Built-in camera, solid construction and other refinements, and it's finally a good phone. I owned a color hiptop for a year, and loved it. Using it was like being in the future: the flip-out screen and always-on internet was cool, plus it's a phone as well as a PDA -- but it was the tight hardware/software integration that was killer. Very thoughtfully designed, and a complete experience; like going to Disneyland, playing a good game, or using a high-end consumer electronics device.
But, it had its faults. It was big and barely pocketable, it didn't have blue-tooth, and it was brittle. The screen kept breaking in odd ways: backlight didn't turn on, picture displayed with vertical lines, etc. Also, it was a terrible phone. The T-Mobile network around here (SF) isn't very good, and people tended to just shrug about it. Based one what I'd heard, I decided to use the hiptop on a data-only plan, and continue using my Sprint phone for voice calls.
I then started carrying a digital camera wherever I went, and it became apparent that I would either have to build myself a Batman utility belt, or start carrying a man-bag around.
Then I got the hiptop2, and was surprised by a few things:
- It has its own style. It's silver and sleek, but in a different way than most phones or PDAs. It looks like something from Battlestar Galactica, complete with the roundish transparent light-up talking brain thing that the little DeebitDeebitDeebit robot used to carry around.
- It's not any smaller, width or length-wise. But, it's quite a bit thinner, so it fits into your pocket much easier. And no unsightly bulge.
- It's manufactured by Sharp, so the build quality is way better. The hinge feels much stronger, so hopefully no more problems with the screen.
- It has a built-in camera, that shoots 640x480 with a modest flash. Holding it evokes nostalgia -- it feels like an Instamatic.
- The phone experience is way better! The earpiece has been moved to a location that's way easier to "aim" into your ear. This won't help with dropped calls, but at least I'll be able to hear the ones that do connect.
The only thing that's missing (besides better coverage from T-Mobile) is Bluetooth, for headsets. But honestly, the earpiece is so much better, I don't think I'll miss it. And, there's a speakerphone for in-car use in a pinch.
Same great integrated experience, along with some nice touches in the controls: new buttons and button locations. If you're an old hiptop user, you'll like the new remixed hiptop2. If you're new to hiptops, and you want to be able to surf the web, check e-mail, take/send pictures, IM, have custom ringtones, make phone calls, photoblog, sync with your desktop calendar and contacts, and play old-school games in one place, you should take a look.