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Review: HTC Touch Pro, Verizon Wireless Edition

12/13/2008 07:37 AM - Permalink

So I had the Verizon Wireless XV6800 (HTC Titan) for about 9 months.  It started having Wifi issues.  After a series of 4 exchanges for refurbished models (all defective-out-of-the-refurb box), they finally gave me the option of upgrading my phone, which to be honest, was not what I had intended at all.  I opted to go to the HTC Touch Pro, which had been out on the network for about a week.  I am enjoying the phone. 

Here are the specs:  http://www.htc.com/www/product/touchpro/overview.html

There are a few things I hated off the bat:

The navigation buttons (left, up, down) on the front of the device share a panel with the end / call / back / home buttons.  It makes it difficult to know how to press them in the correct places.  I have it down now.  For left / right, you have to press further from the “middle” button, in between the talk and home button to get it to go left.  And the same between the back and end button on the right to go right.  This took me an entire day to figure out.  I kept trying to push left and it went up until I figured out where to press.

I think the keyboard is absolutely horrendous.  The factory HTC Touch Pro keyboard is WONDERFUL.  It adds great benefits that really help people of my profession – benefits no other keyboard on a PDA phone has yet been privy to:

-    A CTRL button. (Helpful for remote administration of linux systems with programs like PocketPutty)
-    A tab key. (Helpful for remote administration of linux systems with programs like PocketPutty)
-    Buttons in an identical layout to a standard QWERTY keyboard.

These are the problems with the keys I’m having on the VZW version of this phone (XV6850):

-    There is no CTL key.
-    There is no Tab key.
-    The ARROW keys are moved one key to the left so that Enter is the bottom right key.  To make room for the top arrow key, the M key was moved to the right side of the up arrow key, so the last row of keys is in this order: [Shift], Z, X, C , V, B, N, [UP ARROW], M, [SYM].  WHY OH WHY?!  Whoever made this decision needs to be slapped with a metal glove.  With spikes.  (Naturally, I’m kidding, but this is unendingly aggravating.)

TouchFlo 3D is pretty cool.  It can be buggy unless the Music tab is turned off (added Advanced Configuration Tools 3.2 for the ability to do that).

Other than that, I think it’s a good phone, and I’m going to continue using it for a while.

I did just get off the phone with a customer service rep who I called to cancel the data plan.  I noticed the phone connected today when I got to work and gave me an email update.  I don’t use the Data Plan b/c it’s the same amount of $ as my cable for my home, and that’s just ridiculous.  Plus, I have wifi at home / work / even in the movie theaters in my town (most of them).  And I certainly won’t be using the data in my car.  

The rep told me VZW is moving to a mandatory data plan for phones added to the network after 11/21.  I point blank told her I have 5 friends that have a PDA device with Verizon.  Every one of them hate the data plans available and have the data block on their accounts.  I see this move as a way to make money, and not at all friendly or helpful to your customers.  I told her to offer the block.   Because what she told me in saying that (in my words) are “if you want to upgrade to a new PDA phone after this one, you have to change networks to somewhere that won’t make you get the data plan.”  And I will.

Anyway… these are my preliminary thoughts.  I wanted to give you a heads up that truly .. I like the device better than the 6800 even though it doesn’t have these weird quirks.  The features and interface are more friendly and I enjoy using it more.

This is the Factory HTC Touch Pro.  Notice the keyboard here.

Now compare it to the VZW modified device:

How much sense does that make to you?  The engineer’s brain that made that choice wasn’t firing on all cylinders that day.  LOL.

Oh.. I LOVE the true VGA as opposed to QVGA display.  Everything is clearer and easier to read.  The camera is slow, but that’s to be expected with any phone these days I think.  I’m disappointed that I still can’t utilize the internal GPS device on applications such as Google Maps and Tom Tom.  I’ll keep my eyes open on the xda developers forums for hacks to enable it.  (Even though I don’t use it much… I don’t like that I CAN’T.)

By the way, I looked up on the Internet the M key issue.  There are entire forum threads dedicated to complaining about it.  I quote:

“Probably the biggest disadvantage of the VZW Touch Pro is the keyboard. the keyboard is pretty much destroyed; the enter key is truncated, the left shift key in truncated, it lost two columns of keys (10 instead of 12), and the up arrow key is stuck right in between the n and the m, which in my opinion is absolute insanity.”

EDIT (12/14/2008):

I spoke with another representative this morning -- this time she called me.  It was the rep I talked to yesterday.  She said that yesterday when I called in asking for the data plan to be removed, she thought it worked and that it in fact was impossible with this phone.  She said for the older PDA phones, it's still possible to have one without a data package as they were grandfathered in to the new system, but the newer phones (such as the HTC TouchPro) require them.  She offered me the opportunity to switch back to the 6800, and I said that I'd think about it. 

I told her I'd think about it, because there are some cool features on the 6850.  I am loving this phone, but it all of a sudden is more than 50 bucks to upgrade to.  It's also 30 dollars a month.  She said right now, my plan has the $29.99 email / web access plans that most blackberry's had.

I asked her if the remote desktop application on the phone would work on that system, and she said no.  The trouble is, I tried it just now (remote desktoped to 2 other computers) with the plan I have now (and wifi turned off) and it worked flawlessly.  Would this give me the opportunity to remote desktop?  I emailed David (a representative that gave me his email address after helping me greatly one time -- who actually was the recipient of the email that makes up the majority of this post), and he said there would be no surcharges -- it's covered on this plan.  As a developer for Windows and Windows Mobile, the only hope of keeping me on this phone is if there's a way to setup my account for the $29.99 access only, and ensure there would be NO other data surcharges whatsoever.  I believe that's what we have set up now.

Verizon Wireless:  If I could have listed the top 5 worst business decisions Verizon Wireless could make from a services rendered to the customer perspective, getting rid of the data block for PDA phones is #1 or #2 easy.  Raising data prices would be a competitor in the top 2 also.

I will consider keeping the phone with the plan, because under the data block / national access block that I previously had, I was unable to send / receive pix / flix messages.  I will see how much I use these features over the next few weeks.

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