Improvement that just about redeems itself

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You have to hand it to the guys at HTC – they have the strength of convictions to stick to their guns, as evidenced by their new offering, the Touch2. While even the likes of Sony Ericsson have struggled with obtaining market share in the high-end segment of the mobile market, and LG, Samsung and their ilk have blown hot and cold with hits and misses, the boffins at HTC have churned out product after winning product almost unwaveringly. HTC now is almost synonymous with Smartphones.

The HTC Touch, which carved a reputation for itself in the market, sported a Windows operating system. In its new, improved avatar as the Touch2, the touchscreen handset is one of the first devices to run the new Windows Mobile 6.5 software.

The device has a 2.8in resistive touchscreen, 3.2 megapixel fixed-focus camera, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. It also features HTC's TouchFLO user-interface for improved user-friendliness, as well as Microsoft's on-line synching and back-up service "My Phone". TouchFLO is an HTC-developed enhanced UI that includes integrated weather updates and quick touch access to the most popular applications, such as Google Maps for Mobile, YouTube and more. The phone also utilises the Windows Mobile 6.5 platform to offer a superior e-mail experience, with the ability to synchronise with Microsoft Exchange, allowing checking and managing multiple e-mail accounts.

With the re-designed Internet Explorer Mobile, the phone displays PC-style web pages, and users can view web content as they are used to seeing it on computer screens. Internet Explorer-Mobile also supports Adobe Flash, enabling Flash video content.

However, while most features are user-friendly and commendable, the Touch2's resistive touchscreen falls short of expectations. It requires some pressure to register inputs, which makes the phone tedious to use on occasions when the screen acts particularly stubborn. A stylus is a must if you don't have razor sharp claws for fingernails. This, sort of, mars the entire experience of using an otherwise capable Smartphone.

Redeeming this somewhat is the "My Phone" web-based sync feature – Windows Mobile's answer to Apple's MobileMe and Nokia's Ovi. The feature is user-friendly both on the phone and on the MyPhone website. You can upload all the data to it that you want to transfer to your phone and vice-versa, including media files.

In the final analysis, the Touch2 is an improvement on the Touch and sits in a price range where substance is favoured over style. And it does have plenty of substance by virtue of being an early adopter of the improved Windows Mobile 6.5.

Without a better touchscreen, however, it remains a sports car shod with tractor tyres.


The HTC Touch 2 is available for Dh1,699 at all leading electronics stores

 

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