HTC Shift Review

by Reads (32,214)

HTC is a company best known for making smartphones, but it recently introduced its first UMPC — the HTC Shift.

This tiny tablet is quite the power house. I had no problems surfing the Internet with it or navigating through applications.

HTC Shift

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It sports a Intel A110 800 MHz processor and has a 40 GB hard drive. The touchscreen was practically flawless and I enjoyed using my finger more then the pen. Although, the pen was helpful for more intricate navigating.

Table of Contents

Design and Build

The HTC Shift has a solid design. In fact it is actually kind of heavy. You can tell the chassis is sturdy and that this thing could take a few bumps and bruises from everyday commuting.

It is a gunmetal color and the slide out keyboard is black. It hides fingerprints very well. Nothing about the Shift feels cheap.

HTC Shift

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Being so small, the Shift can travel anywhere with you. It is perfect for checking email or surfing the Web while on-the-go. It comes with a nice leather portfolio (shown here) to keep the Shift safe and secure.

It feels like a little book. Although it feels heavy, it only weighs in at 2.4 lbs., which isn’t that much.

The Shift will have heads turning where ever you take it, those business meetings or the classroom. I mean, it looks like your standard slate tablet until you slide the keyboard out and tilt up the screen.

This feature is easy to use, but the screen sticks and takes more force than you would expect to pull up.

Display

The 7-inch, 800-by-400-pixel touchscreen display is nice. It is very responsive and accurate, and is easy to navigate with your finger or pen. I like that is responds so quickly, and doesn’t take much force to open applications. You don’t have to hit the icon two or three times.

The colors are bright and vivid and the viewing angles are fine. Even in slate mode the Shift is easy to read. The screen doesn’t give off much of a glare. As I mentioned before the touch-sensitive screen is very accurate and fun to use. It’s nice to have a screen that is so bright and easy to read, especially from such a small form factor.

Keyboard/Pen

HTC Shift

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The keyboard is small and hard to type on, but you get used to it after using it a few times. It is similar to the Eee PC, so if you like to do the "peck style" typing you would have no problems. You definitely can’t type on the Shift like a standard keyboard, but it is solid and doesn’t show signs of flex.

The pen is small and silver and reminds me of a stylus for a PDA. It works just fine and is perfect for jotting down notes or opening and closing windows. It is what I expected from such a small device. HTC even includes a spare pen incase the original gets lost, a nice little bonus for users.

SnapVUE

The SnapVUE screen is a convenient feature, and you can switch back an forth from it and Vista with a push of a button. SnapVUE displays your email, and calendar, and weather information, and this is kept constantly updated thanks to Microsoft’s Direct Push technology.

This isn’t just an application for displaying email, etc. in a convenient way; it’s actually running on a different processor and its own RAM. The idea is to increase battery life. You can send and receive email and work with your calendar without Vista and its power-hungry processor and hard drive.

Wireless

The wireless options are great. I was surprised when I got home and the Shift was picking up signals from everywhere including my own Wi-Fi and my neighbors. I had no problems traveling with it either. If you would like to connect a mouse that is simple too, since the Shift has Bluetooth.

Ports

The Shift doesn’t come packed full of features, but does have one USB port, one VGA-out, a microphone/headphone port, and SDIO slot with hotswap functionality.

It also comes with a nice USB hub giving you three more USB ports.

Performance and Benchmarks

The Shift isn’t meant to be some high performance gaming machine. It is meant to be that portable device great for email and office work on-the-go. It is a companion to your other notebooks.

The processor didn’t really show any signs of lag and to my surprise the Shift didn’t get hot, not even warm, when running benchmarks and surfing the Web. Most form factors like this don’t disperse heat well, but the Shift does.

PCMark05 measures overall system performance (higher scores mean better performance):

Notebook

PCMark05 Score

HTC Shift (800 MHz Intel A110)

891 PCMarks

Everex CloudBook (1.2 GHz VIA C7-M ULV)

612 PCMarks

HP 2133 Mini-Note (1.6 GHz VIA C7-M ULV)

801 PCMarks

Asus Eee PC 4G (630 MHz Intel Celeron M ULV)

908 PCMarks

Asus Eee PC 4G (900 MHz Intel Celeron M ULV)

1,132 PCMarks

Sony VAIO TZ (1.20 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo U7600)

2,446 PCMarks

 

HDTune Results

OS and Software

The Shift ran fine with Windows Vista Business, but I know if it had more RAM it would be much better. Maybe even if it came with Windows XP. Vista takes it’s toll on such a low powered small device, even on the battery life. I didn’t notice any bloatware, and really didn’t have any problems with it.

Heat and Noise

The Shift never got hot. I was surprised because all the other small UMPC/subnotebook devices I have reviewed got hot. I never noticed any problems with heat and it was always comfortable to carry around.

It didn’t make much noise either. The Shift stayed cool and quiet. You wouldn’t notice this thing running in a library, classroom or office meeting. The Shift makes for a great travel companion like I mentioned before, people will think it is a textbook until it comes out of its shell to be used for emailing and more.

Battery Life

Battery life seemed good enough for such a small device, but an optional slice battery would be the perfect option for power users who are away from the office all day. Something for HTC to keep in mind.

I was only getting a little over two hours with the Shift in Balanced Power mode. As one of the Editors in my office mentioned, the Shift is kind of like a glorified PDA, but you can’t make phone calls on it.

Still, this testing was done only while running Vista not SnapVUE, which is supposed to increase battery life.

Conclusion

Overall, I am impressed by the Shift’s capabilities. It works hard, while staying cool and quiet. It is the perfect size for traveling and has unique business features like the always on access to important information with HTC SnapVUE. This screen gives you instant access to your emails with Microsoft Direct Push technology, access to local weather, calendar and your contacts. The speakers sound decent, remember this is a small tablet. The benchmarks were better then I expected, and as I figured it had similar Super Pi score as Fujitsu’s U810.

The packaging is very nice, but I don’t think that makes up for the steep price tag.

Pros

  • Solid design
  • Beautiful, bright touchscreen
  • Leather portfolio protects the Shift
  • Runs cool and quiet
  • SnapVue Screen

Cons

  • Screen sticks sometimes when sliding and tilting it up
  • A little expensive
  • Battery life is average

Pricing and Availability

For more information on the Shift check out HTC’s website. It is available now for $1,500.


Specifications 

  • Intel Processor A110, 800 MHz
  • Windows Vista Business OS
  • 1 GB DDR2 microDIMM RAM
  • 1.8" 40 GB or 60 GB hard drive
  • 7-inch, 800 x 400 pixel, TFT-LCD display with adjustable touch-sensitive screen
  • Network: HSDPA/UMTS, HSDPA, GSM/GPRS/EDGE available
  • Slide out QWERTY keyboard
  • Bluetooth 2.0, Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11b/g
  • 1x USB
  • 1x VGA out
  • 1x 3.5mm stereo out with microphone
  • Card slots: 1.8/3V USIM/SIM card slot, SDIO slot with hotswap functionality
  • Fingerprint sensor and Webcam
  • Battery: 2700 mAh rechargeable Lithium-ion polymer battery, up to 2 hours
  • Dimensions: 207 mm (L) X 129 mm (W) X 25 mm (D)
  • Weight: 2.4 lbs.
  • Price: $1,500

 


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