HTC Touch Pro

Its sleek design and stellar specs make it a perfect choice for mobile professionals

Htc TouchPro3The Touch Pro, like the Touch Diamond (see next article), is undoubtedly a game-changer in Windows Mobile land. Soon, VGA resolution (or higher) will be standard, most phones will utilize an accelerometer, and having some sort of Windows Mobile interface replacement will be expected. The Touch Pro is the business device that many have been waiting for. It's got a stellar spec sheet, a beautiful design, and a generous hardware keyboard offering.


Hardware specs and data coverage


In terms of hardware, the Touch Pro is quite similar to the Touch Diamond—they share the same Qualcomm 528 MHz CPU and 2.8-inch VGA screen, both have a 3.2 megapixel camera on the rear and a VGA camera on the front, plus GPS, FM Radio, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and HSDPA. The most obvious change is the inclusion of a five-row QWERTY keyboard on the Pro. Other than that, the Pro differs from the Diamond in the following ways: it is 6.5 mm thicker, has less storage ROM (512 MB vs. 4 GB), more RAM (288 MB vs. 192 MB), adds an LED flash to the rear camera, has microSD expansion, does TV-Out (with an extra cable you must buy), plus has a larger battery rated at 1350 mAh vs. 900 mAh on the Diamond. 


Currently, the HTC Touch Pro is being sold unlocked for $850-$950. The version that you can buy now is an import that does not have the correct bands to do 3G data in the U.S. That said, you can still get EDGE data over a GSM carrier like AT&T or T-Mobile. If 3G is highly important to you, there is likely to be a Touch Pro release that has the correct 3G bands on certain U.S. carriers.


Interface and keyboard


Like the Diamond, the Touch Pro uses HTC's well-received TouchFLO 3D interface, which is a visually-pleasing and touch-friendly replacement of the standard Windows Mobile Today screen. Oddly, flipping open the keyboard while using TouchFLO 3D, thus rotating the screen, will change the display to a simple icon-based application launcher instead of a landscape version of TouchFLO 3D.


Also like the Diamond, the Pro contains many little innovative features: the magnetic stylus will take the phone out of standby once removed; when viewing the Web in Opera Mobile or photos in the photo gallery, rotating the phone will automatically flip the display; the phone's ringer will mute when the device is turned over on its face.


The keyboard, which opens to the left (instead of the right like the HTC TyTN II/AT&T Tilt), has a nice amount of sprint assist, requiring you to slide open the keyboard just partially before it springs fully open. The keys have a similar feel to that of the Tilt, but because the Pro has five rows of keys instead of four, the keys are a bit smaller than you would expect, but still quite usable and comfortable. The dedicated row of numbers at the top of the keyboard is a welcome addition, compared to the Tilt where you have to press the function key to type the numbers imbedded within the letters.


In terms of performance, the Pro does quite well with very quick screen rotations and a high level of responsiveness. Regarding battery life, I found that with moderate usage (with a fair amount of Wi-Fi and GPS sessions, plus several calls), the Pro can get through about one and a half days before needing a charge.


Final verdict


If you don't need the keyboard, and 4 GB of memory is enough for you without the need for expansion, get the Touch Diamond. It's much thinner, has fantastic on-screen keyboard options, includes almost identical software to the Pro, and it costs about $200 less when bought unlocked. With that said, the HTC Touch Pro is probably the best business device that money can buy right now. It's fantastically well-rounded in terms of features and software, plus the design is elegant (albeit a bit thick) and the performance is solid.

 

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