A few days with the HTC Touch Pro 2

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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.

About Rob Beschizza

Rob Beschizza is the Managing Editor of Boing Boing. He's @beschizza on Twitter and can be found on Facebook too. Try your luck at besc...@gmail.com

 

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11 Responses to A few days with the HTC Touch Pro 2

  1. koichan says:

    Now HTC…
    See this nice handset you’ve Made? Make it a GREAT handset by putting Android on it instead of win mobile please.

    The whole ‘you can have nice hardware or a nice OS, but not both’ thing is getting very frustrating.

  2. mappo says:

    You’re not that late Rob, considering this phone still isn’t available from any carriers yet. I’m torn between getting this and the new Samsung Omnia II that is also soon to arrive. Do you think the TP2′s physical keyboard is worth the extra bulk? The Omnia has a similar-sized screen (tho it’s an OLED), and is also WinMo with a nice UI overlaid, but it doesn’t have the hardware keyboard so it’s much thinner.

  3. Rob Beschizza says:

    MMBB, how dare you suggest that was a positive review!

  4. Rob Beschizza says:

    It probably comes down to whether you want a keyboard. I haven’t fondled the Om II yet, so can’t judge it.

  5. mmbb says:

    my buddy bought an european version of this 2 years ago; no GPS. funny how you didn’t touch on the GPS at all. hope you’re enjoying your swag in exchange for a postive review, rob. i’d ask if your boss approves of such bribery, but of course he does.

  6. theraptscallion says:

    @ #6, almost all HTC handsets since the Titan ship with aGPS onboard, but many carriers disable it intentionally to force you to use their pay-per-month services (Verizon*cough*). Any user worth their salt can work around it with a little googling and a willingness to violate TOS.

  7. Rickyneck says:

    Excellent design. A lot of thought went into it. Bulky or not, it seems like a very useful handset. They’re getting better and better all the time.

  8. Osno says:

    @MMBB: The GPS must have been lost in the time machine, ’cause this phone was announced worldwide in february 2009.

  9. oldtaku says:

    If you use your phone for real remote control of systems as I do (VNC and ssh) then nothing even comes close to something with a real, excellent, physical keyboard plus touch screen. I currently use the HTC Touch Pro, am deciding whether or not to go with the Pro 2 (I really kind of like the petiteness of the Pro)… but something like the iPhone or Pre is woefully inadequate. Toys.

  10. The Lizardman says:

    After my experiences with the first touch pro I don’t think they could pay me to even try the touch pro 2. The first one was my single worst phone experience ever. I had repeated and inexcusable hardware and software failure over multiple units.

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