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HTC Touch Pro 2 Review (Windows Mobile 6)

By Dale Reagan | August 31, 2009

When searching for information on on the latest batch of Windows Mobile phones (summer 2009) it is easy to get confused  – it seems that some phone models with the same names are not actually the same.  I downloaded the HTC Touch Pro 2 manual from the HTC web site – after reviewing the manual I found that some features/applications were missing/different in the phone that I have?:

UPDATE – 9/3/09 –  some of the items below described as missing/different are the result of using the TouchFlo Bar (bottom of the screen) on the phone.  While the bar does provide relatively quick access to some of the phone features it is not full-featured, i.e. the Window Mobile calendar provides daily/weekly/monthly/yearly views while the TouchFlo calendar only provides Month/day; also there is no link to jump to the complete calendar from the TouchFlo calendar display.)  This lack of full access to tools has me using Start–>whatever to reach programs (including reading email; the notification ‘pane’ is a pain IMO… – the phone interface for programs would benefit from features on phones like the Android or iPhone – i.e. single click access via on-screen icons as well as screen-flipping/sliding to reach groups of resources; perhaps Windows Mobile 6.5 will improve the user interface experience.

Update – 9/16/09 – You can dis-able the TouchFLO 3D interface by selecting:  Start –> Settings –> Personal –> Today –> Items; un-check TouchFLO 3d and then you can choose from the other options – while TouchFLO 3D is enabled the other options are not available.

When the phone arrived I found the T-Mobile version of the manual  on the CD – of course it does not mention either of the above missing items but it does explain the SIM card install procedure.  There may be other missing items/features on various branded cell phones so I suggest that you request the complete manual from your Cell provider if you wish to conduct a more thorough review prior to purchase.

So, what’s right with the Touch Pro2?

If you read my comments on the Android G2 phone (T-mobile MyTouch) then you know that I have been happily using my HTC MDA (Windows Mobile 5.0) phone for some time.  It recently began some bad behaviours (failing hardware) so I have been looking for  a replacement.  My smart phone requirements are simple (at least that’s how I see them) – the smart phone should:

After being disappointed with the Android G2 I am hoping for a better encounter with the Touch Pro2 – the current results are:

Camera

Web Experience (browsing with IE and Opera)

Both Internet Explorer and Opera were installed on this device.  Based on limited testing (visiting various web sites) neither browser provides enough simple control over the display (but Opera does provide some options.)  The MDA provided three viewing options including:  a) single column, b) default and c) full (as if you were on your PC.)  You could also disable the display of images.  Some comments about Opera and IE on the Touch Pro2:

Tweaks/Customization

At this time the number of applications seems to be somewhat sparse and they seem to be a bit pricey compared to Google Android applications.  It’s somewhat annoying that a user would need to scour the Internet to locate useful information about these devices – why don’t manufacturers provide this level of information?  For instance I found several utilities (free) which can be used to make sensible adjustments to the Touch Pro2 including:

To customize the IE default home page (as well as add any new entries to the TouchFlo Web site list) you have to edit the file:  \Application Data\Manila\InternetPortal-en-us.xml. I copied the file to my PC, edited it and then copied it back to replace the original (you might want to make a backup…)   You can add/remove/re-order the OperatorLinks in the file.

What’s Missing/Different?

  1. on the MDA the status bar on the top of the display contained Active Icons – select them to make changes (turn WiFi off with two presses, adjust time, speaker, volume.) Contrast with the Touch Pro2 and everything is multi-step…
  2. on the MDA the battery and network icons are on the bottom of the screen – one click to access.  Contrast with the Touch Pro2 and everything is multi-step…

Email management/notices

  1. on the Touch Pro2 you get an email notification.
  2. you tap the notification bar (top of phone.)
  3. you select the email notification.
  4. you wind up on an open envelope and you can read the subject, the sender’s email address and a portion of the text. (Note – 4 clicks for Start–> Messaging –> Select Email account –> Select message…)
  5. you click on the message and it opens.
  6. you select Menu.
  7. choices pop up and you make your selection.
  8. delete is the top choice (should be on the bottom of the list – or there should be a way to customize the order of menu options…)
  9. there is no quick way to view the contents of the Inbox if you use the TouchFlo access to mail (an add-on by HTC?)  You can, however use Start–>Messaging–>Select Email account  but it still lacks basic folder management…  🙁
  10. No batch delete by hi-lighting a set of messages?  (worked on the MDA…)

Contrast the above to the Email notification process and email management on the MDA (Windows Mobile 5.0):

  1. you get an email notification on the bottom of the screen.
  2. your choices are View or Dismiss (Note that I had to get to step 4 above for the same information.)
  3. if you only have one message in your inbox then you see who sent it and the subject (again, this is at step 2…)
  4. if you select View then you can select Menu and manage things more efficiently/directly, i.e. view your Inbox, create folders, move mail to alternate folders, change email accounts – in short much better/easier management of emails – IMO.  Why the change from a solid, working solution???

** Overall, I think that this version of mail is a step backwards – toooooo many steps to do simple things (BUT, I can sync with Outlook! AND I can empty the trash – two things the G2 could not directly do…)

** UPDATE – Actually, if you use Start–>[Messaging–>Account] you get the same options as in Windows Mobile 5.0; The same for Calendar – to get full display functions use:  Start–>Calendar – the new ‘bar’ across the bottom of the screen (TouchFlo Tabs do not provide full-featured access to the applications that they link to – they provide an optional interface which while somewhat convenient is lacking IMO – I prefer full features…)

Reminders

You have two options – Snooze or Dismiss;  Snooze seems to snooze for ~5 minutes – there are no options for changing the snooze duration (i.e. as if you were looking at an Outlook reminder – which is what I was expecting and wanting…)

Using the Phone

Outgoing calls – The call button brings up a dial pad plus a list of recent calls – to get to Speed Dial you have to select Menu–> Speed Dial (where’s the speed with this!  Why not display  Speed Dial as the number one option?)  You can change your View to Speed Dial l (but the speed dial list is mostly covered by the dial pad (hmm, if I want to see the speed dial list do I need a keypad???) when you open the phone application – perhaps there is a tweak to change this behaviour…)

USB connection

When connected via  a USB cable with a computer running Microsoft ActiveSync the two devices will ‘sync up’ (if configured to do so.)  You also get gateway connectivity to the Internet so your browsing and email are passing through your PC to the external source.  If you connect the Touch Pro2 to your Linux box (you do have one, yes?) then it should be possible to configure a network gateway as well.

Charging the battery via a USB connection is slow – use the AC connector – it is many times faster (based on my limited testing; so when you travel carry the very small AC adaptor and your USB cable and plug in for a few minutes, i.e. while taking a coffee break.)

WiFi Performance is quite good (and faster than using USB.)

Incoming calls are SUPER – answer the call and select Speaker (or other options.)

Wish list

Summary – overall – still trying out the phone…

Update – New, Windows Mobile 6.5 announced Monday, 8/20/09 – looks like it may address some of the user interaction items mentioned above (i.e. a new IE browser version and more on-screen access – reducing the number of steps to reach a desired feature/program – checking on upgrade/update options…)

Topics: Computer Technology, Media and Communications, Mobile Web, Problem Solving, Web Technologies | 2 Comments »

2 Responses to “HTC Touch Pro 2 Review (Windows Mobile 6)”

  1. Jon Says:
    December 5th, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    Did you ever find a fix to this? bought driod and took back because of the sync issues wth calander as well as the lack of snooze options. They said i needed windows mobile device. Get this and the same reminders issue?

    Reminders

    You have two options – Snooze or Dismiss; Snooze seems to snooze for ~5 minutes – there are no options for changing the snooze duration (i.e. as if you were looking at an Outlook reminder – which is what I was expecting and wanting…)

    Also any luck on findng out when 6.5 is available?

  2. Dale Reagan Says:
    December 5th, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Hi Jon,
    No, no solution to the snooze problem. Regarding 6.5 – no word other than it is supposed to be available…

    Note that I have somewhat extensive review of Android on this site – I still think that it is an interesting device – just not biz/privacy ready…
    🙂
    Dale


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