Reviewed September 26, 2009 by Lisa Gade, Editor
HTC’s Touch Pro2 is certainly going strong. It’s offered by many of the world’s carriers, and by three out of four major US carriers (update: AT&T now offers it too as the HTC Tilt 2). During the summer of 2009 we reviewed the T-Mobile Touch Pro2, first out the gate here in the US. Next it was Sprint’s Touch Pro2 and just a few weeks later, the Verizon version. All Touch Pro2’s have very similar features and looks, but that said the Sprint and Verizon versions bear the strongest resemblance. They’re both CDMA phones with 3G EV-DO Rev. A for fast data plus quad band GSM for world roaming. They also share the same rounded corner design.
The Touch Pro2 runs Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional with a large touch screen and HTC’s TouchFLO 3D user interface. It has one of the largest slide-out keyboards you’ll find on a phone and it tilts so you can use the Touch Pro2 like a mini-laptop. In fact, the Pro2 is the closest thing you’ll find to a desktop replacement in a smartphone. Though Windows Mobile gets its dings for feeling dated, it’s the perfect tool for working with MS Office documents and it has full MS Exchange support. Its networking is top notch for speed and protocol support including VPNs and there’s an established selection of third party productivity applications available. Better still, the Touch Pro2 can handle a little fun thanks to its 800 x 480 color display, music player, YouTube player and good local video playback performance.
Verizon earned a bad rap in the past for altering phones for the worse, or removing features. They're saints with the TP2, having removed nothing-- from Bluetooth file transfer to an unlocked GPS, the Pro2 is all good on Verizon. You can use Google Maps and Windows Live's excellent mapping and POI app with the smartphone. Unlike the last generation Touch Pro, Verizon hasn't turned off TouchFLO 3D, and that's a good thing because it really improves the phone. That said, if you're a fan of vanilla Windows Mobile, you can turn off TouchFLO 3D.
For those of you totally new to the last two years' worth of HTC's Windows Mobile Touch screen phones, TouchFLO 3D is a user interface that sits on top of Windows Mobile. It's super-attractive and useful. It features a sliding set of home screens for basic info, weather, stocks, calendar, settings, email and messaging, music playback and photos. HTC has changed quite a bit, and this version of TouchFLO 3D revises much more of the Windows Mobile UI than did the HTC Touch Diamond and Touch Pro. Menus are enlarged to be finger-friendly and they look modern and attractive. The program listing is a scrollable list rather than a grid of small icons and there are front ends for messaging, the music player and HTC's own image viewer. TouchFLO 3D works well with fingers thanks to HTC's good software engineering and the large 3.6" display. Since this is a resistive display, occasional mis-taps do happen however, and there's no multi-touch for features like pinch-zooming found on the iPhone, Palm Pre and HTC Hero.
Design and Ergonomics
As you've no doubt learned from reading reviews of the other Touch Pro2 variants, this is a large and heavy phone. It makes the iPhone 3GS seem small. OK, that's a slight exaggeration, but the Touch Pro2 is one of the largest and thickest phones on the market. It measures 4.56 X 2.33 X 0.68 inches and weighs 6.63 ounces. A mobile office with a huge display and large keyboard doesn't come small.
The front face is gloss black and it's attractive. The rear panel is gray and the signature large speakerphone is there for HTC's Straight Talk speaker phone (turn the phone over and press the mic button to turn the TP2 into a conferencing phone). Alas, it looks like someone splattered the mostly matte black grille with battery acid. The white blotches are actually supposed to be a world map (we assume) since the Touch Pro2 also has a GSM SIM card slot and a quad band GSM phone radio for use overseas (it's locked so it can't be used in the US with AT&T and T-Mobile).
Wirefly.com price (no rebate required):
Err, that's a partial world map on the back?
As with the many other Touch Pro2 variants available from other carriers, the Verizon version features the same slide-out and tilt keyboard with offset keys. It's wonderful, it's roomy and the keys make a pleasing click when you press them. The keys are backlit and are high contrast so they're easy on the eyes. It's a 5 row keyboard with a dedicated number row up top, an enlarged space bar bottom center and shortcut keys for email and a programmable button (marked with a star). The Enter key is oversized but there's only one shift key (located on the left side).
Again, as with the other Touch Pro2 versions, the display section has a bit of wobble when in laptop position (annoying when tapping the screen) and the Verizon version tends to move toward flat open more easily (slider isn't as stiff as other Touch Pro2 models we've reviewed).
Like the Sprint TP2, the SDHC microSD card slot is under the back cover (no need to remove the battery) and the SIM card slot is under the battery. The phone ships with a Verizon SIM card in the slot.
Phone and Data
The Verizon Touch Pro2 is a dual band digital CDMA phone with EV-DO Rev. A and fallback to 1xRTT. It's also a quad band GSM world phone with 3G HSDPA on the 2100MHz band used in Europe and Asia. The phone will not work in the US with T-Mobile and AT&T-- that's been blocked, so GSM is there strictly for international roaming.
Call quality is excellent for incoming calls with full sounding, clear voice. Outgoing call quality isn't as good: we'd by no means call it poor but it's a tad tinny and there's occasional digital breakup even with a good signal. We were surprised by this since other TP2 models have excellent audio in both directions. Again, it's not bad, it's just not remarkably good. Thanks to HTC's Straight Talk feature, the speakerphone is a joy. It's very loud and clear. When in a call, place the phone face down on a table and hit the speakerphone button on the phone's back to switch to speakerphone. Dual mics insure good outgoing audio quality and our call recipients said we sounded loud and clear.
Here's our video review of the Verizon HTC Touch Pro2. You can see TouchFLO 3D in action, check out the GPS using VZ Navigator, see YouTube playback and get a walk around (and inside) the phone.
The Touch Pro2 is one of the best smartphones on the market for 2009. Though we like Sprint's streaming multimedia services best among the unlocked, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon versions of the Touch Pro2 we've reviewed so far, the Verizon version nonetheless stands up proudly among the other carriers' versions. If you're looking for an office in your pocket, or simply a high end touch screen smartphone, it's hard to go wrong with the Touch Pro2. The 800 x 480 pixel touch screen, TouchFLO 3D, GPS, WiFi, 3G EVDO Rev. A and decent 3.2 megapixel autofocus camera are the stuff of a high end smartphone. Throw in one of the best QWERTY keyboards we've used, YouTube playback and local stored video playback and you've got a well-rounded business phone that can handle some fun. The only drawback? It's large and heavy.
Price: $199.99 with a 2 year contract after rebate
TFT color touch screen with haptic feedback and accelerometer. Screen size diagonally: 3.6". Resolution:
800 x 480, portrait mode with support for landscape mode. Supports TV out with optional cable.
Battery:1500 mAh Lithium
Ion rechargeable. Battery is user replaceable. Claimed talk time: up to 4 hours.
Performance:528MHz Qualcomm MSM7600 processor. 288 megs RAM. 512 megs flash ROM with approx. 200 megs free for storage.
Size:4.56 X 2.33 X 0.68 inches. 6.63 ounces.
Phone: CDMA dual band digital phone with EVDO Rev. A and 1xRTT for data. Also has a SIM card slot for GSM quad band world roaming 850/900/1800/1900MHz bands with EDGE and 2100MHz 3G HSDPA for Europe and Asia. The SIM slot is unlocked for use with any GSM carrier but the phone doesn't work in the US with American GSM carriers (e.g. T-Mobile and AT&T).
Camera:3.2 megapixel with autofocus lens. 2048 x 1536 max photo resolution. Video resolution up to CIF 352 x 288 resolution. Video capture formats: H.263, 3GPP2 and MPEG4, length limited only by available storage.
in speaker, mic and 3.5mm stereo headphone
jack (stereo headset included). Voice Recorder and Windows Mobile Media Player 10 included. Supported audio formats: AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, QCP, MP3, WMA, WAV, MIDI, M4A. Straight Talk speaker phone.
WiFi 802.11b/g and Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR with headset, handsfree, serial port, FTP, PAN, phone book access, A2DP and AVRC profiles.
GPS:Yes. Sprint Navigation service pre-installed (subscription service) and Windows Live Search. Works with Google Maps and other GPS and mapping applications.
Mobile 6.1 Professional. TouchFLO 3D user interface. Opera 9.5 mobile web browser, Internet Explorer 6 mobile, MS Voice Command, HTC's photo viewer, YouTube player, Adobe Reader, Comm Manager, WorldCard Mobile, RSS Hub, HTC Streaming Media, Sprint Titan (Java VM), Jetcet Presenter 5, MS Live Search, Remote Desktop, Internet Sharing, Windows Media Player Mobile, Voice Notes, Teeter. Standard MS mobile software suite: Office Mobile (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote Mobile), Internet Explorer Mobile 6, Email (POP3/IMAP/MS Exchange), File Manager, PIM suite (contacts, calendar, notes and tasks), SMS/MMS client, BubbleBreaker and Solitaire. Sprint applications: Sprint TV, Sprint Music, Nascar Mobile, NFL Mobile Live, Sprint Navigation and Sprint Software Store.
Expansion slot:SDHC microSD card slot under back cover (no need to remove the battery).
In the box:World charger, USB cable and printed manual.