HTC Advantage: Phone, Laptop in One

At 12.7 ounces, this massive device is meant to be an über-PDA—a handheld for adventurous computer enthusiasts who wish they could inject their Treo with steroids. It can replace a laptop in more situations than any other smartphone on the market, but it doubles as a phone only when you wear a headset or use the speakerphone.

Though the Advantage’s top-end 624-MHz Marvell PXA270 processor aced our benchmark tests, the unit still felt pokey. But built-in HSDPA and Wi-Fi didn’t disappoint, grabbing speeds approximating 700 Kbps on the AT&T network. The device’s keyboard is big, but fl at and soft.

The Advantage makes a handy in-car GPS, thanks to its big 5-inch screen and TeleNav’s built-in GPS Navigator 5.1 software. One button press gets TeleNav to reroute you around tie-ups. The device runs Windows Mobile, so you can sync e-mail, calendar, and contacts with Microsoft Outlook 2003 and 2007, and the unit can receive push Exchange e-mail. Office Mobile still needs work, though: I saw formatting errors in some documents, which limits the handset’s usefulness when editing important fi les. You can save data to the internal 8GB hard drive or to a miniSD card.

The Advantage could bridge the gap between handhelds and laptops, but for $900 you might as well buy a laptop and get a free phone from your carrier.

HTC Advantage: $899.99 list

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