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HTC Touch Pro review

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Summary

Our Score:

8

User Score:

When HTC's Touch Diamond launched just before the iPhone 3G, it felt rushed and was, frankly, more than a little disappointing. I can't help feeling that HTC should have played the waiting game. Because although problems with the original Touch's sluggish performance have now been fixed by a ROM update, it cannot but have tainted the firm's reputation. The Touch Pro, HTC's follow up to the excellent TyTN II, however, may well go some way to restoring its former position.

It's a similar phone to the Diamond in many ways. It has precisely the same dimensions face on - 51 x 102mm (W x H) - and it's equipped with HTC's TouchFlo 3D software to shield you against the worst of Windows' Mobile's stylus-focused ugliness. It has the same layout of buttons just below the screen, with home and back keys, supplemented by start and end call keys, plus a touch-sensitive five-way directional button. It has Opera Mobile 9.5 for browsing the web, and a beautifully crisp 2.8in 480 x 640 screen to take advantage of it, just as the Diamond has.

Look inside and you'll find more similarities: both phones share the same processor - a Qualcomm 528MHz unit, both phones have HSDPA of up to 7.2Mbps, GPRS, EDGE, quad-band GSM, GPS, Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR, an FM radio tuner, 3.2-megapixel camera (plus a VGA video phone camera) and WiFi. It has an accelerometer that flips the screen around automatically from landscape to portrait, too, though this doesn't work in all applications.

And again, as with the Diamond, underneath the fancy pants graphics of TouchFlo 3D, the Touch Pro runs on Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional. It includes Office Mobile, a PDF viewer and a number of other useful apps, including an RSS feed reader, an MP3 editor, a ZIP utility and business card recognition software. It has the same YouTube viewer built-in so you can search for and watch video clips from the handset. Videos play back surprisingly smoothly, too.

All this works just as well as it did in the Diamond. The GPS picks up satellites quickly and is accurate. Browsing the web on it is a joy. Call quality is good, though the speakerphone does sound a touch thin and reedy.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

Silent Shark 1

August 27, 2008, 5:27 am

The latest Diamonds ship with the latest ROM, which is every bit as smooth and quick as the Touch Pro's ROM, so that argument is gone now. I got mine last week and it was fully up to date.





You could argue that it should have been sorted before it went on sale, and I'd agree with that. But it's not something to hold over the Diamond any more.





Basically you now have to choose between if you want a keyboard or not, and if you're prepared to pay the price for it.

gary gatter

August 27, 2008, 11:55 am

Sounds like the perfect phone but I think I will still wait for the android; due next month?

ilovethemonkeyhead

August 27, 2008, 1:40 pm

HTC should have released this phone first...

Manni

August 27, 2008, 6:23 pm

So HTC Touch pro with VGA screen, HSDPA 7.2mb, VGA front camera for 3G video calls, 3.2MP camera with flash, autofocus and VGA video recording, the best keyboard on the market, Opera 9.5, 288mb of Ram, 512mb of ROM, unlimited RAM extension through up to 32gb SDHC cards, replaceable 1340Mh battery, bluetooth PAN (can be used as a wireless 3G modem with a laptop), unlocked SIM, Bluetooth with AD2P EDR, MMS AND copy & paste, gets the same score (9) for features as iPhone 3G with Half VGA, HSDPA 3.6Mb, no VGA front camera, 2MP camera with no video recording, no flash and no auto-focus, no hard keyboard, no replaceable battery, no bluetooth PAN, no memory extension, crippled bluetooth (no AD2P), locked device, no MMS and no copy and paste?


Frankly, TrustedReviews have lost all credibility from a technical point of view. We can debate over design (subjective) and performance (depends what you do with your phone), but from a feature point of view, this is plain ridicule. If you give 9 to the iPhone 3G (which was not justified as it was old technology repackaged in a cheaper - but still well designed and very easy to use - handset), it's a joke not to give 10 to the Touch Pro, which is one of the most fully featured (if not the most fully featured) phone available on the market today. Granted, it's not for everyone even with Touch 3D, some people don't like WM6.1 or will find the design chunky (although it's smaller than the iPhone 3G with a bigger resolution), but from a feature point of view... Come on!!!!!!!! Again, I have nothing against Apple (a great company) or the iPhone (a fantastic, well designed, groundbreaking when it was first released, consumer phone), but I am tired to read reviews from supposedly educated people pretending that a well designed phone that does easily what most people need from a phone is better than a state of the art, fully featured, slightly less easy to use but amazingly more powerful and versatile smartphone. Finally, regarding value, let's look at the total cost of ownership between an iPhone (which cannot be bought without an expensive contract through O2 only, say 30/month for 600mn and 500 texts, plus 𧵗 for the 16GB iPhoine). That's 𧿍. A Touch Pro with a Combi 30 with WebnWalk at T-Mobile (Vario IV) is likely to be around 㿞 more expensive, a bit more if you factor the 16Gb SDHC. If you buy a sim free Touch Pro now, and add a SIM only + mobile internet from 3 which you can leave whenever you want for a betterdeal, it's likely to be LESS expensive than the iPhone 3G. So even your value score is flawed, because you're comparing Apple with oranges (sorry, couldn't resist).


Now Jonathan, I have to apologize to you because apart from the value score which I would discuss (there is no phone on the market that does as much, so that deserves a markup), your review is great (including the feature score!), and I wouldn't argue with it if it wasn't following the ludicrous recent review of the Apple 3G.


To SilentShark: the keyboard of the Pro is not the only difference with the Diamond, the battery capacity (almost 40% bigger) and the possibility to add unlimited memory through SDHC are two BIG differences for professional users.

Oliver Levett

August 27, 2008, 8:58 pm

Hehehe...





Unfortunately for some of my arguments, this review is less biased towards the iPhone than the Omnia review, but:





Features? This phone has the best technology on the market (apart from the camera, but even 3.2MP is better than the iPhones 2.0MP, and it can take videos!), a higher clocked processor than the iPhone, a hardware keyboard and things like copy/paste and MMS. If the iPhone can get 9/10 for its crap camera, lack of hardware keyboard and lack of the (IMHO of course) essential Copy/Paste, this should get about 20/10!





Value:


On a 㿊 a month, 18 month contract from somewhere like eXpansys (resold T-Mo contract), this can be got for 𧵅.99, and with a 8GB microSD card costing around 㿀, you can get the Raphael, with the same ammount of memory as the 8GB iPhone 3G, with better specs, on a much better contract (700 minutes, unlimited texts, unlimited data) for 㿨 more upfront. Now, isn't that better value than the iPhone? (oh, and because of the way eXpansys sell contracts, it'd be SIM unlocked as well, so no chance of damaging it in the same way as you have to do with an iPhone to unlock it. And, there will also be a SIM unlock for not very much money provided by the excellent people at XDA-Developers.)

Oliver Levett

August 27, 2008, 9:00 pm

"the keyboard of the Pro is not the only difference with the Diamond, the battery capacity (almost 40% bigger) and the possibility to add unlimited memory through SDHC are two BIG differences for professional users."


Apart from the keyboard, RAM, battery and memory card slot, the Raphael and Diamond are identical. (Same radio hardware (radio ROMs are interchangeable), same USB interface hardware - yes, it may be possible to get TV out on the Diamond! - same everything!

Oliver Levett

August 27, 2008, 9:01 pm

I do agree with the recommended badge though! :D

Jay Werfalli

August 27, 2008, 10:53 pm

@Manni - we listen, and we agree. 10 for features.





However, as reviewers, we have to consider many factors that may affect the scoring. An example might be a product loaded with features that have been implemented very badly (or perhaps don't even work properly or reliably). You could argue that the design or usability score would be affected, but should it really score highly for features just because it has loads of them, regardless? Or should there be scores for each feature, and then another for each sub-feature...?





I will also add that the "scores debate" has been one that has been rumbling on in the publishing industry for as long as I can remember, and it's a debate that is typically fuelled by how we all interpret the meaning of a score, as well as the methods used to portray them. You have star ratings, percentages, bar charts, one score, scores out of 5, scores out of 6, scores out of 10 etc, but personally I think we do our best to keep things tight here at TrustedReviews - and, unlike some sites, we do listen and even act on some of our reader comments! ;)

Manni

August 27, 2008, 11:37 pm

@Jay: thank you for the 10.


Regarding the way features are implemented, I totally agree with you. Apart from a 3G performance problem with T-mobile only (which hasn't released the Vario IV for this reason), the Touch Pro doesn't seem to fall in this category. On another hand, the iPhone, with poor 3G performance, incomplete bluetooth, etc...


Regarding scores in the publishing industry, I used to be a professional journalist (in France), so believe me, I hear you and agree with you. Again, I was not saying that the rating for the touch pro was wrong. It was just unfair compared to the overrated iPhone. I've been reading - and enjoying - Trusted Reviews for a few years (it's my homepage!), and your review of the iPhone 3G was the first time I felt let down by one of your - talented - reviewers. I hope it's not related to the fact that you now have new owners, because if Trusted Reviews has lost its independance and objectivity, I'll have to find another homepage...

Adam7ef

August 28, 2008, 12:57 pm

Never mind the great features, a review with 'ameliorated' in it deserves 10/10.

gary gatter

September 2, 2008, 3:02 am

Is that a diamond pro 10/10 or an iphone 10/10 @Adam?

John Griffin

September 2, 2008, 10:00 pm

Curious. No one has mentioned what appears to be a show-stopper. The phones for Europe and USA will be different - i.e. European version will not operate on 3G in US. Surely a killer for business tagets?

Zeigler

September 3, 2008, 2:18 am

Any word on which networks will carry this phone, and when? I've not come across anything concrete, and one article even stated that the Pro will be available to business users only. Any information appreciated.

Manni

September 5, 2008, 1:25 pm

@John Griffin: I guess if you're all the time in the US you should buy the US version, otherwise Edge while in the US should be enough for the occasional trip? The good people at XDA developper are working to see if it's a hardware limitation, or a firmware limitation to limit grey import until the US version is released as it has been the case for other devices, in which case a radio/rom upgrade will solve the problem.


@Zeigler: T-mobile should carry their version, the Vario IV from October, Vodafone will carry the Touch Pro "untouched" in theory from the 7th of September (but that may get pushed back again, check their business site). O2 should release it as well, but I don't have any details.


I have received my Touch Pro a week ago, and here are my comments (as some of you will probably move from a Tytn II, I compare it when applicable):


- It's not as big as it looks on the pictures, definitely smaller and lighter than the Tytn II (and of course than the iPhone), fits easily in a pocket, amazing when you think it has an integrated keyboard. Yes, it's a bit thick, but frankly, I'm very happy with the form factor.


- I really like Touch 3D (once you get how to use it which takes a little while), so thanks to Apple for causing HTC to make progress in the human interface department. Not iPhone smooth but a step in the right direction.


- Opera is fantastic on a full VGA screen


- The keyboard is even better than the Tytn II, although I miss the tilting mecanism


- Great screen, but could be slightly more sensitive to touch and a bit more visible in direct sunlight


- Not great reception with T-mobile in 3G (calls get cut off, connection drops), hopefully a new radio should help (there is already one at XDA which apparently makes the situation better if not perfect), that's probably why T-mobile UK has still not released it. I don't mind too much as I'm most of the time on 2G to save battery and only switch 3G when needed, but it's still a downside. From what I hear reception is good on other networks.


- Good voice quality during calls but loudspeaker not loud enough, should be fixed with a rom update


- Wifi radio gets a weaker signal than my Tytn II (Vario III), but is mostly useable. I'm a bit disappointed in this area, let's hope they find a way to improve it.


- SIM card slot and SDHC memory slot less accessible than on Tytn II, but at least they're both there!


To make up for this, I do lots of things things that I wouldn't be able to do (yet?) with an iPhone 3G:


- My Motorola S9 BT stereo headset works beautiffuly and seamlessly with AD2P for films, music, tomtom directions and phone calls


- Coreplayer plays VGA divx beautifully


- I can watch my freeview channels, a DVD, a recorded program, or satellite TV when I'm away with my Slingbox


- TomTom 7 works beautifully in VGA


- I record Video in 30fps as well as 3MP pictures, sometimes even use the LED as a flashlight with a nifty little utility


- I use Softmaker Office 2008 daily (a fully featured office suite), which allows me to create, open and modify Office documents (Word, Excel, Powerpoint) without losing any formatting, with the added comfort of a hardware keyboard.


- I don't send any MMS (who does?), but find comfort in, the fact that if I wanted to, I could!


- I do a lot of copy and paste however!


- I've got lots of music, films and maps on a few SDHC card and enjoy the unlimited storage space (soon up to 32gb per card)


- If I wanted to, I could even do powerpoint presentations or watch a film on an external VGA screen, but frankly, I'd rather use a laptop for that...


So all in all, I mostly agree with the final ratings of the review, except the value (and hence the overall, which is unfairly brought down by value).


Thanks to TrustedReviews for being fair play though!

stratoscar

October 20, 2008, 2:49 pm

Jonathan I think you have missed the point here, Iphone its gre8 design easy to use phone but its far behind as far as features and technology is concerned. I hope producers will not turn their attention towards nice designed girly stylish phones following that kind of reviews directing fashion victims to buy just based on what is talked and advertised the most. The whole point is to use as more as possible features that are usable in an as more as possible compact device. If this is accompanied with a nice design and incredible mp3 player capabilities even better. But to emphasize on the tree and forget the forest doesn't help and I am afraid redirects the market and producers towards the wrong direction. I don't even dare to go in a like for like comparison even an 8 years old child would recognise superiority of htc touch pro regardless its affection of the flashy design and amazing sound of Iphone.

Tim Sparling

March 10, 2009, 11:28 pm

Have had this device given to me at work. We have been after push email/calendar for a while and to this end the touch pro is fantastic. Easy to setup and does'nt miss a beat in this department. There is a big "However" though, its the battery. This does not last long enough at all. If you just use the push email and texting then you will be fine, make any calls however and im only talking maybe 6 10 minute calls in any one day, then you will not last the day on one charge. Add any extras to this I.E a third party PIM or Touch Flo system and you will definitely need a second battery. Dont get me wrong i love this device because it does what it says on the tin very well but HTC need (as the article states)a big kick up the backside for not including, at the very least, the extended life battery you can now pick up for it. This will cost you an extra 㿊 however.

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