The really confusing thing about the Touch Plus, is that although it has the addition of 3G/HSDPA support, it has lost the Wi-Fi functionality that was present in the original Touch. This is something of a disappointment, and I can’t understand why HTC would take such a route. I love having Wi-Fi in a smartphone, as it means that as soon as I get home or to the office it connects, and if I want to quickly look something up online I can do it via my phone. This is especially useful at home, where I’m not sitting in front of a computer all day – if I want to check something online, I simply whip my iPhone out of my pocket and check using a fast Wi-Fi broadband connection.
Wi-Fi may be missing but at least Bluetooth is still there, so you’ll have no problem using a Bluetooth headset or an in-car hands free kit. You could also use Bluetooth headphones like the Etymotic Research ety8s that I reviewed last August. In fact, investing in a pair of ety8s would be a good idea, since yet again HTC hasn’t seen fit to include a 3.5mm headphone jack.
In the box you’ll find the Touch Plus, a wired hands free set, a carrying pouch and a mains charger. However, charging this device won’t be a problem since the mini-USB connector means that you can charge it from any computer using a simple USB to mini-USB cable. Personally I think that everything should employ a mini-USB connector for charging, meaning that you only ever need one kind of cable or charger for all your devices. Unfortunately there’s no bundled micro-SD card, but considering you can pick up a 1GB card for around £5 these days, that’s not a major problem.
T-Mobile’s Flext tariffs are widely regarded as some of the best available, and it’s good to know that if you go for the £30 Flext 30 tariff, which gives you up to £180 of credit each month, you’ll get the Touch Plus for free. And for an extra £7.50 you can get unlimited data on top of that, to make use of that fast HSDPA download speed. Being able to pickup the Touch Plus on a reasonable tariff for free makes it a pretty compelling proposition, and should attract a lot of buyers.
Despite being completely underwhelmed by the original Touch, the Touch Plus rights so many of those initial wrongs. The slide out keypad is a great addition, making it easy to bash out text and email messages without the need to resort to the stylus. The addition of 3G/HSDPA support is also a major bonus, and highlights the fact that this should have been there in the first place.
The tweaks that HTC has made to the TouchFLO interface are nice, but not overly important. More useful are features like the shortcut menu when you slide the phone open, which is bound to save users time. Yes, the lack of Wi-Fi is a definite annoyance, but I still feel that this is probably the most universally attractive Windows Mobile device yet to rear its head. It’s as much as great looking and easy to use phone as it is a fully featured mobile device, and that has to be a good thing.
Score in detail