HTC Touch Pro2

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INTRODUCTION

    If you’re looking for the most comprehensive HTC Touch Pro 2 review on the internet, you’ve come to the right place. The device in question is possibly the most highly anticipated Windows Mobile device of all time. It marks the return of the tilting screen made popular by the HTC TyTN II (and its many variants such as the AT&T Tilt), plus the debut of some new technologies out of HTC that should very much appease the business professional. This device will see a release on almost every major carrier around the world, so chances are you’ll be able to grab one at a subsidized price in the coming months. Read on for the exciting review of the HTC Touch Pro2!

WHAT’S HOT

    Let’s do a rundown of specs. The Touch Pro2 sports a Qualcomm MSM7200A processor running at 528MHz. It has 512MB ROM (with 287MB accessible), 288MB RAM (with 188MB accessible), and has a microSD/HC expansion slot for added memory. The resistive touchscreen is 3.6" and is WVGA 480×800 resolution, making for a pixel density of 259ppi (the Touch Diamond’s screen is 285ppi, the Touch Diamond2’s screen is 292ppi, and the iPhone’s screen is 164ppi). It’s a quadband GSM (850/900/1800/1900) phone with dualband UMTS (900/2100) with HSDPA and HSUPA. It also has assisted GPS, WiFi b & g, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, USB 2.0, a proximity sensor, and an accelerometer for screen rotations in Opera Mobile and while viewing the photo gallery. The rear camera is 3.2MP with auto focus and no flash, and the front camera for video calls is VGA resolution. Powering all of this is a 1500mAh battery. For even more specs, check out PDAdb.net.

(all images link to larger versions)

The Touch Pro2 is a beautiful device. It looks and feels high-end. The flush touchscreen is 3.6" and WVGA resolution, making for a beautiful and crisp picture.

The Touch Pro2 shows us how far we’ve come in mobile device engineering, and we’re happy to see the tilting screen return.

Device
Size (inches)
Weight (grams | ounces)
4.44" x 2.47" x 0.52"

132 | 4.65
4.44" x 2.27" x 0.63"

156 | 5.61
4.74" x 2.63" x 0.43"

157 | 5.53
4.33" x 2.09" x 0.59"

117 | 4.12
4.66" x 2.48" x 0.47"

130 | 4.58
4.56" x 2.33" x 0.67"

188 | 6.63
4.64" x 2.36" x 0.48"

129 | 4.55
3.96" x 2.34" x 0.67"

133 | 4.76
4.68" x 2.44" x 0.67"

188 | 6.63
4.58" x 2.42" x 0.47"

120 | 4.20
4.56" x 2.33" x 0.65"

178 | 6.28
3.92" x 2.41" x 0.60"

137 | 4.83
4.24" x 2.09" x 0.53"

117 | 4.12
4.17" x 2.00" x 0.85"

151 | 5.34
4.41" x 2.24" x 0.49"

122 | 4.30
4.57" x 1.70" x 0.64"

140 | 4.94
4.88" x 2.44" x 0.53"

130 | 4.56
4.21" x 2.20" x 0.55"

120 | 4.20
4.53" x 2.47" x 0.47"

146 | 5.15
4.63" x 2.19" x 0.67"

158 | 5.57
4.35" x 2.07" x 0.67"

158 | 5.57
4.56" x 2.41" x 0.51"

125 | 4.41
4.44" x 2.36" x 0.55"

133 | 4.69
4.01" x 1.98" x 0.55"

124 | 4.37
8.28" x 4.67" x 1.08"

640 | 22.5
4.48" x 2.52" x 0.59"

154 | 5.43
4.17" x 2.38" x 0.68"

147 | 5.18
4.01" x 2.00" x 0.71"

165 | 5.82
4.41" x 2.24" x 0.49"

122 | 4.30
4.41" x 2.28" x 0.73"

140 | 4.94
4.01" x 2.00" x 0.45"

110 | 3.88
4.56" x 2.36" x 0.70"
200 | 7.05
4.30" x 2.40" x 0.60"
120 | 4.23
4.20" x 2.30" x 0.60"
136 | 4.79
3.70" x 2.30" x 0.60"
126 | 4.44
4.48" x 2.39" x 0.51"
116 | 4.09
4.60" x 2.60" x 0.50"

134 | 4.70

4.10" x 2.10" x 0.60"
150 | 5.30
4.40" x 2.32" x 0.75"
190 | 6.70

WHAT’S IN THE BOX



Here is the unboxing video for the Touch Pro2. Included in the box is a USB cable, wall charger, extra stylus, case, screen protector, some software/documentation, the battery, and oh yes, the device.

The case that the Touch Pro2 comes with is indeed leather, though it won’t fit on your belt.

THE DEVICE

The advantages to having a tilting screen are many. It allows for optimum viewing angle when typing, it allows you to easily watch a movie without holding your device, and it’s great if you’re using GPS navigation in the car.

Watching HD video using CorePlayer on the Touch Pro2 is a great experience. It would have been nice if HTC had included a good enough video player that could handle more than just a few file types.

There is no D-Pad on the Touch Pro2, which isn’t missed too much thanks to a well optimized interface for touch operation. The front of the device is characterized by the large screen, and four hardware keys below.

The keyboard has an offset arrangement and provides much improved surface area over the TyTN II or Touch Pro. This will be a great for people with medium or large-sized hands. The overall feel of the keyboard is terrific, and we really like the dedicated number row at the top.

Zooming into the top we have the speaker. To the left of that is the system status light, with a light sensor to the right of that. Also up top is a front-facing video camera. There’s a proximity sensor up here somewhere.

On the bottom, we have the zoom slider which will operate only in Opera Mobile, the photo gallery and IE Mobile. Below that are hardware keys for call start and end, the Start menu, and ok/back.

Flipping over to the side, we see the Touch Pro2 dressed in a bit of chrome. The stylus isn’t magnetic like it was on the Touch Pro, but it does still turn on the screen when you slide it out. On the right there is a small hole which is the secondary microphone. This is used in conjunction with the primary microphone to provide noise cancellation while using the Straight Talk speakerphone (more on this later).

On the bottom is the primary microphone, along with HTC’s ExtUSB port. You can use all miniUSB cables with this port. Also, since there is no 3.5mm headphone jack, audio comes through here.

On the left side we have the volume rocker.

The back of the Touch Pro2 is a work of art. In the center we have a piece of brushed aluminum (or, a good imitation of brushed aluminum). Outside of that there is a gray plastic texture. Surrounding everything is a silver metallic border which doesn’t pick up fingerprints. Nice!

    Closer in on the top we see the 3.2MP camera, which has auto focus but no flash. Below that is the mute button for Straight Talk. Surrounding the camera are the dual system speakers. What is Straight Talk? It’s an advanced speakerphone. While on a call, if you flip the device onto its face, the speakerphone turns on and the button above turns green. The device then uses two microphones for noise cancellation, and two speakers to help boost the audio.

    Does it work? Yes, it does. As a test, I talked to someone in a bathroom with the water on full blast. Without using the speakerphone, I could hear the water running. When the phone was flipped on its face, the water sound was quieted. The audio quality isn’t amazing coming from the dual speakers (hey, it’s still a cell phone), but it will work well for people that need a better speakerphone solution than what is found on other professional smartphones.

Taking off the battery cover we reveal the 1500mAh battery, which has the SIM card slot beneath. Also back here is the red soft reset hole to the left of the battery.

Sadly, the microSD slot is placed under the battery cover.

When the lights get dim, the bottom four hardware buttons illuminate.

The backlighting on the keyboard is super cool. Not only does each key light up, but there is a gentle glow that emanates from beneath each key.

Here is the hardware tour video in case you missed it.

COMPARISONS

 

Please excuse the dirty screen of the device on the left, it has seen a lot of use =D. From left to right we have the TyTN II, then the Touch Pro, then the Touch Pro2. Yes, the whole family!

Here is a comparison of the keyboards.

The screen on the Touch Pro2 only tilts 50 degrees, whereas the TyTN II could tilt to almost 80 degrees.

Here is a line up of similar devices. From left to right: TyTN II, Touch Pro, Touch Pro2, Touch HD, Touch Diamond2, and the iPhone.

Here they are in reverse order, stacked.

Click onto the next page where we’ll talk about software and the new and improved version of TouchFLO 3D that comes on this device.

In terms of software, things are very similar between the Diamond2 and the Touch Pro2. That said, for those of you looking to upgrade from the Touch Pro, we’ll cover what is new in TouchFLO 3D, then show you the new stuff that is exclusive to the Touch Pro2.

If you tap on the clock, you are taken to this screen which lets you choose the city you’re staying in. This is good for travelers.

The new alarm application is super sweet. This was also on the Diamond2.

We finally have true landscape TouchFLO 3D! Sliding out the keyboard on the Touch Pro2 rapidly rotates the screen. Let’s go through some tabs.

We’ve seen this tab before; you can easily flip through your favorite people.

The new calendar section of TouchFLO 3D provide a nice-looking view into your appointments, and even synchronizes with weather. Trouble is, this tab is a viewer, and you can’t add a new appointment without going out of TouchFLO 3D.

Have you heard about Push Internet? It will basically preloads specified web pages at pre determined intervals. Let’s say you always read pockentow.com at lunch. You would click

add page

…like so, and set the update frequency.

And so that you’re not downloading pages during the night, you can set a schedule.

The Stock tab of TouchFLO 3D has been cleaned up a bit.

…but it’s not well optimized for landscape, thus requiring you to scroll down.

Just like the Touch HD and Diamond2, the weather screen gives you the current conditions AND the forecast, right on the same screen. Sweet.

If you hit the Start menu or Windows Flag button, you are taken to HTC’s program launcher. If this annoys you, you’ll have to disable TouchFLO 3D through the Today settings item. I wish there was an option to just turn off this launcher.

You can selectively add programs that you access the most.

If you tap All Programs, you are taken to this long list. I wish HTC would try to fit more than 9-10 programs on the screen. To get to the bottom takes a lot of scrolling!

The new HTC calculator is quite nice. If you rotate the device or open the keyboard, the calculator converts to a scientific calculator, like the iPhone.

Here is the HTC photo gallery which is a stylish way to view your photos and videos. Rotating the device will change the orientation.

While looking at a picture, you cannot turn the device to portrait or landscape to change the picture’s orientation. Weird.

The YouTube application looks great in landscape when you flip open the keyboard.

The Touch Pro2 comes with Opera Mobile 9.5 (we can’t wait for version 9.7!), which does a great job with letting you view the full web. You may have better results with Skyfire, which is faster than Opera Mobile.

GPS performance on the Touch Pro2 is great. Getting a fix from a cold start takes about 20 seconds. With a warm/hot start, expect to a get a fix in under five seconds.

Since the Touch Pro2 has a keyboard, the on screen keyboards aren’t that important unless you plan on doing some thumb-typing while walking down the street. Oddly, the T9 and SureType style keyboards aren’t included on the Touch Pro2.

I should mention that all of the soft key menus are finger friendly, and look like the above.

PHONE AND CONFERENCING

    There are several ways to make a call. First, you can slide open the keyboard and start typing a name. Second, you can press the Call Start button which will take you to this screen. And third, you can call someone through the favorite people tab of TouchFLO 3D. New to the Touch Pro2 is the conference feature. To enable this, you hit the second button (above right).

Then, you are taken to this screen, where you can check off the names of callers you want to conference.

Then, this is the review screen that lets you see who will be on the call.

Finally, you are taken to this conference call "room". Actually, this is really just a conference call Wizard. You can do this with any other phone (conference with multiple people), but HTC has just made it very easy to manage the calls.

Adding a third caller is easy…just hit the "Add call" button on the bottom left. This feature coupled with the Straight Talk speakerphone makes the Touch Pro2 a great conferencing tool, more so than any other mobile device on the market.

Here is the beautiful calling screen. HTC has integration this screen with the unified communications icons (on the bottom) that we’ll talk about in a minute.

When someone calls, you get a large caller ID picture, and the option to answer, ignore, mute, or send text.

FACEBOOK AND UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS

HTC promises us Facebook integration for their next generation of devices. We didn’t get it with the Diamnd2, but it’s here with the Touch Pro2, and it’s not that impressive. Here, the Touch Pro2 is trying to match my contacts to those on my Facebook account.

Then, you can save a contact photo, and update the birthday on the contacts that get synced. Unfortunately, you have no choice of the photo to be used, unlike Spb Mobile Shell 3.0 which gives you a choice of many high quality pictures.

The Diamond2 and Touch Pro2 feature something called unified communications. The idea is that within one screen, you can see the contact info of someone, any emails you’ve exchanged with them, any text messages you’ve exchanged, and call history with that person. It looks like the above.

The second tab is for SMS. This replaces the drab SMS interface of Windows Mobile.

The third screen shows email.

The fourth screen shows Facebook integration…but it is poorly done. There isn’t much that you can do from here. Finally, the fifth tab shows you call history with this person.

Click on to the next page as we cover Settings and talk about photo quality on the HTC Touch Pro2!

This is the Settings tab of TouchFLO 3D that lets you quickly adjust certain settings. This is where you are taken if you hit the Settings button in the HTC Start menu. The only way to get to the standard Windows Mobile settings is to hit "All Settings" there in the bottom left.

HTC has added a very elegant solution that is used to adjust system sounds.

…and here we are in the full Settings.

Buried deep within the Phone settings item are options to turn on and off the noise reduction feature when you use Straight Talk.

Here we are in System settings.

The Touch Pro2, like the Touch Pro, can do TV-Out by connecting to a projector, monitor, or television through composite cables. This is an extra accessory you have to buy, but learn how to get TV-Out for less than $3.

Though the Touch Pro2 doesn’t seem to have as much free program memory as the original Touch Pro, but it is still plenty.

And here we are in Connections.

The device will automatically configure itself to whatever SIM card you place in.

Here is the communications manager.

And new to the Diamond2 and Touch Pro2 is an improved WiFi manager.

Also new to the Diamond2 and Touch Pro2 is the new Notifications screen. This is what you get when you tap any of the icons at the top of the device…it will show you all of your system stats, plus whether you have a missed call/email/SMS.



This video shows some software features that we’ve written about so far in this review.

CAMERA

The camera application, like that of most HTC devices, is super easy to use, finger friendly, and fast. The camera takes photos at 3.2MP and video of VGA resolution. You can switch between the front and back camera with the icon in the upper right, above.

And here are all the different modes. Panorama works well to stitch together images.

And if we go into advanced for any of the settings, we can tweak certain parameters.

WOW! Look at this shot. Using the selective autofocus, you can really take a crisp picture, just as long as there is enough light.

When there is NOT enough light, as seen here, you get noise.

Here is an outdoor shot on a dim day which didn’t come out so great.

The Touch Pro2 is the second HTC device to offer true VGA video recording. Click here to see a sample in MP4 format. As was the case with the Diamond 2, you’ll notice that the video is clear and the sound is crisp, but the colors are dull.

Click on to the next page as we wrap up the review with a note on performance, battery life, and talk about all the Pros and Cons of the Touch Pro2.

BENCHMARKS

   Spb Benchmark from has been used for the
following benchmark comparisons with Touch Pro2.

Interestingly, the Touch Diamond2 beats the Pro2 in all of our benchmark tests. This could be a testing anomaly, or it could be because the ROM on the Touch Pro2 is packed with additional features, and thus isn’t as well tuned. Either way, the Touch Pro2 has fantastic performance.

BATTERY
    The battery on the Touch Pro2 is 1500mAh, which is a pretty good size. By comparison, the TyTN II had a 1350mAH battery, but that device didn’t have a massive 3.6" WVGA screen to power, ditto with the Touch Pro which had a 1340mAh battery. I was actually quite underwhelmed by the battery life in on the Touch Pro2. With a moderate amount of calls, GPS activity, and internet browsing, you will get through just one day. If you’re trying to push for two days, you’ll have to dim the screen brightness and keep WiFi off to help. If you’re using your device heavily…well, don’t, because the battery won’t last a day. Light usage will allow for 2-3 days of use, but probably closer to two.
To make sure that I didn’t install a piece of software that was decreasing battery life, I hard reset the device, but came out with the same results.

BUGS AND WISHES

    As great as the Touch Pro2 is, it still isn’t perfect. As mentioned above, my biggest point of contention with the TP2 is the mediocre battery life. It’s uncharacteristic of an HTC device last just one day with moderate usage before needing a charge.

    The tilting screen is back, and we’re excited, but we wish it would tilt further. It goes about 50 degrees, whereas the TyTN II could do about 80 or 90 degrees. What’s this mean? When watching a movie on a plane or other confined area, you may be left with an un-ideal viewing angle, so you may need to prop up the back of the device with a book, napkin, etc, to tilt the screen more forward.

    The camera on the Touch Pro2 is terrific in conditions of ample light, but because of the lack of flash, low light shots come out very noisy. And, while we’re on the camera, HTC has removed the camera hardware button, so you must use the on screen shutter release button. Yes, this saves space, but it makes it more difficult to steady the camera when you have to press a button on the screen to take a picture.

    And then there are a bunch of other little small things that aren’t deal breakers, but just annoyances. The microSD slot is under the cover, there is no 3.5mm headphone jack OR converter included, the inbuilt video player sucks and can’t handle more than a couple of video file formats, and finally, the price for the device is quite high right now, but that is to be expected for a freshly released hot piece of hardware.

    And there is actually one bug I have to report. If you go into a text message and select the text entry box, thus popping out the on screen keyboard, and then you slide on the keyboard, sometimes the device freezes. This has happened about three times out of six of trying this action. To avoid it, I’ve just been going right to the slide out keyboard.

PURCHASING

    The Touch Pro2 is only being sold overseas right now, but you can import it into the US and it’ll work fine on GSM carriers like T-Mobile and AT&T, though you won’t get 3G data (only EDGE). Again, most major carriers around the world will be selling the Touch Pro2 at a subsidized price come summer and fall 2009. Hop on over to Clove Technology where they are selling it for about £439, which, depending on the current exchange rate of the day, comes out to $700-800 USD. They’ll ship worldwide.




PROS

  • Top-notch build quality
  • Best in class keyboard
  • The tilting screen is back!
  • NOT a fingerprint magnet (gasp)
  • Snappy performance
  • Almost capacitive-like screen sensitivity
  • Rapid-fast screen rotation
  • Gorgeous display with good outdoor visibility
  • Innovative speakerphone feature
  • Proximity sensor turns off screen during a call
  • Case, extra stylus, screen protector included

CONS


  • Battery life could be better

  • Screen doesn’t tilt as much as TyTN II
  • No flash on camera makes for poor low light shots
  • No 3.5mm headphone jack or converter included
  • microSD slot is under battery cover
  • No hardware button for camera
  • Inbuilt video player is limited
  • No cable included for TV-Out
  • Stylus is no magnetic
  • Expensive (unsubsidized)
Value
Ease
of Use
Features

Overall

What
do these ratings mean
?

OVERALL IMPRESSION

    This is the best Windows Mobile phone that money can buy IF you need a hardware keyboard. If you don’t need a keyboard, then the Touch HD or Diamond2 may be a better fit, or heck, the Omnia may even do the trick for you. But if you want the most robust set of features, wireless radios, design cues, and new technologies (like Straight Talk), then the Touch Pro2 is a hands down winner, especially for the business user who needs something super-capable. My biggest concern is with the battery life, but if you plan on charging your device on a daily basis and you know how to practice good battery conservation techniques, this shouldn’t be a problem.

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About The Author
Brandon Miniman
Brandon is a graduate from the Villanova School of Business, located near Philadelphia, PA. He's been a technology writer since 2002, and, in 2005, became Editor-in-Chief of Pocketnow, a then Windows Mobile-focused website. He has since helped to transition Pocketnow into a top-tier smartphone and tablet publication. He's so obsessed with technology that he once entered a candle store and asked if they had a "new electronics" scent. They didn't.