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90%

O2 XDA Orbit 2 smartphone

Rather good?

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For anyone who buys the Orbit 2 in its generic HTC Touch Cruise incarnation, the GPS system also works just fine with Google Maps. The graphic representation is, of course, rather basic but the vocal prompts are not noticeably worse than those on some navigation software rigs you actually have to pay for.

But we should say that the Orbit 2 looks a whole lot nicer than the angular Cruise.

The handset's three-megapixel auto-focus camera, while a leap forward from the rather hum-drum two-megapixel devices common on most recent HTC handsets, still isn't likely to inspire you to take photographs that could grace the pages of National Geographic.

Presumably HTC has a to-do list some place - it needs to get to the item that reads "give our phones decent cameras" sooner rather than later. Unless, of course, it has just come to the conclusion that 90 per cent of phone cameras are never used for anything remotely akin to even semi-serious photography.

Xda Orbit 2 smartphone

Sadly O2 has seen fit to have dispense with the HTC home screen

In day-to-day use as a phone, the Orbit 2 did everything asked of it. We downloaded and used Skype and Fring without any problems, while cellular call quality was more than acceptable. Web browsing is the usual Windows Mobile Explorer pain in the backside, but at least you can stream video from the likes of YouTube and internet radio through it these days.

Battery life as usual is wholly dependent on what you have running. We left the GPS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi switched on and flattened a full battery in two hours and ten minutes. Being a little more considerate we got a full days usage, including an hour or so of talk time, half an hour of GPS usage, and an hour of Wi-Fi activity, all still with Bluetooth on.

Major bugbears? Only one, and its the usual one: no 3.5mm headphones jack. We are going to keep on pissing and moaning about this, loudly, until HTC decides to do something about it. Sort it out, guys.

Verdict

What's not to like about the O2 XDA Orbit 2? For the money, you're getting a perfectly decent Windows Mobile smartphone and a capable satnav system. When you consider that you can get the thing free with a £45-a-month contract or for only £50 with a £35-a-month contract and that it comes bundled with £80-odd worth of CoPilot 7 software, it's also quite the bargain.

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90%

O2 XDA Orbit 2 smartphone

A good phone and a decent satnav all in one handy little bundle. Fork out £15 for Spb's Mobile Shell and it won't even look like a Windows device.
Price: Contract: from free. Pre-pay: N/A. SIM-free: £409 RRP

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