HTC Touch Pro2 review
Bulky and heavy but the HTC Touch Pro2 smartphone is a good business workhorse.
Verdict: On the bulky side, but it's a do-it-all workhorse that allows you to take your office on the road.
Price: From free with contract or £430 SIM-free
Pros: Large 3.6in touchscreen, TouchFLO 3D user interface, slide-out QWERTY keyboard
Cons: Heavy and bulky, camera isn't great, no FM radio
Design: Sleeker, more bevelled lines than its predecessor help to disguise the bulk
Operating System: Windows Mobile 6.1 Professsional
More Info: HTC website
HTC's Touch Pro2 is a revamp of the original QWERTY keyboard-packing Touch Pro, but the difference is like chalk and cheese. It's much better looking for a start, with an updated TouchFLO 3D interface, a huge 3.6in tilting screen and a new conference call facility plus improved memory and battery life. It also has a 3.2 megapixel camera, a-GPS, quad-band GSM, WiFi and stereo Bluetooth.
It's a bit of a brick at 116mm x 59mm x 17mm and a pocket-bulging 179g but it has a more stylish look than the functional-looking original, with its silvered, bevelled sides giving the impression that it's not quite as big as it is.
The QWERTY keyboard slides out to the left to reveal five lines of keys, similar to what you'd get on a computer keyboard. The backlit keys are slightly rounded and made of a nicely tactile rubberised plastic that makes them a joy to use. They're well spaced, stand slightly proud of the base and it's just about big enough to put it on a desktop and use your fingers just like a regular keyboard. And if you do, you can lift up the screen to an angle of about 45 degrees, which makes it easier to see if you're not holding it in your hands.
Call quality is generally good and the phone interface is clean and well laid out, with large thumb-friendly buttons. But the Touch Pro2 has an extra trick up its sleeve when it comes to conference calls. There's a dedicated button to set up multi-party calls from the phone layout (if your network supports them) and once you've started your conference call, you can put the phone face down on a desk to give pride of place to the big noise-cancelling Straight Talk speaker on the back. It goes loud enough to be heard around a boardroom table and there's also a useful mute button that glows red or green to show when it's in use.
TouchFLO 3D interface
The latest TouchFLO 3D interface, which sits on top on the Windows 6.1 Professional operating system features the usual icons in the menu bar at the bottom of the screen. But as well as brushing through the menu bar you can also brush across the entire home screen to access each of the functions in turn. Windows Mobile 6.1 is even less evident than on previous HTCs, since pressing the Start button now brings up a shortcuts screen with large buttons to which you can add up to 30 different apps.
As is all too common with HTC, the 3.2 megapixel camera is a bit of a disappointment. It has a maximum resolution of 2048x1216 megapixels, autofocus and a 2x digital zoom but there's no flash, no self-portrait mirror and not much in the way of extra features. In good light pics are fair, though edges can be a little fuzzy, and colours aren’t the best.
Browsing on the Touch Pro2 is generally good. The accelerometer automatically switches the big screen to landscape mode and you can brush your finger across it to move pages around. HTC's zoom bar makes it easy to focus on the bits you want and the keyboard is a boon for inputting data. It comes with Opera, so you won't need to bother with Internet Explorer and there's fast access via Wi-Fi or HSDPA 3G (up to 7.2Mbps download).
The screen is just 0.2in smaller than HTC's flagship video watching device, the Touch HD, but it has the same pixel resolution and matches it for clarity. It can show WMV, MP4 and AVI formats and while it shows widescreen movie trailers in letterbox mode, the screen is big enough for this not to be a problem.
Music via Windows Media Player was fine too, and there's a ten-band graphic equaliser with 21 presets. It plays all the main audio formats plus it will go surprisingly loud. Unfortunately you'll need a mini USB adapter if you want to upgrade HTC's very average headphones and it's a shame there's no FM radio like you get with HTC's Diamond2.
Windows Office and Adobe Reader are pre-installed, allowing you to create and view Word, Excel and OneNote docs, as well as view PowerPoint docs and PDFs. With 512MB of onboard memory plus the ability to add up to 16GB via microSD card there's plenty of room for additional apps and media.
HTC says the large battery will deliver up to 510 minutes of talk time (GSM) and 750 hours of standby, and in practise we got a good two days of moderate use out of it.
The HTC Touch Pro2 is a big old brute of a business phone, but it does everything you'll need very well. The slide-out QWERTY keyboard is one of the best we've seen, the TouchFLO 3D interface is a joy to use, the huge 3.6in touch screen is a marvel and it's got all the connection options you'll ever need.