AT&T Pure

AT&T Pure

The AT&T Pure is this carrier's version of the HTC Touch Diamond2 -- one of the premier touchscreen-oriented Windows phones on the market today.

It will have a high-resolution touchscreen, mobile broadband, Wi-Fi, GPS, and the very latest version of Microsoft's operating system for smartphones.

The AT&T Pure has just launched at $150 with a two-year service contract of at least $70 per month, and a $50 mail-in rebate.

The Pure has a simple tablet shape that's centered around its 3.2-inch WVGA touchscreen. It's a relatively small device that's long and thin.

It's that thin shape that makes it easy to use with one hand; holding it in your palm while tapping on items on the screen is a breeze.

And at just 4.25 inches tall, 2.1 inches wide, 0.5 inches thick, and 4.15 ounces, it rides well in a pocket.

The Pure has a larger screen than the original HTC Touch Diamond, but it's not as big as the one that will be on the AT&T Tilt 2, a similar Windows phone with a built-in keyboard coming later this month. I think bigger screens are always better, but the Pure's is a good size.

One of Microsoft's goals is to make devices running Windows Mobile 6.5 easier to use with a fingertip, rather than a stylus. The device's screen has to participate in this, though. The Pure does so fairly well -- it's not so small that screen elements are tiny, and it reacts well to finger touches. It's not a capacitive screen, though, and you can use a regular stylus on it.

That's important, because while Microsoft has made a lot of progress on it goal, there are still times you're going to need to pull out the stylus.

This model doesn't have a hardware keyboard, so you need to depend on its on-screen one for text input. This has a new design for the latest version of Windows Mobile. This is a significant improvement over Microsoft's old one, but is similar to the keyboard HTC has been using for some time.

It has versions for both portrait and landscape modes, and as usually happens the landscape version has larger buttons that are easier to type on. The portrait mode is decent, if a bit cramped.

Buttons, Etc.
Because this model is so focused on its screen, it has a fairly minimal set of other controls.

On the front are the Call and Disconnect buttons, a Back Button, and the new Start button, which opens the Start menu. On the left side are the Volume Up and Down buttons, and there's a Power button on the top.

Underneath the display is the Zoom bar, which lets you easily control how you see things on the screen. It can enlarge or reduce the size of the text in most applications, and in the web browsers it zooms and and out on pages.

There is no directional pad or trackball, which is something I'm not thrilled about. The on-screen keyboard has directional buttons on it, which help a bit.


The AT&T Pure is a pro-sumer smartphone. With a focus on its touchscreen and no hardware keyboard, it's not ideal for heavy texters, but it's decent screen and mobile broadband make it a good choice for consumers who want a device for both work and their personal life.

It uses a 528 MHz processor, which is OK, but I'd be happier with a faster one. Generally speaking, speed and response time is average for a Windows Mobile device, but this processor was cutting-edge last year, and by this time next year will almost certainly be inadequate.

System Software
The Pure is one of the very first devices running Windows Mobile 6.5 Pro. This is an incremental update from the previous one -- version 6.1 -- with only a few significant changes.

The most noticeable of these is the merging of the Start Menu and the Programs screen, which I consider a major improvement.

User Interface
As it does with all its Windows phones, HTC has layered its TouchFLO 3D user interface over the standard Microsoft one. I can see how people like TouchFLO, as it makes it easy to access the most commonly-used features of the smartphone. And it's fingertip friendly.

This UI extends the homescreen with a number of tabs, each with a different focus: e-mail, music, calendar, applications, etc. You can switch between tabs with a flip of your finger.

If you aren't a fan of TouchFLO you can turn it off, and expose the new Today Screen that's part of Windows Mobile 6.5 Pro. This has more of a focus on consumers than the previous one, and now includes items like a music player and a photo viewer. And if you don't like this, you can even revert to the classic version.

Wireless Functionality
The Pure is a GSM phone, and can therefore be used around the world to make phone calls. But that's just the start of its capabilities.

It can connect to AT&T's mobile broadband network, giving you fairly speedy web browsing almost anywhere you go. Plus, if you're near a Wi-Fi hotspot you can get an even faster connection.

Surprisingly, AT&T allows you to tether this device, so you can share the 3G connection with your laptop.

This model also has Bluetooth, so you can use wireless headset and headphones.

The AT&T Pure can organize your business and your personal life. Microsoft Outlook Mobile can keep track of your address book, calendar, and to-do list, and synchronize these with Microsoft Exchange or Google.

Its e-mail software can handle both corporate accounts and personal ones, and a simple wizard helps you set these up.

If your job requires you to work with Microsoft Office files, the Pure is ready. You can view and edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files, and view Adobe Acrobat PDFs.

Web Browsing
Windows Mobile 6.5 comes with a new version of Internet Explorer. While this has been improved in many ways -- it does a better job of rendering pages with advanced formatting -- it's still very slow.

This is even more true for what could have been a huge enhancement: YouTube support. This browser can now display in-line YouTube videos, but queuing these up is a sl-o-o-o-o-w process.

Fortunately, the Pure uses Opera Mobile as its default web browser. This is much faster than IE, and offers virtually all the same features.

The version of Windows Media Player on this AT&T phone can handle music and video in a wide variety of formats, including ones that are streamed over the web.

You can also access the YouTube mobile website for additional video, but not Hulu. In addition, the Pure includes AT&T's Mobile Video, which is a basic on-demand video service with a few news and entertainment options, or you can buy a subscription to MobiTV.

There's also a client for Facebook pre-installed.

Windows Marketplace
One of the new features in Windows Mobile 6.5 is Windows Marketplace for Mobile, Microsoft's on-device software store. This lets you easily find and install new games, utilities, etc. onto your smartphone.

This service launched along with the Pure, and the selection isn't great right now, but I know Microsoft is working hard to bring apps in.

This smartphone has a built-in GPS receiver, so you can use it to keep track of where you are and where you're going.

You'll need software to make use it, though. If you want, you can sign up for AT&T Navigation service, which gives you turn-by-turn spoken directions but requires a monthly service fee. Another option is Google Maps Mobile, which is free but has fewer features.

Battery Life
In my testing, this HTC model lasted for over two days of light to moderate use on a single charge. The large screens and faster processors on smartphones always result in shorter battery lives than on simpler mobile phones, and comparatively speaking the Pure's is very good.


The AT&T Pure is well designed, and a good fit for its target audience. I like the hardware -- aside from the lack of a trackball or D-pad -- and the wide array of bundled software is both useful and fun.

At $150, it's less expensive than I was expecting, and quite competitively priced.

That said, if you're someone who is planning on entering reams of text messages or emails, you should seriously consider waiting for the AT&T Tilt 2, which will have a physical keyboard.


* Good design
* Decent screen
* Loads of useful and fun apps


* No hardware keyboard
* Processor not impressive

Editor's Rating: Impressive