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HTC Desire HD review

The Desire's successor finally lands but is it an improvement?

Our Verdict

We'd have to colour ourselves a little disappointed with the new HTC Desire HD - as a standalone phone it's excellent, but it has too many niggles to be considered the best in HTC's range.

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 1.50 GB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 8 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 9.16 Hour
  • Screen Resolution : 480 x 800

View full specification

For

  • Super-slick UI
  • Great browsing experience
  • Dolby Mobile and SRS virtual surround sound
  • Decent e-book reader
  • Very easy to connect contacts

Against

  • Poor battery life
  • No OLED screen
  • Suspect build quality
  • Video player needs overhauling
  • HTCSense.com connectivity still has bugs

After the success of the HTC Desire, the Taiwanese firm is looking to take smartphones to the next level with the super-sized HTC Desire HD. But is it the next tech-filled talisman for the brand or a super-sized effort too far?

If you're in the market for a new smartphone, you can check out our quick video guide to what to look out for:

We've all seen the HTC HD2 and the HTC Evo, both with the same-sized 4.3-inch screens, and they were both successes, so it makes sense to continue that theme on the latest Android flagship phone, right?

Add to that it's got the overhauled Sense UI, with more new features than you can shake a techno-stick at, and there's a lot to be excited about with this new handset.

HTC desire hd review

We're not sure if there's been some optimisation on the screen, but the 4.3-inch offering from HTC seems to be packing a better contrast ratio since we saw it a few weeks ago at the launch.

It still lacks the wow factor of the Samsung Galaxy S' Super AMOLED but it's certainly not a bad screen – just perhaps a bit light on the difference between the black and whites on the display.

But there are those out there that think that OLED screens are over-saturated anyway, so perhaps it will appease rather than disappoint some.

HTC desire hd review

The slim dimensions (68mm x123mm x 11.8mm) are really important, and help to make the 4.3-inch screen more palatable to those that think it's simply too big.

It doesn't feel as skinny as the iPhone 4 or the Galaxy S (well, it isn't at 11.8mm) but it's perfectly pocketable.

HTC desire hd review

The front of the Desire HD is mostly taken up by screen, as you can imagine when you have one as whopping as this.

The four touch sensitive options are all easy enough to press and light up when the phone is in use – we'd still rather they were the physical keys of the original Desire, as it's much easier to hit them without taking your eyes off the screen.

HTC desire hd review

The dimensions of the phone are designed to minimise the trade-off of having a massive screen, but it only partly works.

Yes, the thin frame makes it nice to hold in the hand, but in the normal portrait mode it's still nigh on impossible to reach the top of the screen without jiggling the phone around in your hand – something that's never an issue on the sleek iPhone 4.

HTC desire hd review

The top of the phone only houses the power/lock button, and like the HTC HD7, this is flush to the chassis and thus hard to even find, let alone hit without looking at times.

There's a massive volume rocker switch on the left hand side of the Desire HD, leaving the right hand side completely clean – no power or camera key here, which gives it a nice smooth finish.

HTC desire hd review

Below the volume key is the battery cover – it's an odd one, as you have to yank it off and the battery then falls out, with no catch like on the HTC Legend.

It's even more confusing when there's a separate sliding cover on the bottom of the Desire HD to get to the microSD and SIM slots.

HTC desire hd review

This cover isn't the best though – a few clicks on and off and we found it started to get a little loose, feeling creaky when gripped.

There's an odd choice from HTC when it comes to the 3.5mm headphone port, as it's on the bottom rather than the top of the phone, next to the microUSB port.

HTC desire hd review

It means that the phone will be easier to pull out of your pocket already the right way up in your hand, but it just feels a little odd when 99% of other portable devices have it located on the top and out the way when holding it in the hand.

At least it's central, so it doesn't get in the way when you're holding it for video watching.

HTC desire hd review

Around the back we're treated to an 8MP camera that also packs a dual LED flash, and also records HD footage at 720p resolution. There's also a small speaker that seems to be the main source of audio output – there's another on the front above the screen, but it feels like most of the sound pumps from the rear.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported32 GB
Built-in Memory1.50 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA
GPS ReceiverYes
Cellular Generation3.5G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 2100
Rear Camera Resolution8 Megapixel
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameHTC
Battery Talk Time9.16 Hour
Product ModelDesire HD
Screen Size10.9 cm (4.3")
Screen Resolution480 x 800
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)164 g
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Operating System VersionAndroid 2.2 Froyo
Messaging TypeEmail, Instant Messaging, SMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service)
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Height123 mm
Width68 mm
Depth11.8 mm
Radio TunerYes
Battery Standby Time420 Hour
ManufacturerHigh Tech Computer Corp
Product NameDesire HD Smartphone
Processor Speed1 GHz
Processor TypeSnapdragon
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Proximity Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, Digital Compass, G-sensor
Manufacturer Part Number99HL2001-00
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.europe.htc.com
Marketing Information

Fun on the web, the way you want it

HTC Desire HD has a super-fast 1Ghz processor to take you anywhere online in seconds, plus a clever zoom that automatically reflows text and images to fit your screen. Because the internet should work around you. Not vice versa.

See everything on the big screen

Gone are the days of squinting at tiny screens and missing all-important details. Now, with the HTC Desire HD, you can experience a truly great browsing experience on its large 4.3" screen. With added features like pin-sharp text display, vivid photos and vibrant video, the HTC Desire HD is designed to enhance your favourite websites, YouTube clips and Facebook photos.

Package Contents
  • Desire HD Smartphone
  • Battery
  • microSD Card
  • USB Cable
  • 3.5mm Stereo Headset
  • Power Adapter
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Safety and Regulatory Guide
Limited Warranty1 Year