Review of the HTC Touch Pro for HTC Mogul owners

Well, I’ve upgraded my phone. For the past two weeks I’ve been using and adjusting to the HTC Touch Pro from Sprint, trying to see if I like it, or if I need to take advantage of the 30-day money-back guarantee. I’ve got a lot friends who have the imageMogul, so I thought I’d write something up to say how I feel about the Touch Pro (6850) in comparison to the Mogul (6800). With that said, this review is specifically for Mogul users, and I’m not gonna spend time talking about the specs (you can read about that here), nor will i be talking about how HTC’s 6000 series phones are so much better than other phones like the iPhone, for instance. (insert devious giggle here)

In general, I like the new phone, and would recommend the upgrade. There are improvements in lots of areas, and the improvements far outweigh the shortcomings. So, based on my previous post, this post could also be called “The HTC Touch Pro is… Awesomer!” :)

I’m gonna talk about my experience in the following areas:

Software

Pros: The Touch Pro has a September 2008 version of the ROM with WinMo 6.1. This is definitely a better version than the last Mogul ROM. Although it introduced at least 1 stupid glitch (no standard word completion), it fixed a lot of other issues. In general it feels more stable, and I’m sure the extra hardware is helping that as well. They built-in a lot of software functionality that I was previously installing separately (picture mail, voice commander, scrolling/panning).

And they’ve added a lot of goodies also (see below). One of the imagenicest goodies is a choice during sync – you can use ActiveSync, or just treat your phone (with storage card) like a flash drive. Perfect for grabbing a few MP3’s before you get in the car (which by the way has me now using my phone more as an MP3 player than i did with the Mogul).

Cons: They could have left the TouchFlo 3D software off of this phone. I mean, I know what they were trying to do: put some fancy eye-candy software on the phone to make your friends envy your new phone, and to make you feel like you’ve got an iPhone-ish interface. But I don’t need that. In fact, the TouchFlo interface is so useless I went ahead and re-installed my SPB Mobile Shell software; I still prefer it over the fancy stuff. I've found that there are others that agree[updated]

Hardware

This, my friend, is the key area that made me want to buy the phone in the first place (ie Pro’s), and is also the area that made imageme initially not want to buy the phone ever (Con’s):

Pros: The major value this phone brings is in a whopping increase in memory – any current Mogul user will probably salivate over the screenshot shown here. This is the #1 reason why I even considered this phone. As Forrest would say, “that’s all I’ve got to say about that”.

Also, although I don’t have official data just yet, it ‘feels’ like the power management on this phone is better. I think I’m getting maybe 50% better battery life out of this thing than I was with the Mogul. It also feels like it charges faster as well.

Finally, one kool hardware feature that I haven’t yet explored is the TV-out capabilities (I need to first buy the cable to do it). Imagine playing YouTube videos from your phone onto your friend’s TV, or just demonstrating the phone in general on a TV. But mostly, this is probably useful for showing PowerPoint presentations from your phone – this is a way to get your non-techie colleagues to awe at your greatness, and fellow-geeks to covet you. :)

Other subtle hardware benefits:

  • the D-pad has a better feel, especially for the push-select
  • ergonomics of the phone are nice
  • video screen looks beautiful
  • screen auto brightens/dims (which probably helps the battery life), and looks better in sunlight than the Mogul does

Cons: My major problem with this phone was/is (haven’t decided yet) the lack of hardware buttons. Certainly taking away all the buttons adds to the sleek sexy feel of the phone. But me – I had tricked out all my buttons to do some amazing 1-touch kind of things on my Mogul (as I describe in the latter part of my other post). I really felt that those extra buttons were so useful that it wasn’t worth an upgrade. I’m starting, tho, to learn how to live without them, and the SPB Mobile Shell software is certainly helping me break my addiction. So, maybe this isn’t so bad after all.

Another con is that the little scroll wheel on the D-pad is pretty useless. It’s mainly for zooming in on pictures, and that’s about it. Why not make it useful in other apps as well? Perhaps they’ll do so in future versions of the software, but for now, that scroll feature is just another piece of eye candy like the TouchFlo software. [updated]

Finger-friendly

Pros: One of the main things that makes this new phone ‘feel’ imagegood is the solid finger functionality. With the Mogul, I had bought some SPB software to enable things like finger panning and scrolling, but now that feature is built into pretty much every app. And it works much smoother than it did on the Mogul, especially in Opera Mobile, probably due to the beefed-up processor and memory. And they also size up the text throughout the phone areas to support this finger-friendly experience.

Another benefit is in the area of 1-hand action, which comes in handy while I’m driving holding a can of Sprite (as I’ve heard Jeff & Josh say). :) The on-screen keyboard on the Mogul was only useful if you wanted to pull out the stylus, where as the Full and Compact on-screen QWERTY keyboard on the Pro finally makes thumb typing a reality. Again, I had bought software on my Mogul for better 1-handed typing, but now it’s built-in. This is mostly useful for quick text messages where I just need to say a couple of words – you’d be amazed how often that scenario comes up. For full-blown emails and stuff, tho, I obviously am still using the slide-out keyboard.

Cons: I think I might need to do a registry edit to increase the sensitivity of the screen. Every now and then I need to press something twice before I get it, or I have to make use of my fingernail rather than just my finger for more precise presses.

Goodies

Here’s a quick list of goodies that they threw in on the Pro. This imageis not a comprehensive list – it’s basically the list of things that I think are actually useful (so you won’t, for example, see the TouchFlo software on this list):

So, in general, Yes this is a great phone, and an improvement over the Mogul. Besides all the specifics I’ve laboriously explained above, in general the Touch Pro just ‘feels’ like a better phone (from a Mogul user perspective). And that, certainly, should be the first step for a phone maker in getting you to buy the latest and greatest thing – get me to ‘feel’ like I’ve bought something better than what I had. For lovers of WinMo, I think this phone makes Windows Mobile shine the way you always wished it would. There are still quirks, of course. And there’s still a need to stay friends with the software gurus at SPB and PPC Geeks and XDA Developers - but nevertheless, a worthy new addition to your mobile computing toolset.

Happy Moofing! :)

Update: 12/24/08 – Review Part 2: Music Player

8 Responses so far.

  1. Stacey says:

    ok...so cool! I just found out that I am eligible for an upgrade and was trying to decide if it was worth it for me to get this phone. sounds like it might be worth it.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Nice article, I replaced my Alltel 6800 with the Alltel TouchPro, both carbon copies of their Sprint twins. I registry hack, tweak, use SPB Pocket Plus instead of TF3D and thought I knew it all but picked up a couple of new things from your article. Thanks, Cuz

  3. Anonymous says:

    Great Article! Much appreciated. I was on the fence, but you def just convinced me to upgrade my mogul. One question though, in the pics of the Touch Pro, I haven't seen the slot for the microSD card. Where is it?

  4. I am unfortnately with T-Mobile, but have been looking at this phone for quite some time. In my case I'd have to purchase an unlocked version. What is the most you'd pay for this HTC-Pro?

  5. the slot for the SD card is under the battery cover.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Is there software for this phone to use it like a flashlight? If so, where can I purchase and download it from?

  7. For flashlight, I simply go into camera mode and just turn the flash on. Not sure what more an app would provide?

  8. I am actually excited now. I HATED my Mogul with a passion because of all of the horrible quirks (crashing being #1) and rediculously low memory. But, glad my screen cracked! The insurance co just informed me that I am getting the 6850 instead... Thanks for the rundown!

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