Reviewed: HTC Desire HD
The HTC Desire HD is a slick, heavy duty, multimedia handset that comes with Android 2.2 ‘Froyo’ and a host of other features. The Android smartphone is codenamed ACE, but will the handset’s abilities live up to such a handle?
Look and feel
The phone has a sleek, textured grip with a uni-body design. The handset itself is quite weighty (164g), which offers the user better grip and manoeuvrability when operating the device on the move. The weight is not a huge disadvantage in this respect as many smartphones on the market are so sleek and slippery that means accessing their features while on the move can be quite a pain. The HTC Desire HD’s grip enables an assured hold on the device that never feels like dropping from your grasp.
One drawback from the appearance of the phone is that it is so seamless in its appearance that, without a manual – something which I turn to as a last resort – users may find challenging to locate the SIM slot at the base of the devices, as well as where to access the battery (on the side), as both are incorporated into the phone’s seamless body.
The HTC Desire HD excels on visuals. The screen, a 4.3-inch (480 x 800) at 218ppi (0.38 Megapixels) LCD capacitive touchscreen, is broad and easily accessible, enabling the user ease of navigation through the phone’s many functions. The picture is crisp and the screen is so vast that it gives the handset more of a feel of a mini tablet device rather than a smartphone.
As with most devices, majorly used buttons underpin the screen: Home, Menu, Back and Search. At the foot of the screen itself users can access their phone numbers, apps and personal settings, as well as separate home screens that can be scrolled through with a swipe of a finger.
The power button (peak of the handset) reactivates the phone once the screen goes idle, which can be a bit of a pain as it is not in the most accessible position on the device.
The HTC Desire HD is easy to use and fun to play with. There seems to be a logic employed in the phone’s interface that is lacking from others on the market and once the user sets out to perform a particular function, the handset almost pre-empts the next decision.
As stated above, the screen is vivid, vast and enables full navigation through the phone's anatomy without the need to squint, toil or ponder. After some "getting to know you" time with the handset, the menu setup makes perfect sense and accessing certain functions such as Friend Stream (instant access to a stream of tweets), Messages, Location or the Weather feel familiar and logical.
Access to settings can be achieved with relative ease and there are many ways to personalise the handset, from menu screen settings, which apps the user wishes to appear where, background settings (animated or still) as well as sound, accessibility and more.
This phone has an amazing camera with outstanding quality of picture and capture. The 8-megapixel autofocus has a dual LED flash featuring face detection and geotagging capability. The camera is a major component going in the HTC Desire HD’s favour and something to bear in mind if you are picking up a smartphone in this category. There are many photo styles that can be used when taking a picture and it if possible to upload images directly to the net via Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Mail or Picasa or to share via Bluetooth or messages.
Browsing the web is functional on the HTC Desire HD and not an unpleasant experience. The browser is quite fast and processes information speedily and efficiently, allowing the user to access the world of the web instantaneously. Users can download or update their apps, watch videos or blog, access social media websites and generally take part in any web activity they please.
One major drawback with the web function on the HTC Desire HD is that there is a restriction on the number of active windows that can be opened at any one time. While this may sound like a petty grievance, when the user is on one page and follows a link this will create a new window. Before long, there are four windows open (especially if you are searching for tidbits of information through Wikipedia) and you have already reached maximum window allowance. While not a catastrophic brush stroke that will sully the device’s reputation, it is an annoyance and something that could have been dealt with better. Perhaps there is an option to open links in the same window but that in itself is not an ideal solution, either.
Users can choose to log on via Wi-Fi or through their handset itself, both of which are dependable and give off strong, constant signals.
This is an entertainment device at its core. For the most part, watching videos on Vimeo or on YouTube HD are a joy as the screen perfectly represents them to watch and enjoy while the volume controls are easily accessed during viewing. It is also a music player and there is an app that accesses Amazon MP3, so users can personalise the handset with their favourite tunes.
As this is a smartphone, apps must get a mention. The phone comes with a number of cool built-in apps, the most entertaining of which is the Sound Hound, which records music in real time and accesses the net to tell the user what song they have been listening to. There is also a function to sing into the handset, or mumble. As I did. Unfortunately, my rendition of the Crash Test Dummies’ ‘Mmm mmm mmm’ confused the app and it delivered a startling report that I had just performed either John Denver’s Leaving on a Jet Plane or Avril Lavigne’s Innocence. Despite this, the app is great fun and a good inclusion in the handset.
There are also location apps that tell you where to access the best restaurants, bars, petrol stations, shops or whatever else you need, as well as a dependable GPS function also.
The HTC Desire HD is a great phone and stands up proudly to its competition. It is a beautifully designed handset with functions and abilities so numerous it is impossible to list them all. The browsing drawback, mentioned above (Internet), evens out thanks to the useful inclusion of the Flashlight feature. The HTC Desire HD is an adaptable, usable and fun smartphone that looks like it will stand the test of time.
It is after all, pretty ACE.