The combination of larger screen and strip also mean the navi-wheel from the Pro has been dropped and the answer/end call, Windows and back keys are all greatly cut down but it has no detrimental impact on navigation. Around the sides you’ll find the usual volume keys, screen lock button, stylus and mini USB port which doubles up for charging and connecting earphones. Yes, there’s no 3.5mm jack which instantly deducts a point from the score. Tut, tut HTC.
More difficult to find is the microSD expansion slot which requires the removal of the back cover, something the seamless finish makes more difficult than you’d expect. Admission time: I had to resort to the manual (shock +horror) which reveals the stylus acts like a lock and the back cannot be detached without taking it out first. On the one hand this is rather clever, on the other I can see it leading to the stylus being regularly misplaced. Happily however the microSD slot can be accessed without also removing the battery.
Staying with the internals the Touch Pro2 reads like a who’s who of tech specs with 7.2Mbit HSDPA and HSUPA (2Mbit uploads), WiFi (802.11g), aGPS and Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP for crystal clear audio streaming. There’s the customary accelerometer too and while the 528MHz CPU and 288MB RAM remain unchanged from the Pro it keeps the Windows Mobile 6.1 core and HTC’s fancy TouchFLO interface moving at a fairly rapid pace.
That said, here is where we come to the inevitable bump in the road: Windows Mobile 6.1. Let’s be clear about this, Windows Mobile is not the best mobile operating system currently on the market. Even the impending Windows Phone (WM 6.5) is more about catching up than leaping ahead.
Fundamentals such as a native third party application store remain absent (Marketplace for Mobile will launch before the end of the year) and MyPhone (Microsoft’s equivalent to MobileMe) has only recently opened for public beta testing. In its favour Windows Mobile does remain one of the most flexible platforms around, has major corporate take-up and the TouchFLO skin continues to work miracles.
This time around TouchFLO digs deeper than ever before taking custom skins beyond the home screen and primary applications. Yes, there are still moments when you are unceremoniously dumped into the native WM6.1 UI (never pleasant) but in the main HTC has papered over the cracks where it had to and – in the case of major surgery like the pre-installation of Opera Mobile – applied liberal amounts of filler. The end result is not perfect, but it is easily the best Windows Mobile experience to date.