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Frontpage Slideshow | Copyright © 2006-2010 orks, a business unit of Nuevvo Webware Ltd.
Tuesday, 26 May 2009 10:59

HTC Touch roundup, Diamond, Pro and HD

Written by Muamer Odobasic


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Review: Look out iPhone

 

HTC Corp. is a company famous for its Smartphones, and often jumps out of the ordinary with innovative and modern designs. The company was founded in 1997 and very soon became a hit with leading mobile operators as well as end users around the world. HTC is also one of the fastest growing companies on the mobile phone market, but it seriously gained on popularity in the last couple of years.

Additionally, the company is well known for its work with Microsoft on advertising and popularization of Windows OS based phones.

HTC unveiled its Windows Mobile-based HTC Touch series back in June 2007, and these devices come with HTC’s TouchFLO interface, which, as the name suggests enables touch screen communication between you and your pet.

We recently received three devices from HTC’s Touch line-up – the HTC Touch HD, the HTC Touch Diamond and the HTC Touch Pro. In our today’s review we’ll mostly focus on the HTC Touch HD, while making comparisons to the other two products along the way.

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The Packaging

HTC HD touch comes in a nice black rectangle-shaped box, and its packaging differs from the one the Touch Diamond and Touch Pro use.

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Contents:

-  HTC Touch HD
-  8GB microSDHC card
-  AC Adapter
-  USB Cable
-  Stereo earphones with mic
-  Pouch Case (which comes in quite handy)
-  Battery (1350mAh)
-  Additional Stylus
-  Screen Protector
-  Getting Started CD
-  User Manual CD



Design


HTC Touch HD is extremely well designed, and the finishing touches brought the curves and the rest of the phone for that matter, to perfection. If you’re a fan of “eye-candy” phones, then this phone will prove to be a godsend, and we simply fell in love with it. What kind of a Smartphone review would this be if we didn’t mention the iPhone, but we must say that we, like many others, think that the HTC HD Touch looks better and much more robust than the iPhone, as it even has a larger and seemingly better screen.

Looks-wise, it resembles Samsung’s i900 Omnia, and the iPhone probably won’t like it as iPhone and Omnia are this devices main competition.

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The front of the screen is flush and almost the entire surface acts like a touch screen. Above the screen you’ll find a small rectangle speaker and a VGA camera for video calls.

Below the screen is the “keypad” with four keys – accept call, end call, menu and back key. These keys are flush as well, and you’ll have a feeling that they’re one with the screen.

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The top of the phone houses a 3.5 inch headphone in and the on/off key. The 3.5mm headphone in is quite a welcomed change, as this phone’s predecessors used miniUSB ports for such tasks. This will enable customers to  use just about any keyboards with 3.5 inch jack, without depending on HTC’s original ones.

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On the bottom you’ll find the miniUSB in, which serves as charge and communication port at the same time.

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The back is simple and stylish and houses the 5MP camera and another small speaker for incoming call sounds.


Specs and UI


As we already said, we tested three phones - Touch HD, Touch Pro i Touch Diamond. All three of these phones come with the same UI, but with slight variations of course.

Touch HD specs:

Platform: Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional
Processor: 528 MHz Qualcomm MSM 7201A
Memory: 288 MB RAM, 512 MB ROM
Display: 3.8-inch TFT-LCD flat touchsensitive screen at 800 x 480 pixels
Connectivity:
GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
HSDPA/WCDMA: 900/2100 MHz
Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11 b/g)
Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR and A2DP
Expansion: microSD memory card
GPS: Yes
Camera;
Main: 5 MPx with auto focus
Secondary: VGA
Audio: 3.5 mm audio jack, microphone, speaker, FM radio
Size: 4.4 in x 2.5 in x 0.47 in (115 x 62.8 x 12 mm) 
Weight: 147 grams 
Battery: 1350 mAh


Touch Diamond specs:

Platform: Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional
Processor: 528 MHz Qualcomm processor
Memory: 192 MB SDRAM, 256 MB ROM, 4 GB internal storage
Display: 2.8-inch touchscreen with VGA resolution
GPS: YES
Connectivity:
Tri-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE (900/1800/1900 MHz)
HSDPA (900/2100 MHz)
Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11 b/g),
Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR
Camera:
Main: 3.2 megapixel camera with auto focus,
Secondary:VGA videoconferencing camera
FM radio
Size: 3.9 in x 2.0 in x 0.42 in (99mm x 51mm × 10.7mm)
Weight: 110 g
Battery: 900 mAh


Touch Pro specs:

 

Platform: Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional
Processor: 528 MHz Qualcomm processor
Memory: 288 MB of RAM and 512 ROM MB
Display: 2.8-inch touchscreen with VGA resolution
GPS: YES
Connectivity:
Tri-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE (900/1800/1900 MHz)
HSDPA (900/2100 MHz)
Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11 b/g),
Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR
Camera;
Main: 3.2 megapixel camera with auto focus, and LED Flash
Secondary:VGA videoconferencing camera
FM radio
Size: 102mm x 51mm x 18.05mm Weight: 165 g
Battery: 1340 mAh

As you can see, the Touch Pro and Touch Diamond feature identical specs, although Touch Pro has some more memory and a full QWERTY slide keyboard.

While using Touch Diamond, we noticed that the lack of memory greatly affects work as the Touch Pro is much faster when opening apps and much quicker to react, if you will.

Comparing Touch HD and Touch Pro performances, there’s no difference in speed and both perform similarly. Both phones are quality products and it’s the users who’ll make their own right choice. The phones feature 288MB of RAM and 512MB of ROM. Touch Pro will get its successor next month, and the Touch Pro II will come with many improvements.

We’d say that the Touch HD is more appropriate for users who like surfing the net, watching YouTube and showing-off their new “toy”, while the Touch Pro is better for business people who are constantly on the move. We also think that Touch HD will be the only device that will qualify as iPhone competition.

Software

HTC Touch HD, just like its today’s colleagues the Touch Pro and Touch Diamond, are based on Windows Mobile 6.1 Pro platform, and the boot-up time is a bit longer than 60 seconds. Of course, in Diamond’s case it’s even more due to less memory.

The phones share the TouchFLO 3D UI, which enables users to control the phone via touch commands. Everything boils down to gestures and touches, so you’ll be flipping photos with your finger, switch songs, etc. Although this UI’s description says that you’ll easily control this device with only your fingers, it seems that isn’t the case in practice. It might also seem that HTC is aware of this and the proof of this might be found in the fact that HTC ships a small Stylus pen with these devices. HTC also ships a replacement Stylus, just in case, which we quite liked, and many iPhone users craved for such a feature. Diamond Touch comes with a small display and since the phone has no keypad, the Stylus comes as a godsend.

We found the Touch PRO’s display to tiny for adequate functionality and the full potential of its QWERTY keyboard.

Furthermore, we found all the phones to be a bit “laggy”, and you’ll find that it takes some time for these devices to register a command. Diamond was probably the worst of the lot, whereas the Touch HD and Touch PRO were far better but couldn’t steer clear of Windows Mobile 6.1’s shortcomings. Just for comparison, the G-Phone reacts to commands much better than any Windows Mobile 6.1 phone, including our today’s test subjects.

User Menus and Functions

The first menu shows a large watch together with the date and alarm time. Beneath the clock you’ll find phone call history and the calendar.

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On the bottom, you’ll find the shortcut toolbar, with various preinstalled shortcuts. Scrolling these menus is simple – select the first icon and drag left or right until you’ve reached your destination.

On the top you’ll find the Start toolbar coupled with the connection status. Just beneath the toolbar is the information on your phone operator.

The Touch HD has plenty of functions and apps, as well as room for additional Windows Mobile apps. One of the apps we’ve tried is TomTom portable navigation system for PDA and mobile phones. AGPS runs like a charm, but we’re not sure whether it’s worth €129, as that money can buy you an actual navigation system. Good thing about this is that many telecom operators provide navigation software in exchange for a contract, but €129 is still a lot of dough. On the other hand, if you choose to buy it you won’t be sorry, as the CPU is fast enough to calculate changes in one or two seconds.

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The phone comes with preinstalled Opera Browser and Internet Explorer. Both browsers ran nice, but we’ve noticed that the accelerometer doesn’t adjust the picture based on the phone position while using IE.

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Now this is where this phone shows its true colors - visiting YouTube and watching video clips. A large screen with such high resolution is something that gives this device an edge over the competition. The screen will instantly go to horizontal mode and play the video, whereas the options let you choose between the best resolution, the best data throughput or let the app automatically adapt to your connection. If you’re close to your WiFi unlimited transfer spot, be sure to check out the high resolution as this device simply shines in such applications.

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This phone uses a pop-up keyboard which can be set to look like Full QWERTY, Compact QWERTY, regular cellphone keypad and some others. Unfortunately, we found the TouchFLO 3D’s greatest weakness to be text processing, as typing with your finger is next to impossible. Of course, this might not be the case with all users, but anyone with thicker fingers will be endlessly frustrated when attempting this.


The Camera

HTC Touch HD comes with a 5MP camera with autofocus. The picture quality is pretty good, but only when environment lighting is adequate. The phone has neither flash nor a special camera key, something that HTC might want to think about in the future.

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A good thing about the camera is the so called Touch-Focus, enabling you to pick the spot for the camera to zoom. The camera can continuously capture video until you’ve ran out of space on your phone. The phone can capture video of up to 30fps, which isn’t too shabby.


Multimedia

Touch HD comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack, so you won’t depend on HTC’s original accessories, which is the case with Touch Diamond and Touch Pro. Sound quality is great and the device’s media player comes with an equalizer to further adjust your audio. The player is pretty straightforward and simple, but it packs enough functions and options.

Settings

You’ll have to adjust all the settings the first time you turn on this phone, and it gets time consuming, especially when certain things simply refuse to work in a logical manner. During internet connection setup, the phone automatically downloaded mobile internet settings and we didn’t have trouble setting up WiFi. The phone had no trouble connecting to the WiFi spot, but when we started the browser, the phone ignored the WiFi and connected to the internet via the phone operator, all the while disregarding the fact that WiFi is available.

HTC ships 2 CDs with this device, one containing the user’s manual whereas the other comes with an app for automatic synchronization with Microsoft programs on your computer. The app is simple and automatically synchronizes all your Outlook contacts, mails, as well as Windows Media Player lists.

Conclusion

HTC has made a giant leap forward with its TouchFLO interface. The phones are easy to use and HTC made sure that phone calls, picture viewing or surfing the net are made easy with touch-screen communication via your fingers or the Stylus.

Unfortunately, the phones are sometimes slower than we’d have liked, which is a direct result of Windows Mobile 6.1 Pro platform. Mini Opera and Explorer are nowhere near iPhone’s browser, but they can be put to good use. After a quick adaptation period, Touch HD phone could prove to be a great mobile internet-surf station.

Priced at €529 this is one saucy-priced device, but it’s not too different from iPhone pricing. On the other hand, this phone begs for a mobile operator contract which will melt the €500+ figure to a much more appealing €99 + 24 month contract.

If you’re a fan of Windows-based programs and are looking for an iPhone alternative, then look no further as your search is over.

Last modified on Tuesday, 26 May 2009 20:30
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