Monday, November 02, 2009

Review: HTC Touch Pro 2

OK, having only had it for 24 hours, I can't really give the HTC Touch Pro 2 a full review, but here goes:

Overall, I like this device, based on WinMo 6.1 Pro it's a full featured PDA with full Email, Calendar, Task and Notes syncing. The keyboard is great and the screen is big, bright, clear and hi-res (320x800), way higher than Boss. The phone call quality seems OK, though I see myself using a headset more and more, which further improves audio quality.

With MS rolling out it's Marketplace for WinMo (designed for WinMo 6.5, but able to be installed into 6.1), I can see a steady stream of Apps becoming available in a single location, though most, I suspect, will cost.

I installed Skype and the Windows Live Mobile suite (primarily Messenger), both of performed perfectly.

Microsoft MyPhone also works quite happily and even gets the right phone image (the Boss photo is wrong).

With about 240megs available for installing Apps, there's quite a bit of space, though I could see myself dropping in a 2Gig+ micro SD card and using that for storage and as an install location for Apps (thereby maximising RAM for running Apps and storage of programs/content that can't be redirected to the SD card) and storage of MP3s.

WiFi worked fine, though Apps seem to need to be aware of which connection (WiFi, Desktop, 3G) to use, rather than some kind of built-in least-cost weighting.

Having a built-in FM radio was novel and as long as the headphones were plugged in, it seemed to get sufficient reception in most places. You could also switch to the built-in (stereo) speakers, though the headphones must remain attached as they're used as the aerial.

Loved the Google Maps based navigation which is GPS aware and it happily tracked me home on the bus, with between 5 and 9 GPS satellites available, though the powersaving kicking in was a pain, so if you plan to use this as a navigation device in your car, make sure you have a car power kit and set the powersaving to do nothing while connected to power.

I can see this becoming a very powerful (it's actually quite fast), flexible device, a likely flagship WinMo device.

Where it starts to suffer is under some of the newer functionality. WinMo 6.1 Pro, while touch screen orientated, isn't particularly smart and so things like the on-screen keyboard, clicking links in a browser, etc, aren't always as "easy" as they should be, requiring you to use the stylus. I believe this is revamped in WinMo 6.5, which is available for the Touch Pro 2, but is yet to be "blessed" by Telecom. Similar issues exist with UI performance, with small, but highly irritating lag every now and then (again, I believe this is fixed in WinMo 6.5), the accelerometer is also limited to Apps that are aware (IE wasn't, Opera was, Email/Outlook wasn't) even though sliding the keyboard out always switched the orientation. The lack of type-ahead on the keyboard was annoying after the Boss, but may have been just a setting (and I've seen this going in WinMo 6.5).

In 24hours, I can't say much about the battery life, though both 3G and WiFi seemed to noticeably drain it.

As a phone, it's hefty, both big (primarily the depth due to the slide-out keyboard) and heavy, though it feels fairly solid, except the battery cover seems to look (and at times feel) like it's about to pop off… which did happen once.

The included "wallet" is unhelpful, though protective. It adds to the bulk and weight, while not allowing you to see the phone status (flashing lights), nor can you charge it, connect the headphones or clip it to your belt.

Over WiFi I couldn't connect to my home PCs, though this isn't something I've tried before, so I may have been doing something wrong (just wanted to mount up a share, rather than downloading Apps of the internet, directly onto the device.)

I also found the sliding keyboard mechanism a pain. Having gotten used to the Boss, having the keyboard slide the otherway felt counter intuitive and the action was quite jerky, leading me to often end up pressing keys or the screen. And if the headphones (or charger/sync cable) is attached, it gets in the way of your right hand, making handling the device awkward.

I would have loved to flash it with a "cooked" WinMo 6.5 ROM, as I suspect this would have resolved some of the usability related issues. Though that would of course void any warrentee with Telecom…

Still, it's no iPhone (though thanks to HTC it tries quite hard), but is very corporate. Perhaps it's waiting for two things: WinMo 7 and a thinner, lighter revision of the hardware.

Hmm so much for a mini review

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