While the current generation of super smartphones like the Apple iPhone 3G and Nokia N97 brilliantly blur the lines between work and play, HTC’s latest Windows Mobile device, the Touch Pro 2, is built for the boardroom.
This powerhouse flies the flag for hard-nosed suits everywhere, wearing its business credentials in the form of a unique Straight Talk conference call speaker phone, a massive 3.8in tilting touch screen and a sliding QWERTY keyboard for messaging, with honour.
Measuring as wide as the iPhone 3G S and carrying the bulk of the N97, it’s clear the Touch Pro 2 has indulged in one too many power lunches. The original handset certainly had weight issues but this second generation model is an absolute beast, tipping the scales at a pocket destroying 187.5 grams.
HTC’s TouchFLO 3D interface completely replaces the fiddly WinMo menu system and the latest version is even more finger-friendly thanks to a highly customisable icon based Start menu.
Touch and go
Its predecessor’s touch sensitive navigation pad has been ditched to accommodate a full on resistive 3.8in touchscreen. Apply firm pressure and the general touch performance is receptive and, while it lacks the iPhone 3G S’ consistent light of touch, we rarely reached for the stylus.
The large screen is prime real estate for full fat web surfing via the Opera Mobile browser. Pages load quickly over HSPDA and Wi-Fi and the touch sensitive zoom bar, first seen on the HTC Touch Diamond 2, gives superb control when prowling in.
Of course, the size of the razor sharp WVGA-quality screen has other major advantages. Watching movies on the go is easy on the eye and once teamed up with a compatible fully feature sat-nav solution, it’s ideal for viewing maps and in-car touchscreen operation. Creating and editing documents is also less tricksy.
Built to tilt
Unlike the N97’s touchscreen that slides out and tilts automatically to reveal the QWERTY, the Touch Pro has hinges that let you use the screen flat or at an angle. Both the skater and tilting mechanisms are robust and sturdy, while the five line QWERTY is incredibly palatial with raised large buttons for accurate speed typing.
The Touch Pro 2’s Straight Talk technology for conference calling gives it an edge over fellow business phones. The sizeable speaker dominates the rear of the phone and features dual noise cancelling microphones to handle multiple voices and improve call quality.
Inviting several of your contacts to the call is straightforward (make sure your network supports conference calling) and turning the phone on its front automatically activates the speakerphone. We only managed a two-on-one conversation but the audio quality was impressively lucid.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Touch Pro 2’s multimedia performance doesn’t match its business acumen. The main culprit is the 3.2MP snapper, which hasn’t moved on from the original and despite offering touch focus, takes vapid snaps.
If you’re a Touch Pro user, its successor certainly offers enough enhancements to upgrade. Those on the hunt for an accomplished business phone should also definitely take a look but the Touch Pro 2’s king-size chassis, fitful multimedia performance and expensive price tag means it won’t have huge appeal beyond the boardroom.