And we've finally reached the real fun part of this review - at least for us, that is. PocketPCs have long been the target of custom modding, patching and tweaking. HTC for one have an especially active fan base that seem to be constantly poking and prodding to optimize the usability of their device.
So, the HTC Touch Pro2 review would not be complete without mentioning some of the achievements on the user customization and modding scene.
Most tweaks require modifying the Windows Mobile registry. However, in case you feel anxious about messing with the system registry, you can find most of the currently available tweaks among the options of the third-party Advanced Configuration Tool (or simply the Advanced Config).
The Advanced Configuration Tool is a tweaking app, now compatible with Touch Pro2, just as it was with the new Diamond. It allows you to fine-tune a lot of settings.
For instance, you can replace the battery in the taskbar with a clock, change splash screens, and change a lot of performance related settings. You can learn more about it and download it here.
To be able to use the Advanced Configuration Tool you will also need to download Microsoft .NET Compact Framework (here).
And now, it's time for something odd. The HTC Touch Pro2 comes with an inbuilt FM radio (RDS capable, by the way) but there is no software preloaded to let you take advantage of it. Is it because they wanted to differentiate the Touch Pro2 from HTC Touch Diamond2? We doubt it. Whatever the strange reason behind this mysterious move, users will not have to put up with it.
Well, with the help of the talented guys over at XDA developers' forum we managed to make the built-in FM radio work. And it works great: you just need to plug the headset in and to choose a station. As far as the interface is concerned, it is the same as the one on Touch Diamond2.
We also managed to activate the geo-tagging feature of the camera. It allows saving the location information in the EXIF file of the image. It is very strange why HTC decided to deactivate this feature even if the hardware and the software support it. By the way, along with the geo-tagging we activated some other extra camera features like Burst and Sports modes and the Video Share and MMS Video features.
In Burst mode you can take a sequence of 30 images at a time and in Sports mode - 5. The Video Share and the MMS Video options allow you to send automatically the videos you take via email or MMS.
All these and many more features can be activated or deactivated using the Registry Editor application, which is totally free, but as usual when messing with the registry always act cautiously and don't touch entries that you don't understand.
So here's a link that describes the WM registry entries that need changing to enable those options on the HTC Touch Pro2.
Sequel is the buzz word yet again, and 2 is still more and better. But then, we can't help the nagging little feeling that it was a bit easier to say that about the Diamonds than it is with the Pros.
The updated TouchFLO 3D, the utterly revamped exterior, the bigger screen and the HTC Touch HD genes are the undoubted assets of both the new Diamond and the new Pro. But while the Diamond2 grew in size with grace, the Pro2 may have crossed the line and fallen back to TyTN II kind of bulk.
But hey, we're not gonna hold size that much against the Touch Pro2. The excellent screen and the perfect QWERTY keyboard will shut us up anyway. Plus, there isn't even a shadow of a doubt that the Pro2 just blows the TyTN II in terms of ergonomics. We wouldn't have moaned about the camera either if it wasn't for the image quality. We can live with no upgrade in pixel count but poor photos we won't stand for.
Like it or not, the Touch Pro2 gets away with poor imaging too. It's got business on its mind and graciously lets the Diamond2 cater to a different set of users. So, if the first thing on your mind was Diamond2 or Touch Pro2, the answer is not so easy. It's a question of business or pleasure, QWERTY and Straight Talk or style and imaging.
As for alternatives, if you are into PocketPCs you can hitch a ride with the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1. It offers much similar specs, and the blending of Sony Ericsson and HTC bloodlines has produced a rock solid performer. The choice will be between TouchFLO 3D and XPERIA panels.
An intriguing debut will also compete with the Touch Pro2 for a seat at your table. Acer M900 is about to be thrown in the PocketPC skirmish and is all set to accommodate Windows Mobile Professional 6.5 too.
On Symbian turf, the Nokia N97 is on its way to the shelves and we're about to see if the couple of days headstart will be any good for the Touch Pro2 in this battle of platforms. The touch-enabled Symbian-powered N97 is ready to fire with a big screen, QWERTY keyboard, 32GB internal storage, much better camera and Nseries media skill. Its QWERTY keyboard is a 3-row piece only, but it's the only other contemporary mobile with a tilting screen.
As you already saw in this review, repetition is hard to get around but that's how it goes with Pros and Diamonds, and their sequels. But now the Diamond/Pro relationship takes a new and very important turn. While the QWERTY keyboard was the only distinction between the carbon-copied first batch, the sequels do look different and target diverse user groups.
In all honesty though,the Diamond2 seems to make a bit more sense than the Touch Pro2 from an upgraderís point of view. Anyway, an old Pro will always have a trick or two to show off. And you won't be fooled if you fall for the the slide and tilt.