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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

The HTC Desire HD comes complete with a couple of mapping options – considering how long the Taiwanese firm has bet big on Google Maps, offering its own option seems a little counter-intuitive.

We'll start with Google Maps that comes loaded on the Desire HD automatically - in our eyes it's a complete package anyway.

HTC desire hd review

You get the easy to read interface we've all come to expect, where you can search the maps for whatever you like - businesses, landmarks and addresses.

You can also add in other layers, like Transit Lines (the Tube, for instance) Traffic and Wikipedia entries for things nearby.

Weather has been added to Live Wallpapers, so you can not only see where you are at all times, but also work out the weather too. We couldn't make this work in the UK when we played with it, but then again looking out the window achieved the same thing anyway...

The GPS lock was pretty quick, taking around 5-6 seconds from cold to work out where we were. It's not the fastest, but seemed to hold our connection when we were using the phone as a sat nav.

Google Maps comes complete with integrated and free sat nav, and on this massive screen it's tip-top - you can easily see where you're going and it's very easy to poke the screen when you need to get a little more information.

Navigation actually gets its own little icon on the home screen, and will get you wherever you want to go - and tell you the traffic conditions too. It still relies on data streaming, which is a bit of a downside, but it's great for a free offering.

Voice search is offered on the HTC Desire HD, after a mysterious absence on the Desire, and it works well here too. Ask the phone to 'Navigate to that place with the Rosetta Stone' and you'll be taken to the British Museum (if that's where it is).

It's not a necessary touch, but it's pretty accurate providing you have an even dialect and speak clearly.

Locations

So after the wonder of Google Maps, we're unsure as to why HTC has decided to put its own locations platform on the HTC Desire HD as well.

HTC desire hd review

In association with TomTom, the theory seems pretty clear - making money, as while the maps are free to download, you have to purchase premium navigation, traffic and speed cameras.

Admittedly you can't get the latter with Google Maps, but that has the advantage of being free - we assume HTC is all about choice here, although it can be a little confusing.

You can tag pictures with location data and use them as bookmarks to navigate to, but that's as far as the usefulness of the applications goes in our opinion.

Despite offering up categories such as Shopping, Eating and Leisure for nearby suggestions, there was nothing on show no matter where we tried the service - and this was in London, so we can't imagine how it will react it the furthest reaches of Bury or Bognor Regis.

HTC desire hd review

There's a car panel mode here as well, which gives the opportunity to have even larger icons, but with no information in most of the categories, it's a little redundant.

Like we said: cool that you can download the whole of the UK to the phone to save data (although it takes up nearly 500MB of space, which may be a problem for some people with smaller memory cards or using a lot of media) and elements like helicopter view, which shows your route ahead and being able to take calls when navigating aren't enough to convince us that this is any better than Google Maps.

We'd wager it's not going to be too long until Google comes out with a caching option as well - we assume it's currently some sort of licensing deal at the moment, but it seems like a sensible thing to do in the future.

Games

The HTC Desire HD comes with an inbuilt GPU to handle the heavy graphical processing on screen, and it works really well in our eyes.

HTC desire hd review

Football games look superb on the phone, and racing options like Raging Thunder offer up a decent motoring experience, although we'd like to see some that properly test the powers of the HTC Desire HD.

HTC desire hd review

Of course, it's the casual gaming that HTC wants to attract too, and the likes of Angry Birds and Teeter both perform admirably - the former especially as it's so high-res you can see the birds' faces change colour as they fly towards to targets.

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
Memory Card Type IncludedmicroSD
Operating System VersionAndroid 2.2 Froyo
Messaging TypeEmail, Instant Messaging, SMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service)
RealtoneYes
Radio Tuner TypeFM
Call FeaturesCall Log
Height123 mm
Width68 mm
Depth11.8 mm
Radio TunerYes
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