Well, the nice man from Vodafone came today and gave me back a new TYTN II, in exchange for my Touch Pro. I’d objected to a clause in my contract renewal, so we agreed to differ and they downgraded my phone.
And… well… is it necessarily a downgrade? As I picked up the Kaiser for the first time, I jotted down my first impressions:
- Compared to the Touch Pro, the Kaiser feels larger, and the screen resolution is definitely ‘less gorgeous’, particularly through the Vodafone-standard screen protector (which I need to replace).
- As always, the box-fresh phone feels more responsive than one that I’ve had for more than a week.
- I’m lost on the keyboard change again, as I’m sure I will be for a couple of days. The keys are larger and easier to press. Also, I’ve just enjoyed my first press of the dedicated email button on the front.
- The snick of the stylus being pulled in by its’ magnet, is also missed.
- But… AHHH! The scroll wheel!!!!! I can scroll!
- And a D-pad that actually works and doesn’t mis-press the whole time!
As for the rest of the Touch Pro features: The touch-wheel and the accelerometer were present, but didn’t really serve any purpose whatsoever. The FM Radio was actually quite nice to have once, but again, I don’t really listen to the radio
In compensation, the Kaiser fits my large hands a little more than the Pro – particularly since the jogdial is far more ergonomic than dragging around the screen with your thumb (if using one-handed). And the D-pad… yes, a flush fronted phone looks nice, but you need to feel your way around it to be productive.
So, in short, I’m not missing the Touch Pro at all! I’ll likely stick with this new Kaiser, and perhaps consider the SE Experia, or Blackberry Storm (still waiting for that)…
So, continuing on my Touch Pro exploration:
In case I didn’t mention it before, you should note that the Touch interface *mostly* works. That means that using the on-screen keyboard or keypad for dialling or typing, is responsive enough that you can use it without thinking – unlike the Kaiser, where you had to allow both for inaccurate tapping, and lag. Here, typing a number in on the screen is a pleasure, and works fine.
Where it doesn’t always work is in swiping – it’s tricky to get it to interpret the movement correctly – such as scrolling down an inbox, and ending up opening an email instead. It can make navigating a pain, when compared to my much-missed jogwheel. Trying to get to a specific point in a document or web page is also a question of endless flicking the screen, or digging the stylus out for the scroll bars. However, it is still slightly better than the Kaiser at this.
Nice Little Feature
If you plug in something to the mini-USB connector, you get this helpful little pane pop up.
It’s genuinely useful -touch Internet Sharing, and that’s all you need to do – it effectively runs a macro that opens the usual Internet Sharing app, and selects Connect for you – and hey presto, your laptop is connected!
I’m just about used to the keyboard after a couple of days. The one major remaining annoyance is the SMS button – accidentally press it while typing, and your email will be saved to drafts, and you’ll be flicked back to the SMS screen. Getting back to your email is a long journey…
There’s also a bug: if you choose to use T9 mode when using the touchscreen (which is actually very usable!), then it’ll also be enabled for the keyboard (which is not at all usable). Want to have the best of both worlds? Tough! You’ll have to manually change the input settings each time you switch from one to the other.
(This bug’s reminscent of the Hermes, where using the keyboard while in a call was impossible because it was locked in DTMF-only mode. It seems HTC just didn’t get to these finishing touches…)
– The stylus makes a return to the right side of the keyboard and phone body – good news for all those righties who had
to reach across for the Kaiser. The magnetic action is also quite nice, but again, the slightly insensitive touchscreen means you have to put a bit of effort behind your prodding
– Speaking of prodding, the slightly insensitive touchscreen (am I too used to the iPod Touch?) makes clicking links in Opera a pain. Stab, stab, and stab again, until you manage to get on the link, and the page opens.
– The Touch Pro defaults to a ‘large font’ for all menus – I assume on the assumption that they expect you to use your finger rather than a stylus. For the most part, it is a good choice – unless the menu is larger than the screen height. In that case, I found that some apps strangely automatically scroll the menu downwards, and you have to grab it and wrestle it back up to the option you wanted (using too-small up and down arrows). Your instinct is to scroll through it by flicking your finger – again, like an iPhone would allow – but it won’t work.
Now, this is the worst one… I learnt the other day that the Touch Pro actually has an Apple-style rotary touch sensor around the D-Pad. Yep – you heard right – you can actually spin your finger around the rim of the button, and it’ll sense that and act accordingly.
Wow! An alternative to the jog dial!! Excellent! So – you can scroll up and down lists, web pages, contact databases, at lightning speed, right?
What you can do… is Zoom In, and Zoom Out.
Zoom In…… and Zoom Out.
On a couple of applications.
Now – if I had to zoom in and out more frequently that I had to scroll – which is every email, web page, screen that I look at – then this would be great. But I don’t. I need to scroll, and HTC seem to have completely wasted this (probably quite expensive) little add-on.
So – I guess that’ll be fixed on the next model…
However – overall, I’ve already grown quite used to having the Raphael around. The responsiveness when typing on the screen or switching Portrait-Landscape is pleasant. The looks and solid feel ARE nice… I’m already wondering if I’ll dislike having a Hermes as my backup phone….