Experience, it's a trait that is greatly under-appreciated in modern society. Today the obsession is with youth, vigour and vitality, the latest trends and high fashion. The HTC Touch Pro2 represents none of those things. What it does represent however is experience. It shows that you can take a traditional smartphone form factor, an unfashionable mobile operating system, much frowned upon resistive touchscreen technology combine all your know how with a little TLC and still come up with something hugely impressive. That's the beauty of experience.
The signs show from the moment you take the Pro2 out the box. Unlike its predecessor, the logically if dubiously named Touch Pro, the new handset drops the gothic blacks in favour of an altogether brighter and more metallic image. The construction is first rate with no rattles or creaks and while looks rather like a bar of soap, it fits in the hand so well you'll want to hold on tight.
The excellent first impression extends to the keyboard - arguably one of the biggest highlights of the device and the main differentiator from the candybar Touch Diamond series. Now there are many (including myself) who will tell you a touchscreen keyboard done well negates the need for a physical fall back. This can be a difficult argument to convince some and it won't get any easier considering the brilliance of the keyboard attached to the Pro2. It both slides and tilts to allow for a better typing angle and adopts the isolated key design which has become so popular on laptops and netbooks.
The result is as close to mobile typing perfection as I have encountered. The keys are large, tactile and give just the right amount of feedback. The layout is also spot on with Ctrl positioned outside the Function key and you'll be typing at speed in no time at all. Perhaps the spacebar could be slightly wider but in short, I've had far worse typing experiences from netbooks. This is a joy.
Against this - and surprisingly for a follow-up - the Pro2 is actually bulkier (116 x 59.2 x 17.3mm) than the Pro (102 x 51 x 18.1mm) and significantly heavier as well (187g verses 165g) but its slightly slimmer depth means it just about remains pocket friendly. Besides, if there was ever a handset which justified its extra mass the Pro2 is it.
The primary reason is the addition of a stunning new 3.6in 480 x 800 pixel display. It's bright, vibrant colours and razor sharp text are not done justice in the photos and it must be held in person to be fully appreciated. In fact the old Pro - which has a hugely impressive display in its own right (2.8in 480 x 640 pixels) - can only stand back and admire. Blackberrys, iPhones, Magics all take a back seat with only the Touch HD proving its equal and the OLED based Samsung i8910 its superior. Furthermore, while the aforementioned resistive screen technology raises its ugly head HTC has made it as responsive a resistive panel as I've seen to date even if capacitive technology still holds a distinct edge. No capacitive technology also means no multi-touch but the ingenious zoom strip just below the screen means enlarging images, maps and web pages is a snap - or should that be a slide?