HTC Touch Pro CDMA Review
We really loved TouchFLO 3D (TF3D) when we saw it on the original, and it has only been improved on the CDMA variant. The “homescreen” is an interface in itself, and users will rarely have to venture outside of its environment. Of course the device is powered by Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional, so once you get outside of TF3D the user will find the familiar WM interface of devices past, but like we said there is often little reason to ever leave TF3D.
Along the bottom of TF3D are several tabs. The most noticeable difference between the original and Sprint’s version is that the interface is more colorful and polished. The stock background is a dark blue, as opposed to black, and the icons at the bottom are now color when selected. While you can just tap to select a tab, they do not all fit on the screen at once, so you will actually place your finger on the bar and slide right or left. The selected tab becomes larger and there is a transparent icon and text over the display to tell you what tab you are on as you glide across through the tab bar. It is very intuitive and slick, and works as advertised. The dedicated Home key on the pad will return you to the main tab whenever you wish.
The tabs have been slightly rearranged on the Pro, and like the Diamond Sprint TV has been added. In order they run: Home, People, Mail, Messages, Internet, Sprint Music, Pictures and Videos, Sprint TV, Weather, Settings, Programs. As you are swiping between the tabs the full screen animation is now in color, and each tab has a unique one.
Home tab has undergone the biggest makeover, though the overall layout is pretty much the same. Gone is the flip clock, which we weren’t crazy about to begin with, replaced with a more traditional digital clock on a translucent background. The date has been moved from the top bar to underneath the clock, and instead of the simple carrier text you have a Sprint logo so vivid it almost appears printed on the screen.
People tab lets the user set visual speed dials for their contact list. The contact’s assigned picture shows up and the user can flip through them with a swipe down or up on the screen. Messages displays SMS and MMS messages, while Mail displays email accounts. Email messages are previewed as a letter coming out of an envelope, and again the user can scroll through different messages by flicking up and down on the letter.
Internet launches the browser, but also displays the YouTube application and any user-defined favorites for quick, one touch access. The
Sprint Music tab is nearly identical to the original, but there is a link up top to the Sprint Music Store which allows users to download tracks over the air. The user can play music directly from the tab, and album art is displayed. When playing an entire album the art for each track is no longer displayed, just one, which was one of our complaints the first time around. Unlike all other iterations of the Music Store, it is web-based on the Pro. We actually prefer this latest incarnation, and the store is easy to navigate, preview and download from.
Pictures and Videos allow the user to scroll through their albums directly from the main screen. Flicking up and down moves the user through their images and movies, and tapping on one will bring it into full screen mode. When in full-screen the user can rotate the device and pictures will change orientation. Swiping your finger around the d-pad will zoom in and out, and the same gesture onscreen will produce the same results. From this tab the camera and camcorder can also be launched.
Sprint TV, which allows the user to launch that, Sprint Radio and SEE, Sprint’s made-for-mobile content.
Weather tab is very cool. It allows users to add up to 10 cities worldwide and has some slick animations for the current conditions. For instance, when it’s raining the screen will appear to get drops on it before a windshield wiper cleans them off. Flicking up and down through the cities plays different animations related to the current conditions. You can also pull the five day forecast for the location. If you want even more information it will launch the browser and take you to AccuWeather’s homepage.
Settings tab is in essence a skinned, watered down version of the standard WM settings screen. Settings available are Sync Data, Sound, Wallpaper, Communications (Comm Manager,) Data (to manage weather download options) and About. The user can also launch All Settings, which takes them to the WM settings menu with all the options. The last tab, Programs, is a simple launcher that allows the user to set up to 18 shortcuts to programs. It shows 9 per screen, to access the second screen the user simply flicks their thumb upward. The user can also launch All Programs, which is a skinned version of the WM Programs menu.
We found TF3D to be incredibly smooth on our GSM unit, but the CDMA version feels faster. HTC has issued performance updates for the original, and we’d assume these improvements were implemented in the CDMA software. It also helps that this version has more memory and a beefier processer, more on that later. While in the TF3D environment everything runs smoothly; animations, transparences and kinetic scrolling all work flawlessly. We still feel that TF3D is our favorite user interface, even though it’s really a skin rather than a proper UI. We still encourage HTC to expand it and take as much Windows out of Windows Mobile as possible.
Outside of the People tab, the phonebook on the Touch Pro is standard Windows Mobile fare. From that tab the user can launch the full phonebook, which is identical to what we have seen on past HTC WM devices, such as the Touch. The contacts are listed alphabetically by last name, though the list can be sorted by company as well. Along the right hand side is HTC’s Random Access plug-in, which displays the alphabet top down and the user can run their finger along it to select a certain letter and jump through the contact list. From the phone screen, as you begin to type a number it will match it with your contacts both numerically and alphabetically. For instance, if you type in 866 it will match any 866 numbers but also bring up anybody with a form of Tom in their name.
Contact storage is limited only by system memory, so for all intents and purposes it is limitless. Each contact can store a wealth of information, such as company, job title, picture ID, several different numbers and addresses, multiple emails and IM names, assistant and manager information, customer ID and account numbers, birthdays, anniversaries, spouse and children. And if that’s not enough, you can always add notes. In fact, if you’re on a call with a contact and you pull the stylus out the Pro will automatically launch the notepad and associate the note taken with that contact.
incoming and outgoing calls. The outgoing screen displays the contact name and phone number at the top, and to the left of that is the Picture ID (if one is not assigned a default silhouette is used.) There is a grouping of six buttons in the middle- two rows of three- which includes Hold, Add Call, Note, Mute, Speaker and Contacts. At the bottom is a large red End Call button. The incoming screen is a bit plainer; the Picture ID is centered at the top, and below is the contact name and number. A large green Answer and red Ignore button sit below that, and finally is a Mute Call option along the bottom. The Picture ID is not quite as small as a standard Windows Mobile ID is, but it’s still not large. It is larger on the incoming than outgoing screen, and with the VGA resolution the size isn’t really an issue.
Of course this all syncs neatly with Outlook, making contact management that much easier. If the user is connected to an Exchange server two-way Outlook sync can be done over the air.
Microsoft Voice Command 1.6 is included for voice dialing. It is similar to VoiceSignal, but it also does things such as announce incoming callers, events and even read your text messages to you. It’s generally a great program, but there are some issues with it recognizing what you’re saying at times. Thankfully Microsoft fixed the Bluetooth confirmation issue the program has suffered from in the past.
Again, the PIM functionality of the Pro is the same as other Windows Mobile devices. The calendar is launched from the Home tab. It can be viewed in several ways: Agenda, Day, Week, Month and Year. Adding an appointment is simple, though not exactly finger friendly. Since we’re dealing with the standard Windows Mobile interface here it is best to pull out the stylus to add events.
It is a very advanced calendar, offering everything a user would need and expect including recurrences, reminders, category grouping, sensitivity settings and much more. Notes can also be added to an event, for instance the user can set an appointment for a meeting, then take notes for that meeting within the appointment. That way, the user can simply go back to that calendar event to find the corresponding notes.
The Pro offers other essential PIM elements such as Tasks, Notes, Voice Recorder and a calculator. These programs are more basic and all work as you would expect them to. There are a few options available for Tasks, for instance setting priorities, reminders, recurrences and categories. Notes can be handwritten or entered via the various keypads. Other than that it and the rest are barebones, which is just how simple programs should be.
We love TF3D, and wish HTC had paid some more attention to the core PIM elements of the Pro as well. Finger-friendly programs like One Touch Organizer and PocketCM Contacts have made life much easier on WM devices in the past, but with the Pro’s VGA resolution they do not work properly. Hopefully the WM developer community will again rise up and offer some solutions to this problem.
1. [auly (unregistered)
have had this phone since saturday--i love it so far,,,, I am just getting all my numbers transfered,,,,there are so many things it does that i have left my laptop and aircard at home. It is going to be a little while before i get to know more about all the apps etc., but after handling the storm and omnia at the verizon store this smartphone made them look and feel like toys. Very cool for a non geek...nice touch flo over win 6.1.... 269.00 with corporate discount...