HTC Shift Review

by Reads (22,908)

After spending a week with the HTC Shift we really got a chance to see what it can do. This tiny tablet is quite the power house. I had no problems surfing the Internet with it or navigating through applications. It sports a Intel A110 800MHz processor and has a 40GB hard drive. The touchscreen was practically flawless and I enjoyed using my finger more then the pen. Although, the pen was helpful for more intricate navigating.

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HTC Shift specifications: (price: $1,499)

  • Intel Processor A110, 800MHz
  • Windows Vista Business OS
  • 1GB DDR2 microDIMM RAM
  • 1.8″ 40GB or 60GB hard drive
  • 7-inch (800 x 400) TFT-LCD display with adjustable touch-sensitive screen
  • Network: HSDPA/UMTS, HSDPA, GSM/GPRS/EDGE available
  • Slide out QWERTY keyboard
  • Bluetooth 2.0, Wi-Fi, IEEE 802.11b/g
  • 1x USB
  • 1x VGA out
  • 1x 3.5mm stereo out with microphone
  • Card slots: 1.8/3V USIM/SIM card slot, SDIO slot with hotswap functionality
  • Fingerprint sensor and Webcam
  • Battery: 2700 mAh rechargeable Lithium-ion polymer battery, up to 2 hours
  • Dimensions: 207 mm (L) X 129 mm (W) X 25 mm (D)
  • Weight: 2.4 lbs.

Design and Build

The HTC Shift has a solid design. In fact it is actually kind of heavy. You can tell the chassis is sturdy and that this thing could take a few bumps and bruises from everyday commuting. It is a gunmetal color and the slide out keyboard is black. It hides fingerprints very well. Nothing about the Shift feels cheap.

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Being so small the Shift can travel anywhere with you. It is perfect for checking email or surfing the Web while on-the-go. It comes with a nice leather portfolio to keep the Shift safe and secure. It feels like a little book. Although the Shift feels heavy, it only weighs in at 2.4lbs, which isn’t that much.

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The Shift will have heads turning where ever you take it, those business meetings or the classroom. I mean, it looks like your standard slate tablet until you slide the keyboard out and tilt up the screen. It’s easy to use, but the screen sticks and takes more force then you would expect to pull up.

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The 7-inch (800 x 400) touchscreen display is nice. It is very responsive and accurate. It is easy to navigate with your finger or pen. I like that is responds so quickly and doesn’t take much force to open applications. You don’t have to hit the icon two or three times. The SnapVUE screen is a convenient feature and can be switched back an forth from it and Vista (the Internet) with a push of a button. It displays the weather, email and calendar features thanks to Microsoft’s Direct Push technology.

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The colors are bright and vivid and the viewing angles are fine. Even in slate mode the Shift is easy to read. The screen doesn’t give off much of a glare. As I mentioned before the touch-sensitive screen is very accurate and fun to use. It’s nice to have a screen that is so bright and easy to read, especially from such a small form factor.

Performance and Benchmarks

The Shift isn’t meant to be some high performance gaming machine. It is meant to be that portable device great for email and office work on-the-go. It is a companion to your other notebooks. The processor didn’t really show any signs of lag and to my surprise the Shift didn’t get hot, not even warm, when running benchmarks and surfing the Web. Most form factors like this don’t disperse heat well, but the Shift does.

Comparison Results for PCMark05

PCMark05 measures the systems performance as a whole.

Notebook PCMark05 Score
HTC Shift (Intel A110 800MHz, Intel 950 GMA graphics) 891 PCMarks
Motion Computing F5 (Intel Core Solo 1.2GHz, Intel 945GMS chipset) 1,557 PCMarks
Fujitsu LifeBook P1620 (Intel Core 2 Duo 1.2GHz ULV, Intel 945GMS chipset) 2,113 PCMarks
Asus R1E (Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz, GMA 965 chipset) 4,679 PCMarks
Gateway C-140x (Intel Core 2 Duo 2GHz, ATI X2300 HD graphics) 4,342 PCMarks
Fujitsu LifeBook T4220 (Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2GHz, GMA X3100 graphics) 4,171 PCMarks
HP tx2000 (AMD Turion 64 X2 2.3GHz, Nvidia Go 6150 graphics) 3,738 PCMarks
Lenovo ThinkPad X61 (Intel Core 2 Duo 1.6GHz, GMA X3100 graphics) 3,473 PCMarks
Toshiba Portege M700 (Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2GHz, GMA 965 chipset) 3,399 PCMarks
HP tx1000 (AMD Turion X2 2.0GHz, Nvidia Go 6150) 3,052 PCMarks
Asus R1F (1.66GHz Core Duo, Intel GMA 950 graphics) 2,724 PCMarks
LG C1 (Intel Core Duo 1.2GHz, Nvidia Go 7300) 2,568 PCMarks
HP Compaq 2710p (Intel Core 2 Duo ULV 1.2GHz, GMA X3100 graphics) 2,453 PCMarks
Fujitsu LifeBook T2010 (Intel Core 2 Duo ULV 1.2GHz, GMA X3100 graphics) 2,334 PCMarks
Gateway E-155C (Intel Core 2 Duo ULV 1.06GHz, Intel GMA 950 graphics) 2,205 PCMarks
Toshiba R400 (Intel Core Duo ULV 1.2GHz, Intel GMA 950 graphics) 2,187 PCMarks


Super Pi

In the below results of Super Pi, where the processor is timed in calculating Pi to 2 million digits:

Notebook Time to Calculate Pi to 2 Million Digits
HTC Shift (800MHz Intel A110) 5m 9s
Electrovaya SC4000 (1.06GHz ULV Core 2 Duo) 1m 59s
Dell Latitude XT (1.2GHz ULV Core 2 Duo) 1m 47s
Fujitsu LifeBook P1620 (1.2GHz ULV Core 2 Duo) 1m 49s
Fujitsu LifeBook T4220 (2.2GHz Core 2 Duo) 54s
Gateway C-140x (2GHz Core 2 Duo) 58s
Lenovo ThinkPad X61 (1.6GHz Core 2 Duo) 1m 10s
Asus R1F (1.66GHz Core Duo) 1m 20s
Lenovo ThinkPad X60t (1.66GHz LV Core Duo) 1m 24s
HP tx2000 (2.3GHz AMD Turion 64 X2) 1m 33s
HP Compaq 2710p (1.2GHz ULV Core 2 Duo) 1m 39s
Fujitsu T2010 (1.2GHz ULV Core 2 Duo) 1m 40s
LG C1 (1.2GHz Intel Core Duo) 1m 49s
Gateway E-155C (1.06GHz ULV Core 2 Duo) 1m 58s
IBM ThinkPad X41t (1.5GHz LV Pentium M) 2m 02s
Toshiba R400 (1.2GHz ULV Core Duo) 2m 10s
Dell Latitude D420 (1.06GHz Core Solo ULV) 2m 11s
Fujitsu LifeBook U810 (800MHz Intel A110) 6m 22s


HDTune Results



The keyboard is small and hard to type on, but you get used to it after using it a few times. It is similar to the Eee PC, so if you like to do the “peck style” typing you would have no problems. You definitely can’t type on the Shift like a standard keyboard, but it is solid and doesn’t show signs of flex.

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The pen is small and silver and reminds me of a stylus for a PDA. It works just fine and is perfect for jotting down notes or opening and closing windows. It is what I expected from such a small device. HTC even includes a spare pen incase the original gets lost, a nice little bonus for users.


The Shift doesn’t come packed full of features, but does have one USB port, one VGA-out, a microphone/headphone port, and SDIO slot with hotswap functionality. It also comes with a nice USB hub giving you three more USB ports. The packaging is very nice, but I don’t think that makes up for the steep price tag.

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Left side. (view large image)

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Back side. (view large image)

Heat and Noise

The Shift never got hot. I was surprised because all the other small UMPC/subnotebook devices we reviewed got hot. I never noticed any problems with heat and it was always comfortable to carry around.

It didn’t make much noise either. The Shift stayed cool and quiet. You wouldn’t notice this thing running in a library, classroom or office meeting. The Shift makes for a great travel companion like I mentioned before, people will think it is a textbook until it comes out of its shell to be used for emailing and more.


Battery life seemed good enough for such a small device, but an optional slice battery would be the perfect option for power users who are away from the office all day. Something for HTC to keep in mind. I was only getting a little over two hours with the Shift in Balanced Power mode. As one of the Editors in my office mentioned the Shift is kind of like a glorified PDA, but you can’t make phone calls on it.

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The wireless options are great. I was surprised when I got home and the Shift was picking up signals from everywhere including my own Wi-Fi and my neighbors. I had no problems traveling with it either. If you would like to connect a mouse that is simple too, since the Shift has Bluetooth.

OS and Software

The Shift ran fine with Windows Vista Business, but I know if it had more RAM it would be much better. Maybe even if it came with Windows XP. Vista takes it’s toll on such a low powered small device, even on the battery life. I didn’t notice any bloatware and really didn’t have any problems with it.


Overall, I am impressed by the Shift’s capabilities. It works hard, while staying cool and quiet. It is the perfect size for traveling and has unique business features like the always on access to important information with HTC SnapVUE. This screen gives you instant access to your emails with Microsoft Direct Push technology, access to local weather, calendar and your contacts. The speakers sound decent, remember this is a small tablet. The benchmarks were better then I expected and as I figured it had similar Super Pi score as Fujitsu’s U810.


  • Solid design
  • Beautiful, bright touchscreen
  • Leather portfolio protects the Shift
  • Runs cool and quiet
  • SnapVue Screen


  • Screen sticks sometimes when sliding and tilting it up
  • A little expensive
  • Battery life is average

Pricing and Availability

For more information on the Shift check out HTC’s website. It is available now for $1,499.




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