Skip to main content

Head to Head: AT&T Pure and Tilt 2

AT&T might have been slow to get to the party but, it definitely turned heads when it walked through the door. While T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon had already released their versions of the HTC Touch Pro 2, some wondered what was causing the delay with AT&T.

To the surprise of some, AT&T first released their version of the Touch Diamond 2 (the Pure) and a week later phased in its version of the Touch Pro 2, aka the Tilt 2. While AT&T was the final major U.S. wireless carrier to introduce the Touch Pro 2, it was the first to do so with Windows Mobile 6.5 and the first to introduce the U.S. version of the Touch Diamond 2.

Both phones are impressive, quality Windows phones. But how do they compare head to head? Does the tilting screen and slide-out keyboard have an advantage over the thinner, lighter form factor? Can you live without the physical keyboard and do just fine with the on-screen keyboard? And does .4 inches really matter with screen size?

Follow the break to see how the AT&T Tilt 2 and Pure compare head to head.

The tale of the tape

Here's how these two Windows phones measure up against one another.

 Tilt 2Pure
Dimensions4.54" x 2.33" x .65"4.33" x 2.1" x .59"
Weight6.3 Ounces4.15 Ounces
Screen3.6" WVGA 480 x 8003.2" WVGA 480 x 800
ProcessorQualcomm MSM 7201a 528MHzQualcomm MSM 7201a 528MHz
Memory288mb RAM, 512mb ROM288mb RAM, 512 ROM
OSWindows Mobile 6.5Windows Mobile 6.5

What stands out when comparing the dimensions of these two Windows phones is the thickness and width.

The two are only separated by six hundredths of an inch in thickness (the Tilt 2 obviously being thicker). In comparing these two phones predecessors (the Touch Pro and Touch Diamond) the difference was a tenth of an inch.  HTC has done a good job of shaving off some of the thickness with the Tilt 2.

While the two have moved closer in thickness, the differences in width stands out more. The Tilt 2 is almost a quarter-inch wider on paper, and you really can feel the difference. In contrast, these phones predecessors were virtually identical in regards to width (.05 inch).

Both phones feel comfortable in the hand. But the Pure has a more compact feel to it and weighing in at 2.15 ounces heavier, the Tilt 2 is noticeably heftier.

The finishes almost are in contrast with the black, high-gloss finish of the Pure and the chrome accented black and gray finish of the Tilt 2. Both finishes attracts fingerprints but they aren't as noticeable on the gunmetal gray of the Tilt 2. I think both could use a less glossy finish that has some texture and grip to it.

Personally, I'd like to see HTC offer both these phones in a finish similar what is on the HTC Snap.

Neither the Tilt 2 or Pure are fitted with a 3.5mm jack. Instead everything funnels through the extUSB port. (Normal mini-USB cables usually work just fine.)

Under the hood, both are almost identical with the same processor, memory, software, and network capabilities. The Tilt 2 has the larger 1500mAh battery while the Pure has a 1100mAh battery.

Key Differences

Keyboard

Might as well toss out the obvious first. The Tilt 2 has a slide-out, five row, QWERTY keyboard while the Pure has no physical keyboard. Instead, the Pure relies on an on-screen, QWERTY keyboard. The Tilt 2 has the same on-screen keyboard but the added feature of a physical keyboard.

Which is better? If you do a lot of typing with emails, text messages, documents, etc. the physical keyboard can be beneficial.

While you can manage without a physical keyboard, the narrow form factor of the Pure does make typing on the screen more challenging. If you have large fingers, typing with the stylus is almost a must to be productive.

Screen

There is a four-tenths of an inch difference in the screens phones. The resolution is equal (480 x 800) with the Pure having slightly better pixel density. The Tilt 2 gives you more real estate, but the screen quality of the Pure is a touch better. Images are sharper and colors crisper. That's not to say the Tilt 2's screen is a bust. The larger screen puts more at your fingertips by simple virtue of its size.

The Pure gets the nod for quality, the Tilt 2 gets the nod for size. We'll have to call this a push in that you won't be disappointed with either.

Oh, and both touchscreens are resistive. (Flame on!)

Camera

The Tilt 2 is fitted with a 3.2-megapixel camera while the Pure has a 5.0-megapixel camera. The Tilt 2 captures decent photos and average videos. The Pure, with the boost in resolution, takes noticeably better photos but for some reason the video quality is decent at best.  The first picture was taken with the Pure, the second picture taken with the Tilt 2.  Asides from resizing the pictures for publication, no processing was done to either.

Software driving the camera is the same on both Windows phones with the only differences being in some of the setting's ranges. If the camera is the deciding factor between these two Windows phones, the Pure has a big advantage.

Battery

One would think that the larger battery of the Tilt 2 would give it a clear advantage over the smaller battery of the Pure. Both Windows phones benefit from the improved power management of Windows Mobile 6.5 and the difference in battery capacities isn't noticeable at all.

I have been able to easily make it through the day on a single charge with both phones. Granted battery consumption is dependent on how you use your phone. On any given day, I routinely have my email checked/downloaded every ten minutes, my calendar and contact changes are pushed with Google, have three websites pushed, and use the phone throughout a day.

Naturally the Tilt 2 has more juice left at the end of the day but I haven't been disappointed with either Windows phone's power management and consider this difference a push.

Equality

While the Tilt 2 and Pure have their differences, some of the features and performance measures are very much equal.

Call Quality: While the Tilt 2 has the benefit of dual microphones and noise reduction software, both phones have outstanding call quality.

Speaker phone: While the Tilt 2 and Pure's speaker phone have design and functionality differences, the call quality while using the speaker is very good with both.

Software: The software installed on both are virtually identical with the only exceptions relating to feature or function differences.

GPS: Both the Pure and Tilt 2 are fitted with a GPS reciever and both perform equally. They both benefit from Quick GPS and acquire satellite signals, from a cold start, in under a minute (if not faster). Both GPS's give you an accurate location with no movement lag present.

Touch Navigation: Both the Tilt 2 and Pure are noticeable improvements over their predecessors with regards to the screen's touch responsiveness. Touch navigation is smooth and I haven't experienced any touches accidentally being interpreted as taps sending me to unwanted apps.

Overall Impressions

I honestly can not tell you, between the Tilt 2 and Pure, which is the better Windows phone. It truly is a coin toss with the preference clearly determined by individual needs.

Do you do a lot of long-winded typing? Then you might be more comfortable with the slide-out keyboard of the Tilt 2.  Some may prefer their phone to be more "pocketable" and the smaller size and weight of the Pure would better suit such  tastes.

The larger screen of the Tilt 2 gives you more real estate and larger targets for your fingers to tap. The smaller screen of the Pure is sharper but, for some, may require a stylus to type effectively on.

HTC has done a very good job building off the Touch Pro and Touch Diamond and all in all, both the Pure and Tilt 2 are quality Windows phones. Neither is a bad choice, the hard part may simply be choosing which one fits your needs best.

Phil is the father of two beautiful girls and is the Dad behind Modern Dad. Before that he spent seven years at the helm of Android Central. Before that he spent a decade in a newsroom of a two-time Pulitzer Prize-finalist newspaper. Before that — well, we don't talk much about those days. Subscribe to the Modern Dad newsletter!

17 Comments
  • Thanks for this great head to head comparison, George. Would these results be similar in a head to head of the VZW Touch Pro 2 and the VZW Imagio? If the Imagio is not the same as the Pure, could we get a comparison of those two devices soon?
  • We're working on getting an Imagio to review and I'll keep in mind adding comparative notes between the Pure and Imagio.
  • is it me or the tilt2 is just flawed with slowness, i cant get past 1 meg down speed wifi or att, i am not really expecting spectacular perfomace over telco but when my iphone 3g shits on the tilt2 htc some serious problems.
  • No doubt. I'm getting tired of seeing just these two phones. The Imagio walks all over the Pure in every way. I understand that there's a lot of bias for GSM, but c'mon. The Imagio only gets mentioned in passing in the podcasts too. Bah.
  • Some things that could be significant to some were left out of the comparrison. * The Pure has a flippy annoying door that you have to pop off to charge the device! This is ridiculous. If I had to live with a Pure I would rip the darn thing off just on principal ...but then i would have to live with a bottom of the phone that wouldn't look right. The European Diamond 2 does not suffer from this design flaw. For this reason alone I would go for the Tilt2 even if I didn't need the keyboard. * The Pure is much much more of finger print magnate. * The Pure is missing push to talk button which in the Tilt2 is easily reprogramable through a setup menu to anything you want. I like having it start the camera. * The Tilt2 comes in a non-camera version, if that is important to some people in certain industries that have certain regulatons against camera phones. * The Tilt2 has motion activated speakerphone when you turn it over it turns on. And you gain a mute button on the back of the phone. * The Pure is annoying in that it constantly while you are holding it you have to be more cautious of orientation so as to prevent screen rotation motion sensor. The Tilt2 mostly is in portrait orientation unless you slide out the keyboard. make the whole experience less annoying. Sure the Tilt2 still rotates with some applications with the keyboard closed but at least TouchFLO3D does not have this problem. I hardly believe it is a draw between these two phones. The Tilt2 is the obvious winner. It does not boil down to keyboard or no keyboard nor size or weight. The only thing better on the Pure is the camera...but that just marginal as pointed out in the review. 5MP sounds impresive over 3.2MP but even with the Pure 5MP camera you wouldn't want to leave your point and shot at home if camera was important.
  • Galfert says that the Pure does not have a Push-to-Talk button. Ah, but you're wrong! If you press and hold the "Send" button, it launches the PTT feature. (Much like pressing and holding the "End" button returns the device to the home screen.) As for the other criticisms of the Pure, I have *never* had the phone switch orientation on me accidentally. The lack of a camera button on the Pure is definitely annoying. It's got this great camera, but no quick way to whip it out and snap a shot on the spur of the moment. Typing with the Pure's on-screen keyboard *does* lead to mistakes. Big didgits, itty-bitty virtual keys. So if you do a lot of typing, the Tilt2 has a *huge* advantage. Personally, I like my Pure. I upgraded from the original Tilt, and I intentially chose a device without the slide-out keyboard. Over time, the sliding mechanism on my Tilt just felt a little wobbly. I didn't like the subtle "looseness" it created. I wanted a more solid device, and I've fallen in love with the Pure's compact size. Sure, there are things I wish they'd done differently -- headphone jack, no little hinge thingie on the bottom (bleh!), slightly larger screen, less glossy finish. But overall, I really like my Pure.
  • Notice I didn't say that the Pure didn't have the Push to Talk feature. I just said it didn't have the extra dedicated button that was nice to reprogram for whatever you like. But I did learn something from you. So thanks. I wonder if that hold send button is reprogramable?
  • I really dig both phones. The Pure's screen looks better (tighter pixels)than a Tilt 2, but as mentioned, typing on the Pure is a challenge. The Pure also feels more "phone like" in that it fits easily in a pocket--Tilt 2 is a more "serious" device alas, is cumbersome in a pocket/holster. I seriously love the size of the Pure, but using a Tilt 2 is easier for producing information (email, text, etc.). As far as the Imagio: the criticism is fair. Truth be told, none of us at WMExperts have a dedicated Verizon line to test with, nor have we been sent a review unit. So it's hard for us to discuss Pros/Cons--but I agree, it IS a nice device from when I used it in NYC a few weeks back.
  • I had a chance to use the Pure for a few days before I got the Tilt 2. Most of the points I would make have already been stated. Except for one: The speakerphone and speakers on the Tilt 2 are of WAY higher quality than that of the Pure. I'm comfortable using my Tilt 2 to play music and the sound reproduction is exceptional. Don't get me started on the speakerphone usage... The Pure had very muffled sound from the speaker given the batter cover and ringtones/music were at far lower volume. That's all I got. Thanks for the good writeup, George!
  • Pure virtual keyboard, use touchpal keyboard application on pure and will feel the difference
  • The Pure does not have a proximity sensor. That's a must have.
  • I never use the physical keyboards. Given the hand writing speed and options on the devises these days 2-3 times faster than key boarding. I do use the screen keyboard for passwords sometimes, but other than that handwriting is my preference. Having said this, I will be getting the Tilt2 for the larger screen.
  • i never hand write on these devices, i find they are too small and uncomfortable to write on.
  • YMMV obviously, but typing on the Pure wasn't bad after turning XT9 on. Even if you miss a letter, it will generally list the word you want. i've got it via a custom ROM on my Fuze, and after learning to trust it, it makes typing extremely easy, even on that tiny 2.8" screen. Regarding the lack of a proximity sensor and the flipping to switch on the speakerphone, Touch In Call Tweak fixes both. It uses the accelerometer to determine when to turn the screen off. When using it on the Touch Pro, it will also use the light sensor as a poor man's proximity sensor along with the accelorometer. Also, it uses the accelerometer to determine when to turn the speakerphone on and off. i actually wonder if this is where HTC got the idea for the Touch Pro 2, as this app came first. The lack of the PTT is a definite loss as it's already button-deficient. That's one trend started by the iPhone i'm not fond of. i use Raphael Keyboard Configurator on my Fuze to set up multiple actions for each button (press, double press, hold) but i'm not sure if it works on the newer devices. On my Fuze i make the camera the last tab visible so it's always in the upper-right hand corner when i hold my Fuze in landscape. Not as easy as a button, but it gets the job done. i'm holding out for the HD2, but if i found a Pure for around $250 i'd jump on it. The camera on the Fuze is slow to load, and even slower when taking shots. The bigger screen is welcome and i think i could get away with the soft keyboard.
  • I spent a couple of hours deciding which to buy, finilly i ordered the pure. $100 less and almost same features, except for the big difference of the keyboard. Now that i am lookinf at all your comments i think i did a good desicion, anyway i have 30 days to change it. What would you do? Thanks J.M
  • I got my Pure after 4 broken replacements of my Fuze. Overall I REALLY like the Pure. Coming from a Fuze I found the physical keyboard very frustrating. When you go to type a message, flip open the keyboard, spin it, wait for the screen to rotate, start typing and wait for the letters to catch up... I could easily just pound out the text using the onscreen keyboard with eT9 enabled in no time. I started using the software keyboard after AT&T said they were gonna replace my Fuze with a Pure. I within a day or so, I found using the software keyboard in portrait was way faster then doing all that crap above. My only complaints is a lack of another hardware button (PTT) and the stupid USB flapper door. You can easily map the Send (Hold) key to the Camera and I have my End (Hold) key to Comm Manager. It actually works very well. The screen is very crisp and brilliant on the Pure. The Tilt2 has saturation issues and the pixels aren't as tight on the bigger screen. Something to make note of.
  • There is one thing that I have not seen addressed that would be a deciding factor for me.
    On AT&T's site, it says the Pure has Stereo Bluetooth, while it simply says "v2.1" for the Tilt 2.
    Is it also stereo BT on the Tilt 2?