By August 22, 2008

HTC Touch Pro Review

The long awaited HTC flagship is here; I have pestered, hounded and harassed Matt for a play on this device since we all heard about it last year. Now I have it, can it live up to the hype? Is it the ultimate device?

HTC Touch Pro Review

The HTC Touch Pro (click to enlarge)

Introduction

 

Following on from the release of the HTC Diamond, the HTC Touch Pro (Raphael) is as much high end as you are going to find at the moment. The price tag does match its status and to prove itself as value for money it has to be near perfect……

 

What’s in the Box?

  • The HTC Touch Pro handset
  • 1350mAh battery
  • USB Sync/charge cable
  • Mains charger (USB style)
  • Application CD and user guide CD
  • Spare stylus
  • Leather slip case
  • Wired headset
  • Printed user guide and warranty information

Have a look at Matt’s HTC Touch Pro unboxing video for a more detailed analysis.

 

HTC Touch Pro specification:

  • Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional
  • Qualcomm MSM 7201A @ 528MHz
  • 512MB ROM / 256MB RAM
  • 7.2MB HSDPA / HSUPA
  • 2.8″ VGA screen
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR
  • eGPS
  • 3.1MP Camera with flash
  • Forward facing VGA camera
  • G-sensor (same as the Diamond)
  • FM Radio
  • TV-Out feature
  • microSD card slot (thank goodness!)
  • 1350mAh battery
  • 51x99x17mm
  • 165 grams

 

General

The Touch Pro has obviously been designed to keep it as uncluttered as possible, it has minimal buttons and relies on the keyboard and touchscreen to access the usual functions. For example there is no dedicated camera button and no soft keys. The Unit does feel on the heavy side but not in an unpleasant way, as it is so small, it fools you in to thinking that is not heavy at all, it is most definitely pocket friendly.

The top of the Touch Pro has the more sensitive and easier to press Power up button.

HTC touch pro top view

HTC Touch Pro top view (click to enlarge)

 

The Right hand side has only the non – telescopic stylus, being magnetised it is drawn into its housing as you insert it.

HTC touch pro right side

HTC Touch Pro right side (click to enlarge)

 

The bottom of the device is the mini USB connector, the mic and a small reset button.

HTC Touch pro bottom view

HTC Touch Pro bottom view (click to enlarge)

 

The left of the unit has the volume up and down button.

touch_pro_left

HTC Touch Pro left side

 

The back of the phone has the 3.2 megapixel camera, flash light, tiny speaker grill and also a semi hidden strap holder.

HTC Touch Pro back view

HTC Touch pro back view

 

The flat 2.8” VGA is found the front of the device, along with a tiny forward facing camera for self portrait photos and video calls found next to the earpiece.

HTC Touch Pro front view

HTC Touch Pro front view

 

There is only 4 buttons at the bottom, these being the obligatory talk and end keys, which also have a long press function as well, covered shortly. There is a ‘Home’ key and a ‘back’ key featured as well. In the middle of these is the Navigation control, which is both press sensitive and touch sensitive. This acts as a 5 way directional pad and enter button, but also as a touch sensitive dial pad, for zooming in and out, on top of that it can be used to control some camera functions as well.

Hidden behind this is the slide out hardware keyboard.

HTC Touch pro open

HTC Touch Pro open view

 

The device itself appears well made, it is solid and comfortable to use. The screen is, of course, a fingerprint hoarder and wiping it clean wasn’t that easy, personally I think a screen protector is much needed in this respect, but not on the review model. It is definitely quick and responsive, both in Windows and other applications.

One point here is that for some reason, probably form HTC have decided to hide the microSD slot underneath the back casing, so you do have to remove the back to swap or remove the card, but no biggy really.

HTC Touch Pro microSD

HTC Touch Pro microSD slot

 

Highlights

  • Keyboard
  • User Interface
  • Screen
  • Design

Lowlights

 

  • External speaker
  • In-call audio volume


Review

First off it has to be said this IS a very nice device, the screen is a pleasure at 480×640 the VGA is sharp and clear and a vast improvement to the usual 240×320. It is touch sensitive and is very responsive, I found that I had to resort to the stylus very little which is a great plus for me. Remember to tap and then drag, it works much better than drag alone.

The HTC user interface is also easy to use and covers all the practical applications that are used regularly. With quick access to menus such as People, Messages, Email, Internet etc. tap the bottom scroll bar and drag your finger sideways to access all the other application such as Photos, Music, Weather, Settings and finally a customisable Programs. For me it would be nice to be able to customise the scroll bar itself for a more personal touch.

clip_image002clip_image004clip_image006

The animated weather screen adds a nice touch, and there is also a dedicated You Tube icon as well.

The Touch Pro is Windows 6.1 professional as standard, and as such is fairly standard, programs wise there is not a great deal out of the ordinary, there is Google maps preloaded, but I could not resist downloading a Tomtom trial which worked brilliantly as was really responsive, and the screen was easier to see being clear, even in bright sunlight. Google maps of course worked equally well. By the way I am not an expert but I think it is the new pin dropping animation version, an arrow drops down anyway, maybe the clever of you can confirm this?

There is a Jetcet Print program allowing you to send and print documents, images, files etc. direct to a wireless network or Bluetooth enabled printer.

An MP3 trimmer application, which allows you to shorten songs and then save your work, as a new file or assign as a ringtone.

Opera 9.5 also installed as standard is a joy on the screen as well with added ability to automatically rotate screen from landscape to portrait, a quick double tap on the screen zooms in to the selected area in a clear and precise way.

HTC Touch Pro Review bottom_shot_open

World card mobile is also include which allows a picture to be taken of a business card and then save the information contained on the card as a contact.

Settings included as extras are G-sensor which once calibrated detects when the device is tilted and turned automatically, doing away with the need to rotate the screen manually. One small down point here is that while driving I prefer to have the screen in landscape to be able to use Tomtom and also my car holder fits better that way! Unfortunately the function to rotate the screen manually has been removed so, the only way to achieve this is to have the keyboard open, as soon as you close the keyboard it flicks back to portrait. Annoying.

Also you can assign the end key on a long key press to achieve different functions such as a quick menu, device lock, vibrate or Airplane mode at the press of a button.

I do miss a dedicated camera button, I can understand that this is done for form but maybe function would be a little better. The camera itself I found unremarkable, at 3.2 megapixel it is OK, I found the autofocus to be a bit sensitive, the idea is to touch it not press it until the autofocus has done its thing and turned green, pressing the enter button (middle d-pad button) then takes the picture. This took a bit of practice to get used to. Unlike the Diamond, the Touch Pro has a LED mobile light to illuminate subjects in the dark.

touch_pro_angled_left_closed

Another nice feature of the Touch pro that I haven’t seen before is, when a call comes in you can place the phone face down on a surface to mute the ring. Handy if you have forgotten to turn it off in a meeting etc.

The external speaker on the device I found not to be the best, whether it’s the fact that there is only a tiny slot or whether the quality is not as good as it could be, it does sound a little muffled and not all that loud, this could be off the back of reviewing the Zinc II which as really loud. Maybe this is something for HTC to look at in the future. But overall the earpiece sound quality was fine and worked well, I agree with Matt that the signal strength seems better than usual, I generally get a good signal wherever I am locally, but two known poor areas for me worked with 2 bars.

Battery life for me I found to be 2 days max, heavy use means charging daily, especially with Sat nav use.

Now the issues I have seen and heard about the TouchFLO 3D, for me it works fine, it is snappy and responsive, I have not tried the tweaks that claim to make it faster, as I did not find the need to. Scrolling and swiping the screen produced the appropriate responses to a more than satisfactory standard. I suppose it would be good to hear from anyone who has dabbled with the tweaks?

The Phone function on the HTC Touch Pro, is also an improvement on previous models, it is simple to use and very clear and professional looking. There is an issue with the fact that the screen dims during a call, supposedly to conserve power, also annoying I know Matt mentioned that a registry hack can stop this; a bit of a simpler answer would be to have it in settings, as an option?

The keyboard, as you may already know is not my strong point, I have used it and found it one of the best that I have used, the keys even though small as well defined and well laid out, the extra rows for dedicated numbers etc are much better and user friendly. This device has the same problem of the backlight as well as the previous units I have tested, why can’t they have an option to extend the light time? I did find that even a novice like me soon got some speed up and even hitting the wrong keys on purpose didn’t phase the applications either, as it is intuitive enough to correct even subtle errors. Overall I am very impressed with the design and the functionality. If I were being really picky I would have liked it to be a tad slimmer?

HTC Touch Pro keyboard

HTC Touch Pro keyboard

 

Conclusion

 

Can HTC Touch Pro live up to the hype? I think it can, it is by far the best phone I have tested; I think it is a great size, not too big or too small. It has all the functionality and speed that I need day to day.

The price tag? Well, anything worth buying is invariably not cheap, and this is no exception, it is relatively expensive in the PDA world, but it is probably the best on the market at this time.

Is it the Ultimate device? It is very close, I am sure they could get it a little thinner in time, the camera and rear speaker could do with an upgrade, in my opinion, that apart it is very impressive.

You can probably tell I like it and I don’t think there will be many people who won’t. Would I buy one? Here’s the rub, I am still not convinced that I need the keyboard that bad, can I justify paying another £200 odd for this addition over the HTC Diamond? Or would the smaller form of the Diamond prove to be more functional for me? Decisions, decisions…..perhaps I should wait and see what the Samsung and the Sony turn out like? Will it ever end?

Conclusion again – I have agreed with Matt to have a play with his Diamond, before he sells it to buy one of these Pro’s, to see which is better for me. So watch out for a Diamond and Tytn II going for sale shortly! The search continues.

 

Review by: Steve

Posted in: Phones, Reviews
Tags: ,

About the Author:

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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