Product: HTC Touch Pro2
System Specs: Touchscreen, slide out QWERTY keyboard, Quad band, 3.2 megapixels camera, Wi-Fi , Bluetooth, Li-ion battery, microSD
Price: Depending on contract
JUST WHEN we might be tempted to forget there are alternatives to Android-based phones, along comes one to remind us that Windows Mobile is still trying to play catch-up.
One such is the HTC Touch Pro2 from the Taiwanese outfit that has of late been synonymous with Android.
This is powered by HTC's favourite processor, the Qualcomm MSM7200A, now making its seventh appearance in HTC's mobile phone portfolio.
HTC has really got its act together in terms of quad-band this time, whereas the Diamond handset ran the same chipset but was only tri-band at first.
HTC has improved markedly on the user interface from the original HTC Touch Pro. Back then, the UI was a CAB file installed on top of Windows Mobile.
Since HTC stood on their own two feet, some three years ago and began selling mobiles under their own name there has always been a UI called TouchFLO running on top the OS. Only now the new improved TouchFLO 3D comes across as a fully fledged OS and not just a backdrop to Windows Mobile 6.1.
If you wandered off the beaten track with the FLOs in the past, you were right back to the Windows Mobile OS. It's always been felt that the HTC GUI could have had a bigger part to play in the phone's software. Much to our delight, the HTC GUI is now coming into its own.
Every screen of the Touch Pro2, from the home screen to the settings menu is all TouchFLO 3D. You'd be hard pushed to find a gap where Windows 6.1 actually pokes through.
There are some downsides to not having the full presence and clarity of Windows Mobile behind everything. One of the troublesome irks we discovered was the "recent documents open" list is now missing. This was very useful when accessing documents instantly, instead of hunting around the OS trying to find exactly where they've been stored.
The device has a full slide-out Qwerty keyboard, which is actually a marvel to type with. We've been looking for a replacement to that other great keyboard-based handset, the Nokia Communicator. For fast, responsive typing the Pro2 really shows up well with its spaced out keys and good comfortable return on the keyboard. Nokia missed an iteration of Communicators and this device could very well steal ground from the market leader.
The Pro2 can be used with the keyboard or without. The display is a 3.6-inch 480x800 WVGA touch screen, an increase from a VGA 2.8-inch display in the previous generation of Touch Pro. This is very responsible and accurate in handling touch requests, unlike previous HTC handsets which were often a tad off key.
Windows Mobile 6.1 is still struggling to catch up with Android and the Iphone, none more so than with multitouch which is still a thing of dreams for Microsoft. Instead of this "pinch to zoom in and zoom out" functionality being on offer, there's a Zoom bar at the base of the screen. Sliding a finger up and down this area scales the screens size, which isn't exactly multitouch but will do for now.
Opera is the main browser, which suits the phone and works well over both HSDPA and Wi-Fi. HTC has a new feature for browsing, which first made its way into the recently released HTC Touch Diamond2. They call it Push Internet; in effect it's off-line browsing. It's a feature where webpages can be bookmarked and the Pro2 fully caches the page for instant access. This can also be set up to refresh automatically said page at a certain time. It could be great for reading sites with zero wait time, especially en route to work first thing in the morning.
We managed to get 8 hours and 45 minutes usage out of the phones, which is close to the manufactures claims. µ
The original HTC Touch Pro looked like the Touch Diamond, only thicker because of the keyboard. HTC has realised this handset series can stand up on its own merits and have distanced it from the Diamond and Diamond2. Within this handset sequel HTC has created a good all round business and consumer phone, especially for those who desire a physical keyboard rather than a virtual one.
Keyboard, sizable touch screen, decent UI.
Some aspects of Windows 6.1 still need to be there, no LED flash, no FM radio, no 3.5mm audio jack.