Now that we’ve established that, I must be honest and confess that I’m am not a phone testing expert and I tend to judge things superficially. Don’t get your buying tips from guys on the Internet! Try before you buy! Or take your chance and read the rest!
Dimensions, materials and build quality
Sizing up to almost 102x54x15 mm, the HTC Touch 3G fits very nicely in your palm. The back cover and front margin are made from a satin-feel plastic which offers a nice grip and manages not to collect fingerprints. The body is encased by a metallic frame which can be seen along the margins and gives the phone an overall strong-build feel.
The phone comes with an USB cable (at one end it’s HTC’s extended miniUSB connector) which plugs either in the included power source or into your PC/laptop in order to recharge. Also included are a screen protective foil (which I didn’t have the patience to apply correctly), ear-plugs, manuals and some CDs.
The Touch 3G has a QVGA resolution touch-screen display. The display is quite bright and has a good contrast but it’s also glossy, so you might find it doesn’t perform extremely well in bright sunny weather.
The phone comes with HTC TouchFLO (Manilla2D) which is optimized for finger operation. For most common tasks (placing a call and browsing to your favorite tabs) it is quite satisfactory but for more advanced operations you will have to use the stylus.
The screen works a lot better without the protective foil but in both cases it’s a fingerprint/grease magnet.
Phone call quality
Since it’s primarily a phone, sound quality has probably been a major concern for HTC and it shows: the voices get through decently, although in poor signal conditions you might get some transmission interruptions.
The whole call placing/answering experience is a pleasant one, I liked both the TouchFLO interaction and the two main keys which light up in green and red.
This is pretty much a gamble, since (unlike dedicated phone such as Nokia or Ericsson) I found no easy way of telling the phone which connection to use. Sometimes it uses 3G when WiFi is available, other times it uses WiFi instead of ActiveSync. My advice is to get yourself a data plan if you’re gonna get one of these babies and be careful while roaming!
Data rates are decent for most activities: browsing, email, youtube or google maps.
Messaging and data synchronization
The Touch 3G comes with included email client. Although the dedicated email tab in the TouchFLO interface is a bit useless, overall it’s pretty usable. Your contacts, notes and calendar data can be synchronized (via ActiveSync) to your PC.
I found the weather tab to be quite entertaining, probably the best “show-off” utility of the phone.
The integrated GPS is pretty fast to get a lock, if you download the localization data with the QuickGPS utility. The phone is able to run iGO8 (V220.127.116.11545) and it’s running quite fast (especially if you disable buildings rendering).
Google Maps works great too, but there are no maps for Romania so I couldn’t really test it for directions.
The phone also comes with an integrated 3.2Mpx, fixed-focus camera. It’s not exceptionally great but it will do. Also included are music and media players. Decent but don’t expect iPhone-like experience. Storage is provided via a MicroSD slot but you have to bring your own card to play.
The YouTube client is a nice addition.
The phone runs Windows Mobile 6.1 and comes packed with: Office utilities, Internet Explorer, HTC customized Opera browser, YouTube client and a couple of games (Solitaire and Bubble Breaker). The Opera browser is not especially great, but it will do the job. My biggest complaint is the way links get clicked. IE manages to be worse though.
Of course, you can add your own software, there’s tons of stuff for the PPC platform.
Although far from the advertised 450h standby time, the HTC Touch 3G manages to squeeze a lot of life out of its tiny battery and probably will require a recharge every 2 or 3 days for the average user. The power user might find it lasts them a full day (pretty rare nowadays). If you plan to use GPS directions while driving, make sure you get a cigarette lighter adapter for you car though, otherwise it might not last you longer than 3-5 hours (on a full charge).
Overall it’s pretty good value for the money and it’s small enough to easily carry around. It will annoy you sometimes but hey, it’s a WM! You’ll probably find yourself annoying some iPhone fans too because it’s smaller, has a nicer feel and overall matches the iPhone 3G performances!
I would recommend it to the more technical people (not afraid to pop the cover and reset it every once in while), but others might find it a nice surprise too!