite impressive as most functions, including uploading photos, are available.
Other features include speed dialling and call forwarding, three-way calling and a handsfree speakerphone, but there is no voice dialling. Call quality is a mixed bag; volume is loud enough, though it can be difficult to hear with heavy background noise. Bluetooth is present and worked well for handsfree calling with a Bluetooth speakerphone, but we had trouble sending files from our computer.
Telstra offers the HipTop Slide on a $30 per month plan which includes unlimited instant messaging, Web browsing, e-mail, SMS and MMS. Calls on this plan are charged in addition to the $30 per month, at 30c for every 30 seconds plus a 27c flag fall.
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