HTC Desire HD review


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There is no doubt that the original HTC Desire made a massive impact on the market and helped Google’s Android operating system secure its place in the hearts of many mobile users.

Just six months down the line and now the HTC Desire HD has been unleashed, but will it have the same effect?

The first thing you cannot help but notice is the impressive 4.3-inch touchscreen. It isn’t necessarily a great reaction though as it dwarfs the previous Desire and almost reaches the size of a tablet, like the Dell Streak.

But we found we got used to the screen size very quickly and the great 480×800 pixel resolution, along with the extra feeling of space for your applications, makes ease of use superb.

The simple task of texting was vastly improved from the previous device, with so much space to type and little room for mistake. What was even better though was using it to view videos. With the extra resolution, the elongated speaker and the massive screen size, it really does rival the likes of the iPod Touch for a portable media device.

Of course, if you want to carry around videos and music, you need decent storage and this is where the HD falls down.

With only 1.5GB of internal storage onboard, you’ll have to invest in a microSD card if you want to fill the device to the brim with multimedia.

The processor is the same speed as the previous model at 1GHz, but has been updated and this is more than suitable to give us all the speed we needed.

One nice little touch was the change of where you put in the microSD and SIM card. Rather than having to take apart the whole device as with most phones, a small sliding panel on the back comes off and allows you to change the cards without juggling the battery and the large back panel. A simple alteration but a smart one.

The camera has also been given a boost from the previous model, heading up from 5-megapixels to a pleasing 8-megapixels. The standard camera interface is also much improved as the last one had few options and was quite fiddly to use.

As well as a much better zoom, there is now the ability to put a number of effects onto the photos you take which lead to a lot of fun during the reviewing process.

Once you have got all the things you want to play with on your phone, how is it to use? Coming fully loaded with Android 2.2, it includes the extra features original Desire users had waited a long time for. This includes the ability to use the handset as a Wi-Fi hotspot, which works amazingly well but be careful of it draining your data allowance.

Swiping between the seven homescreens is incredibly smooth and even if you really try to over-use the screens, there’s next to no lag whatsoever.

The browser really is shockingly good. It isn’t that the one on the last Desire was bad, it was just what you expected for that generation of smartphone. This time the browser is really speedy and reactive and we rarely had any connection problems to our sites of choice.

We also really like the change from hardware buttons to touch sensitive ones along the bottom of the screen as it stops any accidental phone unlocking or mistaken calls when the phone was in our pocket. The top hardware button remains for unlocking the phone but it is a little small for the size of the handset and is quite a stretch to use with one hand.

Battery life shows definite signs of improvement compared to the previous generation. OK, the HD still struggled to see through two days but this is the plight of most smartphones. It did give a good few hours extra than the original though, so it was a pleasant surprise.

There are lots of little pointers where the HTC Desire HD outdoes its predecessor but how about as an overall package.

The size is enormous for a smartphone and is likely to put many people off but HTC has managed to slim it down as well, meaning you can barely notice any difference in weight.

It does run even faster and more smoothly than the previous device and has made major leaps and bounds when it comes to being used as a media player.

If you liked the first HTC Desire, the Desire HD is certainly worth considering as an upgrade if you can get past the size issues.

If you weren’t so taken by the HTC Desire, you may want to look elsewhere – maybe at HTC’s Windows Phone 7 range.

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