Review of the HTC Touch Pro Pocket PC with Windows Mobile 6.1

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Staring at the HTC Touch Pro is an easy task thanks to the Pocket PC’s superb use of clean lines, glossy finish, and minimalistic features with classy accents that only HTC can offer at the high level of satisfaction found on the Touch Pro.

If you’re unfamiliar with HTC the company has become the world lead in Windows Mobile based devices, you may have heard the HTC name via the Cingular 8525 or the AT&T Tilt (Unlocked its known as the HTC Tilt). Essentially the HTC Touch Pro combines the best of the HTC brands, featuring cutting edge connectivity, along with enough business and entertainment features to keep even the most stubborn phone enthusiast happy.

Design and Build Factor

I’ll start my review by giving a quick walk around of the device.

First looking at the front side of the device users will quickly notice that the unit features very few buttons or other additions. Above the devices 2.8 inch screen sits the speaker for listening to calls, below the screen is a set of four buttons, the top left button features the device home key which brings users to the popular HTC Home screen, on the opposite right handed side is the back arrow. Below those keys on the left is the Send Call key, while the right offers the End Call feature. In between those keys is a D-Pad button with a surrounding D-Pad arrow pad that features easy to press keys and is flush with the rest of the front side.

Looking to the left users will notice that once again the design is simple and clean (a pronounced them on the Touch Pro) the left side simply features a volume rocker with an up and down area, using this option you can increase and decrease the volume and if you move down far enough you can set the vibrate and silent functions as well.

The right side of the device then features a magnetic stylus which is well built into the device.

The top of the unit offers the Power button which also takes the phone out of and puts it in standby mode.

Looking to the back of the unit users will find the 3.2 mega pixel camera with a flash. The camera is accented by a silver design which I found to be the only mis-step on the device. The silver lining draws attention to the camera, but offers very little in the overall design.

Next the botton of the device holds the units EXT USB port which can be used for charging the device, for data syncing via a USB cable (which comes included with the Touch Pro), and for listening to the included stereo wired headset.

Finally by sliding the device open users can reveal the 5 row Qwerty Keypad, the keys on the keypad are raised for easy typing, and the Function key allows users to quickly launch popular features such as the internet via Internet Explorer and the wireless connectivity features via a Comm. Manager shortcut. Overall the keyboard is well backlit, offers great quick launch functions, and the landscape mode on the device launches quickly when the keyboard gets slide to open mode.

Aside from the actual look of the Touch Pro i’m very impressed with the build factor, the unit is a little thicker than other Touch series devices due largely in part to the built-in GPS function. The keyboard slides well on command and the sliding mechanism appears to be very well built. I also found the Stylus to be of great quality, with a magnetic touch that helps secure the pointer device with ease. The screen is flush with the device and the touch quality is of the highest standards. Overall an excellent build.

HTC Touch Pro Features

There are literally a ton of cool features on the Touch Pro. For the sake of this review I picked a few of my favorite based on the features I found to be the most useful.

The first feature I loved was the GPS functionality of the unit. The Touch Pro features a Sirf III built-in GPS processor, this means you can use paid software such as TomTom Navigator, or freeware applications such as the astonishing Google Maps, either way you have instant access to GPS features. The device also features Assisted GPS which uses cell phone tower information to pinpoint your location, of course you’ll want an unlimited data plan for that option, or in the least it requires some type of mobile data connection. The GPS makes the device a little thicker, but with GPS satellite connections happening on average in under 15 seconds I would have to call the offering very capable.

The next feature is the use of HTC TouchFlo technology. If your unfamiliar with TouchFlo its basically an option that allows you to use finger swipes for each access to programs such as your Media Files, Contacts, Web Pages, etc. Thanks to the Touch Pro’s ultra fast processor and tons of memory the TouchFlo operation is better on the Touch Pro than base touch devices such as the Touch Diamond or the Touch Dual units.

Opera Mini is also present on the unit. I would highly recommend using this option as it will allow for page zooming, faster page loads than Mobile Internet Explorer, and better bookmarking capabilities than any Mobile Browser currently available. Overall Opera Mini is a welcomed addition to any cell phone and its use on the HTC Touch Pro is no different.

HTC Home Screen - If you haven’t used an HTC Device the home screen is the main skin featured on the front screen of the device, the Touch Pro features a large clock that is easily customizable by clicking on the clock. The unit also features TouchFlo 3D technology right on the front bottom part of the screen for easier navigation than ever before.

Finally Windows Mobile 6.1 is also very much welcomes, with 6.1 you receive access to Exchange Server 2007 support, threaded text messaging, better third party applications do to optimized API’s, and the ability to take advantage of a cleaner interface that runs faster than previous models. Check out my full article on the Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional Upgrade to learn more

HTC Touch Pro Connectivity Options

Connecting to the world around you with the HTC Touch Pro won’t be an issue. In terms of calling capabilities the Touch Pro features Quad-Band GSM (850/900/1800/1900mhz) connectivity, which means you can make calls worldwide. The calling on the device was pretty clear with very little background noise.

The device also features HSDPA/WCDMA 900/2100mhz 3G data access which means international 3G is available, however U.S. and Canada customers are out of luck and will instead have to utilize the much slower Edge and GPRS connections, a disappointment on such an expensive device.

Aside from the calling and internet bands the Touch Pro also features WiFi 802.11 b/g internet access. I connected quickly on my WEP Secure home network and found the speeds to be right on part with the WiFi speeds suggested. I also connected to several unsecure hotspots and found the same results. The Wireless Communications Manager on the device makes turning WiFi on and off a breeze and it connects in a matter of seconds. If you don’t want to use Edge or GPRS this is a great backup when WiFi networks are available.

The next connection option I tested was the USB slot, data syncing via ActiveSync was a breeze and offered fast download and upload times, while connecting the headset to the bottom of the device was also simple and allowed for quick playing of audio files.

The device also features Bluetooth 2.0 which means up to 6 devices can be connected to the pocket pc at a time, if users utilize different COM ports for each device.

Finally the Touch Pro features a MicroSDHC card slot that’s expandable up to 8GB of added memory. The memory slot also features fast upload and download speeds and can be easily placed into many computers both desktop and laptop versions if the slot is available on the computer, meaning you can easily transfer your files between multiple devices.

Overall the connectivity available on the HTC Touch Pro is above average, offers quick connect options that are easy to set up and perfect for experts and beginners alike.

HTC Touch Pro Audio Features

As a self proclaimed audiophile I would have really liked to see a 3.5mm headphone jack, or even a 2.5mm headphone jack would have been appreciated. However despite that one shortcoming I actually found the Touch Pro to be a very competent device for audio support. The unit features support for popular formats such as MP3, AAC, AAC+ and WMA files, all of which I tested and found each to play with very little to no background noise.

The media player on the device also is very well laid out. I was able to search for my songs via Artist, Album, Genre and even by creating and then selecting my own playlists.

The interface for the Windows Mobile Media Player are also much improved, actually they have an iPhone feel to them, and users can easily navigate through their options using the devices finger swiping TouchFlo 3D technology, which makes finding the music you want easier than ever.

The device comes equipped with a stereo wired headset that plugs into the bottom of the device via the USB port, song were clear, however the bottom loaded option was not appreciated as it meant putting the device in my pocket upside down when I was walking, I would have liked to have a side loaded option.

Next the unit features Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP which means easy access to stereo streaming capabilities, I was able to easily connect my Motorola S9 headset to the device and music streamed across the platform came through loud and clear.

Outside of connecting to the device the speakerphone option came in nice and loud, while listening to music over the speaker was suitable, however a louder speaker could have been implemented.

Overall the audio option is well organized and allows for a lot of connectivity which is welcomed. I liked the audio quality and the ability to use my Motorola S9 headset. If you don’t need ultra complex audio options and you want easy connectivity this may be the option for you.

HTC Touch Pro Display

The Touch Pro features a 2.8 inch touch screen with VGA capabilities and an impressive backlight. By far the Touch Pro screen is the best i’ve seen on an HTC device. I personally like that the screen is completely flush with the unit and that finger swiping is easily implemented. Overall its a great screen, there’s really not a lot to say outside of that.

HTC Touch Pro Camera

The Touch Pro features a 3.2 megapixel camera that I must admit I was happy to use. Aside from flash features the device took decent pictures that had very little under and overtones. I found the zoom feature on the camera was adequate, but could have been better, while the video recording function was as good as that offered on the HTC TyTN II device. The unit also features white balancing, and different camera options such as Sepia, Black and White, Etc.

The Touch Pro also features a secondary frontside loaded VGA camera for video conferencing that connects in seconds and offers quick on the fly conferencing.

If you need a robust camera I would suggest looking further. However if you want a simple to use option the Touch Pro may be the way to go.

The Wrap Up

Featuring an ultra fast 528MHz processor and 512MB Rom with 288MB RAM the Touch Pro is a robust device that delivers on its promise of usability. The qwerty keyboard is easy to use and offers great shortcut functionality, and the sleek design highlights the progress of HTC towards devices such as the HTC Touch Pro that offer business and entertainment functions in compact designs with excellent build factors. Featuring Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional doesn’t hurt the ability to streamline your business on the go either.

If you need a competent device and you want a hidden away QWERTY Keyboard I would definitely put the HTC Touch Pro at the top of my list.