Having watched the TouchPro 2 roll out to all the other major carriers in the US, AT&T finally got their version, renamed the Tilt 2. AT&T released their edition with Windows Mobile 6.5 right out the gate, which is why I suspect it was held back… I patiently waited for its release, and went out and got it the day after the release… So what do I think?
I won’t bore you with the technical goodies, they can be seen over on HTCs site. Needless to say, HTC have rolled out a pretty nice phone yet again.
TouchFlo 3D is very nice, giving you quick finger access to nearly everything you need. However, I noticed this seemed a little sluggish if you were moving around too quickly, or had a couple of programs running in the background. When looking at the memory usage, after a reboot, with TF3D enabled, it phone already ran at using 70% of the memory idle. If I swapped back and forth through some of the tabs, it would start climbing, and wouldn’t go back down. It wouldn’t be long before I could have it sitting at 80% with just a single program running in the background.
After some poking around, I figured out that there were some tweaks I could do to reduce that, such as disabling the camera, music, stock, and internet tabs.
Some other issues I noticed with the TF3D interface, the home tab couldn’t really be customized so I cannot see my task lists, just upcoming appointments, and a giant clock. If you want to do anything more with the front page, you have to drop the TF3D (at least that’s what I can figure anyway). Swapping back to the Windows Mobile default (Titanium), memory usage dropped down to 55%, and I could put pretty much anything that had a “Today” plugin on the front page.
Like any provider, AT&T customized the hell out of it, specifically adding in stuff they wanted you to see, or have access to. The problem is, you cannot remove any of this out of the box. So that demo game of Sudoko that gives you 3 days to play? Yea, you’re stuck with the files eating up space. What’s even worse, the phone is bundled with lots of demos and stuff you probably won’t ever touch. Out of the box, the phone is already down over half the space on it, stuff you cannot remove1.
AT&T also have a different keyboard layout than any of the other TouchPro2 models. Number keypad is embedded in the normal alpha-lines, whilst several special characters (commonly used) are pushed onto the top number row. Depending on your usage, this could be a good, or bad thing. I like it myself.
As I’m a tinkerer, I played with it stock for a bit, but like others, I wanted more out of it. Courtesy of the XDA Developers forum, comes rebuilt OSes for the various models of phones. Including a bundle for the TouchPro2/Tilt2 (also known as Rhodium). There are a lot of great helpers, and some seriously smart people over there. Flashing the ROM is relatively easy, there is even a walk through.
I went with EnergyRom “Photon”, having seen plenty of people using it, and having nearly a 700 page following. There are two versions, Windows Mobile 6.5, or 6.5.1. The 6.5.1 is a little more cutting edge, and what I decided to give a shot. There are some tweaks that are a little odd, not from the ROM itself, but the Windows Mobile package (like start button at the bottom instead of the top).
Now the phone has been flashed, it’s a night and day difference between the AT&T version, and this version. For example, TF3D is no longer sluggish on start, and can quickly zip through all the tabs without any signs of delays. The phone itself is generally more responsive. And NRG has included some great tools that weren’t bundled with the AT&T version. Not only is it faster, it looks nicer. However, the same customization issues mentioned above still apply with the TF3D here, after all, it’s pretty much the same software, just a newer version.
Some of the locations of the icons are a little odd. Getting to the phone dialer now requires 4 button presses, compared to the 2 before, which probably means NRG uses his mostly for everything other than the phone, but it’s easy to move that around.
So my overall opinion? Out of the box, it’s a great phone, has everything you need, and easy to work with. Being a tinkerer, I couldn’t live with out the box, so installing the new ROM makes it so much better. I’m probably going to roll back down to the 6.5 edition because the start menu at the bottom is bugging me, especially as the AT&T version has a hardware start button too.
Hint to AT&T, sure give us the flashy demos and stuff, but give us the ability to remove them too ↩