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printed August 27, 2014
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Review: HTC Touch Pro2

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There's no beating around the bush. The Touch Pro 2 (TP2) from HTC is absolutely ginormous. It's literally the size of two iPhones stacked on top of one another -- big. Big. BIG. What's worse, it weighs a ton (OK, really only 6.61 oz, but still...). This is not a fashionable phone that's going to slip easily into tight pockets. No. This is the type of phone you expect to see sitting on a table next to a businessman at the airport, not out at the club on a Saturday night. The TP2 conforms to the business-y mold. That means it is professional looking, clean cut, and dressed up for work.

It feels like a brick in your hand. The weight and size are obvious when you hold it. When closed, it is difficult to wrap your hand all the way around it.

The front of the phone has just four buttons, and they are crammed way down at the very bottom edge. They are the send/end keys, home key and back key. I understand that HTC had to stick them there so the zoom tool (more on that later) could fit below the screen, but these buttons feel squished just the same. On top of that, they are a bit mushy, with minimal travel and feedback. I expect better from HTC.

On the left side of the phone you'll find the volume toggle closer to the top. It is easy enough to find and has good travel and feedback. Below it is a hatch covering the microSD slot. If you have no fingernails, you won't be able to get this hatch open. It takes a bit of work. The miniUSB port is on the bottom, as is access to the stylus, which is tucked away in the corner. (The Sprint version has a 3.5mm headset jack on the bottom, the T-Mobile version does not.) On the right side of the phone you'll see only a small hole for resetting the device. On the back is the camera. Below the camera is a stroke of genius -- a mute key. HTC knows that users of this device are likely to use it for conference calls. The mute button will mute the TP2's microphone when the speakerphone is on so you can avoid any gaffes when conducting business. Very nice.

The slider mechanism that moves the screen to reveal the full QWERTY keyboard feels as though it could withstand the force of a tank. It's tough and solid, but that doesn't mean it is difficult to open. Similar to the Tilt from several years ago, the TP2's screen tilts up to about a 45 degree angle. This makes viewing the screen easier when using the keyboard. The hinge that tilts the screen up also feels solid and strong. The TP2 feels well balanced when open. I didn't experience any fatigue in my hands when holding or typing on the device for extended periods.

The TP2's keyboard is generously large. It has five full rows, with lots of nice little touches. For example, there are keyboard shortcuts to create text messages, to access email, to launch the browser and to launch the phone's communications manager. I've always appreciated that HTC puts a little indicator light on its keyboard to let you know when you've hit the CAP or ALT key. The keys themselves have a soft-touch paint feel to them. Each key stands out from the surface of the keyboard itself just enough so that you can tell them apart as you move your fingers across the keyboard. They all have the right amount of travel and feedback. My only real complaint about the keyboard is that I wish the space key were larger.

In all, everything about the TP2 implies that it is to be used for productivity purposes. Type this. File that. Email them.

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