One thing I have been procrastinating for the past three months is a review of the Sprint HTC Touch Pro2. The reason I have been procrastinating this is because I did not want to write a bad review without trying to get better results through various means. I have determined through exhaustive testing of all features and functions that there are no better results to be found. The Touch Pro2 is the worst Sprint phone I have had the displeasure of using.
I have been a Sprint customer since 1998 (I think…it was the weekend they launched the service in Houston) and I have upgraded my phone on average every 18 months to two years. Each upgrade was just that: an upgrade. I found a better phone with more features than the previous model. The first phone I had was the first model that offered both digital and analog service and it was the first model to offer what they called back then the Wireless Web. I thoroughly enjoy that phone and got my money’s worth out of it. Each phone since was more compact, had better battery life and—this is important—built on the same features as the model that preceded it while adding new ones.
The last phone I had was the Mogul. For my money, it was the best phone Sprint ever launched. I skipped the Touch, the Touch Diamond (though I got one for my wife and she loves it) and the Touch Pro. These models did not offer enough of an upgrade to make me give up my Mogul The only improvements I was looking for were a bigger screen and more RAM (and longer battery life would be nice too). The Touch Pro2 was announced by HTC before Sprint, but the specs that HTC touted were phenomenal. It had more RAM, a faster CPU, better CCD for the Camera, and the biggie…a huge screen. I was quite excited at the prospect of this phone. I checked the forums and websites regularly to find out the date of release for the TP2, fully intending on getting it as soon as it was available.
Well, I did. The day it was available for sale, I ordered it.
I shouldn’t have.
When the phone arrived, it came without a carrying case or headphones. The only accessories that Sprint included was an extra stylus and the USB cord/charger. I figured I could get a case on my own, so while inconvenient, it was not a deal breaker. However, that was only the first of the problems I would face.
Before I go into the problems, let me first talk about the good points of this phone. It has a huge screen. It is almost as big as the old PPC6600 phone with its full PDA-sized screen. This was a definite plus for me since the Mogul’s screen was causing eye strain. The TP2 also has great sharp graphics and good color; a must for phone photography. It has a slide-out keyboard with well spaced keys for my fat fingers. The screen tilts for movie playback, which aids in viewing. It has the Touch Flo 3D shell running on top of Windows Mobile 6.1—WM 6.5 is promised as a free upgrade soon. The shell has some cool features such as a stock ticker, a weather app, and a favorite contact app. The shell’s tabs also interact with several of the main applications like Sprint Navigation, the Calendar, Sprint TV, and many others. The phone also has a MicroSD slot for added storage, 3.2 megapixel camera, Speaker phone with additional microphone and an annoying magnetic sleep/wake function.
This last feature is one of the more annoying problems I have. The phone wakes in its case constantly, which enables the screen to launch apps or worse, make calls or send texts while in the case. This wouldn’t be a problem since Windows has a lock function in the today screen. HTC’s Touch Flo bypasses the today screen, however, so the lock function is not available unless you disable TF3d.
The other annoyance is that the TP2 has only four buttons and they are not mapable in most apps. The D-button is gone with this model, and the Mogul’s scroll-wheel (which I grew to love and can’t live without) is not on this model. The only user interaction is the touch screen, evidently to make it more iPhone-like. The TF3D may be touch-friendly, but WM has a way to go before it can get by without hardware navigation; and WM is still at the core of this phone. Besides, most applications still need d-button navigation.
Another annoyance: the slide-to-answer feature of the phone. I would just like to push a button to answer a call, not swipe my finger. Since this phone has an accelerometer, the screen rotates when the phone changes orientation. This causes a lag in response which has made me miss several phone calls. This leads me to one of the biggest problems: the memory. HTC did something with memory management and the cache to supposedly speed up some functions. I have not seen any speed increase, in fact, the phone actually seems slower than my mogul and uses memory even more inefficiently. This phone has more than double the memory, but has a smaller percentage available at any given time. I had to reboot the Mogul at least 3-4 times a week. I have to reboot the TP2 at a minimum of EVERY DAY to release memory.
The problem is not with Microsoft, and not solely with Sprint. I lay the blame squarely on HTC’s shoulders for this debacle. Maybe they hamstringed it to leverage their “Hero” android-based phone. Whatever their reasoning, they delivered a dud of a phone—one that I cannot recommend to anyone. I am sorely dissatisfied with the Touch Pro2, and am seriously thinking of leaving the WM platform for either an Android-based phone(not HTC’s), or—if Apple breaks with ATT’s exclusivity agreement—an iPhone in the future.