While I was far from impressed with the TouchFLO interface on the original Touch, HTC has gone to a lot of effort to improve it this time around, and nowhere is this more evident than when you’re viewing your photos. While viewing a photo making a clockwise circular motion with your finger will zoom into the image, while an anti-clockwise motion will zoom back out. While zoomed in you can also move around the zoomed image by keeping your finger on the screen and moving it about. You can also rotate the image 90 degrees with a half circle movement with your finger – the direction of the half circle dictates the direction of the rotation.
It doesn’t take a genius to realise that this new TouchFLO functionality is yet another attempt to imitate the iPhone, and HTC should be congratulated for making this type of navigation work on the Touch Plus. However, while on the iPhone the zooming, panning and sliding of images is completely smooth and seamless, on the Touch Plus it’s a slow and laborious process that belies the bloated nature of the Windows Mobile operating environment. Unfortunately this is the type of feature you’ll use once and think “cool”, but then never use again because it’s just so slow to react. What this highlights is how innovative HTC is, and that the company is clearly being held back by the Windows Mobile platform that its devices employ.
Besides the sliding mechanism and keypad, the other major advantage that the Touch Plus has over the original Touch is 3G and HSDPA support. This gives you the option of video calls if you’re into that kind of thing. Testing this feature by calling Ed on his LG Viewty showed that the Touch Plus does a good job in this area, and the front facing camera is better than most, giving Ed a better image of me than I was getting of him.
Talking of cameras, the Touch Plus sports the same two-megapixel camera seen in the original Touch. This is a decent enough image capture device, but it definitely struggles to keep up with the likes of the five-megapixel camera seen in the LG Viewty, or even some of the three-megapixel offerings seen elsewhere. That said, the pictures taken on the Touch Plus are still better than the ones I get from my iPhone.
The other big plus is very fast data access via the T-Mobile Web ‘n’ Walk service. There’s no doubt that T-Mobile has been leading the pack when it comes to tariff bundles, and the company has been offering unlimited data options for around £7.50 a month for some time now. This means that you can get all your email, send picture messages and browse web pages using the high-speed data network. This is the one area where the iPhone falls down, since the fastest data service it can use is EDGE. That said, Mobile Internet Explorer is a terrible excuse for a browser compared to Mobile Safari on the iPhone, and even though you can download data quickly, complicated pages (like TrustedReviews) will simply not be rendered properly. That said, there are a lot of great mobile friendly pages that are always worth reading, like the BBC website.