Usage and Software
In terms of general usage, the screen feels a bit odd, at least if you're used to PDA style devices with a vertically mounted display. It feels a bit cramped, and at only 2.4-inches it's not as easy to read as bigger 2.8 or 3-inch displays. Still, it's very crisp and clear and besides its size we can't really fault it. On the other hand, UBiQUiO supplies an excellent stylus. It's long, but not too slim and fits nicely in the hand. It's a pleasure to see a full size stylus in favour of the retractable ones that seems to be popular with other Windows Mobile manufacturers.
Another feature we really like is the side mounted scroll wheel, as it makes one handed navigation so much easier, at least if you hold the phone in your left hand. The only downside here is that the 503G doesn't allow you to press the button below to open the Windows start menu. This can be set manually as the button is programmable, but by default it doubles up as the OK button. The HTC TyTN allows you to open the Windows start menu from the today screen and after that the button below the scroll wheel functions as the OK button.
Further down on the left hand side is also the camera button, this launches the camera application and doubles up as the shutter release. The camera itself is anything but impressive, although this is generally the case with most cameras built into smartphones. However, one unforgivable problem is the fact that the camera software doesn't save the settings once you exit the application. The default settings are set so that the pictures are saved to the internal memory at 320 x 240 and medium quality, this is really poor when the camera can do 1,600 x 1,200 and has better quality settings. It gets very annoying to set the settings back to what you want every time you use the camera as you have to select most of them from a drop down menu.
The layout of the control keys are generally pretty good and we don't have any complaints here. Moving onto the keyboard we enter upon a touchy subject. Personally, I'm not too keen on the small keys, but I've gotten used to the larger pull-out keyboard of the HTC TyTN. The keyboard is by no means unusable, as the raised keys are quite easy to hit, but certain keys like the spacebar is a bit on the small side. Another issue is that the full stop doesn't have a dedicated key, as UBiQUiO saw fit to add a dropdown menu button on the keyboard. I'd rather send a dedicated full stop button, and the way things are now you have to press two buttons to get a full stop.
On the software side there isn't all that much out of the ordinary, although UBiQUiO has pre-installed a copy of Google Maps, but you're limited to GSM assisted routing as the 503G doesn't have built-in GPS. You can however pair it up with an external Bluetooth GPS unit and the generic Windows Mobile drivers are there to support this. UBiQUiO has also pre-installed a VoIP application and a Java runtime. There's nothing really special on the CD either, you only get a 60-day trial of Outlook 2007 which seems a bit stingy, as older Windows Mobile devices used to come with a full version.