HTC Touch Dual Smart Phone
At a Glance
HTC Touch Dual
The Touch Dual's slight changes make it a good--but pricey--BlackBerry Pearl competitor.
When HTC released the Touch last year, Windows Mobile had an imperfect champion. It was no iPhone killer, but it was certainly ready to put out a hit on Apple's handset. Ultimately, though we liked the HTC phone's first take, we found a couple of minor issues that kept it from scoring high. Enter the Touch Dual, a quad-band GSM phone that adds a slide-out keypad and other improvements on its predecessor.
I was dying to see how the keypad would improve my experience. On the Touch Dual, the button arrangement
The keypad design should be familiar territory to anyone who has
Another downer: Adding that hard keypad forced the phone's designers to sacrifice screen size. The Touch Dual's screen is 0.2 inches smaller than the 2.8-inch screen of the original Touch. It may not seem like much of a difference, but I found myself missing the extra room while watching videos or reading articles in the Web browser.
Thankfully, some of the Touch Dual's design changes were for the better. For one thing, the MicroSD Card slot is now on the bottom-left side of the device. Popping in new cards is
Beyond the design changes, the Touch Dual provides a very similar experience to that of the Touch. Inside lies Qualcomm's MSM7200 400-MHz processor, 256MB of ROM, and 128MB of SDRAM. It has the same 2-megapixel camera as the Touch does, with the same shutter-speed delay between shots.
The phone runs Windows Mobile 6.1, an incremental improvement over the Touch's Windows Mobile 6.0. It also comes with a slightly tweaked TouchFLO 3D interface. For those unfamiliar with it, TouchFLO is simple-and-sweet HTC software that runs on top of Windows Mobile to provide an easy-to-navigate touch interface. What's new is that the second you slide out the keypad, the screen pops up a series of shortcuts to create appointments, notes, contacts--the usual chores. Personally, I find TouchFLO a mixed bag of gussied-up shortcuts. My beef is
One interesting new feature is
We're still waiting for the final results from our PC World Test Center battery-life tests; we'll update this review as soon as we have the numbers. Since the previous version of the Touch worked on Sprint, a different network could result in different performance and battery-life scores.
In the meantime, some good news: This GSM phone comes unlocked, so you aren't held hostage by any one carrier. The bad news: That freedom comes at a high price--$550, to be precise. Fans of the BlackBerry Pearl's tiny keypad might consider this alternative, but I'm desperate for a good set of keys to type up thoughts on the go. If you're a keyboard junkie like me, I recommend waiting for the recently announced HTC Touch Pro. That handset seems like a logical evolution of the T-Mobile Wing design, but it won't be available until sometime "before the end of 2008" (according to HTC).