Joining Sprint and AT&T, Verizon Wireless is now offering the HTC Touch Pro, a full-featured Windows Mobile smartphone aimed at business users. It brings a nice update to the Verizon Wireless XV6800 with the addition of Windows Mobile 6.1 and a sleeker design. Plus, it's fully stocked with wireless options and messaging and productivity tools. Unfortunately, the Verizon Touch Pro lacks some of the services and applications offered by the Sprint Touch Pro and the AT&T HTC Fuze but the bigger issue is that the Verizon Touch Pro simply doesn't deliver when it comes to performance. The smartphone is buggy and frustratingly slow, and it's certainly not worth the pricey $349.99 with a two-year contract. If you're a Verizon customer and need a business-centric smartphone, you'll be better off with the Samsung Saga. You'll lose some of the flashiness of the HTC Touch Pro but at least you'll get a device that can keep up with your demands.
The Verizon Wireless HTC Touch Pro doesn't differ much in design compared with its Sprint and AT&T variants, though there are several differences. For example, the Verizon handset features sharper edges and a flat, plastic backplate, whereas the Sprint model has a soft-touch finish and the AT&T Fuze sports a geometric backing like the HTC Touch Diamond. While the other handsets have fun and distinguishing features, the Verizon Touch Pro is still an attractive model and certainly more compact than the Verizon Wireless XV6800 at 4.1 inches high by 2 inches wide by 0.7 inch deep and weighs 4.9 ounces.
On its front, you'll find a 2.8-inch touch screen with VGA resolution (480x640), so you'll enjoy sharp text and images. You can customize the Home screen with various themes, including HTC's TouchFlo 3D interface. This user interface places a toolbar along the bottom of the screen that lets you scroll left to right and launch applications with one touch, and also allows you to scroll through images, messages, and Web pages with various finger swipes.
The display also has a built-in accelerometer, so the screen orientation will automatically switch from portrait to landscape mode when you rotate the phone. However, similar to the Sprint model, the feature only works in certain applications, such as pictures and video and Web pages. The page view will also change when you slide the screen to the right to access the full QWERTY keyboard. That said, we found that the Verizon Touch Pro was incredibly slow to perform this task, beyond what we experienced on the Sprint version. There were times that it took so long that we thought the phone froze. There were also a couple of occasions when we opened the keyboard and the bottom third of the screen looked like it was on the fritz. Obviously, that's not good and we found that the smartphone was underpowered in general. Check out the Performance section for a more detailed description.
The full QWERTY on the Verizon Touch Pro is slightly varied from the other two models in that the placement of some buttons are in different places. The keyboard is fairly easy to use with large buttons and a nonslip texture, but we slightly favored the HTC Fuze since it was easier to hit the space button with our right thumb and there were more shortcuts to applications.
The rest of the Touch Pro's controls and ports are similar to the Sprint version, including the four-way, touch-sensitive navigation toggle. Unfortunately, this also means you don't get a standard headphone jack. For more details about the HTC Touch Pro's design, please read our full review of the HTC Touch Pro for Sprint.
Verizon Wireless packages the HTC Touch Pro with an AC adapter, a USB cable, an audio adapter, an extra stylus, software CDs, and reference material. For more add-ons, please check our cell phone accessories, ringtones, and help page.
The HTC Touch Pro for Verizon Wireless is built for business users and comes with the features to handle the workload. The smartphone runs Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional Edition with the full Microsoft Office Mobile Suite and Direct Push Technology for real-time e-mail delivery and automatic synchronization with your Outlook calendar, tasks, and contacts via Exchange Server. The Touch Pro also supports HTML-formatted e-mail and you can access POP3 and IMAP e-mail accounts, which, in most cases, is a simple process of inputting your username and password.
For Web browsing, you can use Internet Explorer Mobile but the Touch Pro also ships with the Opera Mobile Web browser. Preloaded PIM tools include ClearVue Presentations, Adobe Reader LE, WorldCard Mobile business card reader, a voice recorder, a task list, a task manager and switcher, and a calculator. You can also download more programs, games, and utilities from the Verizon AppZone. A shortcut to the store is provided on the smartphone; you can also find more titles from Download.com.
For voice features, the Touch Pro offers a speakerphone, voice dialing and commands, speed dial, and text and multimedia messaging. The address book is only limited by the available memory and you can store multiple numbers for a single entry, as well as home and work addresses, e-mail, IM screen name, birthday, and more. For caller ID purposes, you can pair a contact with a photo, a caller group, or one of 62 polyphonic ringtones. Bluetooth 2.0 is onboard for use with mono and stereo Bluetooth headsets as well as hands-free kits, object push for vCard, basic imaging, phonebook access profiles, and dial-up networking. It does not support the OBEX profile for object transfer. Also, note that if you want to take advantage of the DUN capabilities and use the Touch Pro as a wireless modem for your laptop, be aware that you will need to sign up for one of Verizon's BroadbandAccess plans, which start at $15 per month.
The HTC Touch Pro is an EV-DO Rev. A-capable handset so it works on the carrier's 3G's network, allowing you enjoy faster Web browsing, e-mail, and downloads. The Rev. A offers an extra boost over regular EV-DO, bringing download speeds up to the 450Kbps-to-800Kbps range versus 400Kbps-to-700Kbps, while upload speeds will average around 300Kpbs to 400Kpbs (compared with EV-DO's 50Kpbs to 70Kbps). Of course, this is all dependent if you live in a coverage area (you can find a coverage map from Verizon's Web site). In case, you're not one of the lucky ones or if you happen to wander outside the 3G coverage area, the good news is the Touch Pro also has integrated Wi-Fi, offering you another method for connecting to the Web.
The Touch Pro has integrated GPS/A-GPS for navigation capabilities. To get a fix on your location, the smartphone will use both satellites and cellular triangulation but for real-time turn-by-turn directions, traffic data, and more, you will need to subscribe to Verizon's VZ Navigator location-based service, which costs $9.99 per month or $2.99 per day.
As a business device, Verizon doesn't offer its V Cast music and video services on the HTC Touch Pro, but you do get some multimedia offerings. First, there's a 3.2-megapixel camera with up to 4x zoom and video-recording capabilities. The camera options include everything from various shooting modes, image size, and quality. The camera is equipped with a flash, but you also get white balance and brightness controls to help you get the best image. Picture quality wasn't the greatest; while the objects looked clear, the colors were washed out and gave the image a very dull look. There's also no dedicated capture button, which we missed. Video quality was also fairly poor, as clips looked pretty jerky during playback.
You also get the standard Windows Media Player 10 Mobile player with support for AAC, MP3, WAV, WMA, MPEG-4, WMV files, and more. As far as memory, the Verizon Touch Pro has 512MB ROM and 192MB RAM, which is less than the HTC Fuze and Sprint Touch Pro's 288MB RAM. You can expand the storage via the microSD/SDHC expansion slot (accepts up to 16GB cards), but the lesser really affects the performance of the smartphone, which you can read more about below.
We tested (CDMA 850/1900; EV-DO Rev. A) the HTC Touch Pro in San Francisco using Verizon Wireless service, and call quality was excellent. Audio sounded crisp and clear to us with very little voice distortion and background noise. We had no problems conversing with friends or using an airline's voice-automated response system and didn't have any dropped calls during our test period. Our callers also reported similarly good results. Occasionally, they said they could hear a slight echo but otherwise had no major complaints. Speakerphone quality was mediocre. While there was plenty of volume, the sound was slightly on the tinny side, though it wasn't anything that prevented us from carrying on with the conversation. We successfully paired the Touch Pro with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset and the .
Our biggest issue with the HTC Touch Pro is it can be terribly slow. The smartphone features a 528MHz Qualcomm MSM7500A processor and at times, the smartphone was responsive, but more often than not, we encountered significant delays to the point where we thought the system had frozen. The device felt underpowered to handle even the simplest tasks like launching applications or even just navigating through the TouchFlo interface. We even switched back to the traditional Windows Today screen and tried optimizing CPU usage through the task manager and still encountered numerous problems. The software also seemed buggy. Aside from some of the screen issues we mentioned earlier in the Design section, there was more than one occasion where the back button wouldn't work and we couldn't go back to the Today screen using the shortcut button. Everything was a test in patience, even Web browsing. Launching the Opera browser took a while and sometimes a site would start to load and then hiccup. It all led to an incredibly frustrating experience and distaste for the smartphone.
The HTC Touch Pro's 1,340mAh lithium ion battery has a rated talk time battery life of 4 hours and up to 14 days of standby time. We are still conducting our battery drain tests but will update this section as soon as we have final results. Anecdotally, we found that the battery drains pretty quickly. After just a couple of hours of making calls and browsing the Internet, the battery was already at 50 percent. According to FCC radiation tests, the Touch Pro has a digital SAR rating of 1.43 watts per kilogram.