HTC Touch Pro2 Review

HTC Touch Pro 2

By virtue of running an “old school” OS, the HTC Touch Pro2 would be considered by many as no longer in contention. Though launched only February 2009, one and half years in the modern smartphone world can be a long time.

Coming from a new-kid-on-the-block OS, the Nokia N900, I should be able to tell whether or not the Touch Pro2 is still a credible device in today’s smartphone world. Let’s get to the meat of this review; shall we?

Key Features

  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.5 Professional
  • Size and Weight: 116 x 59.2 x 17.3 mm. 178.5 gm
  • Display: 65, 000 colors. 480 x 800 pixels, 3.6 inches resistive touchscreen
  • TouchFLO 3D finger swipe navigation, Touch-sensitive zoom bar, Accelerometer sensor for auto-rotate, Handwriting recognition
  • Processor: Qualcomm MSM7200A 528 MHz processor, 288 MB RAM
  • Data: GPRS, EDGE, 3G, HSDPA (3.6 Mbps), HSUPA (2 Mbps)
  • Camera: 3.2 MP, 2048 x 1536 pixels, autofocus
  • Connectivity: USB. Bluetooth v2.1 with A2DP
  • Text Input: Slide-out QWERTY keyboard
  • Mesaging: SMS (Threaded view), MMS, EMail, Instant Messaging
  • Web Browser: Opera Mobile 9.5, Internet Explorer Mobile
  • Large capacity Li-Ion 1500 mAh battery
  • Wi-Fi
  • Video call with secondary VGA videocall camera
  • Office documents viewing and editing
  • PDF viewer
  • Built-in modem (internet sharing)
  • TV-out

Strengths

  • Excellent and highly functional QWERTY keyboard
  • Very good display
  • Good battery life
  • Very good loudspeaker
  • Excellent video playback
  • One-handed use and fluid desktop interface

Weaknesses

  • Very poor 3.2 mega-pixel camera

First Impressions
At first sight, the Touch Pro2 looks big, but in reality is smaller than it looks. Once you hold it in your hand, it loses that huge impression a bit. By way of comparison, the TP2 is smaller (but longer) and lighter than the N900.

It is also well built and has a classy look and feel, unlike the N900’s mostly plasticky impressions. Overall, the TP2 is the kind of device you want to walk into a business meeting with, if first impressions are important.

PS: Note that I have the T-mobile version, which looks different from the regular version, though specs remain the same.

Operating System and User Interface
The TP2 runs Windows Mobile OS 6.5, a thumb-optimised version of Microsoft’s mobile platform. HTC has also added its home user interface, TouchFLO 3D on top of this to provide users with a beautiful desktop experience.

With TouchFLO 3D, I had access to contacts, calendar, mails, messages, weather updates, settings and more – all right on the TP2’s desktop. You swipe across different customisable tabs and tap to select menu items. It is all very fluid.

With the keyboard retracted, the TP2 is quite usable with one hand in many areas, which is a plus for a touchscreen device that is this big.

Form factor and Display
At first glance, all you see is a slab of glass covering most of the front of the device – much like any typical touchscreen smartphone. But then, there’s a side-sliding QWERTY keyboard lurking behind that slab.

With a slight push, the keyboard extends out – and it is a glorious keyboard. While you can use it extended straight out, it also tilts upwards at an angle if you want to use it that way.

Navigation and Text Input
Navigation is by touch and the four hardware buttons at the bottom end of the display.

For text input, there’s the superb 5-row QWERTY keyboard, onscreen software keyboard (regular and QWERTY, its your choice), and also handwriting recognition. You have the full range of options to pick from.

The QWERTY keyboard of the Touch Pro2 is now officially the best keyboard (hardware or software) that I have used on any mobile device. Scratch Nokia 9500. Scratch Nokia E90. Scratch Nokia N900. This is the keyboard to beat. Tactility is good, the keys are large and well-spaced, and there are shortcuts for everything under the sun – mail, SMS, browser, page down, page up, and other PC-style functions such as copy, cut, and paste.

I dig this keyboard and rate it 5/5.

Web Browsing
The TP2 comes with two browsers built-in. Someone should file a suit to prevent Microsoft from imposing Internet Explorer Mobile. I wouldn’t mind if it was such a good browser, the average Windows Mobile user simply never uses it. What’s the point?

Anyway, HTC was smart enough to include Opera Mobile 9.5 as the default browser on the TP2. Brilliant guys!

Opera Mobile 9.5 is finger-optimised, supports javascript, SSL, multiple tabs (I configured mine to open as many as 9 tabs), and zoom with text reflow. It lets you select text (and copy and paste), save pages, and search text on the page. Simply put, it remains a capable browser though version 10 is already available at this time.

I did download and run Opera Mobile 10 on the TP2, found it good, but it disn’t handle javascript/AJAX drop-down menus as good as v9.5 does. That was the same issue I had with v10 on Maemo. I am sticking with v9.5 on the TP2.

Opera Mobile 9.5 is not MicroB (the built-in browser on the N900, and still the best mobile browser on the block). Opera Mobile 9.5 does not have the full flash capabilities of MicroB and its page rendering is slightly inferior, but it is a capable browser still.

Email
Email on the TP2 works without issues. I didn’t have to slug it out with the OS to get Gmail and Google domains mail working on it as obtained with the N900.

Like with every other Windows Mobile device that I have used, I have no complaints with email.

Organizer and Office features
The TP2 contacts app is extensive, letting you save almost any detail to your contacts. It also comes with Facebook integration. This pulls your contacts’ Facebook status, photographs and other contact information and integrates it with their details on the device. Cool.

Even the ability to view the location of a contact via maps application is integrated into the contacts app.

There’s full Office viewing and editing out-of-the-box. There’s online backup and synchroinisation via Microsoft’s My Phone service, which works extremely well. All my previously synchronised contacts, calendar entries, and browser features from my previous Windows Mobile devices (Sony Ericsson Xperia X1, Samssung B7320, and LG GW550) were retrieved to my TP2 without issues.

If I wanted, I could opt for images, videos, music, documents and even items on my memory card to be added to the mix. Honestly, everytime that I use My Phone, I am tempted to stay with Windows Mobile. It just makes switching handsets seamless.

Synchronising with PC via ActiveSync is also available, though personally I find little use for it.

Multimedia
The TP2 is a strictly business; right? Right. And wrong.

Right first. The poor 3.2 megapixel camera is the worst thing on the TP2. As a matter of fact, if HTC had left it out with the excuse that the TP2 was strictly business, the TP2 would have been a faultless device. Just take a look at the TP2’s camera shot samples and see why HTC shouldn’t have bothered.

But camera aside, it is amazing how good this device is for multimedia consumption. That huge, lovely display makes watching movies a lovely experience. Add to that the fact that the TP2’s loudspeakers are LOUD and audio quality is good.

Unfortunately, there’s no XviD/DivX support out-of-the-box, but 3rd party solutions for that exist. Still, let me say this: if you ever have the opportunity to watch a movie on the TP2, don’t miss it.

Music playback is good as well, but I wish that HTC had put in a 3.5 mm audio slot. The supplied earpiece set is just not up to scratch. I wouldn’t use it if my life depends on it.

Battery Life
For a powerful device totting a 3.6-inch touchscreen display and consistently connected to a 3G network, the TP2’s 1500 mAh battery delivers the goods.

I have the device connecting to my mail server every 5 minutes, and using the device the way I do, I find myself not having to nurse the device in order to make it through a day. I cannot say the same of the N900. With the N900, I had to disconnect from the 3G network, set mail polling to 30, 60 or 120 minutes, turn off some desktop items, etc in order to keep the device alive till 5 p.m.

While I love the N900’s feature set and fluid interface, I live in the real world and have better things to do than nurse a mobile device through a busy day. The battery life of the TP2 is a breath of fresh air. I need no compromises to use this device to the max.

Customisation
Windows Mobile has thousands of applications available for customising your device to your needs. Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s appstore, MarketPlace, hasn’t been a hit in any way, but its there and you can download and install a range of apps from there.


If you have a Windows Mobile device, what you should not miss is OMarket, a 3rd party appstore that trounces Microsoft’s Windows Mobiile MarketPlace in every way – including number of apps and usability. Best of all, all apps there are freeware.

Besides 3rd party apps, one of the most unique characteristics of Windows Mobile is the active modding community. You can mod your device and flash it with a wide range of custom ROMs available from a number of online communities, including the popular XDA Developers where I am a member too (though I’m mostly dormant).

Even camera performance can be enhanced somewhat via modding and tweaking with the device’s registry settings or available hacks from the community. That is the beauty and strength of Windows Mobile. You can take a device and transform it into almost anything you want.

Miscellaneous
The TP2 also has GPS and there’s Google Maps pre-installed to put that to use. Alternatively, there’s Garmap for Mobile if you want something more comprehensive.

As a phone, call quality is good. There is little to dislike about the TP2 once you get past the terrible camera performance and the lack of a 3.5 mm headset.

Conclusions
Do I like the Touch Pro2? Like crazy!

It has all my needs checked – and very well too. The integrated package that delivers a powerful desktop-like web, email and office experience without making me paranoid about battery life has me sold.

I think I’ll keep this one over the N900.

Likes(0)Dislikes(0)

BlackBerry Browser Tips

The current BlackBerry browser may not be exactly a wonder, but that doesn’t mean that it has not got user-friendly features.

Here are some BlackBerry browser tips for you BB users out there. While browsing, you can use the following keyboard shortcuts for faster (or easier) web browsing:

  1. Bring up the Enter Web Address field from any Web page by pressing the G key.
  2. Insert a period in Web address by clicking the Space key.
  3. Insert a back slash in Web address by clicking either the Left Shift or Right Shift keys and then hitting Space.
  4. Add an item to bookmarks list by clicking the A key.
  5. Bring up your bookmark list by clicking the K key.
  6. Refresh a Web page by clicking the R key.

Tips courtesy of The Jared CompanySmartphone Specialists

Likes(0)Dislikes(0)

Say Hello to Ovi Browser beta for S40

Nokia has introduced the Ovi Browser beta for Series 40 phones to help meet the needs of mobile Internet users in emerging markets and around the world. We believe users of Series 40 should be entitled to rich web browsing experiences like those of smartphones, but without the same price tag.

Ovi Browser brings rich web browsing to Series 40 devices that’s fast, easy, and saves on data charges. The browser is powered by patented cloud-based Internet compression technology that delivers advanced web pages to your phone. As a result, pages show up quicker than ever and over the air data usage is reduced up to 90%. Beyond performance, the browser includes an innovative user interface that makes it easy to access your favorite content directly from the start page without having to hunt through menus.

Supported Phones

The Ovi Browser is only supported on select Series 40 devices. Supported S40 devices include:

Nokia 2700 Classic, Nokia 2730 Classic, Nokia 3120 Classic, Nokia 3600 Slide, Nokia 5130 XpressMusic, Nokia 5220 Xpressmusic, Nokia 5310 XpressMusic, Nokia 5330 Mobile TV Edition, Nokia 5330 Xpressmusic, Nokia 5610, Nokia 6300i, Nokia 6303, Nokia 6500 Slide, Nokia 6500 Classic, Nokia 6600 Slide, Nokia 6700 Classic, Nokia 7210 Supernova, Nokia 7900 Prism, Nokia X3

Key Features

  • Fast page load times
  • Over the air data usage reduced up to 90%
  • Three view modes – Full Page View, Zoomed-in View, Column View
  • Integrated search on start page with selectable list of search engines
  • Favourites
  • Browsing and Search history
  • URL and Form auto completion
  • Snap to text during scrolling
  • Speed scrolling using numeric keypad
  • Automatically jumps to the main content on a page to reduce scrolling
  • One click jump to login and search in Column View
  • Page segmentation in Column View to simplify navigation

You can download Ovi Browser beta version by going to http://browser.ovi.com on your current mobile browser

Likes(0)Dislikes(0)

Etisalat goes live on Main One

Etisalat Nigeria says that new and existing customers on their network are sset to enjoy enhanced service as they are now live on the submarine fibre optic cable system run by Main One Cable Company.

Etisalat logoThis makes Etisalat the first telecoms company to connect to Main One.

In a related news item, Globacom has announced that their own submarine cable system, Glo 1, will go live in August. That’s some days from now.

Telecoms subscribers have waited in anticipation to experience the difference that these two submarine cable systems will have on both uality of service and tariffs. The wait continues.

Likes(0)Dislikes(0)

LG KP500 “Cookie” Auction Sale [Sold]

We have a unit of LG’s bestselling touchscreen budget phone, the KP500 “Cookie”, available for sale. The device is in very neat condition and has the following accesssories with it:

  • Battery
  • Charger
  • Headset
  • USB cable


Specifications of the KP500 include:

  • 3-inch TFT 240×400 pixel display
  • 48mb internal memory plus microSD slot
  • GPRS/EDGE data
  • Bluetooth 2.1; USB port
  • 3.2 megapixel camera
  • Java
  • Document viewer (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF)
  • 900 mAh battery
  • Stereo FM radio

Current market price for brand new boxed device is about 16, 500.00

Initial bid price is: N8, 000.00

You can submit your bid by posting in the comments section. Please include your GSM number, so that we can contact you if necesarry.

The highest bid wins. If there is only one bidder, that individual wins.

Bidding is open to individuals based anywhere within the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

  • Preferred bidders must pay for and collect the phone from our office in Ojodu (not Ogudu), Lagos within 48 hours of announcement of a winner.
  • Alternatively, a successful bidder resident outside Lagos can pay by bank deposit into a designated bank account and also arrange for the phone to be sent to him by courier at his own cost and bearing all risks associated with delivery.
  • If a preferred bidder fails to meet the deadline, the next highest bidder will be contacted to pick up the phone.

The bidding is now on.

Likes(0)Dislikes(0)

HTC Touch Pro2 Camera Samples

tp2-cam


“The Touch Pro2 has a 3.2 megapixel camera – and it looks like a poor one too.”

From HTC Touch Pro2 Camera Samples, posted by Yomi Adegboye on 6/02/2010 (5 items)

Generated by Facebook Photo Fetcher


This is one 3.2 megapixel camera that fails to impress. Everything looks washed out and bland.

Likes(0)Dislikes(0)

Battery Life on the HTC Touch Pro2

tp2-mine

Back in May, I published my review of the N900’s battery life.

While an awesome device, the N900 has been somewhat crippled by the smaller capacity battery (1320 mAh) that Nokia fitted it with. It is passable, but somewhere along the line, it will get to you.

In my extreme test, the N900 shut down after two hours.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to see how well the HTC Touch Pro2 with its 1500 mAh would do. I left home at 6.45a.m. with a 95% battery charge, and kept a Bluetooth headset connection active all the way on a 2-hour journey to Ilaro. The Bluetooth connection was also active on the return journey of another 2 hours.

Meanwhile, the TP2 was connecting to my email server every 5 minutes. I managed three calls and a handful of SMSs. At Ilaro, I also took 18 pictures.

On return to Lagos, I headed straight to church and then to my sister’s place. I didn’t get home till after 5p.m., and I had 30% battery power left. Running the N900 with 5-minute email connections alone would have killed the battery hours before this time. To get through the day, I had to make do with setting the N900 to connect every at intervals of 15, 30 or 60 minutes, depending on the circumstances.

This morning, I gave the TP2 an extreme test – with 5-minute email connections over a 3G network, 10 SMSes, two calls running into 10 minutes, plus watching a 1 hour 37 minute movie, Unthinkable, on the TP2.

Well, after all that, I still had 40% power left. Thereafter I had to dash out. Certainly, the TP2 battery life is looking very good compared to the N900’s. Not bad for a device with a 3.6-inch display and very loud speakers.

Likes(0)Dislikes(0)

Social networking with Starcomms’ Hisense C1110

Starcomms now offers the Hisense C1110, a budget device that gives users access to the following online social networking services:

  • Facebook
  • Chat services
  • Skype
  • Twitter
  • Google talk
  • Yahoo messenger
  • Hi5

Other specifications of the device include:

  • Qwerty Keypad phone
  • 2.4″ 320×240 TFT landscape LCD
  • 1.3 mega pixel camera
  • Bluetooth
  • MP3/MP4 & FM radio
  • 1000 phone contacts
  • Speaker/Call recorder/Blacklists
  • Mini-USB interface
  • Supporting max 8GB micro-SD storage
  • 1000mAh Battery

The C1110 is currently available for N9,999 from Starcomms. Users will need internet access subscription to enjoy those social networking services.

If interested, visit a Starcomms shop as soon as you can. There is an ongoing promo that gives you free 100 hours internet, plus a chance to win a 42” inch TV.

Likes(0)Dislikes(0)

Nokia N900 versus HTC Touch Pro2

n900-tp2

I just got my hands on a HTC Touch Pro2, a device that is very much like the Nokia N900. Of course, the logical thing was to do a face-off between the two mobile computers.

Feature N900 Touch Pro2
Platform Maemo 1.2 Windows mobile 6.5
Dimensions 110×59.8x18mm 116x59x17mm
Weight 181 gm 179 gm
Display 3.5″ resistive, 800 x 480 pixels 3.6″ resistive, 480 x 800 pixels
Camera 5mp, Dual LED light, autofocus 3.2mp
Web Browser MicroB Opera Mobile 9.5
CPU 600 MHz 528 MHz
Internal Disk 32GB 300MB
RAM 256 MB 288 MB
Office Editing X Full Editing Suite
QWERTY Keyboard 3-row 5-row
Battery 1320 mAh 1500 mAh

Summary
Right off the bat –

  1. N900 has the better camera
  2. N900 has better built-in web browser – MicroB (also has the best 3rd party browser – Firefox Mobile)
  3. N900 has better internal memory – 32GB
  4. N900 has a 3.5mm audio jack
  5. N900 has more vibrant display

On the other hand –

  1. TP2 has the better keyboard
  2. TP2 has the better battery life
  3. TP2 has better and louder stereo speakers
  4. TP2 has built-in full Office editing suite
  5. TP2 has a slightly larger display
  6. TP2 is slightly more compact and lighter

Your Choice?
If you were presented with an opportunity to own either of the devices, looking at the table and summary of advantages above, which of them will be your choice?

Likes(0)Dislikes(0)

Hands-on with MobiNigeria app for Symbian

For the first time in a long while, I got my hands on a Symbian device for a period of time. It didn’t even occur to me that I had yet to try out our very own MobiNigeria app for Symbian.

Eventually, I got a reminder while browsing the Mobility Nigeria Facebook page.

First, I launched the Ovi Store app on my Symbian device and ran a search for “MobiNigeria”. The app came up first strike.

Clicking on the search result led to a detailed description and download link. The page also features screenshots, user reviews and a list of related downloads.

Well, so far, the MobiNigeria app has one review – and it is a good one 🙂

Anyway, I downloaded the app and ran it on my device. I think that I was taken aback at how good it looked and at the user interface. I actually find myself wanting to have a Symbian device just because of this app!

Lastly, here’s the MobiNigeria app in the Symbian menu

If you own a Symbian device, have you downloaded and installed the MobiNigeria app to your device yet? Give it a try. Launch the Ovi Store on your device and search for “MobiNigeria”.

Some Statistics
There were 46 active users of this app in the last 30 days and 186 page views from the app in the same period. A small start. We look forward to seeing greater usage.

The Future
The organisers of MobiFEST Nigeria have requested for a demonstration of the MobiNigeria app for Symbian at the 2010 event. Also, dont forget that I will be speaking at the occassion as well.

Likes(0)Dislikes(0)

Say Hello to the new Etisalat EasyStarter

Etisalat has repackaged their popular EasyStarter product. The new package now combines a mix of various benefits, including free airtime, Homezone and Receiver Pays, among others.

Bonus-on-incoming Calls is another unique and first-of-its-kind offer in Nigeria. Customers get 1 free minute for every 3 minutes of calls they receive from other networks in Nigeria. They can use the free minutes they get to call any other network in Nigeria.

You & Me allows easy starter customers enjoy N300 “free credit” every week to call a loved one’s etisalat number anytime. All a customer has to do to enjoy this fantastic offer is to recharge with a minimum of N200 in a week and then register the Etisalat number of their ‘special person’ by dialling *233*1*etisalat number#. They will get the N300 worth of “free credit” during the week they recharged up to N200, to speak to the number they have registered. The credit can only be used to call the registered You & Me number. Validity period for the N300 credit is 7days.

Homezone allows you make calls for as low as N24/minute to all networks in the location you make most of your calls. Enjoy this benefit simply by dialing *242 # or call 242 at your preferred location. Change your homezone location by dialing *242# or calling 242 in the new preferred location. To check if you are in your homezone dial*243# and to query your homezone name *2430#. This service is open to only subscribers.

Receiver Pays is another innovation from Etisalat, Receiver Pays gives you the opportunity to have friends and family members pay for the calls you make to them. Receiver pays allows you make calls to anyone even without “credit”!

Likes(0)Dislikes(0)