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HTC Advantage X7510 review

The HTC Advantage is a tweener: it’s not a UMPC like the HTC Shift and Fujitsu U810 because it doesn’t run a full version of Windows. It’s not a smartphone because it’s too large to hold to the head, and in fact you can only use it for phone conversations with the included wired headset, built-in speakerphone or a Bluetooth headset. And it’s not the first handheld computer with the Advantage name: HTC launched the Advantage X7500 last spring and the US version X7501 in mid-summer 2007. So now you know what it’s not…

The HTC Advantage X7510 is nonetheless many things. It’s a powerful handheld computer running Windows Mobile Pro with a 5″ VGA touch screen, detachable keyboard, unlocked quad band GSM phone with triband HSDPA, WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0, a 3MP autofocus camera, a 624MHZ processor and 16 gigs of storage. It’s the update with a new keyboard design, double the storage, Windows Mobile 6.1 and the amazing Opera 9.5 web browser that’s not yet available for any other device besides HTC’s own Touch Diamond. It’s a GPS. The Advantage is a laptop replacement for those who don’t need Windows XP or Vista specific programs: it has mobile versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Internet Explorer, Outlook and more. And with WAN, LAN and PAN (that’s cellular, WiFi and Bluetooth in English) connections, the Advantage is perfect for those who need to stay connected wherever they go. Though large for a phone or even PDA, it’s tiny by even UMPC standards and weighs just over 13 ounces (a few 10th of an ounce heavier than the first generation Advantage).

Because relatively little has changed with the X7510, we won’t do a detailed review. Please read our original Advantage review for all the gory details. Sadly, because of the Qualcomm lawsuit and injunction, the Advantage X7510 will not be sold in the US. This has nothing to do directly with HTC, but rather Qualcomm filed suit to have certain chips and mobile CPUs blocked for sale in the US and the X7510 got caught in that mess. Though its CPU and chipset are no different from the US X7501 that shipped last summer, the X7501 was cleared for US sale because it already received the green light before the embargo began. A shame really, but you’ll have to buy the X7510 from online importers, of which there are many.

For those of you who aren’t uber-geeks, HTC is based in Taiwan and they manufacture most of the Windows Mobile PDA phones and smartphones sold in the US. The Advantage’s codename is Athena, and the X7510 is the ATHE400 variant. Overseas in Europe and Asia, the original Advantage X7500 was and is sold unlocked by electronics retailers and by carriers as well. No US carrier has offered the Advantage and likely none will thanks to the Qualcomm injunction.

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