HTC Touch Pro review: Heavyweight pro

GSMArena team, 04 September 2008.

Display - for 307,200 reasons

HTC Touch Pro flaunts a 2.8" 65K-color screen of VGA resolution. Thanks to the unmatched pixel-to-inch ratio, the Touch Pro has truly great picture quality. Here's the quick math: HTC TyTN II has the same sized screen, featuring only a quarter of the Touch Pro's (or Diamond's for that matter) pixels - where there are exactly 307,200 of them. This makes the new HTC releases one of the best WinMo devices in terms of picture quality. Those are even comparable to some of the best displays on the market, which was hard to imagine not so long ago.

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The 2.8-inch VGA display

Many would make a case of the Pro's 65K-color support "only". But hey, there aren't really that many cases when the difference between 65K and 16M colors is visible to the naked eye.

However the problem with the sunlight legibility still stands. The HTC Touch Pro by far isn't the best device to have with you in the bright sun. There is a slight improvement over the TyTN II but the result is still far from impressive.

Another potential problem with the Touch Pro (judging by our Diamond experience) is the display's proneness to scratches. As already mentioned, you can get around this by using the screen protector.

Keyboard - five rows of texting bliss

The QWERTY keyboard slides out from the left side. The sliding mechanism itself isn't the best around, a rustling metallic sound produced every time it locks in an open position. Upon opening the keypad the screen automatically rotates to landscape orientation.

The keyboard is brilliant, with great ergonomics. The five-row layout is a great help here and the keys are still big enough to handle comfortably. The press is solid and touch orientation is quite good so, in general, there is little reason to complain about the QWERTY keyboard.

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The keyboard is truly great

The typing experience is second to Nokia E90 only but it's mainly because size does matter here and the Nokia monster has plenty of that. So, unless you don't care what your handset does to your pocket, the HTC Touch Pro is probably your best choice for a QWERTY device.

The backlighting is strong and even enough with little reasons to moan about it.

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HTC Touch Pro in the dark

HTC Touch Pro vs HTC Touch Diamond

If you have been keeping track, by this point you would probably have noticed that the HTC Touch Pro and the HTC Touch Diamond are pretty much the same. In fact, the differences boil down to the hardware, so this might be a good time to sum them up. Here is a quick list of why one might pick any of the HTC gadgets over the other.

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The HTC Touch Pro and the HTC Touch Diamond obviously do share some genes.

Diamond over Pro

  • 7mm slimmer
  • 55g lighter
  • 4 GB internal memory
  • Fashionable glossy rear

Pro over Diamond

  • Full five-row QWERTY keyboard
  • More RAM (288MB vs 192MB)
  • Larger capacity battery
  • microSD card slot
  • LED camera flash
  • More practical back panel
  • TV out

As far as software is concerned, the HTC Touch Pro and the HTC Touch Diamond are virtually identical in terms of their latest ROMs, though there's notable evolution from the very first Diamond firmware. There are now less fly-out effects throughout the TouchFLO menu but the responsiveness and speed have been greatly improved. Some users may prefer the eye-candy of the previous ROMs to the speed of the newer ones, so it's a matter of priorities we guess.

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The Pro and the Diamond side by side

The few Touch Pro goodies that aren't shared between the devices by default have been kindly unlocked by third-party solutions in the Diamond, so there is nothing in the software to make you favor one over the other. This means that if you have been keeping track of our recent reviews, the software part might seem rather familiar.

TouchFLO

You don't have to be a hardcore WinMo geek to be familiar by now with the previous implementations of the TouchFLO UI - we saw them in the HTC Touch and the HTC Touch Cruise.

With the HTC Touch it was a launcher application in the form of a cube, controlled via finger sweeps. To that the HTC Touch Cruise added finger scrolling in applications such as Contacts, Messaging, and Internet Explorer Mobile. Users can also enjoy some fancy image flipping and zooming in the custom image gallery.

Well, HTC Touch Pro brings all that a level up - meet the TouchFLO 3D. It does offer those same things as the HTC Touch Cruise, adding however some extra cool looking Home screen that is as touch-optimized as it gets in the WinMo realm.

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The TouchFLO 3D Home tab with different wallpapers the Start menu

Just so you know, for this review we are running our Touch Pro on the latest ROM version available: 1.90.401.1. It's a standard ROM with no system tweaks applied. We have to note that we do find the TouchFLO 3D on this newer ROM faster than on the previous ones. The TouchFLO 3D is pretty responsive once you learn the various ways to control it and it only lags when for some reason you switch to the underlying Windows interface.