HTC – Touch Pro 2 review

top-notch Windows Mobile smartphone with clever tilting screen
Photo of HTC – Touch Pro 2
£445 (SIM-free), also available on contract

HTC has plenty of Windows Mobile smartphones in its current catalogue, but it has taken the company a long time to come up with a successor to the superb TyTN II.

That device was characterised by a sliding QWERTY keyboard and a screen which tilted up at an angle that made it easy to read when placed on a desk. The Touch Pro 2 has the same design, and with the screen tilted to a 50-degree angle you really can use it like a miniature laptop on your desk, tapping at its keys with one hand, and easily viewing data without having to lean over or lift the device. It is a piece of design brilliance.

The keyboard is well designed, with keys physically separated from each other and delivering a slight click when pressed. HTC has found space for shortcut keys dedicated to SMS creation, messaging, the device Comms Manager (for managing the built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, turning the SIM off and ending data sessions), and Web browsing.

For times when you don’t need to pop out the QWERTY keyboard there is a soft-keyboard on screen, and the screen automatically rotates as you turn the device in your hand so that you can call up a widescreen version readily when texting or emailing.

The screen is relatively large at 3.6 inches across diagonal corners, and delivers a generous 480 x 800 pixels. It is sharp and bright and excellent for Web browsing in particular. You can send the screen’s contents to a TV, though the necessary cable is not provided.

HTC has incorporated a zoom bar which sits beneath the screen when it is in tall mode. You can run a finger along this to zoom in and out of Web pages and photos, and for zooming in when viewing text.

The technical specifications tend towards the higher end. There is HSDPA to 7.2Mbps, GPS and Wi-Fi as well as Bluetooth. The Touch Pro 2 comes with 512MB of storage, and out of the box there was just over 250MB free. If you need more space for applications or data, there is a microSD card slot under the backplate. There is a front camera for two-way video calling.

There’s a neat little feature for phone conversations called Straight Talk. Flip the Touch Pro 2 onto its front during a call and speakerphone mode is turned on automatically. There’s also an easy way to set up conference calls by tapping on the photo IDs of contacts.

Add in the HTC TouchFLO interface, which helps you use Windows Mobile without recourse to the stylus, Opera Mobile for Web browsing, Google Maps, the Adobe PDF reader and software to translate business cards into contact entries via the camera, and you’ve got a pretty good all-round device here.

If you are looking for negatives, there is the high price and the fact that the Touch Pro 2 is a bit bulky at 116mm tall, 59.2mm wide and 16.65mm thick, and weighty at 178.5g. The keyboard and solid build are largely responsible.

Another downside is that the one-piece headset that is provided connects to the device via miniUSB. You’ll need an adaptor to use a 3.5mm headset, which is a pity. And the 3.2-megapixel main camera, while not usual for HTC devices, is a bit below par in the mobile phone world these days.

Company: HTC

Contact: 01202 552936


Verdict
It'll cost you a pretty penny, and at this stage you may prefer to wait for Windows Mobile 6.5 to come along as it is due very soon. But that notwithstanding, the Touch Pro 2 is a top-end Windows Mobile device.