By May 12, 2009

HTC Touch 3G Revisited

Daniel reviewed the HTC Touch 3G back in February and had a lot of positive things to say about the phone. In fact, HTC phones seem to have a pretty good reputation and are becoming more and more popular these days.

3g_mainThe HTC Touch 3G – Exclusive to Orange

 

This review is being approached from a different angle as I’ve actually never used an HTC phone before or a Windows mobile OS. So, I’m going to give you my impressions and opinions of the Touch 3G from a first time user perspective.

Orange have kindly provided us with the handset that I am reviewing. The Touch 3G is exclusive to Orange and they offer this on both their Personal and Business plans.

For detailed specifications of the phone you can check out Matt’s unboxing video or Daniel’s review.

 

Highlights:

  • Compact and minimalist design
  • Easy to use
  • WIFI
  • TouchFLO interface

Lowlights:

  • Portrait screen – no Landscape setting except for when viewing pictures
  • Fixed focus camera
  • No camera light/flash

 

 

Review

I was really taken with the look of the Touch 3G. It has a minimalist design with only the call/hang up buttons and a D pad. The generously sized 2.8″ LCD screen doesn’t take away from the compact feel to the phone. The screen is completely flush with the rest of the phone which adds to the high quality look of the phone. It’s quite light for being such a high spec gadget yet still feels robust enough that it would stand up to constant use.

You can see from the photos on Daniel’s review the locations of the buttons and USB socket on the sides of the phone. Again, the minimalist design is followed here.

The Touch 3G is available in four different colours which you can see here.

HTC Touch 3G Colours 

OK – I think you get the point that I really like the look of the phone! Moving on, I was nicely surprised at the quality of the display with its QVGA resolution (320Ă—240 pixels). Very clear and sharp.

As it was my first time really using a Windows Mobile device I was confused at what to do next! But it took all of about 5 seconds to figure out the ‘Start’ button (.obviously! Because it’s a Windows OS). All of the features of the phone can be accessed through this but there is also a quick menu bar along the bottom (or on the left side of the screen depending on which ‘homescreen’ you choose) of the screen which is very useful for all the applications or features used frequently. You can see this on the picture below. You can also add/remove the applications of the quick menu bar to suit your needs.

HTC Touch 3G display HTC Touch 3G screen view

 

Looking into the basics of the Touch 3G – making a call is simple and the sound quality is good. But the reason I really wanted to mention making calls on the phone are the on screen options provided. Once you have chosen the number to call and start calling you are then presented with the options to mute, place on hold, speaker phone, take a note, enter your contacts list and also add a call (for conference calls). I’m not saying that this is only available on the Touch 3G but remember – this is the first HTC phone I have tried!

Not all of the call features I have mentioned will be useful for people using the phone for personal use (e.g. add a call or hold) but will be great for business users. As I mentioned before, Orange are offering the phone on both personal and business plans. You will find the same call options on many phones but they aren’t always as easy to access without fiddling through menus.

 

HTC’s TouchFLO technology is great to use. Scrolling though menus has been made easy because of this and there’s no real need to use the stylus.

WIFI is available on the Touch 3G which is one of the upgrades from previous versions of the Touch. From going through the Start menu, settings and then the connections it is very easy to set up any WIFI connections. There is also 3G support of course (did the name give that away?!). For web browsing the default browser provided is Opera version 9.5 and there is also Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 7.

Unfortunately there’s nothing to really write home about on the web browsing side of things. It’s not bad though. It’s fast enough, but some improvements could be made to make the experience better. Such as, the option to view in landscape mode. As far as I’m aware, only pictures and video can be viewed in landscape mode.

 

I find messaging on the phone great to use. The whole Windows Mobile layout of previous messages shown as ‘Conversations’ was a bit strange to me at first but I easily got used to it. I’m not keen on touch screen QWERTY keyboards but there is the option to use one. I would recommend using the stylus for this though as it’s pretty small. Especially as you can only use it in portrait mode. But don’t let this put you off! There are also other input methods to choose from such as a compact QWERTY, letter recogniser and a few others. But of course, for those like me who are used to the Symbian OS, the phone style input is also available. It’s also large enough on the screen to be able to text away without the use of the stylus.

Email support for POP3/IMAP and Microsoft’s Direct Push for Exchange server email is provided on the phone and is easy to set-up and use. There is also GPS built in on the phone which can be used in conjunction with the preinstalled Orange Maps. Mind you, after seeing that the GPS has correctly located where you are on map and you’ve had a look at a few places you know, the novelty wears off quite quickly! But, you can make the GPS more useful to you by purchasing satellite navigation software which Orange offers.

 

I was somewhat disappointed with the camera on the Touch 3G. It has an 3.2mp camera which is average and on many phones you can take a decent picture with this.

3g_back HTC Touch 3G – camera view

For some reason HTC have decided to place a fixed focus camera on the handset. There is also no light or flash. And to make matters worse there doesn’t seem to be a night mode! So to sum the camera up – yes, you can take decent photo with it but just as long as you are in good lighting.

It seems the Touch 3G wasn’t designed with picture taking a main highlight but the sheer amount of applications and features makes up for this I guess.

 

If I went though all of the applications on the phone I would be here forever, so I leave you with one more. The music player.

The phone comes with Windows Media Player which most people will be familiar with. Easy to use and looks pretty good. There is also a standard ‘Audio Manager’ to listen to music an sort your music out with. The earphones provided with the phone are pretty standard but do the trick and also have the added benefit of volume control on them.

Daniel mentioned that the backlight stays on when playing music. This is very true, for the playing back music from the Audio Manager. Some may not like this as it will drain the battery a bit faster, but another way to look at it is that you don’t have to find the unlock button on the top every time you want to change a track. However, to save a bit of battery power you can use Windows Media Player where the backlight will dim.

 

Conclusion:

The HTC Touch 3G is a great looking phone which is absolutely packed with features. As I mentioned, I haven’t really used any HTC or Windows Mobile OS phones before and I found it to be pretty easy to get used to after only a short time using the phone. 

Yes, I was a bit disappointed with the camera, but to be honest I found that all of the features and applications provided would still make the phone a worthy purchase. Just a point to remember if a camera phone is what you are looking for.

One main improvement that the Touch 3G could do with is being able to use applications in landscape mode but I would still consider this phone the next time I upgrade my own.

 

 

Reviewed by: Emma

Posted in: Reviews

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