o2 xda ignito

I got the chance to spend a couple of weeks using the o2 xda ignito as my primary phone. If you are familiar with the design but not the name, it’s because this is the o2 re-branded HTC Touch Diamond.

This is one of HTC’s flagship Smartphone models and the best-in-class Windows Mobile device available in the UK today with Microsoft’s latest mobile operating system, Windows Mobile 6.1 and HTC’s revolutionary TouchFlo 3D interface.

Processor: 528MHz Qualcomm
OS: Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional
Flash storage: 4GB
Weight: 110g
Display: 2.8-inch VGA 640 x 480 resolution
Network: HSDPA up to 7.2 Mbps
Camera: 3.2 megapixel and VGA
Wireless: Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g
Battery: 900 mAh battery

The o2 xda ignito features a compact and lightweight design that is actually a shade thinner than the new iPhone 3G and weighs 23 grams less as well. Definitely a good start considering what its up against.

Build quality is solid and stable, there’s no creaking or flexing of the chassis and the 2.8-inch screen is crystal clear. Whilst the screen is smaller than the iPhone’s 3.5-inches, the o2 xda ignito has an unprecedented VGA resolution giving you a 640 x 480 display. This is the highest I’ve ever seen crammed in to such a small space. The high pixel density of this display means that your videos and photos come out looking super sharp.

With a touch-sensitive screen, you can operate the device using finger gestures or the included stylus. Cleverly hidden away in the bottom right corner is a magnetically secured stylus. Nice touches like this make the device that much more compelling to use. When you push the stylus back in to its home, it pulls itself back in thanks to the clever design.

The materials that have been used to construct this device has resulted in a quality product. From both the front, back and sides, you don’t see anything out of place in the simple design. As with any touch-screen device, keeping it clean and smudge free can be difficult. However, what appears to be a glass screen wipes clean very easily. The rest of the device is made of a rubbery plastic material that doesn’t show fingerprints or smudges.

Windows Mobile has often featured in the o2 xda range of smartphones and has evolved from being a simple device back in the SPV days, to becoming a fully fledged multimedia and communications device, packing pretty much every type of connectivity you can think of without the excessive package.

Windows Mobile 6.1 is Microsoft’s latest mobile operating system and features full Exchange connectivity and browser capability. On top of the rather archaic looking Windows Mobile is HTC’s ‘re-skinned’ interface called TouchFlo 3D. This made its debut in the HTC Touch device and was the companies first interactive touch device catered towards the consumer market based on Windows Mobile.

To many technical experts that know a thing or two about software development, re-skinning anything can cause irksome problems. However, in the time I spent with the o2 xda ignito, I didn’t experience any technical issues with the TouchFlo interface.

Using gesture based swiping and tapping, the TouchFlo interface responds fairly promptly with smooth eye-candy animation delivering a rich user interface. This is demonstrated by the swiping of photos left and right to browse through your pictures. Or how about flicking through your music collection? This can all be achieved through the home-screen which is now tightly integrated with the TouchFlo interface.

A number of applications come pre-installed with the device, including Google Maps, Opera Browser and Windows Live apps. These give you access to a range of services including GPS navigation using Google Maps, Windows Live Messenger and Mail and full Internet browsing using Opera. Internet Explorer is included, however it doesn’t come close to be as powerful as the mobile variant of Opera.

Office document compatibility is naturally included so you can’t just view your Word, Excel and PowerPoint docs, you can also edit them before attaching to an e-mail and sending. It’s not going to solve your mobile working solution, but for small adjustments and edits, this might be a lifesaver for when you’re not able to get to your laptop.

The o2 xda ignito also has a built-in accelerometer. Although I don’t think this has been implemented as well as it could have been, there are a few applications that take advantage of it. One of them is a fun ball maze game that lets you pivot the phone to make the ball move around a maze without dropping in to the holes. Vibrating feedback gives you the sense that the ball is inside the handset and is moving around, a nice touch and a good demonstration of what the phone is capable of. You’ll also be able to use the accelerometer for when you view the contents of your gallery. Rotating the handset will give you portrait and landscape images/video. It’s nothing new, but it works well.

The touch-screen interface does make it tricky to type quickly, and with no tactile feedback in the form of buttons or vibration, it does take some getting used to. This device does include the ability to switch from a QWERTY keyboard to a number pad format so if you prefer to use predictive text, then this might be the solution. To type using the full keyboard ideally requires the stylus for precision tapping, because unless you got child-like fingers then you’ll spend more time correcting the mistakes.

The TouchFlo interface makes access to the consumer-oriented features very quick and pleasant to use. It’s definitely a breath of fresh air for Windows Mobile, which hasn’t really moved its design on from the days of PDA’s. Lets hope Mobile 7 will be a drastic change.

E-mail lovers on the go will love this device because it offers full Exchange, POP3, IMAP and Live integration and you can access it all right from the home screen. The synchronisation ability with Windows Vista or XP makes it a snap to get your data across to the device very quickly. This is perhaps the ‘killer-feature’ of Windows Mobile devices that you’re to get on other platforms.

Despite the speedy processor and generous amounts of RAM, there are instances where the device will just slow to a crawl that you end up having to power the whole device down. During my tests, I wasn’t able to isolate the problem to one particular application or functionality but it appears to happen after you’ve been running several applications at once. Even after closing these applications using the Task Manager to kill them, the device still struggles without a reboot. Whilst my extreme tests may not reflect real world usage, by loading up everything from web browser to music player, it doesn’t excuse the fact that Windows Mobile still suffers from poor memory management.

Battery life is fairly consistent, giving me about two/three days worth of daily usage that includes Bluetooth, 3G and Wi-Fi access. These features on any phone typically suck the life out of the battery like anything so I was pleased to find I could achieve at least a couple days charge. Included in the packaging is the mains adapter and 12v car adapter for charging on the go.

The o2 xda ignito is currently available from free up to £250 depending on the tariff you choose. Despite the best efforts by HTC to cover up the ugliness that is Windows Mobile, there are still some glaring interface issues that need to be addressed before Windows Mobile is a true touch device – proven by the inclusion of the neatly integrated stylus. At a price similar to the iPhone with the £35 monthly deal, the handset can be had for £99.99 on an 18-month contract. And for that you get a decent package with 600 minutes, 1000 texts and unlimited o2 to o2 calls but one thing that is missing is the unlimited data add-on which makes this an ideal mobile browsing device.

As a consumer, you’ve got some good choices available on the market today if you want a touch-screen multi-purpose device. What makes the o2 xda ignito special is that it’s running the latest mobile OS from Microsoft combined with the funkiness of the TouchFlo 3D interface. But there’s also one more compelling reason why you should take a closer look at this handset. Microsoft is on the verge of deploying some really cool innovations that work in the cloud and over the air. I’m talking about services like Live Mesh with live push synchronisation and the next wave of Windows Live services and of course Windows 7.

If you’re a business looking for a device that will let you access your data and your communications through technologies such as Exchange Server, and Windows synchronisation, then the o2 xda ignito is the best option available on the market today.

2008-10-17 Onwah Tsang

28 comments - why not add yours

  • jacksoneight says:

    A thorough review. So it seems you think that WinMobile has moved on, even if its only slightly since the original SPV. That thing was a joke btw! This on the other hand looks to be quite a classy device, but slightly concerned about the performance issue.

    Posted on 20th October 2008
  • oni says:

    @jacksoneight: I concur. I too was an owner of the original SPV. I did stick with it and the subsequent software updates did improve things…a bit. Thankfully, today things are a bit better.

    Posted on 29th October 2008
  • PPC/SP guy says:

    The phone looks great and im sure performs well. However it still seems hindered by the lag time that most WM5-6 phones are accustomed to…192mb of ram makes me think it should be ALOT faster

    Posted on 6th November 2008
  • freddieandfannie says:

    It’s not bad, but it’s no iPhone when it comes to ‘smoothness’. If they could get that down then this would actually be a pretty good phone. Keep skinning it up HTC!

    Posted on 7th November 2008
  • Daniel Grosvenor says:

    Hi there, you say in your video that the o2 xda ignito is made by o2, where did you receive this information as im pretty sure it was not o2 that made this phone?


    Dan Grosvenor

    Posted on 13th November 2008
  • oni says:

    @Daniel Grosvenor: The first line of the full review does make it clear straight away that this is a HTC device however for the purpose of avoiding confusion, the video refers to the device as from o2 as opposed to HTC.

    Posted on 13th November 2008
  • louis says:

    ur right…. it ain’t no iphone….. it’s better. smaller, lighter, far better display and works with most peoples desktops etc

    Posted on 19th November 2008
  • dontbah8ter says:

    @louis: Since when does a Windows Mobile work with anything…since when did Windows Mobile ever really ‘work’?

    Posted on 22nd November 2008
  • elmo says:

    I’ve been using smart phones since the original xda days when they were like a5 diaries in your pocket. since then they have got smaller and more powerful. I had an Xda Orbit before I bought the Ignito and was happy with it apart from the web experience which was pretty rubbish to be fair!
    The Ignito seems to have a much better browser that allows more flash sites to load.

    I’m not sure I like the new message layout but I’ll get used to it.

    The 4gb internal storage is good but it could benefit from more or a micro sd card slot.

    My biggest gripe is the speed! this is a more powerful device than my old Orbit but even before I had installed all my apps it was much slower!

    over all I am pleased with Ignito but am looking forward to the next xda device!

    Posted on 4th December 2008
  • Darma says:

    I think this is cool, if i want to buy it, may i know the contack person
    thanks before.

    Posted on 6th December 2008
  • kelvin smith says:

    Hi i have a xda ignite but can not forward any text on to other people been back to shop but came back still unable to forward text messages , has anybody got any help there could give me .? thanks

    Posted on 9th January 2009
  • Tony Fennell says:

    Brilliant bit of kit, BUT can’t get the predictive text to work on text messages.
    Anyone with a solution???

    Posted on 12th February 2009
  • Mary says:

    I dont know if its the phone or O2’s terrible reception, but eversince I got this stupid phone I am constantly out of network reception.People text me and I recieve them hours later, 10 texts at a time. No one can ever reach me by calling my mobile! When I need to call others I have to walk around searching for network bars, dialing a number 10 times before it actually gets through. and I pay £40 a month!! I dont even get to use my minutes or texts since there is no reception! It happens everywhere! at home, at work, at uni…
    never was the same when I had dony ericssons. 🙁

    Posted on 11th March 2009
  • techcastoni says:

    @Mary: I would suggest getting in touch with o2 about this problem. It may be a problem with the receiver inside the phone itself.

    Posted on 11th March 2009
  • Russ says:

    this phone should be amazing but fails to deliver on the very basic name of a PHONE!!!. i am on my second battery and still get no more than a days usage before it runs dead. I get no reception, and it also slows down and freezes if i open more than 1 thing. ..very dissapointing indeed…

    Posted on 16th March 2009
  • Russ says:

    about the forwarding question. i also cannot forward a txt, it just wont ket you do it. You have to copy and paste it to a new text message. annoying.

    Posted on 16th March 2009
  • My main complaint about this phone, short battery life and freezing screen aside, is that the touch sensitive screen ends your calls if you rest the pone against your face while calling. I am actually quite impressed with it but feel they should concentrate on developing this product rather than racing out the next with its own teething problems

    Posted on 20th March 2009
  • Kajay says:

    @Kelvin Smith you can’t forward texts, but you can copy and paste the contents of a text into a new one to forward. You haven’t got that option with the iphone.

    Posted on 26th March 2009
  • FED3029 says:

    I’ve suffered from the short battery life. Its very intermittent though. sometimes its lasts the whole day, sometimes about 5 hrs… i’ve changed the handset and the battery with no real discernable change

    Posted on 27th March 2009
  • Nat says:

    Does anyone have this problem — my profile is on Normal, my alert for incoming call is set to Ring (i.e. not vibrate then ring/ring & vibrate/increasing volume ring etc etc) BUT whenever someone calls me my phone will make no sound for the first two rings that the person calling me will hear in their phone, and instead will just flash its light twice. Only on the third ring will my phone actually make a sound! Which means that by the time I hear my phone and manage to get to it, I may have only heard it ring twice whereas the person has actually sat waiting on the phone through 4 rings… How can I stop this? I keep missing calls…

    Posted on 22nd April 2009
  • techcastoni says:

    @Nat: Check your settings for volume ramping. Not sure if this is the solution but if you turn off volume ramping it might stop this from happening. Volume ramping is where the ringtone starts at a low volume then progressively gets louder.

    Posted on 22nd April 2009
  • colin says:

    My battery seems to last long on standby but soon as i start using it the battery seems to get low very quickly its needs to be charged daily does anyone else have this problem? compare to a orbit 2

    Posted on 2nd May 2009
  • techcastoni says:

    @colin: How long have you had the phone for? I have come to accept that no matter what phone I get, after about 6-12 months of heavy usage (i.e. draining the battery once every day to day and a half) destroys the battery life.

    Posted on 2nd May 2009
  • Mark says:

    It says on this site that the battery is good for two days, but my ignito lasts just 10 hours if i’m luck!

    Posted on 4th May 2009
  • nandugs says:

    i want o2 XDA Ignito price

    Posted on 7th May 2009
  • colin says:

    This a brand new one ie battery and phone ignito? which seems to go flat before the day over with bluetooth,web,etc all shut down just the phone being used it goes flat quickly?

    Posted on 10th May 2009
  • Karl says:

    Good phone! Its biggest problem is its ring tone. This is the second complaint about this problem – How can the ring tone be increased!

    Posted on 8th November 2009
  • kawuzi Douglas says:

    Formally the xda ignito was realy great.But its becoming a disaster for me to locate programmes and setting in the start menu! When i click on them,the home screen is displayed instead!

    Posted on 27th May 2014

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