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Live Photos of HTC's Raphael - the Touch Pro

Gallery by Michael Oryl on Thursday June 26, 2008.

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At an informal meeting with HTC today, we were offered the chance to play around with HTC's famed Raphael smartphone, launched formally recently as the Touch Pro. For those familiar with the Touch Diamond, which is now shipping in several parts of the world, the Touch Pro is for all intents and purposes a thicker Diamond with a full 5 row slide-out keyboard hidden inside.

The keys on the Touch Pro are certainly smaller than those found on devices like HTC's Wing for T-Mobile or its Tilt for AT&T, but they are still very usable - much more so than those found on Sony Ericsson's upcoming Xperia X1. They have a very good feel to them and are easy to find by touch even though they are all snugly lined up right next to each other.

When the keyboard is in its hidden position, there are really few cues that would tip off a casual observer that this wasn't a Touch Diamond. For one, the corners on the Touch Pro are slightly rounded, which makes it slightly more comfortable to hold. Secondly, the rear cover of the device, while sharing the Touch Diamond's faceted look, lacks its high gloss surface - which we found to be a very good thing. The Touch Pro also has a microSD memory card slot that the Diamond lacks. Apart from that, the only thing that differentiates the two phones are their weight and thickness - the Touch Pro being the beefier device in both regards.

While we didn't get to see the TouchFLO 3D user interface running on the Touch Pro (HTC's keeping a few things under wraps just yet), we were told that the Touch Pro will feature far better support for landscape display orientation, something that is required for a device with the Touch Pro's form factor.

So if you were intrigued a bit by the Touch Diamond, but prefer a full QWERTY keyboard, the Touch Pro might be exactly what you are looking for. It is a great design, and promises a lot of high-powered functionality to boot.


About the author

Michael Oryl
Michael is the Philadelphia based owner and former editor-in-chief of MobileBurn.com. You can follow him on Twitter as @MichaelOryl

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