The second T-Mobile Shadow is nearly identical to the first, with some minor refinements. The Windows Mobile 6.1 phone is a smallish smartphone with a slide-out SureType keyboard. There is a scroll wheel in the center of the phone, below the screen, and the standard array of keys all around. Nothing special, and the only improvements over the original are cosmetic, and not functional. We complained about the boxy shell of the original, so the new phone is more rounded.
The scroll wheel seems to be a bit more responsive, but it still isn't good enough to be useful, thanks mostly to the astoundingly inconsistent interface. Across the board, the interface had us stymied. Take the e-mail client, for instance. While typing a message, you can delete a character by pressing "back" or "Del." But if you want to delete an entire message, you have to use the left soft key, which says "Delete" above. In some cases the "back" key would delete, in others it would close a window, and in still more cases it would jump back to the previous app or action. The same problems also held true for the scroll wheel. On some lists, the scroll wheel moves up and down. On others, it moves left and right, and you have to press the wheel button up or down. The phone uses HTC's Neo interface atop Windows Mobile 6.1. Unfortunately, in the year since the original Shadow was released, it seems HTC has completely ignored Neo (probably too busy with TouchFLO 3D), and the interface has lost its relevance. The Windows Mobile 6.1 update didn't offer much, but one of the biggest improvements was to the Today screen on non-touchscreen devices like the Shadow. In fact, WinMo 6.1 now looks almost as good as HTC's Neo design, and uses the exact same design. By doing nothing, HTC has let Neo fall behind Windows Mobile, and Windows Mobile hasn't been an "advanced" smartphone OS for some time. One of the only improvements to the HTC Shadow is the addition of UMA capabilities for Wi-Fi calling. T-Mobile's unlimited HotSpot calling feature lets the phone make calls using either the cellular network or Wi-Fi, if wireless Internet access is available. This is a great help to people who live or travel outside of T-Mobile's strongest reception zones.
What's even better is that the $10/monthly service also gives you unlimited free calling, as long as you start your call under a Wi-Fi umbrella? Confusing? Maybe a little, but it's once you get the idea its really a win-win situation. We're fans of UMA, and we're glad to see the feature has finally made its way to a wider variety of smartphones. Call quality on the T-Mobile Shadow was pretty good, but there were some slight problems. Our calls sounded a bit metallic to listeners, though everything was clear on our end. When we were using Wi-Fi for calling, callers occasionally complained of a slightly distant sound. Also, if you step outside of Wi-Fi range and there isn't a nearby cell tower to pick up the connection, you'll lose the call, as we did occasionally leaving our home in suburban New Jersey, where T-Mobile reception is somewhat weak. For messaging, the T-Mobile Shadow uses a 20-key, SureType keyboard layout.
This abbreviated keyboard might require a steep learning curve, but once you get used to it you'll be amazed at how well it works. Of course, this keyboard design was invented by RIM for their BlackBerry phones, and those devices have always seemed more intuitive about guessing what we meant to type. Still, for typing text messages and e-mails, the SureType keys worked well. The keyboard itself was also plenty wide and comfortable, with a grippy soft touch finish. Keys seemed a bit loose for our tastes, but otherwise the build quality was tight.
The T-Mobile Shadow includes plenty of messaging options, but no real improvements over former models or other Windows Mobile phones. There are a few presets for e-mail, including Gmail and, obviously, Microsoft's own Exchange, but there is also a manual configuration if you don't use those services, AOL or Yahoo. For instant messaging, T-Mobile has packed in AOL, MSN, Yahoo and ICQ support, a standard selection for T-Mobile phones. We wish there was an onboard client for Facebook or other social networking sites, as the consumer-oriented Shadow could use a bit more fun on the messaging side. The Neo interface is well-suited to displaying calendar information. Appointments pop up in the calendar plug-in, as well as the notification tab, if they are urgent. You can scroll through your next several appointments, not just the next one, which is nice. Again, a bit more customization and, well, power here might have been nice, but for the real calendar app you'll have to jump in the pool. Even so, the WinMo 6 calendar is powerful, if not pretty.
1-HTC Shadow 2 Phone
1-HTC Home Charger
1-HTC Lithium Ion Battery
1-HTC Software CD
1-HTC Shadow 2¬†Battery Door
1-HTC Shadow 2 Box
1-Original Users Guide