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HTC Touch Pro2 Review
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Date: Jun 22, 2010
Section:Gadgets
Author: Jennifer Johnson
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Introduction & Specifications

When the HTC Touch Pro2 initially became available, it was one of the best business-class smartphones on the market. Fast-forward to today, and we've seen quite a few new phones hit the market since the Touch Pro2 was released. Despite the availability of competing phones, however, the case could be made that the Touch Pro2 is still a worthy contender in the smartphone space.

We'll be taking a closer look at the Sprint variant of the Touch Pro2 in this review, but keep in mind similarly equipped models are also available from Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, and other carriers. The fact that this phone isn't exclusive to a single carrier is a nice benefit in terms of support and the availability of custom features.

Even though Microsoft's Windows Mobile operating system may not be as popular as it once was, there are still a number of users who are interested in a phone running on Microsoft's mobile OS. Furthermore, the Touch Pro2 has one of the most popular form factors on the market with its horizontal slider, full QWERTY keyboard, and tilting touch display.

The Touch Pro2's spec sheet shows that the phone has a number of attractive features. For example, it offers an expansive 3.6-inch WVGA (480x800 pixels) display that slides horizontally to reveal a 5-row QWERTY keyboard, 3G and international connectivity options, Wi-Fi, and Straight Talk technology for crystal clear calling. In addition to sliding horizontally, the screen also tilts to offer a better viewing angle.

The Touch Pro2 also runs HTC Sense. This enhanced user interface is also found on some of HTC's other popular phones such as the Droid Incredible. In fact, as we'll discuss further in the coming pages, Sense makes the Touch Pro2 feel like a completely different phone in comparison to a standard Windows Mobile handset.


As HTC puts it, the HTC Touch Pro2 targets business professionals who are looking for a powerful productivity experience on a mobile phone. To that end, HTC has given the Touch Pro2 a number of business-friendly features including easy conference calling, a best-in-class speakerphone, and scheduling and productivity features.

Read on in the following pages as we take a closer hands-on look at the HTC Touch Pro2. First, though, let's take a look at some specs...

Operating System Windows Mobile® 6.1 Professional (a Windows Mobile 6.5 update is available)
Processor Qualcomm® MSM7600™ 528 MHz
Internal Memory ROM: 512 MB
RAM: 288 MB
Display 3.6-inch TFT-LCD touch-sensitive screen with 480 x 800 WVGA resolution with adjustable tilt screen
Technology CDMA: Dual-band 800/1900MHz, CDMA2000 1xRTT/1xEVDO rev. A, and IS-95A/B voice or data, with up to 1.8 Mbps up-link and 3.1Mbps down-link speeds
Email Support for Office Outlook Mobile® and Microsoft Exchange® with Direct Push
Dimensions 4.57” (L) x 2.33” (W) x 0.68 (D)
Weight 6.35 ounces (with battery)
Battery 1500 mAh Li-on
Talk time: Up to 4 hours
Standby: over 2 weeks
(The above are subject to network and phone usage)
Speakerphone Straight Talk™ with built-in dual Microphone and dual speakers for conference call
Built-in Camera 3.2 megapixel color camera with auto focus
Audio/Video Windows Media® Player 10 Mobile, MPEG-4, AVI, WAV, MP3, MP4, MIDI, WMV, 3GP, 3G2, WMA
I/O Interface Bluetooth® 2.1 with Enhanced Data Rate and A2DP for stereo wireless headsets, Wi-Fi®: IEEE 802.11b/g
Expansion microSD™ memory card slot
Device Navigation Slide out QWERTY keyboard, end/power button, send/hands-free button, back/clear button, Home button, volume up/down button, power button
Price $199.99 after contract and rebates

 

In the box:

  • AC phone charger
  • USB sync cable
  • battery
  • extra stylus
  • LCD screen protector
  • Getting Started CD
  • Get Started poster
  • Basics Guide
  • Set up Your Email Guide
  • Features Guide

 

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Design

The Touch Pro2 has a black and charcoal-colored body with rounded edges and curved sides. The phone itself has a very solid feel overall. Even the horizontal sliding mechanism is solid and glides smoothly. The slider does provide some resistance, so you won't accidentally "open" the phone. After sliding the screen half way, the phone will open automatically and snap into place. 

The Touch Pro2 is thicker than many of today's ultra-thin phones, measuring 0.68 inches thick. To help you compare the Touch Pro2's thickness to other popular phones, the iPhone 3Gs is 0.48 inches and the Motorola Droid is 0.54 inches thick. In terms of weight, the Touch Pro2 is noticeably heavier than either the iPhone 3Gs or the Motorola Droid. The Touch Pro2 weighs 6.35 ounces, the Motorola Droid weighs 5.96 ounces, and the iPhone 3Gs weighs 4.8 ounces. Despite the phone's thickness, it's a very good-looking phone. Although the phone is heavier than some competing models, it's easy to grow accustomed to carrying the phone and not notice the extra weight (compared to other phones).

    

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The Touch Pro2's 3.6-inch display covers the majority of the front of the handset. The screen does tend to attract fingerprints but we didn't notice a problem with performance even when there were a number of fingerprints on the screen. Just below the screen, you'll find the Zoom Bar as well as the talk, start, back, and end keys. Above the display, there's a notification LED, ambient light sensor, and proximity sensor.

On the top edge of the phone, you'll find the power button. The volume rocker is located on the left panel. The primary microphone is located on the bottom edge of the phone not too far from the talk key. You'll also find the mini USB connector and standard 3.5mm headphone jacks on the bottom edge of the phone. On the right panel, you'll find the secondary microphone and a stylus.

    

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The back panel of the Touch Pro2 contains the 3.2 megapixel camera, a mute button, and a noise-canceling dual speaker.

The keyboard has slightly raised keys that are backlit. The keys are nicely spaced and comfortable, and easy to type on. When the screen is tilted, the top row of number keys is slightly harder to access. Navigation keys are located in the lower right corner. In addition, many functions are available from the keyboard using a combination of a FN key and another key. For times when you don't want to slide the phone open and use the hardware keyboard, there's also an on-screen keyboard that's quite usable.

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User Interface

Our test phone initially had Windows Mobile 6.1 installed, but we upgraded the phone using the latest ROM for our tests. This ROM includes an upgrade to Windows Mobile 6.5, HTC Sense UI enhancements, improved Social Networking integration, and a variety of minor bug fixes. Although it's not Windows Phone 7, Windows Mobile 6.5 with the latest version of Sense is a step towards a more feature-filled and touch-friendly OS. 

As mentioned, the Touch Pro2 runs HTC's Sense user interface on top of Windows Mobile. On the Touch Pro2, Sense provides a Today screen plugin that consists of several tabs that you can view by sliding your finger along the bottom of the display or touching an individual icon. The tabs include: Home, People, Mail, Messages, Calendar, Internet, Photos & Videos, Sprint Music, Sprint Navigation, Sprint TV, Weather, Stocks, Twitter, and Settings. With the exception of the Home and Settings tabs, you can enable or disable any of the tabs.

    

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The Home screen displays the date and time as well as weather information, three customizable quick links to programs, and various notifications. By flicking the three quick links upward, you'll see all nine quick links. The People tab shows pictures of your favorite contacts in a scrollable grid; the first nine contacts are visible without scrolling. By tapping a photo, the phone will carry out the default action (call, send email, send text, etc), which you select when you add a favorite contact. You can also tap the name to open the contact. Any time a contact is open, you'll see a slider at the base of the screen with the option to view details about the contact, messages between you and that contact, email sent between you and that contact, updates and events related to the contact, and call history between you and the contact.

If you look at the Messages, Email and Calendar tab icons, you can easily see at a glance how many unread email or SMS/MMS messages you have as well as the current date. The Internet tab provides a link to the Opera web browser and bookmarks to favorite websites which you can customize. The Photos & Videos tab lets you use flick gestures to scroll through various photos and videos. The Weather tab displays weather information for up to 10 cities with a 5-day forecast. You can flick to scroll through various cities and use the menu to customize locations.

The All Programs listing in Windows Mobile 6.5 features staggered icons that are scrollable with the flick of a finger. Some of the programs that come preinstalled on the Touch Pro2 include YouTube, RSS Hub, NFL Mobile, NASCAR, Facebook, Google, Instant Messaging, Bing, JETCET Presenter 5, Microsoft My Phone, Office Mobile, Windows Live, and a few others. You'll also get access to Sprint Navigation, Sprint Music, Sprint TV, and the Sprint Software Store. Of course, you can always access additional free and paid apps from the Marketplace or a number of other online Windows Mobile-friendly stores.

    

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At the top of any screen, you'll see small icons that alert you to various notifications. There are different icons for reminders, mail messages, voicemail, missed calls, and more. By tapping the top bar with your finger or the stylus, you'll see a more detailed view of each of these notifications.

As you would expect from a Microsoft-powered phone, the Touch Pro2 easily syncs with an Exchange server either over the air or via USB cable. You can synchronize Office Outlook email messages, contacts, calendar, tasks, and notes. You can also synchronize favorite bookmarks, files, pictures, music, and video. You can also access the Touch Pro2 directly from your computer to drag and drop music, video, pictures, and much more to and from the device.

Although the Touch Pro2 is a business-friendly device, it also offers some fun features including the ability to synchronize music and video content with your computer. The Touch Pro2 doesn't have a ton of onboard storage for lots of large media files, but you can add plenty of additional storage using a microSD card. To swap microSD cards, you'll need to remove the phone's battery cover.

Even with the HTC Sense user interface and Microsoft's changes with Windows Mobile 6.5, any user who is accustomed to Microsoft's mobile OS will feel right at home with the Touch Pro2. For many users, this is a nice benefit, as you won't have to deal with a learning curve when transitioning to a new phone.

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Performance

We often spend a lot of time talking about a smartphone's features. Although features are obviously important, call quality is probably the first and foremost thing we should mention. We were extremely pleased with the Touch Pro2's call quality and sound. The earpiece was adequately loud and the phone's speaker also produced good quality sound. The speakerphone was also excellent, thanks to the dual speakers and microphones. We also appreciated the proximity sensor which turns off the phone's display when you raise it to your ear.

We mentioned earlier that the Touch Pro2 has a Mute button on the back cover. Anytime you set the phone face down during a call, the speakerphone will activate automatically. Hence, the Mute button on the rear cover is a particularly useful feature that we found ourselves using often during conference calls. The Touch Pro2 also has another handy feature called Be Polite, which diminishes the volume of the ringer when you pick up the phone. If you flip the phone over, it mutes the ringer entirely. Should you ever forget to turn off your ringer during a movie or important meeting, you'll find this to be a very useful feature.

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The Touch Pro2's 3.6-inch display is crisp and pleasing to look at. The tilting screen is a nice touch, particularly for users who want to rest the phone on a desk or table and view the screen or watch a video from the handheld. The screen supports WVGA resolution at 480 x 800. The accelerometer responded reasonably quickly, though there was a slight lag in rotating the display many times.

In terms of overall responsiveness, the Touch Pro2 is respectable but keep in mind that it doesn't have an ultra-fast processor such as the Droid Incredible or other 1GHz Snapdragon-powered phones. As a result, there were times when we were waiting on the phone to load the Opera web browser or perform a different task. The lags weren't unbearable, but they were noticeable. We didn't notice much lag in the Touch Pro2's ability to respond to screen taps and finger gestures.

We appreciate that the Touch Pro2 comes with the Opera Web browser. With Opera, you'll get a more desktop-like Web browsing experience. The phone doesn't support pinch controls, but it does allow you to zoom in on text and pictures by double-tapping the screen. You can also use the Zoom Bar located at the base of the display to zoom in and out of text and pictures.

The Touch Pro2 is powered by a Qualcomm MSM7600 528MHz processor, 512MB of ROM, and 288MB of RAM. Combined, these specs are respectable for a phone, but Windows Mobile does add a bit of heft that slows things down. As one may expect, the phone tended to lag more frequently when we had multiple applications open and running in the background.

A 3.2 megapixel camera on a phone today isn't bad, but it's not top-tier, either. We were happy enough with the Touch Pro2's shooter, which can also record video. Keep in mind that, like other camera phones, the Touch Pro2 won't replace your DSLR, but it will let you capture memories on the go.

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For hackers and power users, one of the coolest things about the Touch Pro2 is the fact that HTC doesn't lock the phone down to the point that you can't play with it. For example, we didn't care for the phone's built-in reminders and snooze options. After a quick search, we easily located and installed an installation file that tweaked this feature.

In addition, it could be argued that HTC is becoming the manufacturer of choice for true smartphone enthusiasts. For example, there are numerous "chefs" that cook up custom ROMs for HTC's phones such as the Touch Pro2. Some of these custom ROMs include the latest versions of Windows Mobile, at times even before the update is officially released from HTC or the wireless carrier. These custom ROMs also offer additional apps and features that are not always found on the stock ROMs. In this regard, HTC is the complete opposite of some manufacturers (Apple in particular)—although the company doesn't condone or encourage custom ROMs, it certainly doesn't go to great lengths to stop them either. For this, we have to give HTC a lot of credit.

HTC claims you should expect up to 4 hours of talk time and over 2 weeks of standby time on the Touch Pro2's 1500 mAh Li-on battery. Although battery life is sure to vary based on how you use the phone, we were generally able to make it through the day without fully draining the battery while performing a variety of tasks.

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Conclusion

Windows Mobile-powered phones aren't what they once were. Hence, you'll find some users who love the OS and others who hate it. Regardless of your feelings towards the OS, it's important to look at the whole picture. All in all, the Touch Pro2 is good looking, solid, and well-functioning smartphone. In addition, HTC has taken the best parts of Windows Mobile and masked them with a snazzy and responsive interface that makes the phone easy and fun to use.

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The Touch Pro2 may not be the ultra-thin or ultra-glamorous phone like the new iPhone, but it's still a very respectable device. The phone excels at calling and offers a number of useful features that are sure to keep the business user connected during the day. Although this is a business-minded phone at heart, it still offers a number of multimedia and fun features that are sure to keep you entertained at the airport as well.

 

The Touch Pro2 doesn't offer the same built-in customization options as an Android powered phone but this shouldn't be a problem for power users. In fact, it may be a benefit since you can download custom ROMs and other tweaks for the phone (at your own risk, of course). Combine this customization with the slide-out QWERTY keyboard and a tilt display, and you'll have a very likeable product, especially for those that like to fully customize their smartphones.

     
  • QWERTY keyboard
  • Availability of tweaked ROMs
  • Sharp, spacious touchscreen
  • Excellent call quality
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS
  • HTC Sense
  • Not as speedy as some of today's latest phones
  • Larger form factor than some of today's phones
  • So-so camera

 



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