Click to enlargeThe Imagio has a custom HTC on-screen QWERTY keyboard that works in both landscape and portrait modes. It’s similar to the one found on devices such as the HTC Hero and is large enough to type on with your fingers, although a stylus is included if that’s your preferred method of entry. We found that typing was a bit harder than on the Hero, however, because this device has a resistive screen. Auto-complete worked well, but it was inconsistent. Most of the time we kept this feature off, but it turned itself on automatically randomly, like when we were entering the settings for our out-going e-mail server.
E-mail and Messaging
As a Windows Phone, the Imagio natively supports Microsoft Exchange for full e-mail, contact, and calendar sync. You can also easily add your own IMAP/POP e-mail accounts by following through the standard e-mail setup wizard that has not changed since Windows Mobile 6.1; it recognizes common addresses like @google and @yahoo and automatically configures the correct settings. The Imagio also has Verizon Wireless’ Mobile E-mail shortcut for the application that lets you add your AOL, Yahoo, or Windows Live accounts.
Windows Phones come with Microsoft Office Mobile installed, so you can open Excel, PowerPoint, and Word document attachments, as well as make edits to these files. Also, the Imagio comes with Adobe Reader LE for opening PDF files.
We surfed the Web on the Imagio using both Verizon Wireless’ 3G EV-DO Rev. A network and our Wi-Fi network. Opera 9.5 is the default browser on the Imagio, which we prefer to Internet Explorer Mobile because it has faster rendering, better bookmark support, and a more streamlined interface.
Over a 3G connection, we loaded the full ESPN.com HTML page in 44 seconds, NYT.com in 47 seconds, and Laptopmag.com in 44 seconds. The iPhone 3GS, by comparison, loaded NYT.com in a zippier 17 seconds, ESPN.com in a slower 53 seconds, and our home page in a faster 35 seconds. Even still, we were able to begin interacting with all of these pages after about 20 seconds of loading.
Over Wi-Fi, we loaded the full NYT.com home page in 26 seconds, ESPN.com in 29 seconds, and Laptopmag.com in 20 seconds.
You can zoom in and pan around the page quickly, and the text was very sharp given the display’s high resolution. You can zoom using the area just below the screen that has small tic marks for panning in and out of the page, but that doesn’t provide an accurate zoom. Instead, we recommend double tapping the area of the page you want to view closer.
Loaded with V Cast Music (Rhapsody support), Qualcomm’s FloTV, and V Cast videos, the Imagio is a veritable multimedia powerhouse. There’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack for watching TV or listening to tunes without any annoying adapters.
V Cast Music with Rhapsody lets you use a Rhapsody subscription to download unlimited music to your Imagio using the Rhapsody music player with a Rhapsody subscription ($14.99 per month). You can also download songs over the air for $1.99 a pop. We downloaded Owl City’s “Cave In” (1.88MB file) in 58 seconds. Audio was loud enough to fill a small room through the small speaker on the back of the phone, but it was hollow and tinny. When we plugged in a set of headphones the music sounded much fuller and was comparable to the audio quality you’d get from an iPod.
V Cast TV offers 14 channels to watch ($15 per month, a smaller 10 channel package is available for $10 per month). Before relying on the Imagio as a TV device, however, check your coverage from Verizon’s Web site. We popped out the antenna and watched The Daily Show on Comedy Central. The quality was good, not too pixelated, and we could make out text at the bottom of the screen. Voices were in sync with audio, too. By default there were two quarter-inch gray bars on either side of the TV feed, and while we could go full screen with a tap, the quality suffered.