The Good Built-in 1.3MP camera. Small form factor.
The Bad The screen becomes turbid quickly. There is no scroll selector for PDA features. Battery life does not fully meet the manufacturer’s requirements.
The Bottom Line If you want to get a smartphone but want to avoid unattractive pocket bulges, you might think that O2 has reduced the XDA II Mini.
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You can’t call a phone (or indeed, anything) a “Mini” without it being small, and indeed at 58 by 108 by 18.1 millimetres, the XDA II Mini is a small smart phone, although of course it’s still only moderately sized from the phone side of the equation. In visual terms it’s not a great departure from the XDA II itself; you’ve got a directional button at the bottom of the phone, surrounded by four selection buttons (including the two call buttons), and a 2.8-inch display with a total resolution of 240 by 320 pixels. At around 150 grams, it’s much lighter than the XDA II or XDA IIs, but you’d expect that from a smaller smart phone.
XDA II Mini launches Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition for Pocket PC Phone Edition – try saying three times faster – on an Intel PXA 272 processor clocked at 416 MHz. With 64 MB of Flash ROM and an equal amount of RAM, it is difficult to store your phone, but if you are looking for a serious PDA, you may want to use the SD / MMC card slot on top of your phone.
Running the Pocket PC OS version means that it is pre-installed with the most common Pocket PC fencing applications – Word, Excel, PowerPoint Viewer, and so on – as well as some special O2 programs. Like other XDA units, the Mini has an integrated digital camera, and in line with the best we see in cellphone cameras at the time of writing, this is a 1.3-megapixel unit that should put it just in print and be printable.
As a phone, the XDA II Mini is a tri-band GSM and GPRS, and since it’s a smart phone with visual keyboard capabilities, it’s easy to create and send SMS and MMS. It’s also Bluetooth, though it’s not the only way to sync it to your PC; A USB cable is also provided.
The first thing we noticed about the XDA II Mini is a common mistake with smartphones that lack the integrated keyboard; the screen blurs quickly and often; we recommend that you bring a cleaning cloth with you if you want to show this phone to your friends. In addition, the display is clear and bright, with the usual settings to increase battery life, reducing the screen brightness depending on your situation. As a phone, we have had little complaints about its performance, except for one situation where it somehow grabbed contact information for someone who called to us – although, to be fair to O2, it notices on the splash screen of our review unit that this is test block, so some errors are probably inevitable.
Like the PDA, the XDA II Mini sits neatly in the competitive category, though not really catastrophically ahead of the competition, and the fact that the rocker on the side of the device doesn’t perform scroll functions – it’s volume control for the PDA and phone capabilities – has thrown us some time.
The XDA II Mini is one of the best mobile camera implementations we’ve seen in a while; this undoubtedly helps to have a larger-than-usual LCD frame for framing, and wisely, the focus is on fun shots – including a series of silly shooting templates rather than serious photos. It is assumed that without flash you will have a lot of photos that look pretty tight and work well at night.
O2 claims that standby time is about 180 hours and 4-5 hours of talk time with a 1200mAh XDA II Mini lithium battery, although in our testing we think it is less capable if you use a lot of PDA functionality – – It took us, on average, 2-3 days before we needed to charge the battery for moderate use only, and it is expected to be much less if integrated Bluetooth was turned on.