The TouchFLO 3D Home screen consists of several full screen tabs, decked out with some impressive graphics. You can move through the tabs with a single finger sweep, or by scrolling the tab thumbnails at the bottom of the screen until you hit the one you need. The list is long and includes the home screen (with a large clock), favorite contacts, text messages, email, Internet, photos and video, music, weather, settings and a customizable application launcher.
Since the official HTC TouchFLO 3D demo isn't very indicative to changes the latest ROM brings, here is quick video walkthrough showing what the current performance of the Touch Pro is like.
Now, let's have a closer look at those tabs. A nice thing is that each tab comes with its own set of context keys. This means that with the TouchFLO 3D at hand, you would rarely need to use the Windows built-in interface (except for file browsing and setting the alarm). On the negative side the context keys aren't customizable to suit your needs on any of the tabs.
Other than showing the clock, the Home tab gives you access to the HTC Call log, Windows World clock, Windows Alarm application, windows calendar application - in case you have pending events for the day, they too get listed here. The context keys give you access to the Phone Pad and the TouchFLO Programs tab.
On the second TouchFLO tab called People, you can set favorite contacts, which would be displayed with their assigned images or, in case you haven't set those, a generic image. You can scroll images with a finger sweep. A tap on the photo will take you to the contact's details, while a tap on the number below the image will automatically dial it. You can scroll the favorite contacts by using the thumbnail bar on the right too. The context keys give you access to the regular Windows Mobile contact list or several settings for managing favorite contacts, such as remove or change picture.
The Messages tab shows your latest SMS/MMS. A single finger sweep displays the next message. A small shortcut in the top right corner will automatically start a new SMS/MMS with the default Windows message editor. The context keys will give you access to the Windows Mobile SMS/MMS inbox.
The Email tab shows your emails in an attractive way and, again, you can flip through them one by one. Flipping them however is hard as more than often it happens that you open an email instead of flipping it over. So all in all, the email tab is rather redundant - except for changing email accounts.
A dedicated shortcut starts the editor for composing new email. The context keys take you to the Windows Mobile Email inbox, and handle several commands such as Send/Receive or Email Account management.
The Internet tab launches the Opera 9.5 web browser or the slick preinstalled YouTube video client. You can also scroll your bookmarks and launch one directly from there. The first context key displays all of your bookmarks but this time within the browser, while the second one starts the browser. HTC must have lost their focus setting up this tab. A shortcut to the preinstalled RSS reader and streaming media player would have been much nicer. There's no option either for changing the default Opera browser and there's no way to type a URL directly on the Home screen and open it in the browser. Those are exactly the same issues we identified in the Diamond and, no, we didn't expect them addressed in the Touch Pro. We just feel they're worth pointing out.
One of the most useful tabs is in charge of the Photos and Videos . You can scroll them with finger sweeps. Two additional shortcuts allow you to start the camera or camcorder directly from here. It's pretty much the easiest way to do it, as there is no dedicated camera key. The context keys launch the Album application, which is used for viewing all your images and video.
The Music tab displays albums with their covers and you can flip through them much like you would on the iPhone and its gorgeous Cover Flow. The context keys let you access the music player options and the music player library where you can sort your music based on other filters beside album.
The Weather tab is self explanatory but it easily amazes with graphics. You can check the weather in several locations and you can alternate them with a finger sweep. You can also get a 5-day forecast for these locations via the first context key. The second context key allows you to manage the locations, for which the weather will be monitored.
The next tab is Settings and it lets you control various system options saving you the effort of using the confusing Windows Mobile Settings page.
First of all, you can set the ringing profile, volume level and ringtone all from one central place. Now, that's really handy. Even pressing the volume rocker brings up a fancy custom-made fullscreen slider instead the usual WinMo mini sliders. The original Windows Mobile sound settings are accessible from here too and are listed under Advanced.
You also have access to the HTC custom Communications manager, which handles all on-board transceivers.
HTC have added the so-called System status screen, which pops up when you touch the icons on the top of the Home screen. Those status icons are usually too tiny to press accurately with a finger and you would normally need the stylus to check battery status (by touching the battery indicator), regulate volume (by touching the speaker icon), or open the communications manager or phone and connectivity settings (by touching the signal indicator or network type icon).
With the System status screen, once you touch the area of those icons with your finger, all of them get listed fullscreen so you can easily pick the one you want. It's an extra step but it's nice nevertheless!
The last tab is the customizable Application launcher where you can set shortcuts to the most frequently used features. Using the context keys you can also open a finger-scrollable list of all programs currently installed on your device. The list is dynamic, so as soon as you add new apps, it gets updated.
Finally, we come to the alternative home screen the Touch Pro has to offer. It is only revealed when you slide the keyboard out in stand-by and offers a set of 8 shortcuts. Those include email, messages, bookmarks, web search, calendar, tasks, notes and contacts. The soft keys give access to the phone and call history.
Well, that pretty much gets all of them covered. We guess, it's been a long reading and that alone should hint you that the number of tabs is a bit too much. Some of them are totally redundant, such as the Internet tab, while others have some limitation imposed, which renders them useless (like the number of contacts in the People tab). There are people that don't use email on their mobile too, so basically our biggest grudge against the TouchFLO 3D interface is that you can't select which tabs get shown.
The good news is that thanks to a third-party software solution, you can re-order and, if necessary, hide some of the Home screen tabs. But there'll be more on it in the dedicated Tweaks & Modding chapter.