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While it is one of the best Windows smartphones around, the HTC Touch Diamond did not get high praises from us as it had a couple of hiccups that needed to be sorted out. It may be better the second time around though, as the new HTC Touch Pro is better, faster, and comes with more features compared to its older sibling.


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The HTC Touch Pro sports the same set of buttons and ports with the Touch Diamond. The Home, Back, Talk/Send, End, and 5-way navigation key are still located up front, with the volume control and power button conveniently located on the left spine and on top of the phone, respectively. The USB port located at the bottom of the device acts as a charging/headphone port, and can also be used to connect the Touch Pro to any computer.

Located at the back of the unit is the same 3.2-megapixel camera sensor found on the Diamond. This time though, HTC has included a flash light that can assist a user while taking photos in dark places. The unit also comes with a microSD card slot that can increase the storage to 16GB (with the new SanDisk microSDHC card), which is a must as the Pro only comes with 512MB of internal storage.

 


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The Touch Pro is relatively thicker and heavier than other smartphones (18mm thick/165g), but is understandable as sliding the top part to the right reveals a QWERTY keyboard. While a bit on the small side, the keys are well-separated, making it easy for us to type messages. HTC has even included a dedicated SMS/MMS key, e-mail key, and number keys for easy input.

The Touch Pro still uses a Qualcomm MSM7201A processor running at 528MHz, but now has 288MB of RAM (the Diamond comes with 192MB of RAM). This extra memory resulted to a speedier unit with us experiencing lesser lag and slowdowns compared to the Diamond.

The TouchFLO 3D interface comes with 11 tabs (Home, People, Messages, Mail, Planet 3, Internet, Photos and Videos, Music, Weather, Settings, and Programs) that can be accessed by sliding your finger over the tabs. 

The Touch Pro comes with a Planet 3 tab which offers one-touch access to Facebook, Windows Live Messenger, Google Maps, News, Sports, and even 3’s Mobile TV. Content streaming is zippy since the phone is HSDPA-enabled and can even connect to your home network wirelessly using its built-in Wi-Fi (802.11b/g).

 


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Sliding out the keyboard automatically displays a different set of icons to choose from. The menu includes E-mail, Messages, Bookmarks, Web Search, Calendar, Tasks, Notes, and Contacts, giving a user quick access to programs normally used with a keyboard.

As we previously mentioned, the unit now has more grunt, all thanks to its 288MB of RAM. The TouchFlo 3D interface responded well with minimal hiccups, although we still experienced occasional lag spikes when shifting from input modes.

Internet browsing was decent, with us being able to zoom in and out of web pages using the ‘wheel’ in front of the unit (clockwise zooms in, anti-clockwise zooms out). The only problem we encountered while browsing through our favourite pages was the lack of support for Flash.

 

The Pro also comes with other pre-installed programs like Office Mobile, Word Mobile, Excel Mobile, PowerPoint Mobile, OneNote Mobile, Adobe Reader LE, JETSET Print, WorldCard Mobile, RSS Hub, FM Radio, MP3 Trimmer, Audio Booster, Sprite Backup, and even supports TV-out functionality (just so long as you purchase the extra TV-out accessory).

In our tests, the unit lasted an average of two days, with the Pro even soldiering on for a third day (at times) when used lightly. According to HTC, the Touch Pro has a talk time of up to 8 hours and up to two weeks of standby time (connected to GSM).

Overall, the Touch Pro is a great improvement over its older sibling, the Touch Diamond. Although it missed out on the hefty 4GB internal memory, the Pro certainly compensates for it with its speedy interface, longer battery life, and QWERTY keyboard. The HTC Touch Pro is available through 3 mobile stores for $22 per month on a $69 cap (for 24 months) or $1,099 outright.

See page over for product specifications and final rating.

 

HTC Touch Pro Product Specifications:

– Qualcomm MSM7201A 528Mhz
– Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional
– Memory ROM: 512MB, RAM: 288MB

– Network
o HSPA/WCDMA
Europe/Asia: 900/2100MHz
Up to 2Mbps up-link and 7.2Mbps down-link
o Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE
Europe/Asia: 850/900/1800/1900MHz

– 2.8-inch VGA TFT-LCD screen
– Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11b/g
– Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR and A2DP
– TV-out functionality

– Camera
o Main camera: 3.2-megapixel colour camera with auto focus and flash light
o Second camera: VGA CMOS colour camera

– Slide-out 5-row QWERTY keyboard
– Interface: HTC ExtUSB
– Expansion Slot – microSD memory card
– Battery: 1350mAh
– Talk time: GSM up to 8 hours
– Standby time: GSM up to two weeks

Dimensions: 102x51x18.05mm
Weight: 165g (with battery)

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HTC Touch Pro | $1,099 ($22 on $69 3 Cap Plan) |  | www.htc.com/au

For: QWERTY keyboard; Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, HSDPA, and GPS built-in; Abundance of software; Speedy interface (compared to Diamond)
Against: Users can still experience slight lag spikes and slowdowns; Needs microSD card to compensate for small internal memory; Unit is fairly thick and heavy
Conclusion: The Diamond just got a major facelift.

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