We've just got hold of the HTC Desire HD, and while we're working on the full review here's our first impressions of the Android 2.2 handset, the upgrade to the extremely popular HTC Desire.
On the plus side, the 4.3in 480 x 800 display is of excellent quality, bright and clear. Processor speed is decent at 1Ghz, and it manages multi tasking quickly and efficiently - more efficiently than the iPhone 4 from our initial tests.
Opening and accessing the mobile web, including streamed video and live broadcast, was the fastest we've experienced. Games were clear and fun to play given the quality of screen and the size.
The interface is an improvement on the original HTC Desire, and has become more user friendly and intuitive. From setup to day to day use of apps, it is very straightforward. The new search app on the phone is a one-stop access point for everything. We found this worked better than the Finder tool that ships with Mac OS X, which we've always rated as the best search tool available across desktop and mobile.
The available apps are excellent both in choice and quality, and while this isn't a review of Android Market, the marketplace is getting better with more free apps and is easy to use.
The phone size is good, easily usable if you have big hands yet it doesn't seem overly large. It also fits as easily into a suit jacket pocket as into the pocket of a pair of jeans. The weight balance is also good, making the phone seem lighter than it is. It seems very thin and svelte, and from the front and side is an attractive device.
It's also good to see that the music player finally has an equalizer and sound enhancements. These were omissions on the previous Desire. However, the headphones input slot on the bottom of the device is bizarrely placed, a feature that shouldn't have made it off the design table. Also syncing to iTunes is still not seamless via Missing Sync, but it did seem improved with the Desire HD versus the original model.
On the down side, battery life is still a problem. Using all key features (phone, music player, web, apps and widgets plus Wi-Fi) the battery barely lasted a day and overnight the battery seemed to drain as if in normal use. Even with App Killer set to auto the battery seems to dwindle away. For a business or leisure device this is a weakness, especially against the iPhone 4.
Likewise the bulging camera lens is both aesthetically annoying and functionally frustrating as it picks up dust and grease too easily.
However, aside from those issues, the HTC Desire HD is streaks ahead of anything else we've used in terms of looks, performance and usability.
We'll be posting our full review of the phone later this week, outlining its use as a business device. We've also posted a video review of the HTC Desire HD.
Author: Tim Webb
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