HTC Touch 3G

The original Touch gets the 3G treatment.

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HTC Touch 3G
  • HTC Touch 3G
  • HTC Touch 3G
  • HTC Touch 3G

Pros

  • Compact design, TouchFLO 2D interface, HSDPA-capable, A2DP Bluetooth, GPS

Cons

  • Uninspiring, can't type using fingers, buttons are a little thin, average display, proprietary headphone jack

Bottom Line

The Touch 3G improves on its predecessor by delivering a smooth user experience, but there is nothing else to really get excited about.

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Building off the original Touch, HTC has seen fit to introduce a 3G version of its compact smartphone. Sitting in the middle of the market, the Touch 3G improves on its predecessor thanks to a far smoother user experience, but there is little else to get excited about.

When the original Touch was launched it was one of the most compact and stylish smartphones available. Released more than 12 months later, the Touch 3G is a very similar device. It retains an almost identical look and feel, with a display that sits flush with the phones casing. While it's still an appealing design, we can't really get excited considering the original Touch was launched more than a year ago.

With no keyboard, the Touch 3G has just a few controls: a thin five-way navigational pad, answer and end call keys, a power button and a volume slider. The controls match phone's style, but they are quite thin and tend to dig into your fingers when pressed. A bigger issue is the on-screen keyboard. HTC offers seven methods of text input, but none of them are good enough for using just your fingers. Unfortunately, you'll have to use the stylus for typing messages and e-mails, which is quite a fiddly input method.

The Touch 3G includes HTC's latest TouchFLO 2D interface. Unfortunately, it's a slightly less advanced version of the Touch FLO 3D interface seen on the Touch Diamond and Touch Pro. The average display doesn't help and the poor viewing angles and difficulty viewing the screen in direct sunlight are also issues.

Thankfully, the interface still retains some of the features of its more advanced 3-D sibling, including the row of icons that sit in a tab-style interface across the bottom of the screen. You simply press down on the active tab and slide your finger left or right across the tabs to cycle through the menu selections. There are excellent animations. Particularly noteworthy is the weather application, which shows raindrops hitting the screen and then being wiped away by a windscreen wiper when showers are forecast. Cycling through music albums and e-mail messages reveals more eye candy.

The original Touch was plagued by speed issues, but the Touch 3G seems to have solved these for most part — there is still some lag when you delve into certain applications, but the TouchFLO interface is speedy and responsive. You'll still need to have the stylus handy, though: once you delve deeper into most applications, it's clear that this is still a Windows Mobile handset with a coat of paint.

The Touch 3G is a 7.2Mbps HSDPA handset and it operates on the 900 and 2100MHz 3G bands, meaning it won't be available on Telstra's 850MHz Next G network. It also has Wi-Fi as a standard feature. For phone calls, voice quality is fair but not outstanding, while the position of the speaker at the rear of the device doesn't do it any favours, especially when the phone is sitting on a flat surface.

The device runs Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional, so it includes all the features synonymous with this operating system. E-mail is easy to set up and configure, while Windows Media Player, Messenger, Adobe Reader and Google Maps are all present. The latter works in tandem with the built-in GPS receiver. Thankfully, HTC includes the Opera browser for mobile Internet use — while its not as intuitive as Safari on the iPhone 3G, it's certainly far better than the standard Internet Explorer Mobile offered as part of the Windows Mobile package.

As a multimedia device the Touch 3G is solid, but HTC has annoyingly insisted on a proprietary headphone and charging jack. Thankfully, A2DP Bluetooth means you can stream music wirelessly if you wish. 256MB of flash memory is available for file storage, while a microSD card slot is located beneath the rear cover, though there is no card included in the sales package. An uninspiring 3.2-megapixel camera with no flash or self-portrait mirror rounds out the package.

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