The HTC Touch Pro2 aims to be all things to all people by combining a large touchscreen with a roomy, slide-out Qwerty keyboard. But, available for free on a £35-per-month contract with Orange or around £450 SIM-free, it's quite pricy. Is it good enough to justify its high asking price?
The Pro2 is one of the largest and heaviest phones we've seen in quite some time. It's significantly bulkier than other phones with slide-out keyboards, such as the Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 and even HTC's own S740. There's a reason for this, though -- the Pro2 boasts a large touchscreen and features a much more spacious keyboard than either of those two models.
The handset's large size works against it when it comes to looks, but at least HTC has tried to add a touch of pizzazz by framing the display with a curved chrome band that's very reminiscent of the iPhone's. The Pro2 loses marks due to its plasticky and cheap-looking silver battery cover, though.
Great screen and keyboard
On the plus side, the Pro2's screen really is a beauty to behold. Like HTC's Touch HD, it's got a very high resolution of 480x800 pixels, so text and graphics look incredibly crisp and sharp. As it's also extremely bright, colours really leap out at you from the display. It certainly makes the screens on other popular smart phones, such as the iPhone, pale in comparison.
But it's not just the Pro2's display that's impressive. The keyboard is excellent too. It slide outs from the case and clicks into place satisfyingly. Unlike with most devices of this type, once the keyboard's out, you can adjust the tilt of the display to get a better viewing angle while typing. The relatively large size of the Pro2 means HTC's been able to equip it with a much roomier keyboard than you usually find on devices of this ilk. As a result, the keyboard's a real pleasure to type on. You can use it quite comfortably for typing out long emails or editing work documents on the go.
TouchFLO saves the day
Unfortunately, the phone runs Microsoft's dreaded Windows Mobile operating system. On the plus side, HTC has preloaded the Pro2 with the latest version of its TouchFLO user interface. This provides larger on-screen icons and menus, making the whole thing much more finger-friendly. Unlike previous versions of TouchFLO, this latest version also changes the default Windows Mobile menus so they display with larger text and icons. Consequently, TouchFLO now feels like it's integrated much more tightly into the phone.
As the Pro2's screen doesn't support iPhone-style multitouch, HTC has added a touch-responsive zoom control at the bottom of the screen. It works really well with the excellent Opera Web browser and is probably the next best thing to the iPhone's pinch-to-zoom feature.
In terms of hardware, the handset is very well-specified. As with the majority of HTC phones, it's powered by Qualcomm processor running at 528MHz, backed up by 288MB of RAM. For storing programs and files, you get a further 512MB of built-in memory, but this can be bumped up with microSD cards. As well as quad-band GSM support, it also has HSDPA for fast Web browsing when you're on the move, plus Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1. HTC has also included GPS and, although there's no navigation software supplied with the phone, the GPS does work very well with the free Google Maps application.
Battery life from the 1,500mAh power pack is also decent. During our test period, we got around 2 days of standard use out of the phone before it needed a recharge.
The HTC Touch Pro2 is rather big and bulky, which might put some people off. If you can live with its chunky dimensions, however, you'll be rewarded with a large, high-resolution touchscreen and spacious keyboard that mean you can reply to long emails or edit work documents without having to fire up a laptop.
Edited by Charles Kloet