T-Mobile ‘MyTouch 4G Slide’ Smartphone: Made for Mom?

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Not to beat my own drum, but I consider myself a pretty good son. I visit my childhood home as much as possible, I call my mother at least once a week, and I always keep my parents on top of the latest technology. Which is why when I first got my hands on the T-Mobile MyTouch 4G Slide, hitting stores in July, my thoughts turned to my mom.

Bless her, she’s still rocking an old Samsung flip phone. It’s simplistic, and for her, comfortable. She can call and text, and hey, she’s OK with those basic functions. But Mom, I love ya, and it’s time to introduce you to the smartphone generation. Indeed, the MyTouch 4G Slide would look great in any woman’s hand.

The beaming 3.7-inch screen leaves no excuse for squinting eyes. The display is bright and colorful, a standout gem for those accustomed to much smaller. But the real eye-catcher is the phone’s sleek body.

Available in just two colors, T-Mobile has done away with the cheesy colors of past MyTouch generations. You can’t get this in red or purple, but instead, you can choose a classy khaki color which, as the T-Mobile p.r. rep proudly highlighted to this clueless reporter, can match well with your belt or shoes.

I don’t go around making sure my outfit is color-coordinated with my mobile device but all snark aside, I do see the appeal for a fashion-savvy person. It’s an innovative color that rarely appears in a phone, and the matching potential is sure to steer some purchases.

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Alright, so I’ve highlighted the female-friendly aspects of the phone. But that’s not to say it isn’t manly. The camera inside is a marvel, perfect for the family photographer looking to ditch the old point-and-shoot (we always lose the pesky charger, anyway). While smartphones are a long way from becoming dedicated photo devices, the MyTouch 4G makes great strides in this arena, boasting an 8-megapixel sensor and some slick new features to strip away the old cameraphone stigmas. The MyTouch 4G Slide’s camera has zero shutter lag, meaning that it’s quick on the draw – rather, instantaneous on the draw – when snapping. This feature works by actually prerecording the frame to memory as you line up the shot and then drawing back on that record when you press the shutter. Smart!

The other camera features are straight out of your Canon point-and-shoot. It features a dual LED flash and an improved sensor to take low-light photos, a notorious weak point of phone cameras. Other frills include a panoramic mode and an HDR (high dynamic range) mode for stunning photos.

Though it was difficult to gauge the quality of the pictures during T-Mobile’s quick demonstration last week, I’m excited about the strides being made in phone camera technology. Taking one more baby step closer to that device that can do it all.

And with the slide-out keyboard, the final barrier to smartphone entry is stripped away since tapping away on a plate of glass can be baffling upon first use. While no sliding keyboard is perfect, it’s a huge help to a BlackBerry convert or a steely number-pad holdout. What’s best is that the keyboard appeared to add little mass to the phone, still allowing it to fit nicely in a pocket or purse.

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If I had one concern for my mother picking up this phone, it would be possible complications with the high-powered HTC Sense operating system. I’ve found that it can be too touchy—too quick to respond to a swipe or tap—that it goes way beyond your intended screen.

And in my experience with the MyTouch 4G, roughly the same phone sans keyboard, it became a sluggish mess with too many apps open. And I know how much my mom needs her Facebook running constantly. Really, I’m looking out for myself with this critique, hoping to avoid the late-night phone calls complaining about her unresponsive phone.

So for the high-powered Android lover, particularly one already accustomed to touchscreen typing and the power of Android, I’d look elsewhere (like the uber-sleek Sensation). But for a smartphone starter, this one’s got a keyboard for quick adaptation, a killer camera, and a fashionista attitude. Style and substance – it’s a rare, but potent, combination.

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