I’ve had my trusty Motorola V635 clam shell mobile for two years now, and decided it was time to upgrade it. I wanted a smartphone because they have a lot more features than a normal phone and can be used for work and play. So I did the usual investigation into a new phone and decided on the T-Mobile Vario II.


The Vario II has many advantages namely:

  • QWERTY keyboard, meaning fast typing of text messages, emails, documents, etc.
  • HSDPA  – Hi Speed Downlink Packet Access (basically very fast internet on a mobile device). This is a new thing, which in time will appear on all mobiles.
  • Other Connectivity Options – GSM, GPRS, 3G, WiFi, Quad-band, SMS, MMS, Video calling – So basically it supports everything.
  • Windows 5.0 mobile, which has everything your Windows PC has and more (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, PDF reader and Zip).
  • Touch screen with a stylus.
  • A wheel on the left side which can be used for navigation, and a multiple of uses, similar to some Blackberry models and quite a few buttons for accessing quick menus.
  • A 2 megapixel camera with an array of photo options.
  • GPS support for Tom Tom, or Co-Pilot etc.
  • Many more features are discussed at CoolSmartPhones.com, which reviews the phone in all it’s entirity. In fact there are many sites reviewing this phone and the majority of them give it very high marks.

My Verdict: I loved the phone for the first two days, because of the lightening fast Internet within the M25, surfing the web was a pleasure, sending emails or text messages was a lot quicker than typing a message with the thumb, accessing work email, gmail, yahoo and hotmail was a dream especially when you use a  free web tool called EMOZE (Free Push email, mobile software for mobile devices)…… But…

  • When the Internet connection went down it kept popping up a ridiculous security message, which meant I had to type in the phones security pin number and then it showed a ridiculous connection error. Totally frustrating.
  • There is nothing quick about typing a quick text message. The process to get there will drive you mad if you are use to your existing method.
  • The touch screen is a pain in the arse. It  is timed (via the settings) to go off after X seconds, as to not drain the battery, and it requires you to press the power button to bring it back on again. You would think touching the screen would bring it back on… but NO!
  • When you slide open the QWERTY keyboard you would think the screen would come on… but NO, it has to be tapped either with a finger or the stylus or a key on the keyboard needs to be pressed. How F’ing dumb?
  • The screen is completely useless in direct sunlight. You would think the screen would have some sort of anti-glare coating on it… but NO!
  • I found the most difficult thing was making a phone call, because you can’t just use the wheel to call up the address you want. The only way to do it, is to take out the stylus and tap a few characters of the persons name, which would then search the address book and display the number and if you made a mistake with the number, you need to tap the delete button to clear it… totally impractical and a complete waste of time.
  • It’s easy to press something on the screen when you are listening to a call.
  • The screen gets dirty very quickly with dust and finger print smudges, because sometimes you just want to tap the screen with your finger rather than pulling out the somewhat tight stylus from it’s hole.
  • It’s quite heavy at 176g. Not overly, but still not light and even if the review sites say it can be pocketed, well maybe if you have the phone alone in a pocket, but if it’s with a set of keys or a travel card it is certainly noticable.
  • The battery drained pretty quickly, and had to be charged at least twice a day. That is unacceptable.

So fortunately T-Mobile offer a 7 day cooling off period, which allows you to return the phone if you are not completely happy with it, and that is exactly what I will be doing. (Sorry Jav, for telling you it’s a good phone). It is possibly a brilliant phone with loads of excellent features, but not for me. I looked at similar models to the Vario II, and the closest phone is the MDA Compact III, which is slightly slimmer, doesn’t have the QWERTY keyboard, or WIFI or HSDPA… Bummer!!!!

blankSo I have decided to wait and get the Nokia N95, which has yet to be released but will be soon. It has a load of features noticably HSDPA, WIFI, bluetooth, a headphones jack, a 5 megapixel camera, multimedia options such as video recording, streaming & playback, Mp3 playback , a tv-out connection for watching multimedia on a TV and a whole plethora of tools and options.  It also has an intergrated GPS (wow!), and weighs only 120g.

The key to any mobile phone in the future will be HSDPA & WIFI. I think if you phone does not have fast internet or access to free internet, then it’s not future proof.