HTC Touch

March 1st, 2008 Desktop, Mobile Computing, Tech

Famously stealing the thunder from the attention local media was paying to the US launch of the Apple iPhone, this touch screen smartphone is one of the few HTC branded mobiles — the company’s spent most of its history making Windows Mobile devices for other vendors.

But they’ve made an auspicious arrival in the Australian market with the Touch and if you simply can’t wait to hack the iPhone to work with the local provider or for Apple to release it locally, it’ll fill the gap, maybe even convince you this is the phone you’ve been waiting for.

Where the iPhone is all about touch, the HTC Touch is actually less so. If you’ve used Windows Mobile before you’ll know it can get fiddly to navigate. It’s especially so on the 45×55 mm screen of the device, and if you’re drilling down into Windows’ many mobile functions you’ll be making more use of the stylus.

It is possible to use only your finger if you mostly restrict yourself to phone functions through the TouchFlo system. Touch the logo at the bottom of the screen and sweep your finger up the screen and TouchFlo swings up onto the display.

The three Touchflo screens can be considered handy collections of shortcuts. One has three large buttons that take you to the music player, photo and video libraries. The second has six buttons for basic office and connectivity tasks like opening a web browser, starting email or SMS or checking your calendar. The third contains phone functions including nine buttons for your favourite contacts, so calling them becomes a two-press task.

The Touch is small enough to be a very comfortable phone to hold and use, and without a real-world keypad taking up the front real estate the screen is large enough to be comfortable to read or work on too.

Away from TouchFlo, it’s not quite the Windows Mobile OS you’re used to either. The home screen contains three large tabs that bring more functions within easy reach. The natural state is for a large digital clock display and your next day’s calendar appointments, another is the comms manager for one-click control of switching Bluetooth on and off, putting the phone into flight mode, etc, and — bizarrely — the weather in over a hundred cities. Points come off for the HTC not including the major Australian city where Desktop tested it, however.

The other bad marks go to the slimline port cover that protects the SIM card and memory card slots. It’s easy to slide the SIM card into the port rather than have to dismember the phone and insert it under the battery, but once closed, the cover is nearly impossible to re-open, and after struggling for five minutes with scissors, a safety pin and a screwdriver that did nothing but scratch it, thin tweezers were the only thing that worked.

Other than that, the HTC is easy to use, comfortable and a great phone.

RRP: $699
Web: htc.com


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