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HTC Desire Z review

HTC's next Android wunderkind wanders in sporting a QWERTY keyboard

HTC has been slightly criticised in the past for caring more about making an superb browsing phone rather than concentrating on the core phone functionality, and to a degree its laid that fault to rest on the Desire Z.

Contacts

The contacts menu on the HTC Android range has always been excellent, and that's back again on the Desire Z.

HTC desire z review

From the first time you turn the phone on and log into your various accounts (Googlemail, Facebook, Twitter, Exchange) the Desire Z will automatically populate the contacts menu with all the people you have stored.

You can choose to only view certain people (only SIM contacts, for instance) or all at once, and then link them together.

HTC desire z review

This linking is a real user delight, as once completed you can see Facebook and Twitter updates from the contact profile on your phone, browse their photos as if they were on the phone or get a notification of an upcoming birthday when they call you.

However, linking these up can take time if you've got hundreds to go through, so it's good that suggestions are provided (and they're mostly accurate too, meaning you only have to press the link icon in the top right-hand corner of any profile and accept to complete the tie-up).

And a new feature for the HTC Desire Z is when the phone first populates the phone book, it has a look at the contacts and makes a list of suggestions for linking, meaning all you have to do is click on the link icon to accept. Very easy, and a massive time saver.

One word of warning: if you sign in to Facebook and Twitter at the start and populate the contacts, don't select the same option if you load up the Facebook and Twitter apps on the phone itself; you'll be left with hundreds of duplicates you won't want.

One thing we've always been impressed with from HTC in the contacts menu is the ability to customise each person. Of course you can enter emails addresses and phone numbers and the like, but you can also choose which account you want to profile picture to come from, be it Twitter, Google or Facebook, and choose the name too, even if its a separate account.

The contacts menu on the HTC Desire Z is one of its very strongest points, and while some things can be a little slow to load (calling up a person's most recent Tweets for instance) it's still a real 'user-delighter'.

Calling

Calling on the HTC Desire Z, as we mentioned, is a better experience than some of its Android brethren, and this seems mostly down to the sheer size of the device.

HTC desire z review

The smaller screen means its easier to position the earpiece at the right place on your head, and callers had no problems with hearing us when we spoke, despite no noise cancellation present.

The volume and quality was decent, and we liked the speaker underneath - not earth shattering again in terms of volume, but we'd rate it as better than the HTC Desire HD.

HTC desire z review

There are a few nice touches here too: the dial pad also can access people in your phone book by tapping out their names in T9 predictive text mode, making it easy to find the people you're after.

There's no way to separate between missed, received and dialled calls though, which is a little bit of a pain when you have to scroll through the whole list.

Nor will repeat callers show as one item on the list - most annoying when you have to go down past your girlfriend accidentally calling you 67 times when the phone was left on in her bag.

HTC desire z review

A few other nice touches that HTC has developed to make its handsets a little more intuitive are also present here. Elements like when the phone senses its in a pocket or bag (using the proximity sensor) it will ring louder, or the ringer volume will lower when the Desire Z gets picked up.

The best trick we think HTC has put on its devices is the ability to turn the ringer completely off by turning the phone over - it's one of those things that really impresses your Mum when it accidentally happens at the dinner table... although you really should have it turned off in company, darling.

Coverage, connection and quality all passed our tests when it comes to the HTC Desire Z's calling capabilities, and despite the heft we'd actually recommend it as a normal phone.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen, QWERTY
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 Resolution5 Megapixel
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleSlider
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameHTC
Battery Talk Time9.83 Hour
Product ModelDesire Z
Screen Size9.4 cm (3.7")
Screen Resolution480 x 800
Weight (Approximate)180 g
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Operating System VersionAndroid 2.2 Froyo
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Height119 mm
Width60.4 mm
Depth14.2 mm
Radio TunerYes
Battery Standby Time430 Hour
ManufacturerHigh Tech Computer Corp
Product NameDesire Z Smartphone
Processor Speed800 MHz
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeG-sensor, Proximity Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, Digital Compass
Manufacturer Part Number99HLW00800
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.europe.htc.com
Marketing Information

The best of both worlds

Touch screens are brilliant for surfing the web and watching videos. Keyboards are brilliant for typing. Now, you get the best of both wrapped up in one phone - the HTC Desire Z with a 3.7" touch screen and Qwerty keyboard.

Your emails, prioritised

Busy people have busy inboxes. But HTC Desire Z makes sure nothing slips through the net by prioritising your emails for you. Like your personal PA, it puts all the important emails at the top of your inbox - keeping you on top of business.

All your email accounts in one inbox

We all have different email accounts - work, home, social - but now you don't have to keep jumping between them. HTC Desire Z grabs emails from each of your different accounts and puts them all into one inbox. So you can sit back and let HTC Desire Z do all the running around.

Limited Warranty1 Year