Archive for June 6th, 2009

By June 6, 2009 Read More →

HTC Touch Pro2 Review (the really long Part 3)

The Flagship of HTC’s 2nd quarter line-up is hoping to appeal to business and "normal" users.  Packed full of features, with the newly designed TF3D interface hiding the Windows Mobile 6.1 core, the Touch Pro2 just screams usability. In third and final part of the review, we are going into a  "detailed" version of the phone and its hardware.  We got a bit "snap / screenshot happy" on this review, so bear with us.  There are a ton of pictures!

 

 

pro2_angled_right  
The HTC Touch Pro2 Closed

What’s in the Box?

  • HTC Touch Pro2 Handset
  • 1500 mAh Battery
  • Mains Charger with UK adapter
  • HTC ExtUSB charge / sync cable
  • HTC Stereo headset, with inbuilt mic, and answer / reject button
  • Soft Case (without belt loop)
  • User Guide & Manuals
  • CD’s containing software & Manuals
  • Quickstart Guide.
  • Spare Stylus

Check out Matt’s HTC Touch Pro2 unboxing video for more info.

Technical Specifications of HTC Touch Pro2

  • Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional
  • Qualcomm MSM7200A, 528 MHz
  • RAM – 288 MB
  • ROM – 512 MB
  • 3.6-inch TFT-LCD touch-sensitive screen with 480 X 800 WVGA resolution
  • Adjustable tilt screen
  • HSDPA/WCDMA:  Up to 2 Mbps up-link and 7.2 Mbps down-link speeds
  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE:  850/900/1800/1900 MHz
  • Bluetooth 2.0 with Enhanced Data Rate and A2DP for wireless stereo headsets
  • Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 b/g
  • HTC ExtUSB (11-pin mini-USB 2.0, audio jack, and TV Out in one)
  • Internal GPS antenna
  • microSD memory card (SD 2.0 compatible)
  • Slide-out 5-row QWERTY keyboard
  • Main camera: 3.2 megapixel colour camera with auto focus
  • Second camera: VGA CMOS colour camera
  • Rechargeable Lithium-ion battery 1500 mAh
  • 116 X 59.2 X 17.25 mm (4.57 X 2.33 X 0.68 inches)  (Some are reporting the size as 116 x 59.2 x 16.8mm)
  • 175 grams (6.17 ounces) with battery

 

General

Over the past few days I have had the pleasure of using the Touch Pro2, and I have to admit, it’s hard to imagine living without it.  Its one of those devices that business users are going to rush out and buy in their thousands, and the average Joe is going to think "I am not a business users, so why should I bother?"  Let me tell you why.  The phone is simply stunningly designed for ease of use, complete usability, an almost zero learning curve and a bundle of features that makes even James Bond wish "Q" had invented this when he was in a tight spot!

 

The entire handset has been gently curved to sit ergonomically in all but the tiniest of hands.  The front is simply dominated by a huge 3.6 inch screen, that displays its colour vibrantly in a resolution of 480 x 800 (or 800 x 480) WVGA.  On the top right sits a front facing CMOS video-call camera, whilst the centre sports a speaker grill flanked by 2 status LED’s and hidden to the left slightly under the dark facade is a proximity sensor for switching off the screen whilst in a call. 

pro2_front

The Touch Pro2 front view

 

 

Directly underneath the screen sits the Zoom Bar, and 4 lightly curved buttons.  These have the function of accepting a call, opening the start menu, going back and ending a call / calling up the home screen.  You can see from the reflections in the shots, that the whole front has a nice silver trim.   The whole rounded edge effect really does make the device exceedingly "clean" from a design perspective, and a fingerprint magnet from every other!

 

pro2_keys

Close up of the buttons on the Touch Pro2 

 

The bottom of the device has the usual microphone hole, and the HTC ExtUSB connector for charging / synching.  You can just see the stylus peeking there on the bottom right.

 

pro2_bottom  HTC Touch Pro2 bottom view

 

 

The top has a power button recessed enough not to be able to switch the device on by accident, but not too sunk in to make it a pain to operate.  You can also really see the curves.

pro2_top

HTC Touch Pro2 top view

 

The right hand side has a secondary microphone hole, and the stylus slot.

 

pro2_right

HTC Touch Pro2 right view

 

The left hand side shows the one-piece volume rocker (with 2 independent switches underneath!)

 

pro2_left

HTC Touch Pro2 left view

 

The back of the device  is again dominated, this time by a different feature, the speakerphone grill.  There is also a camera opening in the back cover (no plastic covering though!) and a LED lit mute button. This glows green when on a speakerphone call, and red when muted. I don’t normally mention anything negative at this point of the review, however there an exception has to be made!  I don’t understand why HTC decided NOT to cover the lens hole with a piece of clear plastic!  It is such a large opening, that i have found all kinds of stuff protruding from it!  It is also an obvious fluff / dust magnet for the inside of the device!  Don’t get me wrong, the lens is nicely recessed, but still…

pro2_back

HTC Touch Pro2 back view

 

This device looks sleek and not too dissimilar from another device when closed, with the exception its silver and black, not white.. ooh  and has a bigger screen!  Its appeal with most users will be the way in which it sits in the hand and effortlessly allows single handed use.  Open the device up however and you really let the beast out of its cage. in the best way possible.

 

 

Pro2_angled_open

The HTC Touch Pro2 Open and in full tilt

 

The Touch Pro2 has a similar action to the Tytn II when opening, a slide open, and then the possibility of tilting the screen, making it look and act like a mini Notebook / net book.  The hinges are spring loaded, and feel very solid.  HTC have improved the design over previous version considerably.  It feels secure, and even the tilt function feels natural.  The "first generation" of this design felt to me as though the screen would snap off.  This simply snaps into place and stays there.  The pressure needed to close it again is deliberate and just enough to make it ease into place.

 

pro2_open_front

The HTC Touch Pro2 full open view

 

The device sports a full 5 row Keyboard in a variety of configurations depending where you buy it.  We have the UK qwerty version.  The keys are spaced out, backlit, and a joy to use!  The difference from other HTC keyboard is obvious when you use it.  So much so, I actually wrote the first part of the review on it without any problems.  I love having a full row or number keys, and most of the symbols that you would use in day to day texting / emailing are there with a quick press of the function key.  There is also a dedicated mail / text button, and some of the keys double up to switch functions on and off, such as Comm Manager, Browser, XT9, and SMS.  There is also a dedicated crtl button, along with the shift and Function button.  I have no idea WHY there is a crtl button.  If anyone can enlighten me, I would be appreciative. It may be a Windows Mobile 6.5 pre-requisite, but that is just a guess.( ***  I got enlightened!  Its for copy and paste!  doh! ***)   There are 2 white LED’s that tell you the status of the keys as well.

 

pro2_keyboard_close

Close up of the keyboard

 

 

When closed, the size is not that different to the newly released Dimaond2, with the exception of the height of the device obviously.  The difference in screen size is accentuated by the design, and although not that much bigger, seems much more so. 

 

   pro2_d2

   HTC Touch Pro2 Vs Diamond2     

 

The comparison everyone will be making is against the TyTN II.  I have a friend that has a TyTN II and he had a "nerdgasm" and was shaking so much i removed the phone from his hands until he had sit down at a table.  Whilst he was working out how to sell his grandmother, and wiping the drool collecting near the beermats,  I had a chance to hold the TyTN II in my hand again, and I have to agree with Matt.  The TyTN II was in need of an overhaul.  The only similarities that the TyTN II has, is the open and tilt mechanism.  I cant think of one single reason not to upgrade!  I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

 

 

pro2_tytn2_d

 

pro2_tytn2_e

 

 pro2_tytn2_a

 

      pro2_tytn2_b

pro2_tytn2_c

This is where it really matters, compared to the Touch Pro2, the TyTN II has all the charm of a housebrick!

 

Review

I got a lot of feedback from the Diamond II review that I did a few weeks back.  The interface does have a lot of similarities, so I am not going to go over all the functions again, however i am going to cover a few of the things i covered in that review. The main thing you will notice are the screenshots of landscape view.  I have tried to show both views, as this device does lend itself extremely well to using it open and closed!  

 

The initial setup of the device is painless, and as is common in all the new Windows Mobile devices, requires minimal input.  Gone are the days of calibrating screens and setting the region.  I am not going to bore you with all the details that i put in part 2, but after setting up my 3G connection, and connecting to exchange I was greeted with the home screen, in an interesting shade of purple.

 

home-vertical  home-horizontal

home-horizontal2  home2-vertical 

 

The main screen now holds up to 5 appointments, and in landscape mode scrolls up and down in groups of 3.  You will also find that the "quick pick " navigation bar disappears, replaced by a little icon to save screen space in portrait mode.  This is a great idea, as it really does not make any sense to permanently use up a percentage of the screen when it could be showing a webpage!  Those eager eyed amongst you will notice that the clock cannot be minimized in horizontal mode.

 

home-horizontal-menu

 

Everything (almost)that was in the Diamond 2 is in the Touch Pro2, and a few more bits beside to make up for absent friends.  Yes I am talking about the thing that is creating more buzz online that a certain Scottish singers medicated rest.The FM Radio! It seems that someone in HTC though that the Touch Pro2 didn’t need a FM Radio and if the net rumours are true, this shaved 0.6 mm of the thickness of the phone, and brought the release date forward 2 weeks. 
I haven’t actually opened up the device with a Torx  and checked myself, yet (only joking Matt),  but the gaping hole in the F section of the all programs list does at least confirm that there is no FM Radio software included. So for all those that are so devastated and are seriously going to gripe about the lack of Radio Sussex availability , may I suggest pointing your Streaming Media Player to  http://lazygit.no-ip.info:5560/ and listening to Radio Caroline instead!

**** UPDATE  ***

Some clever folks over at another website that are a bunch of developers for the XDA have managed to create a CAB file that re-activates / installs the FM radio software.  There is still no official word as to the side effects that this may have by installing it!

 

 

The People Centric theme is continued and enhanced on the Touch Pro2.  The Contacts in the phonebook now have the native ability to link to facebook profiles, something that was "edited out" on the Diamond II, and is a feature you will either love or hate.  I would prefer having the ability to use Linked-In or another more "business orientated" service, but its a good start.  (More details in Part 2 of the review!)  The Landscape view of the people section is lousy.  This is one of the times that portrait wins hands down!

 

people-landscape

However, the menu item "people" makes up for it with a huge picture, and all the info next to it.  If you have multiple numbers and emails, the button increase as well allowing one touch dialling.

 

people-landsdcape2

Yes the photo is real, and yes it is my girlfriend!

 

 

The next tab worth noting is the Internet page.  In landscape, it is impressive!  The push pages are still present, and still allow the "pulling" of static pages. 

 

internetpage-wide

 

web-wide web-portrait

This is where the screen comes into its own.  The clarity of the screen is brilliant, and Opera does a great job of loading the page fast.  Youtube videos have vibrant colour, and the speaker is clear enough to hear  "Christian Bale vs David After Dentist" right the way down to the front pew of the church. (if you haven’t seen the clip..  go watch it now.. NSFW! I will wait!)

 

dentist1

 

The camera is not as powerful as the one recently outfitted to the Diamond II  but it is still a respectable 3.2 megapixel.  Now normally when cameras get tested we do a "real world" review.  Unfortunately for you guys my real world is very clear blue skies, brilliant sunshine and 30 odd degrees Celsius, and the picture quality does the weather justice!  I took 3 photos to test with, Indoors with OK lighting,  outside with indirect sunlight and outside in direct sunlight (actually, almost pointing at the sun!)  As you can see from the indoor shot, the camera is good enough to get by without a flash! Just so you know, the in camera focus was set on the beer glass during the first shot, by tapping the screen and moving the crosshairs.

IMAG0035   IMAG0038   IMAG0037

 

I also took some video as well, as i know this is something that you guys & gals care about.  Not very interesting video, but video nonetheless.

HTC Touch Pro2 video test

 

 

Before I move onto the actual phone features, I am gong to give a special mention to something tucked away in the settings menu.  Please welcome the very much grown up, and very mature Bluetooth interface.  I don’t know what Bluetooth Radio Stack that HTC is using, or who designed the new interface, but I bow down to you.  I have used a multitude of Bluetooth software in my time working with all kinds of mobile devices and PC’s.  This is by FAR the best implementation of Bluetooth software I have ever seen.  Its easy and intuitive, quick & powerful and at last has a status field so you can measure the strength of the Bluetooth signal.  It also has pretty pictures next to the names of the devices!

 

 

 bluetooth-2 bluetooth-4 bluetooth-1 bluetooth-3

jawbone bluetooth-search bluetooth-search-2 bluetooth-search-3

 

The phone part

HTC has the following to say on their website about the Touch Pro2:  

"Business success depends on human interaction. You can often get more done with a quick phone call or a face to face meeting than you can in strings of emails. So why do all business phones seem to ignore the importance of calls? The Touch Pro2 treats your calls with as much care and attention as your messages."

They have taken their people centric communication to new levels in the phonebook, and have integrated this seamlessly with the Phone, Email and SMS actions.  I didn’t realise how useful it would be having all the information in one place.  When I contact some clients, I often end up  calling them, messaging  or emailing information over the course of a day.  Its great to just pull up their contact, and have everything in one place.  The entire call history, all SMS’s and all emails and responses.  I love the way you can just press one button to call them from an email.  This was in the Diamond II review as well, so I am only going to highlight the new additions.

 

"Straight Talk"

 

The conference calling is a tough one..  Mainly because the software I use for my screenshots will not record the interface of a conference call!  I don’t know how HTC managed to do it, but it does actually do exactly what i says on the tin.  Its a common problem with any type of conference call,  that when 5 people get into a room, albeit virtual, they all start talking at once.  Have 3 people in one room, and 2 other phoning in and the problem compounds.  The Dual microphones do help a lot in this scenario, filtering out background noise to a minimum.  The speakerphone is solid and loud, and it helps to activate the audio booster.  Its not the loudest in the world, nor does it compare to some ?600 speakerphone options that I have used, but it is miles better than the other speakerphone options on the other HTC devices.

 

Cracking open the back of the device you can see the dual speakers flanking the camera lens, and also the white button that is LED lit for the mute function. 

open-back

 

DSC_7494.NEF
now you know why I let Matt take the photos!

 

For those of you looking for the reset button, it is hiding on the left hand side, and a pain to see, let alone press!

 

DSC_7499.NEF

 

The SD Card is sitting opposite on the right hand side, and i removed it a bit so show the slot more clearly.

 

 DSC_7496.NEF

 

Its amazing that those 2 speakers are capable of pumping out so much sound.  I don’t have a conference room, so I was limited to testing in a pub last night.  The people on the other end of the conference call didn’t actually know we were in a pub, and still had no idea 10 minutes later after I finished the call.  It certainly passed the real world test in my eyes..  Being able to have a business conversation whilst sitting in sunshine and drinking a beer is just one of the many un-advertised perks of this phone!

 

Conclusion (for now!)

 

Its bigger and heavier than the Diamond II, but doesn’t really feel it.  The software is a dream to use, and the keyboard is so comfortable that you can happily type a 1000 word review on it.  The web browser displays webpage’s in a way that i am used to on a normal monitor.  The PowerPoint facilities are brilliant.  It supports TV out, and that will be reviewed early next week when my cables arrive.  The speakerphone and conference calling works, and works well.  The battery life is really, really good.  I am able to last a full 20 hours on a charge, and I use the phone a LOT, a  "normal" user should see 2 days without charge.  

It’s the little things that just top this device off though.  The screen doesn’t switch off, it fades to nothingness, so does the keyboard lighting.   The menu items dissolve into each other in a subtle way that you know they did something, but you are not sure what.  There is nothing on this device that isn’t rounded, polished or generally overhauled.  That goes for software as well as hardware. Plus its one of the phones that is getting an boost to Windows Mobile 6.5 when it is released!

 

Is it worth and upgrade from a TyTN ii?  Yes.  From a Diamond II, if you want the keyboard yes.  From a Touch Pro?  Without a shadow of a doubt.  Is it the next best thing since the iPhone came out?  I don’t know. Honestly I love this device, and it is without a doubt the best Windows Mobile phone that I have had the pleasure of using, and owning.   Now.  where’s my next meeting?

See also Part 1 and Part 2 of my HTC Touch Pro2 review.

 

Review by: Piero (MVP)

Posted in: Reviews
By June 6, 2009 Read More →

Review: World Cup Ping Pong Lite for iPhone

Here we are reviewing free version of Ping Pong game for iPhone made by Skyworks – a company established and run by people who established Acitivison. Skyworks is making games with huge attention to detail and maximal realism of playback.

Posted in: Phones
By June 6, 2009 Read More →

TVGuide.co.uk now available as iPhone app!


Our fav telly guide for British TV is now available also as iPhone app. While this app has some nice features, it is a little bit dissapointing and not as good as using the website on the desktop browser.

Here is the main screen of this application:

Posted in: Phones
By June 6, 2009 Read More →

HTC Touch Pro 2 review

DSCF0423

The HTC Touch Pro 2 is generating quite a big of buzz around the web but is this expansion of the HTC Diamond 2 the be all and end all of Windows Mobile devices? After the break I will be investigating.

Posted in: Phones