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HTC looked at its Touch phone released last year, took down some points of improvement, and implemented the changes to its new Touch 3G. This smartphone has a great form factor, comes with better specifications, and is set to take the touch experience to another level.


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The most noticeable improvement on the Touch 3D is its TouchFLO interface: it is now more responsive and allowed us to navigate the tabs and press the various icons without any problems. It also comes with a number of connectivity features to help you stay in touch and a number of useful applications for added versatility. Moreover, users may like the Touch’s form factor: it only weighs 96g and is designed to fit comfortably in the palm of your hand.

The Touch 3G is 102mm long, 53.6mm wide, and is only 14.5mm thick, which fits perfectly in your pants pocket. There are only a couple of essential buttons on the Touch (a power button, five-way navigation keys, end button, power/standby button, and volume up and down), which makes it simpler to operate. Located at the bottom part of the unit is the sync connector/ earphone jack, while the unit’s stylus is located at the upper right side. HTC has also included a 3.2-megapixel camera, which is located at the back of the unit.

 


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Removing the back cover reveals the SIM card slot, the battery compartment (uses 1100mAh Li-ion battery), and a microSD card slot for memory expansion. While located inside the back cover, memory cards can be swapped without shutting down the device.

After starting up the unit, aligning the screen, setting the date and time, and configuring the data connection settings (manually or automatically), HTC’s TouchFLO will automatically kick in and users will be brought to the Home Screen. The 2.8-inch QVGA screen is big enough for its size, with the icons not being too big or too small.

The Main screen shows the time, call history, and upcoming events, but there are 10 more tabs to choose from. By sliding your finger on the tabs or pressing left/right on the navigation pad, one can immediately have access to People (12 favourite contacts with a photo), Messages, Mail, Internet, Photos and Videos, Music, Weather, Maps Search, Settings, and Programs with quick shortcut icons (up to 18 shortcuts).

The new generation TouchFLo enabled us to slide our finger across the tabs and scroll thorough the sub-menus without experiencing any problems. And thanks to its 528Mhz Qualcomm chipset and 192MB RAM, the HTC Touch was able to launch programs quickly.

 


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Composing text messages became a whole lot easier, as HTC has included three different touch input layouts (Phone Keypad, Compact Keypad, and Full QWERTY) in addition to the default input layouts set by Windows Mobile (Block Recogniser, Keyboard, Letter Recogniser, and Transcriber). Despite having large fingers, I did not have a hard time sending messages or composing e-mails.

The built-in Opera browser displayed various websites properly, although the browser was unable to handle flash files. Since the unit is HSDPA-enabled, websites and YouTube content loaded in just a matter of seconds. If you don’t want to incur additional data charges, you can always turn on the built-in Wi-Fi and surf the Internet wirelessly. The Touch can also be used as a modem by hooking it up to the computer (an option will be available).

HTC has also included a Weather Tab that displays the current weather as well as a 4-day weather forecast. Users can update the forecast as often as they want and customise the cities to be displayed.

The Maps function (powered by Google) allowed us to search for nearby points of interest such as ATMs, restaurants, or petrol stations near our location. For example, typing in ‘Petrol’ displayed 11 nearby petrol stations in our location. The entries shown only displays the address, but by clicking on the hyperlink, Google will be able to display the telephone number and the website, with users being able to save it to their contact or get directions.

 

Received SMS are displayed on the Messages tab. Clicking on any message received automatically shows previous messages sent and received between the two parties. The messages are laid out conversation-style, which made it easy for us to remember what we said.

Users can also set the unit up to retrieve e-mail from POP3-enabled accounts such as Yahoo or Gmail and can also be configured to synchronise with an Exchange Server. The unit also comes pre-installed with Office Mobile for quick document edits anytime.

The 3.2-megapixel camera took fairly decent shots, although it did not have any auto focus function, producing some blurred shots in the process. The camera can also be used as a video camera and will capture footages in MPEG4 format. Stored photos and videos are displayed on the ‘Photos and Videos’ tab, with users being able to look at them with a single touch.

The unit lasted for almost three days with normal use, with the unit’s Wi-Fi occasionally turned on to surf the Internet and update the weather. HTC promises up to 360 minutes of talk time and up to 450 hours of standby time for the Touch 3G.

Better is probably the word that describes HTC’s Touch 3G. This 3G phone is slick, has an improved TouchFLO interface that resulted to a better touch experience, and is packed with a lot of connectivity options to boot. For those who find Apple’s iPhone too big, then perhaps this small wonder may be worth looking at. The Touch 3G is available now from authorised Brightpoint mobile phone retailers with an RRP of $799.

See page over for product specifications and final rating.

 

HTC Touch 3G Specifications:

  • Chipset: Qualcomm MSM7225 528 MHz
  • Connectivity: GSM/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz & WCDMA / HSPA: 900/2100MHz.
  • HSDPA 7.2 Mbps
  • Software/Operating system: HTC TouchFLO with Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional
  • Internal memory: 256 MB flash; 192 MB RAM
  • Display: 2.8 inch QVGA screen
  • Interface: HTC ExtUSB (mini-USB and audio jack in one; USB 2.0 High-Speed)
  • Camera: 3.2 megapixel
  • Memory card: microSD
  • Bluetooth: 2.0 with EDR
  • GPS: GPS/AGPS
  • Battery: 1100 mAh
  • Talk time: WCDMA: Up to 360 minutes / GSM: Up to 400 minutes
  • Standby time: WCDMA: Up to 450 hours / GSM: Up to 365 hours
  • Size: 102 x 53.6 x 14.5 mm
  • Weight: 96g

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HTC Touch 3G | $799 |  | www.htc.com/au

For: Small profile; Responsive TouchFLO interface; Easy to use; HSDPA-enabled; Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built-in; QWERTY keypad is responsive; Google Maps allows you to look for nearby points of interest
Against: Good interface only limited to TouchFLO skin; microSD card needs to be purchased to store additional data; Camera lacks auto focus function; Browser lacks flash support
Conclusion: HTC refines the art of touch with its new slick 3G phone

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