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HTC Touch Pro Review

 

HTC Touch Pro Review

 
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Design

From straight on, the HTC Touch Pro looks much like its sibling, the HTC Touch Diamond, with its sleek, smoky mirrored face, rounded edges, and attractive silver trim. Of course, the big difference is the addition of the slide-out QWERTY keyboard, which is a boon for messaging fanatics but also consequently adds some bulk to the smartphone. At 4 inches tall by 2 inches wide by 0.7 inch deep and 5.3 ounces, the Touch Pro is thick and heavy, making for a pretty tight fit in a pants pocket, but it's a more compact device compared with the HTC Mogul. The handset has a solid construction and features a soft-touch finish on back for extra texture. However, instead of a burgundy cover like the Touch Diamond, the Touch Pro has a silver back, which is somewhat plain but a more safe color for the corporate-centric smartphone.

The Touch Pro features the same 2.8-inch, 262,000-color touch screen and 3D TouchFlo interface as the Diamond. With a 640x480 pixel resolution, everything looks incredibly sharp and vibrant on screen. The touch screen is responsive and works well with the 3D TouchFlo interface. There is a toolbar along the bottom of the screen that lets you scroll left to right and launch applications with one touch. In several of the programs--more specifically e-mail, the camera, and music--you can go through your files and messages by swiping your thumb/finger up or down the screen, all with a cool animated 3D effect. While the Home screen is set to the Sprint theme by default, you can choose from others in the Settings menu as well as add items to the Today screen and change the background image.

On top of all this, the Touch Pro is also equipped with an accelerometer, so when you physically rotate the phone (left or right), the screen orientation goes from portrait mode to landscape mode. However, there are a couple of caveats. First, the accelerometer only works in certain applications, such as pictures, video, and Web browsing, but not for others like Office documents, Calendar, or e-mail when the phone is closed. We also found that at times, it takes some time for the screen to switch, and the delay was long enough to make us wonder whether the system froze. This was never the case, but the lag got to be pretty annoying. There is a utility called G-Sensor, which you can find in the Settings menu that lets you recalibrate the screen if you think it's off.

The screen also changes to landscape mode when you slide open the keyboard, and you get a new menu layout of eight shortcuts (E-mail, Messages, Bookmarks, Web search, Calendar, Tasks, Notes, and Contacts), rather than the TouchFlo interface. To access the keyboard, you just slide the screen to the right, but we found the sliding motion wasn't the smoothest. There's a bit of friction that makes it feel like the front cover is grating against something. However, the phone feels sturdy enough to endure multiple openings and closings, and the screen securely stays in place. The Touch Pro keyboard features large buttons with a matte finish, giving it a nice nonslip texture. That said, we found them a bit stiff to press and again, we noticed a slight lag between the time we hit a button to the time it registered onscreen. We were still able to write e-mails and text messages with minimal mistakes, though not quite as fast we like, and we're pleased that there's a dedicated number row. In addition to the QWERTY keyboard, you get other input options, including an onscreen keyboard (full and compact QWERTY), block recognizer, and transcriber.

Below the display you get a navigation array of Talk and End buttons, a Home shortcut, a back key, and a directional keypad with a center select button. In addition to pressing the latter up, down, left, or right, you can use your thumb or finger to make a clockwise or counterclockwise circle to zoom in/out of pages since the control is touch-sensitive.

On the left side, there's a volume rocker and a power button on top. The camera is located on the back, and unlike the Touch Diamond, there is a microSD expansion slot, though you have to remove the back cover to get to it. There's a mini USB port and a reset hole on the bottom of the phone. Unfortunately, like the T-Mobile G1, the USB port is the only option for connecting a headset.

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