HTC Shift X9000 Review
In light of the success of cheaper, smaller laptops like the Eee PC in attracting hundreds of thousands of users, the term “ultra-mobile PC” has taken on a negative connotation in the past year. However, the HTC Shift X9000 is the company’s first attempt at a full Windows PC.
This genuine mobile computer costs $1,499, and it aims to dispel the UMPC stereotype by including features like push e-mail over mobile broadband for up to three days on a single battery and a slide-and-tilt display that flips open to expose a keyboard. Web browsing is a delight with the new Origami 2.0 software installed. While the Shift X9000 is undoubtedly innovative, is it worth the astronomical price tag, even for the highest-level executives?
HTC Shift X9000 Specification
|CPU||800-MHz Intel A110|
|Card Slots||SD memory reader|
|Graphics Card||Intel GMA 945|
|Hard Drive Speed||4,200rpm|
|OS||MS Windows Vista Professional|
|Size||8.1 x 5.1 x 1.0 inches|
|Weight||1.8 pounds(2.2 pounds with case)|
- The keyboard is the best one I’ve used on a UMPC or ultraportable computer. The form factor is great so that you can work on your lap or an airport tray.
- The mouse/trackpad works well and is an accurate way to move around.
- It’s great that SnapVUE can always be on.
- The quick resolution, a contact manager, and the SnapVUE buttons are great.
- The stylus is bad because when you pull it out, it doesn’t stay out. The 1024×600 software resolution is fuzzy and not good for typing or reading.
- You can’t take off the leather case if you want to travel a bit lighter.
- The device can’t handle Vista.
The Shift X9000 is meant to be a high-end ultraportable device. With a weight of 1.8 pounds and a thickness of 1 inch, this system is protected by a sleek leather folio that closes with a magnetic strip. (We like that it came with a freebie, but we don’t like using a screwdriver to remove the casing.) The metal frame around the screen is another nice touch.
Even though the Shift X9000 is thinner and lighter than the average 2-pound notebook, it still requires a bag because it is much bigger than the latest sleek ultraportables like the MacBook Air. To the right of the screen is the Communication Manager button, which can be used to adjust the volume, turn on and off Direct Push mail, toggle the Wi-Fi, EV-DO, and Bluetooth radios, and more. There’s another toggle button directly below it for rapidly shifting between 1024×600 and 800×480.
Keyboard and User Interface
Your finger on the touchscreen, the little telescoping stylus (holster is on the bottom left side of the unit), and the surprisingly responsive mini touchpad to the right of the screen are the three methods to interact with the Shift X9000. Both of the mouse’s buttons performed admirably. We found ourselves using the stylus or touchpad to pick smaller icons, such as the networking utility in the taskbar, but we relied on touch when the keyboard was closed and we were holding the Shift key.
Whether using Windows Journal or making a short note in the stick-style Origami Now interface, the stylus is useful while using the Shift X9000 as a tablet. Despite the Shift X9000’s small stylus and lack of pressure sensitivity and hover accuracy compared to an active digitizer pen, it is easy to imagine mobile employees carrying it to meetings in order to take notes.
The HTC Shift has an EV-DO wireless radio, superior to many other ultraportables. There is no EV-DO Rev. A support; however, this can be remedied in a future software update. Unfortunately, Sprint’s coverage isn’t great where I go, and the HTC Shift has difficulty connecting to Sprint’s network. Even though AT&T’s service is excellent in my area, the cheaper GSM Shift is more appealing. The Shift also offers the usual Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity options. The WiFi signal was strong and had adequate range, although I have used gadgets with greater capabilities.
The HTC Shift X9000 employs a low-power 800 MHz Intel A110 CPU. The 40GB hard disk spins at a slow 4,200 rpm, and the 1GB RAM is barely enough to operate Windows Vista Business. No optical drive may be installed, although one can be added via the USB port. In a time when 16GB cards are readily available, it isn’t very pleasant to learn that the maximum capacity of the SD Card slot is only 4GB. The 7-inch screen is powered by an Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 945. Wi-Fi (802.11b/g), EV-DO Rev. 0 wireless, and Bluetooth 2.0 wireless round out the feature set. No Ethernet port is available.
HTC’s first phone, the Shift X9000, is a good one. It has the best surfing experience of any UMPC, and its design is better than the OQO model 02 (which has a smaller 5-inch screen and needs a lot of zooming) and the Samsung Q1 Ultra (which has a keyboard that is split into two places). The Shift X9000 has an advantage over its rivals because it has SnapVue technology.
The keyboard still isn’t as good as what you’ll find on 7-inch laptops that cost $1,100 less, and the CPU isn’t as fast as it needs to be to keep up with Vista, especially when you have a lot of programs open at once. If you use the Shift X9000 away from the office often, you’ll want to buy a second battery as soon as they become available.