Design and build: an impeccable finish
No complaints with respect to the Touch2’s finish. The new version is just as convincing here. Nevertheless, the Touch2 does look small compared to the smartphones that have come onto the market recently. Once you turn it on however, the screen immediately comes to colourful life. The resolution is not all that high (320 x 240). Thankfully though, it’s smaller than some (in line with the res) and, above all brighter and cleaner.
With its small screen and shell, the Touch2 is discreet, but with a nice aluminium look. Some of the buttons are perhaps a little too small however, particularly for receiving and hanging up and HTC have included a stylus, very rare these days. It’s a clever move here though. Low res, small screen and Windows Mobile, even in version 6.5, all make for a phone that isn’t necessarily supremely compatible with your fingertips.
The Touch2 from the front and side
It’s no surprise that the usual HTC interface, the famous TouchFlo, doesn’t do as well on the Touch2 as on the HD2. Nevertheless it is still by far the best interface on Windows Mobile, and with the best integration. The only real competition is in fact the Android Sense interface, which is also from HTC.
The stylus is nevertheless practical for writing texts, mails and so on – of course in terms of texts/mails, the phone does fall short of the Blackberry and Nokia specialists, but it isn’t bad.
WinMo 6.5 interface | the digital keyboard
Navigation: Pocket IE still not up to speed
To finish with the stylus, while Windows Mobile 6.5 at last ushered in easier touch navigation, progress now needs to be made in terms of higher resolutions. Certainly, here, you’ll use your finger on the screen for phoning but that’s all.
On the net, the new version of Pocket IE is not yet ready to become the dominant new mobile navigator. Thankfully HTC have thought to supply Opera (depending on your operator, it may have been removed). Nevertheless, once again, the screen doesn’t allow for comfortable navigation.
Multimedia: the ExtHTC is dead, long live the mini-jack!
The camera is certainly the disappointing feature on the Touch2. Though we don’t fault the choice of a 3.2 Mpixel sensor (why put a 12 Mpixel in a phone, if not to make it more expensive?), the lack of autofocus and mediocre image quality do mean it falls short of what we’ve now got used to. Note also that you can’t photograph yourself while you’re on screen as there’s no lens on the front of the phone. For music, we really like the HTC player, very much better than the Windows Media player. Plus this is one of the first phones, moving on from the Hero, not to have an ExtUSB hands free kit but rather a standard mini-jack. It was about time.
And lets not forget the GPS, which is practical to fall back on.
To sum up then, the Touch2 is along the same lines as the Touch. A good stepping stone into the world of reasonably priced WinMo smartphones. Of course it isn’t the best of them, but it’s not the worst either. Battery life, moreover, is good.
- Reasonably sized screen compared to res
- TouchFlo still just as effective
- Screen size necessitates use of a stylus
- Poor camera, no autofocus
- Navigation not so comfortable
The Touch2 does not set out its stall as a top smartphone, which it isnt. It is nevertheless a good way of trying out this type of product without shelling out too much. A rational choice then!