While the iPhone continues to hog the headlines, another smartphone manufacturer you should have taken notice of by now is HTC. The company has been bringing out new models ten to the dozen, and while they haven’t all been fantastic, the company has settled on a form factor that’s uniquely HTC’s own and they’ve had more great devices most.
Of those, the HTC TouchPro 2 stands head and shoulders above the rest. It’s far and away the best mobile phone we’ve seen in recent years and while your bank balance will take a huge hit it’s worth it.
What’s so good about it? It’s very unusual for everything to be just right with a mobile. The sweet spot between being a small enough phone and a big enough mobile computer is very hard to achieve, but the Touch Pro 2 does it. It’s large for a handheld device, about 11 cm long by 6cm wide (supporting 480×600 pixels), but the touch screen gives you plenty of room to enjoy applications in their full. Watching a YouTube video or playing a game is not only plausible for the first time in ages, it’s also comfortable. The buttons are unobtrusive and right above them along the bottom of the screen is a dedicated zoom bar which makes zooming in and out of pictures or files as easy as the slide of a fingertip.
It’s also not the first phone to slide open and reveal a keyboard, but the keys are perfectly spaced and Desktop found itself in the unique position of being just as happy tapping out an SMS with the Stylus as typing it on the keyboard. When extended, the screen also folds towards you, turning the device into a tiny laptop, but it tended to obscure the top edge of the keypad so it was better left flat.
For a few years HTC has been perfecting the meshing of their own operating system flourishes with that of Windows Mobile, and the large screen makes great use of the ability to use your finger to flick through records of contacts, emails or applications.
The Hong Kong-based vendor is pushing it as a conference call device, and even though it’s easy to set up and bridge conference calls, you might not get that sort of functionality out of it. What it does offer however is a handy level of responsiveness when you take it away from your ear mid-call. If you like to talk hands free or switch between hands free and handheld you’ll love the way the screen comes back to life when you put it down to search for that file or contact, the speakerphone option easy to find and enable.
Even without the countless features under the hood, the form factor means this is the latest in a long line of great business tools from HTC, and the best from any phone maker in a long time.