Now we know why Apple normally keeps new products secret until it’s ready to ship them. Announcing the iPhone months ahead of launch has allowed fleet-footed competitors to get their iPhonies to market in the interval.

HTC’s Touch is the latest of these. It’s a compact and subtly stylish device, which eschews the bling of Prada’s silver for a muted black case, most of the front of which is taken up by a whopping 2.9inch screen.

Go with the FLO

It’s here that HTC’s TouchFLO technology marks this phone out as a bit special. Like Apple, HTC claims it’s screen tech will revolutionise the way we use touch-screen devices, allowing you efficient use of your fingers as well as the supplied stylus, therefore turning it into a single-handed phone.

And it works very well; at least it does when you are in the area dedicated to its use. If you stick to the customised, but familiar, Windows Mobile 6 Today page then you’re better off with the stylus.

However, a solid sweep upwards from the HTC logo to the top of the screen brings up the three-pronged TouchFlo display, which has a similar, simplified appearance to the iMac’s ‘menu’ screen. From here, you can choose to access the video player, 2MP camera or music player, or else sweep right to left for more options such as email and the web, or left to right for a smart nine-person, photo enabled quick contacts screen.

Sensitive to your touch

The Touch can tell the difference between finger and stylus contact – allowing you to be less precise with your digit, but still get the right result.  But you have to press harder than anticipated to get the controls right.

We also approve of the 1GB of removable memory being accessible without removing the battery, and the inclusion of both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. However, 3G wouldn’t have gone amiss, and while the music player is simple to use, and capable of excellent results with the supplied ear-buds, we don’t approve of the lack of a standard 3.5mm jack so that these can be upgraded.

We ‘re not quite where this phone is aimed. It’s obviously an impressive multimedia device with a first rate screen, and a highly capable smartphone, but the lack of a slid-out keyboard like the one on HTC’s P4350 makes it less than appealing as a serious business tool.

Stuff says... 

HTC Touch review

Another day, another iPhone spoiler. But the HTC Touch has more to grab your attention than simple clone appeal.