A pro touching a Touch Pro

I thought to myself, perhaps the best way to do a mini review on my recent gadget acquisition, is to do write the review using the mobile device itself. It will be a real acid test

to see if the gadget lives up to its name as a truly convergent device, a device that simply allows you to do more than the usual telephony and PIM (Personal Information Management) stuffs you normally find on a typical phone and pda separately and respectively. So the golden questions are …

  • Can it replace my notebook so that I can use it to write a blog post, surf the net extensively without feeling frustrated by the browser limitation that usually comes with a mobile phone.
  • Can I use it to snap photos while I travel and yet does not need to resort to downsizing the photo into a 200×150 so as to hide the poor resolution quality?
  • Can I rely on it as my life savior by guiding me through a city that I had never spent my life in?
  • How about responding to email and sms on the road, on demand? (This should be a no brainer, since I am already impressed with the combination of exchanger server and Windows mobile device in delivering the push mail utility.)
  • Lastly, can I use it to wow my friends and colleagues, a rather important feature for an egoist man like me 😉

And the answers to all the above are pretty encouraging, and here’s why.

First off, starting from the last question, the built in Touch Flo 3D user experience simply change my impression 180°, that a “Winmo” device can be so cool. HTC has gone a long way in developing their Touch Flo capability; I remembered writing off their first version as no more than an empty shell cover on top of the rather dated Windows Mobile interface. Boy, I was proven wrong big time now with their latest 3D version of Touch Flo, and I can understand why now it had created a strong following when HTC launched Diamond a while back.  Its flagship model sported the same interface. Well the Iphone critics might say this is really elementary when compared to their multi-touch interface. But when you put an intuitive interface, never mind it is not any further radical or innovative than that of an iPhone, on a Windows mobile platform that offers the richness in its functional offering, it is a perfect match made by heaven. It is like a nerdy man that had just went through a major makeover in his appearance and social skills. Thumbs up, for the brilliant interface, and bigger thumbs up, for giving me the “show off” chance.

Then, I recalled three weeks ago when I was at Houston. After 27 hours of long flight,  the last thing I would want to do is to remember the route details to the hotel. I was concerned that it will take eons while to get acquisition fix, as the whole process (the process where GPS device receives signal from various satellites to compute its location) can get trickier when you travel to the other side of the hemisphere. Once I stepped out of Hertz car rental site, within a minute, I got a fix! Ok I did cheat, I downloaded the almanac and ephemeris via the Q-GPS function. The Garmin Mobile XT that was installed in my Touch Pro, gracefully and accurately guided me to the hotel. No more worries about getting lost in a totally unfamiliar city. That said, it was a case of meeting, rather than exceeding, my expectation. I was pleased, but not wowed, so thumbs stay down for this.

Despite being a frequent business traveler, I hardly take any photos while on business trip.  I find it inconvenient to lug my digital SLR camera or even my compact camera around. After all, I travelled for a business purpose, not holidaying. Furthermore, I never bothered to take photos using my phone’s camera. The quality of the photos taken are usually washed out, or at best average. However, with my Touch Pro’s 3M pixel camera, I find myself taking quite a few photos in the last Houston and Bangalore trips. One advantage of holding a good phone camera, as I found out in the last two trips, you are always holding it, or keeping it in your trouser pocket, so the camera is always at your disposure to take instant candid photos. But camera phones still have their short comings. Case in point; While I was in Bangalore city on the way back to hotel, I chanced upon a cattle walking by the road. I quickly took out my phone, and was in position to snap this interesting moment. However, by the time the camera was ready to shoot, the cattle was already far behind me… So there’s still a value in investing in SLR or compact camera, but for business trips travel and daily usage, a camera like the one in Touch Pro, serves its purpose. Another thumbs up for this.

Last but not least, how did HTC Touch Pro fare as I used it to pen down this blog post? With Touch Pro’s vibrant display, Opera’s pan and zoom feature, blazing 3G speed, I thought I could do the job with ease just as I had been surfing the web without any glitches. In all honesty, I did not complete the blog entry as I got stumbled at the 5th paragraph. I was happily blogging away, but I decided I should save my work just in case something cropped up unexpectedly. And something did crop up  ironically. The wordpress editing tool did not allow me to continue, due to some javascript compatibility issues with the Opera browser. Luckily for me, the earlier effort was intact, just that I couldn’t continue my blogging. But not to be fooled by this negative example. The experience of navigating through most desktop-targetted web sites remains to be a seamless and positive one. In fact, I probably surf more using my Touch Pro, as compared to the total time I had spent online using all my previous mobile gadgets. Two big thumbs up for this!

My final verdict? The phone itself is more impressive than its already impressive paper spec. I am probably not exaggerating if I call Touch Pro the king of qwerty phone. Well at least for now. Until the likes of Sony Ericsson X1 Xperia starts showing up in our shore, it is hard not to be linked with this “pro” phone. As my little nephew will always exclaimed when he sees something extraordinary… this is Pro … 😉

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