Hands On With the AT&T HTC Fuze

Today, AT&T announced the Fuze, their version of Sprint’s HTC Touch Pro. The two phones are almost identical in size shape, and, at $299, price. They also have the same 3.2-megapixel camera, 802.11b/g connectivity, GPS, and the Opera mobile 9.5 web browser. We’re already reviewed Sprint’s version, and now we’ve had a chance to take a close-up look at AT&T’s. Our impressions are below. The first thing you notice about the Fuze is that AT&T hewed closer to the original HTC design. We’re glad to see the faceted “diamond” pattern on the back of the phone, instead of the more boring flat back of Sprint’s Touch Pro. The Fuze is slightly smaller than the Sprint Touch Pro; it also has less rounded corners and lacks the chrome accents as on the Touch Pro. The front of the Fuze is reflective, so it gets littered with fingerprints easily. Its face has the same controls as the Touch Diamond: Home, Return, Call and End keys, as well as a center selection button that doubles as a four-way directional pad. You can also control the device by using an included stylus in conjunction with its large 2.8-inch 640 x 480 touchscreen. The ports and buttons of the phone are the same as the Diamond, too. There are volume controls on the left side, a power button on the top, and a mini-USB jack on the bottom. Pop open the back, and you’ll find a microSD card slot, although on the Fuze, the slot is on the left side, as opposed to the right on the Sprint Touch Pro. Regardless, the phone should have been designed so that the card can be removed without taking the cover off. The Fuze comes with a charger, an extra stylus, a USB cable, a carrying case, and a 4-in-1 adapter for adding a 3.5 or a 2.5-mm headphone jack and for charging and syncing via USB at the same time. Strangely, AT&T’s version lacks the USB earbuds that come with the Sprint Touch Pro. Considering that the USB adapter is incredibly bulky, this is a poor omission. Keyboard Aside from the exterior of the device, the largest difference between the Fuze and the Sprint Touch Pro is the keyboard. Instead of a dedicated row of numbers at the top of the keyboard, the Fuze has a set of symbols, including the “@” sign. Numbers are arranged as on a keypad, and are activated using the function button. While it requires a second button press, we like this setup better; it’s easier to type in phone numbers. Also, the keyboard also feels marginally more comfortable than the Sprint Touch Pro; the buttons are slightly more raised and offer better feedback, making it easier for us to type at a rapid pace. TouchFlo 3D HTC’s TouchFLO 3D interface loads on top of Windows Mobile; this feature-rich UI lets you finger swipe through each main menu choice. We prefer this overlay instead of Windows Mobile’s stock Today screen because it brings all of our most used content forward, such as contacts, messages, music, photos, and even the weather. The Pro features the same 528-MHz processor that the Diamond has, though, so the sluggishness of the UI was still noticeable from time to time when we tried to flip through the ribbon menu quickly. Once you leave the TouchFLO shell, though, you’ll find yourself inside the drab but business friendly Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional environment. AT&T’s implementation of the TouchFlo 3D interface is a lot more boring than Sprint’s: Instead of white icons on a bluish-black background (and a splash of color here and there), AT&T uses gray icons on a white background. Even though there’s the same menu structure, it just looks duller, almost as if the color had been drained from the screen. Overall, the AT&T Fuze, like the Sprint Touch Pro, is a worthy successor to the HTC Mogul. Is one carrier’s version better than the other? Based on our initial observations, not really. While AT&T’s version has a better keyboard, Sprint’s has a better implementation of the TouchFlo 3D interface, and includes a headset, which is nice. Look for the rest of our impressions in the full review to come soon.

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  1. Ralph Says:

    I got an ATT Fuze yesterday, it’s a good phone, it does not however come with a carrying case, I have been looking for one to avoid the bulk in the pocket (this one is pretty thick), possibly an HTC branded case, but have been unable to find one.

  2. PhoneFreak Says:

    I just bought the phone and I love it!!!!!

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