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With the planned rumors and later on with the official hype (iPhone does seem to have set a new standard for hypes surrounding a product) that buzzed around, industry analysts did set their eyes on the launch of the HTC Touch. We did too and although there is lot to the Touch, there seems to be little to give HTC credit for. You will love the new Windows Mobile 6, but will hate the machine its on. Read on.
We had only seen it on the internet, and the Touch looked so avant-garde and like everything you ever wanted with its ultramodern form factor, that we had to call it in sooner or later. This goes without saying that you are more likely to gasp a loud ‘wow’ when you undo the packaging than when you actually get down to using it.
The Touch comes very light and compact in a Black rubber finish throughout. A handful of buttons are so placed as to simply deck the phone with tiny light green and red lights. There’s also the five-way D-pad made of a thin squared line of steel. And of course, you have the screen leveling the front to give the Touch its candy bar look. The phone measures 99.9 x 58 x 13.9 mm and weighs 112g.
We have learnt from past experience that no product comes without its own set of follies. This one too, if you depart from the scrutiny of a casual onlooker, features a major design flaw, which otherwise could have meant nothing but outright innovation — the Hot Swap Slots. I have mentioned earlier the brilliance in the idea of building a phone with hot swappable ‘everythings’, right from the memory card to the SIM card. The Touch does just that. The hot swap slots are housed on the left side, but you will require long nails or sharp objects to dislodge the cover. In fact, with the piece that we had, I hated accessing any of the cards.
Features / Performance
The phone has a 2.8-inch TFT touchscreen that displays 65K colors with 240 x 320 pixels. While HTC has been compared with the iPhone by many, I see otherwise. Whether HTC aims at cutting into the iPhone market is unsure with HTC diplomatically maintaining that they aren't. Then there is the TouchFLO finger swipe navigation that sort of makes you want to think - Is it so? Whatever the company's stance, the TouchFLO navigation system fails to impress anyone beyond the initial oohs and aahhs!! What HTC has tried to do, is to make the otherwise drab Windows mobile experience a little richer. The TouchFLO can be activated by simply swiping your finger upwards from the bottom of the screen. This will enable the users to use the phone functionalities selectively without the need for a stylus. Although this allows you to get to your music, photos, messages etc. faster, every time you launch TouchFLO, it will give you a feeling that something is just not right. It's slow, not very responsive and to top it all doesn't work when the screen orientation is changed to landscape.
Personally, it may all have worked fine, but the problem is that having an innovative feature like that needs an equally powerful machine to run it. Sadly, the Touch works ona 201MHz TI OMAP850 processor and 128MB ROM/64MB RAM, and if isn't bad enough that we got the first glimpse ever of Windows Mobile 6 on such a slow machine, to make things worse the phone is plagued with a latency of issues and a slow interface. Even while accessing data from the memory card. Iit takes a long time to do anything.
The phone features Windows Mobile 6 professional, and going by my past experiences with WM 5, I was really keen on reviewing the Touch. If you have enjoyed a Windows Mobile phone before, you are more likely to notice the subtle changes that WM 6 brings in. One of the main reasons that you should probably consider buying this phone would be the offerings for business class personnel. To begin with, Outlook Mobile now supports the use of follow-up flags on email messages. So you can flag outgoing mails, and these properties can be synchronized between the Exchange Server and the HTC.
Personally, I found messaging quite difficult with the tiny keypad, and this makes typing messages while on the move quite a painful ordeal. What has improved though, is the new improved auto-completion functionality. The phone will not only give you a list of four possible words you might want to use while keying in letters, it also intelligently grasps all the previous frequently used words to offer more usability.
The phone also offers Windows Live that will allow push mail, synchronization with Windows Live Contacts, voice IM, selectable home screen plug-ins, presence information, Windows Live Spaces, and Office Live e-mail compatibility. One of the most useful features of the phone is that it allows you to encrypt your data saved on the memory card. So if ever your mobile gets stolen or left behind, you know no one can access the information without your permission.
The phone supports Wi-Fi, and more importantly VoIP. So you can place and receive VoIP calls. Additionally, Internet calling settings allow the user to specify when to call over cellular and when to call over VoIP. The Wi-Fi works pretty well and the phone also allows HTML support in emails. So you can directly launch a website link from your mail. The phone also supports Bluetooth v2.0 with A2DP/HFP profiles.
The HTC Touch has a launcher tool that's like a desktop and can be edited to your convenience. You can keep your essential functions here and launch it at anytime without having to get lost within the phone. It's pretty useful, but is pretty drab to look at.
AV / Camera
You can play music through either Windows Media player or the Music player that can be accessed through the TouchFLO system. Either way, the music quality of the phone is below average. To begin with, the volume is too low and the frequencies are all jumbled. Also, WMP failed to recognize and build the library of songs saved on the external memory card. This, I think, is a major drawback. You can listen to songs on the additional music player provided, but the sound quality will just disappoint you. It plays MP3 and AAC. And No, there is no FM radio! It also supports video playback through the Windows Media player.
The camera is 2 megapixels with up to 1600x1200 pixels with video capabilities. Quite frankly, I like the camera, and the largish screen helps too. There is a fair amount of settings for you to experiment with. You may, however, find the camera a bit slow while saving on external memory. The night mode works pretty well for a phone camera and if you like shooting pictures you will like the color balance options. Also the camera has no flash.
The phone is supposed to give you approximately 5 hours of talktime according to the manual. But it manages only 2 1/2. This is bad considering it's a business phone. However, you can reduce the backlight and save some battery.
It's a well known fact that HTC has been behind the scene for good Windows Mobile phones in the market, especially in the OEM segment. Why then, should one contend with something like the Touch? If you are seriously looking for a better option, then the Asus P535 would be a better. With a couple of grand more and an option for free upgrade to Windows Mobile 6, you stand a better chance. HTC gives you a feeling of great innovation, but a slow machine makes it all seem worthless.
|GSM 900/1800 /1900, EDGE |
|99.9 x 58 x 13.9 mm, 112g |
240 x 320 pixels, TFT touchscreen, 65K colors, 2.8 inch
|64MB RAM, 128MB ROM, microSD|
|2 Megapixel, video |
|Media|| Mp3, AAC, voice recorder, Video playback|
USB (mini), Bluetooth v2.0,A2DP, Wi-Fi
Up to 200 hours stand by, 2.5 hours talk time
Approx. Rs 19,000