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T-Mobile HTC myTouch 4G Review

by on November 03, 2010
in Phones and Mobile, Phone Accessories, Cell Phones, Guides & Reviews

In case you couldn't guess by its name, the new HTC myTouch 4G for T-Mobile ($199.99) is the latest Android entrant into the 4G space. And after a week of hands-on testing, I can comfortably say it's one of the best Android phones available from any carrier.

Beyond the network speed, the HTC myTouch 4G also offers a front-facing camera for video chat over Wi-Fi and 3G/4G; hotspot support for up to four devices; has a bright, rich 3.8" LCD display; and it runs the newest version of Android 2.2.1, with support for Flash web browsing. What's not to like?

t-Mobile myTouch 4G

How it feels in the hand

The HTC myTouch 4G is a solidly built phone that feels comfortable and secure in your hand. Measuring 4.8 x 2.44 x .43 inches, it has a slim profile nearly identical to our other favorite from T-Mobile, the Samsung Vibrant.

That solid build comes at the cost of weight, though. The HTC myTouch 4G weighs 5 ounces, about an ounce more than the Vibrant's 4.2 ounces. Whether you prefer the heavier, solid feel of the myTouch 4G or the lighter, more plasticky Vibrant will be a matter of personal preference. And given the array of features on the myTouch not available on the Vibrant, you get a lot of value for that extra ounce.

Aesthetically, the myTouch 4G is a nice looking phone, though not a standout, with brushed metal accents on the back and a choice of colors—black, white, red and plum.

T-Mobile myTouch 4G colors

Display and sound

The display on the HTC myTouch 4G is a standard 3.8-inch 800x480 capacitive LCD touchscreen. It’s bigger than the Apple iPhone 4 (3.5 inches), but slightly smaller than other Android devices, like the Samsung Vibrant (4 inches) or Motorola’s DROID X and HTC’s EVO (both 4.3 inches). But display quality was very good, with rich colors and very good brightness. Perhaps not quite up to the Samsung Galaxy S class phones, which is brighter and has sharper text, but I found the myTouch 4G to generally have more accurate colors and less oversaturation.

Sound from the built-in speaker was tinny and on the quiet side, but was acceptable.

Making Calls

There's not a lot to say in this area. The HTC myTouch 4G had no trouble making calls and sound quality was very good—just what you would expect from your cell phone.

Web browsing & Mobile Hotspot

Technically, the myTouch 4G is not "true" 4G, because it operates on T-Mobile's HSPA+ network. However, T-Mobile claims HSPA+ is capable of supporting "4G speeds".

The HSPA+ network averaged downloads speeds of around 2Mbps (with a maximum of 3.5Mbps) for me in Manhattan—only slightly faster than what I currently get on my 3G T-Mobile phones. As the T-Mobile HSPA+ network gets built out, perhaps we'll see those speeds improve. Other reviewers have seen speeds as high as 7Mbps. Unlike some carriers, T-Mobile does not charge extra for its "4G" service.

The myTouch 4G is running Android 2.2.1 with support for Flash during web browsing. And thank goodness. There are those out there who claim that you don't need Flash except for watching videos, so it's not that important. Those people are wrong. Many sites use Flash components for navigation or to display information, and I'm constantly frustrated by its absence in the iPhone and most Android phones.

The myTouch 4G can act as a mobile hot spot for up to four devices. In testing, the feature was a breeze to set up and worked flawlessly. Using the hot spot costs an additional $14.99 per month.

Camera and video recording

The myTouch 4G has a 5MP camera with an LED flash and takes 720p HD video. For those that want it, there is also a front-facing camera—a first for T-Mobile—that lets you do face-to-face video chat over either Wi-Fi or 3G/4G using Qik. I can't say that I was overly impressed with the quality of the chat, and don't value this feature highly for myself, but if you're into chatting it up over video from your cell phone, the myTouch 4G provides it.

Both camera and video quality were decent, but a slight step below the Samsung Galaxy phones and a good step below the iPhone 4. Low-light photos were noisy and the autofocus takes a long time to lock on, making it difficult to snap great pictures of young kids or other "constant motion" subjects. They also came out rather soft.

In video, color accuracy was off and moving the camera caused significant stutter. In other words, just like almost every other cell phone. If you're going to be recording memories for posterity, a dedicated camcorder is preferable.

Controls were rather basic, but well laid-out and easy to use. You can adjust the ISO, turn on and off the flash, select visual effects and make adjustment to image saturation, white balance, etc. For the most part, I would recommend just leaving these alone and doing any image adjustments on your computer.

Keyboard and navigation

The large display of the myTouch 4G allows for a nice, big virtual keyboard with helpful haptic feedback. Though the myTouch 4G also ships with Swype, which makes virtual typing a breeze.

Navigation was very similar to other Android phones, with seven panels, each customizable with various widgets and apps. The new processor and Android 2.2 made for snappy response times.

There are many opinions as to whether HTC's customized interface is better or worse than Samsung's, Motorola's or stock Android. Personally, I think the differences are minor—mostly noticed by tech writers who constantly go back and forth between the various phones. The average phone buyer should be pleased no matter which brand they go with.

The myTouch 4G has five physical buttons along the bottom: Home, Menu, Back, Genius and a mini trackpad for navigating without touching the screen. The buttons would benefit from being a little less flush with the body, but were otherwise fine. I don't think the trackpad serves much purpose.

The Genius button lets you control various aspects of you phone, get directions and compose text messages via voice commands. Useful, but not significantly more so than the search features on other Android phones.

Continuing the trend, the myTouch 4G also comes with its share of bloatware that can't be uninstalled, such as a trial version of Monopoly. Dear T-Mobile (and every other carrier), please stop. Is annoying your customers with crap really worth whatever incremental revenue you bring in?

Storage

The HTC myTouch 4G comes with 4GB of onboard memory and an 8GB microSD card (expandable to 32GB), which should be plenty for most people.

Battery life

I was moderately surprised by the battery life on the myTouch 4G. It consistently will last me a day under normal usage, and using the hot spot capability for an hour during a recent meeting drained the battery by less than ten percent.

Pricing and availability

The HTC myTouch 4G is available at T-Mobile.com for $199.99 with a new, two-year customer agreement. I expect to see it discounted on AmazonWireless and Wirefly shortly.

(UPDATE 11/3/10 Well, that didn't take long. Wirefly is already offering the MyTouch 4G for $79.99 with a new account and $149.99 for renewals)

Should you buy it?

I really like the HTC myTouch 4G. As you go down the feature checklist, it has almost everything you could want—large 3.8-inch display, high-speed network access, Flash support, mobile hot spot support, front-facing camera, etc.—in a slim, compact design. The only drawback over my previous favorite, the Samsung Vibrant, is that it packs a little more weight into its solidly built chassis and the display isn't quite as...vibrant. But I can live with that.

Rating: Highly Recommended

Detailed Specs

Talk and Standby Time: Up to 6.7 hours talk time, up to 11.9 days standby
OS: Android 2.2.1 (Froyo)
Weight: 5 ounces
Dimensions: 4.8” x 2.44” x 0.43”
Battery: 1400 mAh
Display: 3.8” WVGA LCD (480 x 800)
Video: 720p HD video recording
Camera: 5.0 megapixel, Digital Zoom, Auto Focus, flash
Front-facing camera: Yes
Processor: 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8255 Processor
Memory: 4 GB on-board, 8 GB microSD card included (expandable to 32 GB)
Wi-FI: 802.11 b/g/n
Wi-Fi Hotspot: Yes
Colors: Black, white, red, plum



Discussion loading

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Wow...my battery drains really fast.

From Mark on November 10, 2010 :: 7:08 pm

Wow…my battery drains really fast. I’ve had it on the charger twice today. This phone has the worst battery life of any phone I’ve had.

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I'm not seeing that at

From Josh Kirschner on November 11, 2010 :: 3:14 pm

I’m not seeing that at all with the myTouch 4G that I’ve been using for the last couple of weeks.  It could be you have something running constantly which doesn’t need to be - GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi - that is draining the battery.

Check out our tips on making your battery last longer and see if it helps you figure out where the issue is: http://www.techlicious.com/tip/9-ways-to-make-your-cell-phones-battery-last-longer/

Josh Kirschner
Founder, Techlicious

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I like this balanced review,

From CieL on November 21, 2010 :: 6:16 pm

I like this balanced review, it’s really calm and touches on all the points the way I like :D I’ll be ordering this phone from wirefly soon (it’s $70 now) so let’s see how it plays “in real life”. Reading all these reviews makes me expect so much from this phone xD

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When I first got my

From dayze on November 22, 2010 :: 6:15 pm

When I first got my G1 the battery life was terrible intil it just died all together. I took it back to where I purchased it and they replaced the battery. Since then it’s worked great. Maybe you’re having the same problem.

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I just got this phone

From jbjtkbw00 on November 24, 2010 :: 10:54 am

I just got this phone over the weekend. Mind you, I’ve owned a Droid 1, Droid Incredible, and a Droid X. This phone, by far overall, has met more of my needs than any of them. Even after reloading all 120+ of my apps, this phone is FAST. It’s DInc fast, then again, they’re both HTC products. The battery life is no where near as bad as the DInc, however. That phone couldn’t last half a day without needing a charge. And this phone is smaller than the DX, but let me tell you, it’s faster. My Quadrant score is off the chart and even beats out the Samsung Galaxy S class.  That says a lot.

Finally, the deciding factor of me choosing this phone and leaving Verizon is the data speeds. Averaging around 2MB is a Godsend. My VZW phone was lucky to be pulling 600k.  I’ve peaked at 5.4MB so far and my videos that are flash based play fluidly and not choppy like my DX. I can’t say enough.

This review is very accurate, but I don’t mind the additional weight. It’s still a good size and the weight brings a solidness to the phone that a lot of other phones don’t have. The more plastic you have, the less confident I feel about the product, so the weight isn’t a factor. I look forward to traveling with this phone and seeing what coverage is like and what speeds are like around the country.  So far, so good.

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I have problem with the

From Ming on November 29, 2010 :: 4:47 am

I have problem with the battery too. Without doing much with the phone, it won’t last more than a few hours. Usually I need to charge it after lunch time. I have installed the Advanced Task Manager and killed over most if not all the applications running.

Any suggestion on what I should do? Should I exchange for another phone (then I have to install all my applications again) or ask to exchange the battery?

Thanks.

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@Ming Your experience is definitely

From Josh Kirschner on November 29, 2010 :: 11:43 am

@Ming Your experience is definitely abnormal.  Take a look at our recommendations for extending your battery life:  http://www.techlicious.com/tip/9-ways-to-make-your-cell-phones-battery-last-longer/

Chances are something is running that is draining the battery - GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi.  None of these would be stopped by killing apps since they’re not apps, they’re services that need to be turned off in settings.

Otherwise, I would try to get a replacement battery from T-Mobile.

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I have a Mytouch 4G,

From Tony on December 31, 2010 :: 2:42 pm

I have a Mytouch 4G, and the battery is horrible, I have been in the cellular industry working with phones every day for the past 3 years and this is by far the worst battery ever. I have my settings on the lowest possible and it is still horrible, I highly doubt it is the bettery as my wife has one as well and has equally horrible battery life.

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Just got this phone alone

From Mike Mac on January 05, 2011 :: 8:17 pm

Just got this phone alone with a another battery. Seidio 1600mah, gives you extra juice. Excellent phone. Pretty heavy, You could probably smash a mugger in the face with it and still use it to call the police!

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i also got a 4g

From elior on January 08, 2011 :: 10:37 am

i also got a 4g along with my girl. and the face to face chat has never worked for me.. it shows our faces then freezes.. ive checked and tmobile says that there are 4g speeds where i live in orlando. i seen there are other apps to the video chat. but shouldnt the quik be the best app sice is by tmobile.. thats why i got this fone since im always on the go working and college. help?

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Qik isn't all that great.

From jbjtkbw00 on January 08, 2011 :: 10:45 am

Qik isn’t all that great.  Try Fring or Tango and you’ll see better results.

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I did have the same

From Gian Stubborn on January 15, 2011 :: 5:47 am

I did have the same pdoblem.already turned off sync settings on facebook, email and etc.put the brightness level at 16 percent but it still drain my battery fast.need to charge it twice a day.is it the phone that has problem or the battery itself?

Ooo

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I had no problem with

From jb on January 19, 2011 :: 2:36 pm

I had no problem with mine since i bought it. Battery last for 1.5 days with heavy usage (games,networking,news,email, video chat,call and text). Video chatting works great, always video chat with my wife when we are at work and it’s always been clear. I live in south cali, so we have a very strong signal here.

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The auto spacing does not

From Lynn on January 30, 2011 :: 11:04 am

The auto spacing does not seem to be working on my Mytouch 4g.  Turned it off, turned it on.  No difference.  What’s up?

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i want to use french on my phone

From Sidonie Tchara on November 14, 2013 :: 8:14 pm

a part from the fact that i cant use the english well, this fone is metvellous. so i ask to look for this problem language. tanks

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Terrible battery life

From Manor on February 16, 2011 :: 11:17 am

My dad and I just got two of these myTouch 4Gs and these are the best phones we’ve ever had. BUT we’re really not satisfied with the short battery life and we may even return the phones.
I do not keep wifi or bluetooth or gps when not in use, actually I hardly turn these on at all. I have my screen turned as far down as possible and synchronization for for facebook or twitter data is only once in four hours (and I don’t refresh Facebook or Twitter when I read them).
My email, from 2 accounts, is being pushed, so I’m not polling it unnecessarily.
We love the phone but with such poor battery life it is not serving us justly.

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im getting this phone soon

From robby on February 21, 2011 :: 7:59 pm

im getting this phone soon coming from a captivate, i hated the gps problems with the captivate, and i wanted to know if it could last a full day for me from 6 am to 9 pm with gps and wifi on and moderate use? my captivate sure couldnt. i have high hopes for this powerful piece of technology.

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I don't think the battery will last

From Josh Kirschner on February 21, 2011 :: 9:49 pm

Asking a smartphone to go all day with GPS and Wi-Fi is probably asking too much. If you really have the need to have those active all day, you should invest in a pocket-size cell phone charger: http://www.techlicious.com/buyers-guide/keep-your-cell-phone-alive-with-a-pocket-size-charger/

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GPS

From Manor on February 21, 2011 :: 9:57 pm

I think I saw in the GPS settings that the phone only uses GPS when its needed by an application, so keeping it on does not mean that the phone is constantly looking for satellites.
No way this phone will last you from 6 to 9. I have to struggle to keep it alive from 9 to 6 with no charge, and I keep my usage in check.
But I love it so much that I’ll be keeping, battery life notwithstanding.

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mytouch 4g or vibrant

From Nathalie on February 24, 2011 :: 12:44 pm

With all things considered, would you choose the mytouch 4g or the vibrant?

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MyTouch All The Way

From jbjtkbw00 on February 24, 2011 :: 1:58 pm

No way I’d choose the Vibrant. Not a big fan of Samsung to begin with and this MyTouch is flawless, as far as T-Mo phones go. Speaker could be better for both audio and calls, but that’s my only complaint.

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Definitely the MyTouch

From Josh Kirschner on February 25, 2011 :: 1:27 pm

The MyTouch offers “4G” and a front-facing camera, so that would be my choice. But T-Mobile just rolled out the Galaxy S 4G, which is essentially a 4G Vibrant (http://www.techlicious.com/review/review-of-the-samsung-galaxy-s-4g-tmobile/). It’s a harder choice between those two. The Galaxy 4G is faster than the MyTouch 4G, but I prefer the HTC Sense interface. Either would be a great phone.

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I'VE HAD MINE SINCE LAUNCH,

From FRED on February 25, 2011 :: 1:47 pm

I’VE HAD MINE SINCE LAUNCH, THIS HAS BEEN THE BEST PHONE I’VE HAD. I ALSO HAE HAD SOME PROBLEMS WITH BATTERY LIFE, I’VE SOLVED THIS BY JUST SWITCHING NETWORK CONNECTIONS (WHEN NOT BROWSING OR USING APPS THAT REQUIRE FAST BROADBAND SPEEDS), DIMMING THE SCREEN AND JUST NOT REALLY USING BLUETOOTH… OVERALL IT HAS BEEN A MORE THAN PLEASING EXPERIENCE, WELL WORTH THE MONEY!!! RECOMMEND IT TO ANYONE

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Jeff

From Jeff on February 28, 2011 :: 9:41 pm

Can anyone please tell me how to make the calendar default reminder setting “None”?  It isn’t shown as an option-just 1 minute up to a week.

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HTC My Touch

From Sabrina Chaw on July 05, 2011 :: 2:55 pm

I’ve had the phone for several months now.  Though it has lots of fancy features, alot of them don’t work.  They did intitially, when we bought the phone, but now both my partner and I have problems.  Our visual voicemail and emails aren’t updated regularly and sometimes the visual voicemail doesn’t even work.  We keep having to reset the settings and resetting the phone, and even with technical support helping us, the damn phone resets itself to do something stupid later on.  Video chat is totally unreliable.  T-Mobile reception is inconsistent - my partner and I have the same phone and for some reason, he can’t get reception in his office even though my phone can, and our settings are exactly the same.  ???  Web browsing only works 50% of the time, again for no apparent reason.  It’s ridiculous to have to keep calling tech support, resetting the phone, and trouble shooting the phone at least once/week when all we do is shut it off/recharge it during the evening, and by the time we turn it on the next morning, hell breaks loose and lots of stuff doesn’t work.  The only reason we still have the phone is due to the contract.  Otherwise, we’d dump it in a second (we’ve already been given replacements - they don’t work either).  Bottom line- your review is technically correct.  However, over time (just a few months in our case), the phone starts to go haywire, and tech support can’t figure it out, and we get tired of having to reset stuff over and over again.  We call it the “dumb phone”, not the smart phone.

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I'm sorry to hear you're

From Brilliant Comrade on July 05, 2011 :: 10:39 pm

I’m sorry to hear you’re having so many issues. I used the MyTouch for a number of months after the review and didn’t experience any of the problems you’re describing. It sounds like the root cause may be poor reception or overcrowded network/towers in your area, which would explain why replacing the phones didn’t make a difference. Where are you located?

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Bettery life the worst on the market

From Gordon J. on August 02, 2011 :: 12:52 am

don’t buy the product. I have to recharge the battery after 10 hours (15 min of sending SMS)

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I LOVE MY TOUCH 4g

From mohamad on August 12, 2011 :: 5:54 am

I LOVE MY TOUCH 4g

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DONT BUY THIS PHONE

From john scott on November 12, 2011 :: 11:53 am

a year ago i purchased two of these phones and they are both crap.  one the buttons dont work and the other the speakers dont work. Dont buy this phone!
IT IS SHIT!!!

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No Battery Life At All!

From Lori on November 21, 2011 :: 3:34 pm

I had this battery on my first HTC 4g My Touch.  Fortunately, I had a protection plan with my cell carrier and so the phone was replaced at no cost to me. Second phone, exact same model, exact same problem, only this one drained even faster, to the point of being completely dead. Needless to say, I will not be exchanging this phone for the same model unless my carrier assures me the issue has been fixed.

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battery issue

From shay on January 17, 2012 :: 12:49 am

You guys may have 4g constantly running even if you are not using the phone. Go to settings, then wireless and network, then to mobile networks, scroll down to allways on mobile data and turn that off. And see if that helps.

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hi i have voice problem.

From keivin on April 01, 2012 :: 11:26 am

hi i have a problem that my phone(mytouch) doesn’t make noise it works properly but it doesn’t give out any voice,it only vibrates but no voice.i did factory reset but i have same problem as well.thank you very much for your help.

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I'm not clear on what

From Suzanne Kantra on April 04, 2012 :: 10:00 am

I’m not clear on what issue you’re having, but it sounds like your speaker isn’t working? I would take it into a T-Mobile store and have them check it out.

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my keyboard

From emmanuel on December 19, 2013 :: 1:20 pm

some keys on my qwerty keyboard are not working and i dont know what to do.Keys like (s,w,p,z)

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Onscreen keyboard?

From Josh Kirschner on December 19, 2013 :: 6:19 pm

This phone doesn’t have a physical keyboard, are you referring to your onscreen keyboard? If so, is it every application or just certain ones where the keys don’t work? Do they not work in both landscape and portrait orientation? Trying to understand if this might be a software issue (in which case doing a factory reset of your phone may help) or a hardware issue with your display not recognizing touch (in which case you’re probably out of luck).

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i mean the onscreen keyboard

From emmanuel on December 20, 2013 :: 9:37 am

i mean the onscreen keyboard and it applies to all applications i even factory reset the phone but the problem is still there

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some options

From Josh Kirschner on December 20, 2013 :: 11:48 am

You didn’t answer the question about portrait vs landscape. That’s an important one because it will demonstrate clearly whether this is a hardware or software issue.

But let’s assume it’s software. I don’t have the HTC MyTouch 4G around any more, but most Android phones have an option in Settings to change your keyboard type. You probably have a choice between Swype and HTC keyboard. Try switching and see if that makes a difference. Alternatively, you could also download another third-party keyboard, like Swiftkey, to see if that fixes your problem.

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