Introduction

We're always talking about revisions when it comes to BlackBerry, Palm, and Apple, but rarely do Windows Mobile users get to share the same joy. For some reason, manufacturers think that boxy, bland Windows Mobile devices with a basic screen and a simple keyboard will suffice, and as a result, we get an endless supply of similarly styled handsets (think Motorola Q9/Q9m, Palm Treo Pro, HTC Snap/Ozone, etc.).

The "one size fits all" concept ends with the HTC Touch Pro2. Offering a vibrant 3.6-inch tilting touchscreen, 528 MHz processor, Wi-Fi, and a comfortable keyboard, the Touch Pro2 is the device to have, and marks the first Windows Mobile device that can compete in today's smartphone arena. For review purposes, we will be testing the unlocked, European version, but the Touch Pro2 is available on T-Mobile now, with Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint versions rumored to arrive by the end of the year.

Design & Features

 

There's no doubt about it: the Touch Pro2 is absolutely beautiful. It's certainly a large device, but the silver casing and the high-quality materials more than make up for it. It slid into our pockets just fine, and felt like any other smartphone. Measuring 4.57 inches tall by 2.33 inches wide by 0.68 inch thick and weighing 6.61 ounces, the Touch Pro2 shines because of its high quality, durable design. It's evident that HTC went to great lengths to ensure that the device didn't feel cheap.

The Touch Pro2 keeps a minimalist design, with a power button and volume rocker on the top and left sides, respectively. The front of the device houses four buttons: send, start, back, and end keys. The stylus can be found on the lower right hand corner of the device, and the USB charging port (which doubles as the headphone input port) is located on the bottom of the phone.
HTC Touch Pro2
Box contents will vary based on the carrier, however our unlocked demo unit came with a case, earphones, USB cable (which doubled as the charging cord), and an AC adapter. The Touch Pro2 utilizes the mini-USB port for both charging and headphone input, so you'll need to purchase an adapter if listening to music is a priority.

Usability & Performance

The most notable feature of the Touch Pro2 is the WVGA touchscreen. Measuring in at 3.6-inches, the device offers a great deal of screen real estate. According to HTC, when the Touch Pro launched, customers complained about the lack of a tilting screen, like that found on the HTC TyTn (known as the Tilt to AT&T customers). So, in an effort to listen to the input of their users, the company brought the tilting screen back. It's a very nice feature to utilize when watching a video clip or browsing the internet, and attracts attention to the gorgeous display.

The Touch Pro2 relies on a resistive touchscreen, and while we prefer a capacitive touchscreen (like that found on the iPhone) for accuracy reasons, the Touch Pro2 didn't disappoint. We had few problems getting the device to recognize our gestures, and scrolling was quite easy. With one tap, the device would smoothly roll through the menus. Every now and again, the screen wouldn't recognize a gesture, but it was rare.

The Touch Pro2 utilizes TouchFLO 3D, an update from the original TouchFLO. Those familiar with HTC can instantly notice that TouchFLO is more integrated than ever before, providing a sort of "overlay" interface for most of the device's PIM functions. "Calendar" and "Stock" tabs have been added to the main menu, and the user has the option to rearrange or delete tabs on the home screen. The Start menu is customized by TouchFLO as well; it offers a customizable grid layout.

In a word, the keyboard is fantastic. The keys are a perfect size, and are spaced in a way that is conducive to messaging on a regular basis. People with large hands will love the keyboard. No lag is present whatsoever, so those used to typing quickly can do so on the device. With the Touch Pro2 offering an on-screen keyboard as well, it's nice to be able to perform basic touch functions on the screen, and when the time comes to compose a long e-mail, to slide out the QWERTY keyboard and start typing away.

Offering a 3.2-megapixel camera, the Touch Pro2's picture quality was average. Due to the fact that a flash isn't present on the device, pictures must be taken in well-lit areas in order for them to come out properly. Among other features, the user can adjust the white balance, brightness, and resolution. Video quality was average as well; good for taking a quick video to share with friends, and that's it. Windows Media Player offers support for AAC, MP3, WAV, WMA, MPEG-4, and WMV file formats for those that want to play music or watch videos on the run. For those that utilize viral media on a regular basis, a YouTube application comes preloaded on the device as well. Make sure to store your media on a microSD card though, as the Touch Pro2 ships with 256 MB RAM and 512 MB ROM, which you'll want to save for other functions.

Battery life on the Touch Pro2 was quite good, although it's important to note that, since the European version doesn't support the US 3G bands, we were on EDGE the entire time. With moderate use including light web browsing, continuous checking of e-mail, calling, and text messaging, we were able to get just over two days out of the device. When we kicked it up a notch to heavy use, we were able to use it for a day and a half before it powered down. Despite the fact that we weren't able to test the longevity with 3G activated, estimated battery life with 3G active seems to be impressive - 6.5 hours talk time and 31 days standby. Those who need a smartphone with strong battery life will be pleased with the Touch Pro2.

We tested the Touch Pro2 in the Charlotte area, and call quality was great. Callers could hear us well, and in turn, call quality was great on our end also. When we went to a known fringe area, we found calls to sound equally clear; no distortion was present. We paired a Bluetooth headset to the device, and had no problems using it either.

Speakerphone was clear and very easy to use. Turning the Touch Pro2 upside down automatically activates the speakerphone. Beside the speaker, a tiny mute button can be found, so you can mute yourself without turning the device back over as you're shouting obscenities at your boss for giving you extra work to do.

Conclusion

The HTC Touch Pro2 is a fantastic Windows Mobile device, and certainly worth a look by anyone searching for a feature-rich PDA. Breaking the traditional candybar mold, the Touch Pro2 offers numerous features for both the business user and the media-centric consumer. The purchase price is a bit lofty, but as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for - a fully functional device, worthy of competing in today's smartphone marketplace.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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