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List of vaguely-usable old Windows Mobile phones
I started using second-hand Windows Mobile phones in 2009, primarily for a reference CD-ROM which, for its 2008 through 2014 versions, had an option to run on Windows Mobile 2003SE
, 5 or 6.x but not the more recent devices. To assist with finding equipment, I created a "wiki" page called "List of Windows Mobile Devices", but it was also useful to place the following more-opinionated list on my own site.
To get on this list, a phone must:
- Have a physical QWERTY keyboard that's wide enough to allow at least ¾cm per column---frontal "thumb boards" don't count (a Revo has 1cm+ and a ; key that's well-placed for reassignment in Dvorak-like or Colemak layouts, but no WM phone has that)
- Run 2003SE, 5 or 6 (not 6.1+) for compatibility with Wenlin, eSpeak etc
- Support GSM (and UMTS if it's a 3G phone) so it works in the UK, Europe etc
Some "marketplace" websites with "advanced search" functionality let you search for an OR combination of quoted phrases. This is useful because identical or very similar phones have different names. Depending on the marketplace, you might need to insert commas between the quoted items, and perhaps parenthesise the whole query. You might be given a choice between "all words" and "any words", but this choice might be best left unchanged
as the site's developers don't always test it on complex queries (for example in late 2012 a famous site's search function started ignoring quote marks when "any words" was set, whereas it worked if you said "all words" but inserted commas).
You may also wish to "exclude" words like
to reduce the "clutter" of spare-parts listings.
All these phones can develop faults, even when left in a drawer, so try not to pay too much for a working one---you might need to replace it from time to time. (I don't usually bother with auctions---I've wasted too much time losing them. You can search for fixed-price immediate sales within your range.)
WM phones might have problems with email.
2G phones with touchscreens
Some of these phones' microphones (designed for use near the cheek) don't work so well in speakerphone positions---they pick up too much when in front, or lose sound when too far. The effect may not be so bad on a 3G signal, but if you're on 2G and use speakerphone (for SAR
reductions or to see the display), try having the mic a fingertip away from your cheek and the speaker further away (you can still check the screen when not speaking).
"T-Mobile Wing US"
"VPA Compact IV"
- "UBiQUiO 601" (keyboard twists open)
- "I-Mate K-JAR"
- "RoverPC Q5" "Kinpo Saturn"
"HTC Wizard 200"
"XDA Mini S"
- "Eten Glofiish M700"
- "XDA Mini Pro"
- "VPA Compact II"
"HTC Wizard 110" "HTC P4300"
2G no-touchscreen phones (with number pads)
- "Vodafone v1415"
"Dopod C50" (front number pad, slide-out QWERTY)
- "Pantech Duo C810" (slide-out number pad, slide-out QWERTY; also has 3G but only on 850/1900 and no Wi-Fi™---although the latter is no great loss because old-WM increasingly has problems with modern Wi-Fi access points anyway.)
3G phones with touchscreens
3G phones can improve voice quality even in a 2G-only area / building
if your 2G network supports 3G's AMR compression, although this does increase
2G's power load slightly. Where 3G signal is available it also gives faster data
and causes no 217 Hz burst-interval noise on sensitive audio equipment, but its continuity can be too much for an ailing second-hand battery. 3G WM phones can be switched to 2G-only if necessary; if option not shown, try editing registry and setting "3G" instead of "ActiveSync" in HKLM
/ Software / HTC / CommManager / 8.
"HTC Hermes 200"
"Swisscom XPA v1605"
"VPA Compact III"
"Dopod 838 Pro"
"HTC Hermes 100"
"HTC TyTN 100"
"NTT DoCoMo hTc Z"
"MDA Vario II"
"HTC Hermes 300"
- "XDA Zinc"
- "Toshiba G900"
"Toshiba Portege G900"
"E-Plus PDA IV"
(keyboard twists open)
3G phones with touchscreens and GPS
GPS usage affects battery life (tracking the signal needs lots of maths, and if you lose track then it takes time to re-acquire even with aGPS).
So pedestrians probably won't use GPS much and therefore won't need to insist on it. (Cell-based location is usually sufficient and takes less power.)
If you don't mind version 6.1
- "Dopod U1000"
"HTC Athena 100"
"MDA Ameo" (large, keyboard has to be attached so I don't know how easy/hard it is to get out quickly)
(which won't run the published binaries of Wenlin or eSpeak, but it should still run Python and it can manage more RAM than WM5/6), you could try:
If you don't mind WM 6.5
- "MDA Vario III"
"VPA Compact V"
(this group might have a higher fault rate and trouble sourcing good batteries)
- "Touch Pro" (has double resolution so you might have text size problems in older programs; also has a rather small screen which may give DPI issues)
- "HTC Tilt2" "Tytn III" "Touch Pro 2" "Touch Pro2" (also double resolution but larger screen; check it hasn't been upgraded to 6.5 if you want to ensure PythonCE will run, as PythonCE has been known to fail on some 6.5 releases---but not all, so if you do accidentally acquire a 6.5 phone then you can still try installing PythonCE as it might work anyway)
"Sony Ericsson Xperia X1" "HTC Kovsky" "HTC Venus"
(again beware of 6.5 upgrades)
(see above re PythonCE), you could also try:
- "LG GW820 eXpo"
- Sony Ericsson Xperia X2
- "LG Fathom VS750" (takes Mini-SIM)
Non-QWERTY phones with larger screens
If you need to find a WM phone and you don't
need QWERTY or compatibility with eSpeak etc, but need a larger screen, try searching for
"HTC Touch HD"
"HTC Max 4G"
"Samsung Omnia II"
---these are WM6.1+ phones with screens from 3.5 to 4.3 inches and without potentially-`dodgy' sliding mechanisms. Do check the software you'll use works on 6.1+ though. Some old 2003SE phones also have 3.5in screens:
"O2 Xda III"
"O2 Xda IIs"
"Orange SPV M2000"
"Orange SPV M2500"
"T-Mobile MDA III"
This data is*
for pointers only; I can't guarantee it's correct or that these phones will suit your needs. Always check what you are actually getting.
I believe the word "data" can now be used as an un
countable "mass" noun like "water" or "milk", not just the countable plural of "datum".)
All material © Silas S. Brown unless otherwise stated.