The latest touchscreen offering from HTC is one of the first to feature Windows Mobile 6.5, but still falls somewhat short of the mark.
What we like
Despite being one of the first phones to be sporting Microsoft’s new Windows 6.5 OS, it’s actually not apparent at first, since HTC has reskinned it with its very own TouchFLO interface, which already deals with many of the complaints regarding usability and menu navigation. And very nice it is too - a bar along the bottom of the screen will allow you to scroll through the various functions, while the top two thirds of the screen is used to display whatever’s relevant to the function you’ve chosen - i.e. weather and calendar information on the home screen, email messages in Messaging.
One of the nicest additions from Windows 6.5 is the Internet Explorer web browser. It renders full size web pages and then a toolbar at the bottom allows you to select where and how much you’d like to zoom in, as well as letting you move the page around. Oddly this isn’t the default option (Opera gets that honour) - it’s accessible through the Windows hard key under the screen, although this can be changed in settings.
Another addition of Windows 6.5 is free access to My Phone. This Microsoft service wirelessly backs up your contacts, calendar, photos, messages, music etc with your online My Phone account. You need a Windows Live ID, which can be created from the phone itself, after which you can be safe in the knowledge you’re not going to lose your life if you lose your phone.
What we don’t like
The touchscreen isn’t bad, there’s certainly been worse, it’s resistive rather than capacitive though, which means it relies on you selecting icons using the pressure of a finger, or the included stylus, rather than a gentle sweep. When we were scrolling through all the apps dumped in the Windows Start menu, as we got to the bottom of the list, we accidentally selected at least three different programmes.
Weirdly for a touchscreen phone there’s no accelerometer, so turning the phone doesn’t result in the keyboard, for instance, being laid out landscape, or pictures being rotated to fill the screen.
The real weakness of this phone is the touchscreen - there’s no amount of reskinning and streamlining that can make up for the fact that two out of three times, you select the wrong application. The lack of landscape functionality is also an obvious omission, which means it just falls short when compared to the other smart phone options available today.