[View Part II of the Video Review]
Perhaps one of the most promiscuous phones of the year, the highly anticipated HTC Touch Pro 2 has already made its way onto T-Mobile and Sprint’s networks. HTC’s business-minded device marks the return of the tilt screen and some notable improvements over the original Touch Pro. The Touch Pro 2 is running Windows Mobile 6.1 (upgradable to 6.5 for free when available) and features HTC’s TouchFLO 3D interface, 3G support, WiFi, a 3.2 megapixel camera and more.
The Verizon version of the Touch Pro 2 comes in an attractive silver color. The Touch Pro 2 is a sleek if somewhat hefty device that is slightly slimmer than the original Touch Pro and about a quarter-inch taller. The handset is 4.57-inches tall, 2.33-inches wide, .66-inches thick, and weighs in at a brawny 6.3 ounces.
The front of the device is dominated by a 3.6” WVGA resistive touchscreen display that trumps the Touch Pro’s 2.8-inch screen. The screen is truly impressive, offering a vivid 800×480 pixel resolution. The screen also can tilt forward up to 50 degrees, making it ideal for scrolling through email or watching a movie on the plane. The resistive touchscreen (meaning some degree of pressure must be applied) was responsive, and despite the included stylus, most tasks could be easily performed with just a finger.
The front also features a slim row of buttons, including a send, end, back and Start menu button. There’s also a touch-sensitive slider that allows you to zoom in and out on a picture or webpage. A volume rocker and microSD card slot can be found on the left of the handset, while the right of the device is home to a stylus that is easily slid in and out.
A mini-USB port is on the bottom of the device for charging and synching. While T-Mobile’s version of the Touch Pro 2 was unfortunately lacking a 3.5mm headphone jack, HTC made good on its promise to include a 3.5mm headphone jack on all future devices, with Verizon’s Touch Pro 2 fortunately making the cut.
If we had to pick one reason why the Touch Pro 2 should be high on anyone’s list who is considering a Windows Mobile device, it would be the supremely comfortable and usable QWERTY keyboard. In its second generation, HTC decided to go with the more natural offset keyboard layout instead of the grid format. The keys are amply sized and spaced, and feel great to the touch. There’s even a pair of white lights that indicate whether Caps or Alt is enabled.
The Touch Pro 2 is running Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional, and will be fully upgradeable to 6.5 when it becomes available. The device also features HTC’s attractive and finger-friendly TouchFLO 3D interface. TouchFlo 3D makes Windows Mobile unrecognizable in many ways, adding a sleek interface and added functionality through a series of tabs.
The tabs, now fully functional in both portrait and landscape mode, are navigated by dragging across the bottom of the home screen. There’s a tab for messaging, email, calendar, internet, stocks, photos and video, music, weather, settings and programs.
Selecting a contact from either the myFaves carousel or phone book effectively launches the new and improved people tab found on unlocked versions of the Touch Pro 2. This people-centric tab brings all information involving a contact together into one screen divided by another series of tabs.
There’s a tab that displays a contact’s information for one-touch calling, emailing, and instant messaging. Another tab shows all text messages from the selected contact. One tab is dedicated to email, another to call history, and a final tab that displays calendar events involving that individual as well as the contact’s Facebook updates.
The Touch Pro 2 sports a 528 MHz Qualcomm MSM7200A processor and 288MB of RAM. On the whole, loads were snappy and we were able to open and switch between numerous applications at once without issue. During several hours of heavy use, we didn’t experience any hang-ups or freezes.
The Touch Pro 2 is equipped with a powerful speakerphone system that is part of HTC’s Straight Talk technology. The phone has a set of loud and crisp speakers on the back, and a microphone on both the bottom and side of the phone, allowing for unparalleled hands-free call clarity on both ends. Standard calls using the earphone were also crisp and clear.
Setting the device face down while in-call automatically activates the speakerphone. A proximity sensor automatically turns off the display when the handset is turned face-down or held up to your ear. Unfortunately, while the unlocked version of the Touch Pro2 offers an innovative feature that allows users to select contacts from their contacts list and effortlessly begin a conference call, Verizon has completely disabled this feature.
Whether adding your work Exchange email account or your personal Gmail account, the Touch Pro 2 delivers the messaging experience we’ve come to expect from Windows Mobile devices. The device was able to quickly synch with my Exchange server’s email inbox, contacts, and calendar. I also added an IMAP account just for good measure.
Flicking left or right with your finger in the messaging application switches between email inboxes for each added account. The TouchFLO 3D interface also provides aesthetically appealing messaging options. A numbered bubble indicated the number of unread text messages or emails.
The Touch Pro 2 has built-in support for instant messaging services including AIM, Google Talk, MSN Messenger, MySpace IM and Yahoo! Messenger.
Just because the Touch Pro 2 is a business device at heart doesn’t mean it doesn’t offer an impressive multimedia experience. Music, pictures, and video are nicely integrated into the TouchFLO 3D interface and can be scrolled through with the flick of a finger. Pictures and video look great on the crisp 3.6” display.
Expect the usual music playback experience including album art, repeat, shuffle, and on-the-fly playlist creation. Other entertainment options include several simple preinstalled games (Bubble Breaker, Solitaire, and Teeter) and a YouTube application for watching streaming videos.
The Touch Pro 2 is equipped with Bluetooth v2.1 with Enhanced Data Rate and A2DP for wireless stereo headsets as well as Wi-Fi b/g connectivity. The device is pre-installed with VZ navigator for turn-by-turn GPS directions and also comes with Google Maps.
The HTC Touch Pro 2 for Verizon is undoubtedly among the best Windows Mobile devices we’ve laid eyes on recently. While the handset’s powerful speakerphone capabilities are an unmistakable plus, the removal of HTC’s intuitive and lauded conference calling abilities is a significant disappointment. All things considered, however, Touch Pro 2 is a powerful smartphone with all the high-end features expected in a device of its class (and its considerable size). HTC’s impressive TouchFLO 3D interface and innovative people tab seal the deal and make HTC’s latest WinMo device sure to satisfy any business user.
[View Part II of the Video Review]