A few days with the HTC Touch Pro 2
Very late to this one, so I'll keep it simple.
• It's a Windows Mobile 6.1 handset with a slider QWERTY keyboard, 3.6" touchscreen display, HSDPA, WiFi, a dedicated graphics chipset, Bluetooth, and a 528MHz Qualcomm CPU. It has a custom YouTube client, accepts microSD cards, and charges/syncs through a miniUSB port.
• It was sent so that I could look at the keyboard. This one thing was all: there wasn't even a SIM card in it. At this stage, even the folks selling Windows Mobile seem to be gritting their teeth over it.
• That said, it was the best Windows Mobile experience I've had. HTC's overlays get the most out of it. Touchflo 3D makes that which it touches look nice.
• The keyboard is better than any cellular QWERTY I've used (but I haven't used all
of them.) It was better than the Xperia's, and leaves stuff like cheapo LG texting models and Sidekicks in the dust. At first it looks like just another set of hard, shallow chiclets, and it is -- but they're as properly tactile as such things can be and well-spaced. The layout is good, too, with numerals on their own row, arrow keys, shift keys in the proper spots, and a middle space bar. I'd go as far as to say that I enjoyed thumb-typing on it more than trying to touch-type with certain netbooks, like the Dell Mini 9 and Eee 900 series.
• John Gruber's right to say that most consumers will be happy and productive with touchscreen keyboards
, and that the learning curve is easily breached with familiarity and time. But the Touch Pro 2's keyboard is such a great advertisement for physical keys, I just can't jump aboard the on-screen train just yet. It's important to me because I have the worst phone-typing fingers on Earth.
• The Touch Pro 2 is closely modeled on the iPhone, which makes the cost of that expansive slider keyboard very clear: it's almost twice as thick as Apple's handset. It is a bit of a brick.
• It comes with an unnecessarily stylish charging plug, which is just as well, because you'll be using it often.
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