Edit: if you need help setting up ActiveSync over Bluetooth with Windows Vista and a Toshiba Bluetooth Stack see here

My friends and colleagues know me as a bit of a gadget collector - I've got numerous laptops, tablets, PDAs, wireless gear and even a HP ML330 at home as my SBS2003 server. But I didn't have a Windows Mobile 5 device - until yesterday. As soon as the new iMate Smartflip (aka Qtek8500, Dopod s330, HTC StarTrek) arrived in Australia, I went across town to pick one up. For those interested in what it looks like, there are plenty of pictures available here and here (alongside the new HTC 3G MteoR)

So far, I'm quite impressed. Closed, it is slightly smaller than my previous WM2003 device (iMate SP3i) and weighs about the same. Feature-wise, it comes with the Microsoft Messaging and Security Feature Pack preloaded (to allow for Microsoft's push email implementation, and also remote wipe capabilities) and a camera that's far superior to the one in my previous WM phone. IMate includes a Soduku game, as well as the Clearvue suite of document viewers.

Getting Server ActiveSync back to my Exchange server, as well as Bluetooth connectivity to my laptop took a little while. iMate make available a cab file on their website that provides carrier specific settings (that took a while to find). Additionally Microsoft's previous DisableCertChk tool (to allow the device to accept non-trusted root CA-issued certificates) doesn't work with WM5, and iMate hasn't made available a signed tool that you can run on the device to allow you to import your own root CA certificates. So in the end I needed to replace my self-issued certificate on my Exchange server with a goDaddy cert. Sorting out networking on WM devices is still just as confusing and unintuitive as ever (this article by fellow MVP Ed Hansberry, which explains the difference between Work and Internet/My ISP networks, is well worth reading for Pocket PC and Smartphone users alike)

Getting Bluetooth synchronisation working with my laptop, by comparison, was relatively simple, once I worked out which one of the 30 COM ports created by the Toshiba Bluetooth stack was actually a server COM port that was listening for incoming connections.

The downsides to this phone are that it no longer uses a standard USB jack for connections, nor does it has a standard 2.5mm stereo out jack either. However I was able to pair my HP iPaq Bluetooth headphones. There is some debate online as to whether these devices support A2DP stereo, or whether you just get dual mono sound (newer ROMs apparently now support A2DP in stereo). As I don't have a micro-SD card handy I can't put any music on the phone to test this. I'm not sure I would use this as my main music device - the CPU seems to struggle when running Windows Media Player, and performing any other tasks (such as synchronising or reading messages). WMP seems to be at fault here, as performance is quite snappy otherwise. I have an iPod Nano (as well as wired noise-cancelling Sennheiser headphones) which I use on the plane (as a consultant I do a lot of flying. This phone is slim enough to fit in my pocket with the Nano easily, so I'll keep my Nano as my main music device.

The last downside: as a new phone, there seem to be very few accessories either (cases in particular - there is a silicon glove but the phone doesn't close properly according to online reports)

Battery life appears to be quite good. I've had the phone on for 36 hours now, with Bluetooth enabled continuously, and the battery is down to about 70%.

Overall, I would rate this phone as an excellent WM smartphone device. It looks quite stylish (even if it's a blatant Motorolo Razr rip-off) aside from an overly large iMate logo on the front. Hopefully it doesn't have the same design flaw as the iMate SP3 (which allowed dust to get in under the screen).

My old SP3i is going to the unused phone pile. Any phone collectors out there interested in giving my old WM phones a good home? (I've got a couple of Qtek7070s, as well as a couple of PocketPC devices, that are no longer in use).