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 HTC Desire HD Review

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Registration date : 2007-05-23

PostSubject: HTC Desire HD Review   Mon Dec 13, 2010 9:11 pm

The HTC Desire HD is one of the most anticipated superphone this year and itís coming to town in time for Christmas (or so they say). Check out our full review of the Desire HD after the jump.

As a successor to the popular HTC Desire, the Desire HD brings with it most of the desirable features of its predecessor then wrapped it with a huge 4.3 inch screen (see our review of the HTC Desire here to get a better perspective).

With such a huge screen real estate, the handset makes for a very good first impression very few smartphones ever get. The 4.3″ LCD display is already bordering on the tablet category, just right under other 4 and 5-inchers like the Archos 43 and the Dell Streak.

The build and form factor is nothing new to us as weíve already seen it over a year ago with the HTC HD2, although that one was running on WinMo 6.5 (thereís a hack to install Android on that one too) so itís not a surprise that people are eager to see the marriage of the HD2′s hardware and Android OS.

What we missed with the Desire HD that we really liked with the older Desire is the inclusion of an AMOLED screen. While the LCD on the Desire HD still brings in that bright and clear display, the crispness and depth of contrast we get from AMOLED is very noticeable.

The resolution is at 480◊800 pixels ó it was just right on the Desire but the Desire HDís 4.3″ display seems to big for such resolution that widgets and icons are a bit oversized. The 3.7″ Desire can accommodate 4 rows of icons and the 4.0″ Samsung Galaxy S can do 5 rows; despite the 4.3″ screen of the Desire HD, it can only do 4 rows (a limitation brought upon by the resolution). In retrospect, this might be good for those who have bigger than normal fingers.

However, if that switch was the one that made the Desire HD more affordable (with a 35k SRP compared to the Desireís 34.9k SRP), then I think it is a reasonable trade-off since the launch price are practically the same. That, or thereís just not enough supply of AMOLED these days.

Construction-wise, the Desire HD is tightly built. If youíre familiar with recent HTC handsets or have owned one, youíd agree how solid the units are. Itís got some heft to it, considering the size and materials used. The width is just right although people will smaller hands might have a harder time with the grip. Itís relatively thin too and somewhat tapers towards the edges with curves just at the right places; itís actually thicker in the center where the camera is positioned.

The front panel is all covered with the glass display while the bottom end leaves enough space for the usual touch controls (similar to the Nexus One) of Android devices. I would have preferred the physical buttons like the ones on the older Desire but weíre pretty much familiar with how this works so itís not a huge deal.

Above, from left to right: HTC Desire, iPhone 4, Desire HD, Galaxy SThe back panel has two compartments you can pry open ó one for the SIM card slot on the right side and another one at the bottom part for the 1230mAh Li-Ion battery. The 8MP camera is positioned in the top middle part of the back panel with the dual-LED flash is on its right side and the microphone on the left.

The lens is protected by a metallic barrel around it. The barrel somewhat protrudes from the back so it usually ends up as the first point of contact when you put down the handset on tis back. As such, itís also prone to bruises ó Iíve already peeled off a tiny bit of dark paint off of it.

Like many top-of-the-line handsets, I guess youíll really need to get a protective case for the device once you start using it. A thin, soft gel case would suffice.

While the camera has been cranked up to 8-megapixels, there isnít much improvements in the photo quality. Thereís no dedicated camera button too. Images are between decent to good when in the outdoors or with sufficient lighting but not much on low-light conditions. The 720p video recording looked much better though. Audio quality is good and sound volume is just enough for music or movie playback .

Here are some sample photos I took using the Desire HD:

Youíll notice that shots taken at low-light conditions tend to be bit grainy. The video quality is better though. See sample below (just set it to 720p when viewing).

The Desire HD performs very well; itís very snappy and responsive and with the HTC Sense UI wrapped around Android Froyo, the interface is all pleasantness. You get the cool HTC widgets, themes and skins as well as the entire 7 home screens. Thereís not much difference with the older Desire except for the pre-installed HTC Hub, Media Link and HTC Likes (recommended Android Apps).

The calendar widget now has a flipping animation when updating the time. Drag down the notification toolbar and youíll see a list of recent apps. The virtual keyboard is now also expanded to include 4 arrow keys so you can navigate thru text much easier. Then thereís the Universal Search that collates all searches in one results screen.

Weíve also seen Flash 10.1 running on this device flawlessly. Itís way better than Flash Lite on the older HTC Desire. You also get the mobile hotspot (WiFi tethering) which comes with Froyo.

Performance is top notch, with the second generation 1GHz SnapDragon chip and 768MB RAM taking as much load as you can fire up apps on the device. Weíve had several apps running in the background including Angry Birds (which looked gorgeous, btw), DropBox uploading a video file, the full Harry Potter 7 website loading and a YouTube streaming all at once. Web browsing is also better with the large screen and full Flash experience.

As an added bonus, HTC has also launched, a remote device management service for the Desire HD and Desire Z. It allows for data storage on the cloud (contacts, text messages, and other details) as well as security features like phone locator, remote lock and remote wipe of handset data.

Battery life is another thing altogether. With only a 1230mAh rating on the Li-Ion battery, the handset barely lasts the entire day especially when youíre connected to the net. This isnít an isolated case though. Weíve experience the same with the Desire and the Nexus One before so if youíre coming from another Android device, this is already expected. Either you bring a charger all the time or carry a portable rechargeable pack.

HTC Desire HD specs:
4.3″ Super TFT display @ 480 x 800 pixels
1GHz Qualcomm 8255 Snapdragon CPU
1.5 GB internal
up to 32GB via microSD
HSDPA 7.2 Mbps, HSUPA 2 Mbps
WiFi 802.11n
GPS w/ aGPS support
FR Radio tuner
8MP camera with dual LED Flash
720p video recording
Li-Ion 1230mAh battery
Android 2.2. Froyo
Price: Php35,000
Release Date: December 2010

The HTC Desire HD is definitely a great phone. Itís one of the best Android phone weíve tested this year; actually, among the best smartphones weíve used ever. Itís not a perfect phone; itís got a few shortcomings too (yeah, that resolution was a bummer) but over-all, Iím pretty impressed with the handset. With a suggested retail price of Php35,000 itís actually right within the range of all other flagship smartphones out there.
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