Life with an HTC Touch: Week 5

To accompany Ian Wrigley’s Life with an iPhone article, we decided to run a parallel piece about Life with an HTC Touch. Here, Tim Danton, editor of PC Pro, provides a hands-on, personal, real-life view of using the Touch day to day.

In this fifth update, he reveals his biggest gripes about the HTC Touch and the five things he’d like to change.

Week 5: What I’d change about the Touch

While I’ve become quite attached to the HTC Touch after living with it for five weeks, there are a number of things I’d change – or at least enhance. Here, in no particular order, is my list.

1. Screen protection. The Touch’s bright and vibrant screen is superb, but every time I stick the Touch in my pocket I worry. Have I foolishly left my keys in there? Or a coin? I know that one scratch will ruin its perfection, so it’s a shame that HTC didn’t design an optional flip-up screen protector – as used by HP’s Mobile Messenger hw6915, for instance. After all, anyone buying the Touch is likely to use it for around 18 months, and at some point you know you’ll forget to empty your pocket…

2. More screen, please. As with virtually all Pocket PC devices, the Touch’s screen resolution is 240 x 320 pixels. Now that’s not disastrous – after all, most Pocket PC applications have been written from the ground up to work at that resolution – but it does mean that, once you’ve got a couple of applets running on the home page, there’s little room for anything else. A 480 x 640 resolution, and perhaps just a few extra millimetres of screen size for luck, would be perfect.

3. And more touching too. I managed to overcome the HTC Touch’s biggest problem, the lack of a full-screen keyboard, by downloading exactly that: the SPB Full Screen Keyboard. And over the course of the last three weeks, it’s certainly proved its worth – but it needs to be the default way of entering text, out of the box. Come on HTC, bundle it! And I want more. When I’m browsing the internet, I want big Back, Stop and Refresh buttons, I want a massive WWW button that allows me to quickly enter a web address. In fact, every major application should be made touch-friendly.

4. Improving the weather. Although the layer of touch software HTC provides is a superb innovation, there are still signs of its first iteration status. For example, the weather applet – which gives a simple graphical view of today’s weather in your location, along with a four-day forecast – is a nice touch, but the cities supported are very limited. There’s no Birmingham, Glasgow or Liverpool – and no Welsh entry at all.

5. Wall of contacts. On a similar theme, the quick-call application – a 3×3 grid of the people you’re most likely to call, complete with photos if you have them – could be easily improved. To get a photo on there, it has to be associated with the person in their Outlook Contacts entry – a very fiddly process involving multiple clicks. HTC could automate this quite easily. What’s more, the photos themselves are extremely low-res, taking away from the swishness of the applet. And when you do click on a contact, rather than being given a big green button to say Call, you’re dropped back into the touch-unfriendly Contacts interface.

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