I've been using my new smartphone, the HTC Touch Pro 2, for a week now and I'd like to present some thoughts and obervations about it. This post is not intended to be a full-blown review and therefore some knowledge on the Windows Mobile 6 platform is assumed from the readers. It also helps if you are familiar with the latest TouchFLO™ 3D interface. If you haven't actually used the Touch Pro 2 yourself, I suggest watching some video reviews from Youtube before reading this post.
As background information, I've been using Windows Mobile devices from HTC since December 2006, and Touch Pro 2 is the fourth device I've had so far. The previous ones are the original TyTN, TyTN II and Touch HD.
As a brief summary, Touch Pro 2 is by far the best Windows Mobile phone I've tried and used. I won't be focusing much on the features I like on this phone, as they are pretty much covered on the video reviews listed above, but rather on the things I don't like so much. This post will be sent to the HTC customer support as well, because quite a few features listed here can be improved on future versions of TouchFLO™ 3D.
For starters, I must admit I'm not a big fan of the shiny gray battery cover and the plastic chrome around the screen. They feel quite slippery compared to the TyTN II and Touch HD matte finish on the battery cover. Besides, I prefer the atittude blackness brings into my electronics :-) Also, the magnetic stylus holder in Touch HD has a better feel to it than the more common method of using just friction to keep it in place. In my opinion, the location of the standby-button on the top left side is not the best place for it. It seems to require a bit more reaching than top right, where it was on the Touch HD, but thus far the TyTN II had it in the best place, on the right side of the screen.
The keyboard has a pretty good feel to it and it's the best phone keyboard I've used, although the buttons could have a bit more responce. The backlight reduces the readability of the keys, but that seems to be the case with all gray keyboards. What I'd like to see on a phone keyboard is the ESC-button. I don't know if the phone OS's support that, but it would be great for use in terminal emulation over SSH-connections. Additionally, the backlight of the hardware keys on the front panel is too bright. It would be nice to be able to control that somehow.
Windows Mobile 6.1 has been around for quite some time now, so it doesn't provide surprices anymore. Therefore I'll focus on the HTC's TouchFLO™ 3D interface for the software side of this post.
Starting from top left, the new Start-menu sucks. Yes, it is finger friendly, but it doesn't show enough items on the screen at once, nor does it list the recently used programs. Also, the customization options are far too limited. And yes, it is slow. Too slow. Several times I've had to tap the Start-icon three times as I've thought I didn't hit it right the first time (first tap for opening the menu, second tap to make sure I hit the icon, and third tap to open the menu again as the second tap closed it). So as you might guess, I prefer the old Start-menu.
The revamped notification area is a good idea, but it hampers some of the functionality. What I'd like to see, is the possibility to still access all the functions the notification area has had. In other words, the new Notifications-window should have buttons for accessing the Communications Manager and the Power settings. That way they would be accessible quickly from the same place they used to be.
This version of TouchFLO™ 3D has a new display for text messages in the People-section, but for some reason that display is not used if you select Reply in the Messages-section. I can imagine why that might be, but it still feels rather strange that this new functionality is not used to the full extent. Tapping the message itself opens the new display, though.
The People-section also features linking phone contacts to Facebook profiles. This way you can automatically download display pictures, birthdays, status updates and events. The display picture sync is a great feature, which I previously did with a piece of third party software. However, the Updates and Events -display doesn't really provide any customization options. It would be nice to see more of both of them on the screen at once. The Facebook status updates are even shown on the contact list, but unfortunately it takes a long time to fetch them, so it really isn't a usable feature right now. The Facebook data is updated automatically every two hours, so wouldn't it be possible to cache the status updates as well to speed things up?
Speaking of feature requests, here are some more things I'd like to see in future releases of TouchFLO™ 3D:
- Custom time intervals for automatic updates of the Facebook data, preferably separate settings for the pictures and other data.
- More detailed scheduling for all automatical updates. Perhaps something similar to the settings Active Sync has, i.e. ability to reduce usage of data during the night.
- The Stock-section already has rearrange-capability, but I'd definitely like to see that in People and Weather-sections as well.
- TouchFLO™ 3D is quite tightly tied to Opera Mobile 9.5, but have you taken into account the upcoming 9.7 release?
As a conclusion I'll just repeat that Touch Pro 2 is by far the best Windows Mobile phone I've tried, but no product is ever perfect. It will also be interesting to see how Windows Mobile 6.5 works on this phone when it is released.
I'll be posting an article on Facebook a bit later as a continuation on the Keeping in Sync -series. As you noticed, my setup has changed a bit again.
|<< <||> >>|