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HTC Touch2 review

A good handset with a huge list of features. Don't expect it to be an iPhone-beater, though

home

The home screen on the HTC Touch2 itself is particularly good.

A big, attractive clock stars, with upcoming calendar events below it. Along the bottom is a horizontal strip of icons – drag your finger along the line and frequently used applications slide smoothly by. It means getting straight to your SMS or email inbox is a snap, and there's a direct link to Google Maps.

The menu system works extremely well, not least because it flatters the iPhone OS by borrowing a few of its more intuitive features. Go beyond the end of a menu or list, for instance, and the menu continues dragging with your finger but bounces back when you let it go.

menu

However, look at the bottom-right edge of the Touch2 and the stylus is a nasty reminder that beneath the glamorous touchscreen lurks Windows Mobile 6.5 Professional.

While HTC has ensured that TouchFLO largely obscures Windows Mobile's shortcomings – which still exist, even in this latest version of the platform – every now and then you get a stark reminder they're still there.

Go to MMS options, for instance, and the menu system goes from animated and large enough to use with a fingertip, to a tiny interface that you can only use accurately with the stylus.

contacts

You'll see the same, small interface every now and again – such as if you need to enter your Exchange account password. It's a reminder that while HTC has done a superb job with TouchFLO, dressing every element of Windows Mobile with it would be an enormous job.

Although this is an easy problem for geeks to sympathise with, consumers will be left cold.

The problem is actually apparent on virtually every screen – the top of the screen has a Windows button on it and tiny icons that represent currently running programs. The icons are all functional, but accurately selecting one is tricky.

There are other problems as well. The Touch2 doesn't have an accelerometer, and so doesn't know when it's being held sideways. Not only does this mean that some content – such as video – forces you to rotate the phone whether you find it comfortable to do so or not, it also means there's no landscape QWERTY keyboard.

The only way to enter text is with a numeric-style keypad. You get the option of using either ABC-style entry (pressing 2 three times to get the letter C, for instance) or T9 predictive text.

In our experience, neither was overly-reliable. In normal mode, the caret would sometimes jump to the next letter before we were finished spelling a word, making bashing out a text message frustrating. Longer messages such as emails were even worse.

Screen problems

The problem is the screen. We've become spoiled by phones such as the HTC Hero and iPhone, which have 3.2-inch and 3.5-inch screens respectively. The Touch2's screen is a 2.8-inch, 320x420 touchscreen, which doesn't sound like a big difference but its impact is significant.

screen

This is particularly true when typing. The numeric keys on the keypad are close together, and there's no clever, iPhone-style dictionary on board that helps spell words.

On the iPhone, if you make a mistake halfway through a word you simply carry on and trust the dictionary will step in at the end to correct you. On the Touch2 you need to prod the small, thin backspace button to correct your mistake. Typing is more fiddly than it needs to be.

Low resolution aside, the screen is decent. It's not outstandingly bright or sharp, but we had no visibility problems in bright sunlight, and if you can forgive the small size, it's fine for viewing photos and video.

One persistent nag is the screen's strange, glossy coating, which makes it look like you've forgotten to pull off the protective sticker.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
BluetoothYes
USBYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA
GPS ReceiverYes
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 2100
Rear Camera Resolution3.2 Megapixel
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
ColourSilver
Operating SystemWindows Mobile
Brand NameHTC
Battery Talk Time7.33 Hour
Product ModelTouch 2
Screen Size7.1 cm (2.8")
Screen Resolution240 x 320
Weight (Approximate)110 g
Maximum Video Resolution352 x 288
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Operating System VersionWindows Mobile 6.5 Professional
Messaging TypeMMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), SMS (Short Message Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Height110 mm
Width55 mm
Depth12.9 mm
Battery Standby Time370 Hour
ManufacturerHigh Tech Computer Corp
Product NameTouch 2 Smartphone
Processor Speed528 MHz
Screen TypeLCD
Manufacturer Part NumberHTCTOUCH2SILBER
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.europe.htc.com
Marketing Information

HTC Touch2 is ready to help you with all the things you want to do on your phone. Stay in touch with your friends, find out what they're up to on Facebook, check your mail, or browse the web. It's all at your fingertips in a compact phone that fits nicely in your hand. Ready to do even more with HTC Touch2? You can add games and applications from the Windows Marketplace to personalize your experience. And you can keep your stuff safe when you back up to Microsoft's My Phone servers without a PC.

Limited Warranty1 Year
Standard Memory256 MB