HTC Touch Pro in-depth review -

Look and feel

Due to the slide-out QWERTY keyboard the HTC Touch Pro is a chunky device. Despite this, HTC has still maintained a handset that sports a polished fascia and a diamond-emblazoned back, and the screen simply sparkles.

 

Features

A vastly improved TouchFLO 3D interface, Wi-Fi and HSDPA connectivity, a 3.15-megapixel camera, A-GPS and a full slide-out QWERTY keyboard.

 

Ease of use

The QWERTY keyboard is spacious enough to type up medium-sized documents and the touch-screen works a charm. Due to the array of features it may take some time to master your way around the device.

 

Performance

The HTC Touch Pro’s array of features all perform to an impressive standard, and the TouchFLO 3D user interface makes for smooth navigation.

 

Battery life

With 480 minutes’ talktime and 406 hours’ standby, the HTC Touch Pro far surpasses the Diamond in terms of battery life.

 

 HTC Touch Pro Review -
4

Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/12/2011 3:53:07 PM

8

out of 10

Performance

6

out of 5

Look and feel

6

out of 5

Ease of use

8

out of 5

Features

8

out of 5

Battery life

Pros:

A full slide-out QWERTY keyboard is a real blessing when composing emails and messages

Cons:

You may struggle to cram this device into your trouser pocket

Having promised so much on paper, we almost felt cheated by the disappointing HTC Touch Diamond. Sure it looked great, with its designer chassis and colourful, vibrant screen, but the less said about the touch-screen the better. So what do we make of the similarly specced HTC Touch Pro? Well for a start it has got a full slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and thanks to some minor tweaks and the odd ROM update, HTC has produced a touch-screen to be proud of.

 

HTC Touch Pro - Slide-out QWERTY keyboard

It’s hard not to compare the HTC Touch Pro and the Touch Diamond. Firstly they look virtually identical, although the Touch Pro is heavier, from the diamond-esque emblazoned back (although the Touch Pro has a matt finish as opposed to glossy) through to the large, colourful touch-screen. That is until you slide out the Touch Pro’s full QWERTY keyboard, which in turn explains the difference in weight.

The sliding mechanism is both fluid and secure, announcing itself with a satisfying snap. The screen also instantaneously switches into landscape mode giving it a mini-laptop feel.

The keyboard feels great under the thumbs, even if the keys are a little on the small side. They are individually differentiated, and it features four arrow keys to navigate around your icons along with quick key access to your SMS/MMS and emails. The keyboard is a great addition for typing out text messages, web addresses or short emails, but you wouldn’t want to have to rely on it to write the sequel to War and Peace.

 

HTC Touch Pro - TouchFLO 3D

The Touch Pro is the second device from HTC to showcase its TouchFLO 3D user interface. Whereas the Touch Diamond’s touch-screen navigation proved problematic and ultimately frustrating, the Touch Pro works so well in contrast it feels as though it’s using a different type of technology altogether. In fact HTC has simply added a few ROM updates and the result is everything that the Touch Diamond promised yet failed to deliver. Slide you finger across the screen to scroll through your menu options, music collection or photos. While there’s no haptic vibration, the screen is responsive enough to provide an excellent alternative to the QWERTY keyboard, and watching the colourful icons glide towards you is a real visual experience. For the more intricate icons, such as the Windows start menu, a stylus can be found at the bottom of the handset.

Below the screen is a home key, a useful back key, a call key and an end key all positioned on a flat surface that surrounds a circular navigation control. The control wheel can be used to move between your icons, although we found the touch-screen provided a far better response. Press the middle of the wheel and this will act as your command key. Or alternatively simply touch the screen.

 

HTC Touch Pro - Weather application

Apart from the QWERTY keyboard, there’s nothing new on board the HTC Touch Pro feature wise that we didn’t see on the Touch Diamond. The excellent weather forecast is included, which allows you to program any number of specific destinations to display the current temperature, the lowest and the highest for the day, when it was last updated along with an animated icon and the option to view a five-day forecast. While it’s difficult to ascertain how accurate it is with the way the British weather is, it’s still a welcome addition.

As with the Touch Diamond there is a quick HTC-developed YouTube application key that while not quite as substantial as you might find on a PC, still lists tonnes of videos for your entertainment. The streaming process was seamless and the 2.8-inch screen uses every one of its 480x640 pixels to produce a truly mesmerising display.

 

HTC Touch Pro - Opera mobile

Opera mobile 7.0 browser is on board the Touch Pro. It is a purpose built mobile internet browser that automatically resizes webpages to fit neatly on your mobile screen. However, where Opera Mobile and the Touch Pro really earn their keep is its ability to zoom in to specific areas on a webpage by simply double tapping the area on the screen. Surf the internet with the QWERTY keyboard shut and depending which way you hold the device, the built-in accelerometers will dictate whether the screen is seen in landscape or portrait.

For a handset that is effectively a business smartphone, we were really pleased with the results of the camera. It is 3.15 megapixels but it’s the screen that really impresses. The shots look brilliant both before and after you have taken a pic. To access the array of settings simply tap the screen to bring up the menu options, including the zoom function (the navigation command key can also be used).

When holding the Touch Pro as a camera, it has a real authentic digital camera feel to it. Our one reservation is that to take a photo, you must press the command key on the front of the phone (just below the screen), which is awkward at best. Surely a dedicated snapper key on the side (top when held horizontally) of the handset would have made far more sense.

The built-in MP3 player also impressed. The sound quality was of a respectable standard when used via the loudspeaker or through the boxed in headphones, although sadly there’s no 3.5mm headset port, and to change the music settings the headphones must be plugged in which caused mild irritation.

 

HTC Touch Pro - The verdict

The HTC Touch Pro is not perfect. There’s no escaping that it’s a big brute of a device, it takes an age to load up and we didn’t like the fact that we had to keep awakening it by pressing the power button on the top of the device. However, if it was a choice between the cumbersome HTC Touch Pro and the svelte HTC Touch Diamond we would choose the former every time. The TouchFLO 3D user interface has benefited beyond belief from its ROM updates. If we were being ultra-critical the touch-screen may be a little too sensitive and could have benefited from haptic response particularly when using the stylus. However, there is tonnes to do with this savvy smartphone, including capable A-GPS and the ability to view, edit and create Word and Excel documents. The slide-out QWERTY keyboard has been designed in such a way that you can forgive the phones bulk, and it has a rather fetching leather case. If the HTC Touch Diamond left us somewhat seething, the HTC Touch Pro left us rather smitten.