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Image: The Dash
T Mobile
The Dash - a smart and sleek smartphone.
By Columnist
msnbc.com
updated 10/30/2006 6:13:49 PM ET 2006-10-30T23:13:49

The Dash is the smallest, slickest, smartest smartphone on the market today.  It instantly rises to the head-of-the-class.  A “Q” killer if I've ever seen one.

Dash is small a phone — miniscule for a smartphone. It gives Motorola’s Q phone a run for its money in size and function. Weighing in at 4.2 ounces, the Dash measures 4.4 by 2.5 by 0.5 inches. 

On the outside there is a full QWERTY keyboard (for email, text input and dialing) as well as a 1.3 megapixel camera on the back.   The handset is finished in a warm and fuzzy black suede-like finish.

This is a 4-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE phone (North American and worldwide frequencies) along with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) connectivity.  T-Mobile has 7,200 Wi-Fi hot spot locations, in places like Starbucks, all across the country. The Dash also has a microSD card slot to expand storage memory (up to additional 2GB of space).

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Dash runs on the latest version of the Windows Mobile operating system. That means you get the portable versions of Outlook, Word, Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player and lots more.  (MSNBC.com is a joint venture between Microsoft and NBC.)

Windows will automatically sync your e-mail, appointments, and phone contacts wirelessly with any modern-day Windows PC and servers runing the latest version of Windows Exchange Server. You can also sync via a USB cable with your computer as well for items like photos, video and music files.

The Dash was extremely easy to set up and use. Once I plugged in my e-mail connection information I was up and running.

I’ve noticed that other Windows Mobile smartphones don’t usually provide an abundance of battery life. With some other Windows Mobile phones, 24 hours of juice is a lot to ask. The Dash, on the other hand, can run for two days before needing a jolt of AC. That rivals the nearly three days of power I’ve been able to squeeze out of both the Nokia e61/62 and Palm’s Treo 700p — both of which do not run on the Windows OS.

The phone performed every task I asked it to do without any problem — a big deal for today's, feature-laden smartphones. I have yet to find a program that makes the Dash trip up or miss a beat.

It has handled all my remote e-mail, Web browsing and even some photography and music-listening duty with aplomb. The Dash is one of the best smartphones I’ve tested to date and definitely the most enjoyable Windows Mobile phone I’ve used.

But don’t take my word for it.  Over the course of the past two weeks every person who has seen me use the phone has asked if they could look, touch, feel and play with it. I have never seen a cell phone receive that kind of reaction before.

The Dash comes with a $349 list price. When you purchase a 2-year service contract the price drops to $199 after rebates — basically same as another new gem, the Blackberry Pearl. T-Mobile also has some competitively-priced monthly service plans as well

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