HTC Touch Pro2 (Verizon Wireless)
The HTC Touch Pro2 is making the rounds to the various carriers; first showing up at T-Mobile, then to Sprint, and now Verizon Wireless. Verizon's version of the Windows Mobile smartphone isn't all that different from the other models, delivering a powerful business device capable of handling all your e-mail, productivity, and communication needs. The carrier also presents an enticing offer by selling the Touch Pro2 for $150 less than its competitors ($199.99 with a two-year contract), but just remember that you will need to sign up for a qualifying voice and data plan. While Verizon doesn't include as many extra services as the Sprint model, the HTC Touch Pro2 is definitely a welcome addition to the carrier's smartphone lineup, as it provides a more full-featured and robust device for Verizon's corporate customers whose needs aren't met by the RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 or HTC Ozone.
The Verizon HTC Touch Pro2 has a similar design to the other versions of the smartphone but most closely resembles the Sprint model. They share features like a 3.5mm headphone jack on the bottom as well as tapered edges that give the rather bulky phone a sleeker look. To differentiate itself somewhat, Verizon worked with HTC to add a couple of distinctive touches to the smartphone, such different shortcuts on the QWERTY keyboard, a Sleep button on top of the device (the End key doubles as the power on/off button instead), and a lovely world map pattern on the back speaker.
For the most part, though, there isn't a huge variation in design among all the HTC Touch Pro2s, which is fine by us since we love the extra-large touch screen and roomy QWERTY keyboard. For more information about the smartphone's design as well as HTC's TouchFlo 3D user interface, please read our full review of the Sprint HTC Touch Pro2.
Verizon packages the HTC Touch Pro2 an AC adapter, a USB cable, a SIM card, international adapters, an extra stylus, software CDs, and reference material. For more add-ons, please check our cell phone accessories, ringtones, and help page.
Verizon has been in need of a solid business smartphone for quite some time now. The Samsung SCH-i760 was probably the last model to really fill that role, since last year's HTC Touch Pro proved to be a huge disappointment with its buggy software, sluggish performance, and meager onboard memory. Fortunately, the Touch Pro2 steps up to deliver the goods and provide the carrier's corporate customers with a powerful device that can handle all sorts of tasks.
The Verizon Touch Pro2 runs Windows Mobile 6.1, providing you with such standard personal information management and productivity tools as Microsoft Office Mobile Suite, Adobe Reader LE, a calendar, a task list, a voice recorder, and more. For your messaging needs, Microsoft Direct Push Technology provides real-time e-mail delivery and automatic synchronization with your Outlook calendar, tasks, and contacts via Exchange Server. Verizon also offers Mobile Email for access to your POP3 and IMAP e-mail accounts.
We think you'll also be happy to hear that the carrier will offer an upgrade to Windows Mobile 6.5, which brings new features such as Microsoft's My Phone backup service, Windows Marketplace for Mobile, and an enhanced Internet Explorer Mobile browser. Verizon did not provide an exact date for the upgrade but did say it would be sometime before the end of 2009.
The Touch Pro2 is a dual-mode phone, which means it supports both CDMA and GSM networks to allow for world roaming capabilities. Here in the States, the smartphone will work on Verizon's network just like usual but will then automatically detect and switch to a compatible GSM network when traveling overseas. (Note that you can't swap out the included SIM card for an AT&T or T-Mobile SIM card since the phone is locked down to Verizon's network domestically). In all, you'll get voice coverage in 220 countries and data coverage (e-mail and Internet) in 175 countries. Even better, the Touch Pro2 supports the 2100MHz UMTS/HSDPA band, so you can get 3G support overseas. Just be sure to check the international roaming rates for voice calls and text messages before you head off on your trip: Verizon's rates can get pretty pricey in some areas, ranging from $0.69 up to $4.99 per minute. You can find the carrier's international plans here.
Other phone features include speed dial, smart dialing, voice commands, a proximity sensor, text and multimedia messaging, and support for Verizon's Visual Voice Mail service. Like the other Touch Pro2 models, the Verizon version includes HTC's Straight Talk Technology, which was developed to enhance the sound of the speakerphone (see Performance for more on this) and offer a better conference calling experience. The address book is only limited by the available memory, and each entry can store multiple numbers, home and work addresses, e-mail, birthdays, and more. In addition, the handset now offers Facebook integration so you can link a contact's Facebook profile to their individual card, if you so wish. Also, from a contact page, you can view their status updates, any messages or e-mails you've exchanged with the person, and call history, so you don't have to search through each individual app for that information. It's definitely handy and makes for a smarter contact management system.
The Touch Pro2 offers Bluetooth 2.1 with support for mono and stereo headsets, hands-free kits, object file transfer, dial-up networking, phone book access, and more. In addition to using Verizon's EV-DO Rev. A network, you can also get online with the phone's integrated Wi-Fi and the smartphone comes preloaded with the Opera Mobile Web browser, so you don't have to deal with the more clunky Internet Explorer Mobile.
Unlike Sprint, Verizon doesn't offer many of its services on the Touch Pro2. VZ Navigator (domestic and global) and Family Locator are available as add-ons so you can get voice-guided directions and track your loved ones' whereabouts with the phone's built-in GPS. However, you won't find any of the carrier's entertainment services, like V Cast Video or V Cast Music, supported on the Touch Pro2. This isn't anything new, as Verizon often forgoes the entertainment options on its business devices. Understandable but still, you know what they say about all work and no play.
Fortunately, there are other means of amusement. The smartphone ships with a dedicated YouTube app and Windows Media Player 10 Mobile provides playback of various music and video formats, including AAC, MP3, WAV, WMA, MPEG-4, and WMV. The Touch Pro2 also has a 3.2-megapixel camera with video recording capabilities, but picture quality wasn't all that impressive. Even after messing with the white balance and brightness settings, indoor shots came out somewhat grainy and with an amber tone. Video quality was pretty much what we expected; the picture wasn't the sharpest and it was hard to distinguish objects in dark environments, but otherwise fine for shooting occasional clips, especially if that's all you got. The HTC Touch Pro2 can accept up to 16GB cards through its microSD expansion slot.
We tested the dual-mode HTC Touch Pro2 in San Francisco using Verizon Wireless service and call quality was mixed. On our end, call quality was excellent. We enjoyed rich-sounding audio with very little to no background noise or disruption. We also had no problem using an airline's voice-automated response system and didn't have any dropped calls during our testing period. Unfortunately, friends didn't have quite the same experience. Callers complained about tinny voice quality, which only got worse when we activated the speakerphone. Once again, we had the opposite reaction and was impressed with the clarity and volume of speakerphone calls. We were able to pair the Touch Pro2 with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset and Motorola S9 Bluetooth Active Headphones.
Armed with a 528MHz Qualcomm MSM7600A processor and about 198MB user storage, the Touch Pro2 was able to keep up with most of our demands throughout our review period. The accelerometer was quick to change screen orientation when we rotated the phone for viewing e-mails, photos, and Web pages. There were occasional moments of sluggishness, such as launching the camera/camcorder and reviewing images, but the delays were minimal, especially compared to previous Windows Mobile devices. From the home screen, there's a pull-down task manager in the upper right-hand corner where you can view running programs and close out of apps to optimize your smartphone's performance.
Using Verizon's EV-DO Rev. A network, CNET's full site loaded onto the Touch Pro2's Opera browser in 45 seconds, while the desktop versions of CNN.com and ESPN.com came up in 40 seconds and 49 seconds, respectively. As a navigation device, the Touch Pro2 delivered with good tracking abilities. We used the device in San Francisco with the Verizon's VZ Navigator app, and on the several occasions we used it, the smartphone was able to find our location within 2 minutes or less. We were also impressed at how much more accurate it was in providing a street address when we used the "Where am I?" feature. Many times, we've had devices be at least a block off when trying to come up with our location, but the Touch Pro2 and VZ Navigator were just one building number off. We also planned a trip from the Golden Gate Bridge to CNET's downtown headquarters. Route calculation was pretty fast and voice directions were clear; that said, we much preferred the map layouts of TeleNav's app, which were simpler and more clear at a glance.
The HTC Touch Pro2 features a 1500mAh lithium ion battery with a rated talk time of 5.3 hours and up to 13.5 days of standby time. In our battery drain tests, we were able to get 7 hours of continuous talk time on a single charge. According to FCC radiation tests, the Touch Pro2 has a digital SAR rating of 1.41 watts per kilogram; the smartphone's Hearing Aid Compatibility rating is M3.