Windows Phone Thoughts: The Professional Touch...a Review of HTC's Touch Pro (aka AT&T Fuze)

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Professional Touch...a Review of HTC's Touch Pro (aka AT&T Fuze)

Posted by Don Tolson in "Pocket PC Hardware" @ 09:00 AM

Figure 5: The top of the unit sports only the power on/off button. As is normal on most WM6 units these days, a single push of this button puts the unit in standby mode. If you push and hold the button for a second or two, you'll be asked if you REALLY want to turn off all the power to the unit (which will cause it to soft-reset when you turn it back on.)

Figure 6: The bottom is pretty sparse as well, with the USB sync/charge/audio port, the microphone hole above it, and the soft reset button to the right, mysteriously marked with a headphone logo...

Figure 7: One of the changes HTC made from the Touch Diamond was changing the back to a rubberized surface, to make the Touch Pro much easier to hold. In the triangular piece at the top, you can see the cutouts for the camera and LED flash.

Figure 8: Here's a shot with the back removed, so you can see the locations of the camera (top centre), LED flash (just below) and speaker (to the left). Below the speaker, on the left, is the MicroSD card slot and across from that (on the right) is the SIM card slot. Note that you have to remove the back to access the MicroSD and the SIM cards. It's not such a problem for the SIM card, since I don't regularly switch this out, but having to take the back off to swap out MicroSD cards seems a bit of a hassle.

Figure 9: A side-by-side shot with my Kaiser/TyTNII/Tilt. As you can see, the Tilt is slightly longer and slightly wider than the Touch Pro, which gives the Pro its more comfortable feel in the hand. (Sorry, I forgot to clean the Pro's screen before I took this shot, but it does show you how it picks up smudges:-)

Figure 10: A side view comparison of the Pro (top) and Kaiser (bottom) shows that both units are about the same thickness. Note how HTC has removed the rounded corners on the front face of the unit in order to provide a cleaner, more professional look.

The initial look and feel of this phone has a lot of 'wow' factor to it. Both my teenaged sons thought it was pretty cool when I first unboxed it and let them work with it for a while. My eldest decided that it wasn't for him though, because he felt it was too bulky. He wants something slim and small for his phone -- feeling that even the iPhone is too big, physically. The younger one however, loved everything about the Touch Pro -- the feel, the weight, the keyboard, and especially the interface (which I'll talk about later). These reactions are probably pretty typical for most users. Some will want something that is small and easily pocketable, and others will appreciate having a very powerful all-in-one device.

Personally, I'd like the keyboard slider to be a bit stiffer, since the screen appears to wiggle when you're using it with the keyboard docked and I kind of miss the tilt feature for the screen when the keyboard is extended. Neither of these were horribly distracting though, and I was quite comfortably emailing away within a couple of minutes. Initially, I also missed having the dedicated Camera button and others (like the PTT, scroll wheel, OK, etc.) that could be mapped to specific functions but the Touchflo 3D interface makes a lot of these mappings redundant.


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