HTC Desire HD review

£500
Price when reviewed

HTC is the master of reusing and repurposing components to produce new phone designs, but with its latest Android smartphone, the Desire HD, it has truly surpassed itself. It’s one of three smartphones in HTC’s current line-up to share almost identical hardware, joining the Windows Phone 7-based HD7 and the older Touch HD2, based on the previous generation Windows Phone 6.5.

Despite the different name, then, the Desire HD is a familiar face, and boasts the same strengths and weaknesses as its brethren. Its huge capacitive touchscreen is the main attraction. Measuring 4.3in from corner to corner, it’s bright, clear and lovely to look at – among the most glorious screens you’ll find on a smartphone today.

HTC Desire HD

The resolution, despite the HD in the name, isn’t anything out of the ordinary. It’s a standard 480 x 800 resolution (lower than the smaller iPhone 4’s 960 x 640 Retina display), but that doesn’t put much of a dent in its appeal. Since the screen is TFT (HTC’s S-LCD variant), it isn’t grainy as OLED screens can appear, and it makes everything from photos to video look spectacular.

Elsewhere, the 8-megapixel camera, again a match for its stablemates, has autofocus, a twin-LED flash and 720p video recording. It shoots good photos – although not as good as the iPhone 4 or Nokia N8 – and is fine for casual snapping, but nothing more. And aside from lacking the neat kickstand of the HD7, the design is familiar too; with four touch buttons below the screen and a solid, luxurious feel.

Greased lightning

The main difference is in the operating system. The Desire HD sports Android 2.2 enhanced with HTC’s Sense user interface, and this makes it the best of the three. It’s highly responsive, much more so than the original Touch HD2.

Web pages render in the blink of an eye, while menus, lists and maps respond to prods, pokes and swipes of the finger with breathtaking speed. In our performance tests, the full BBC homepage appeared in six seconds flat over a fast Wi-Fi connection, and it took the same time to complete the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark.

HTC Desire HD

Those scores make the Desire HD the fastest smartphone we’ve ever come across, and it’s a joy to use as a result. You’ll never experience juddering menus like you will on some budget phones; everything just works, and on this size of screen HTC’s Sense Android skin takes on a new dimension.

New features in this edition of Sense include a recent applications menu, which runs permanently along the top of the pull-down notifications menu; a universal, colour-coded inbox; and the ability to take speakerphone calls while still displaying the satnav screen (more of which later).

Turn the phone off and, as long as you don’t pull out the battery, it will restart in an instant. HTC’s Wi-Fi hotspot utility lets you use your phone’s 3G connection to connect other Wi-Fi-enabled devices to the internet.

Flash Harry?

The advent of Android 2.2 also means long-awaited support for Flash 10.1. Visit www.pcpro.co.uk with the HTC Desire HD and you’ll be able to watch the embedded video on the homepage. Go to the sports pages on the BBC website and you’ll be able to watch or listen to various clips hosted therein.

HTC Desire HD

Details

Cheapest price on contract£30
Contract monthly charge£25.00
Contract period24 months
Contract providerwww.e2save.co.uk

Battery Life

Talk time, quoted9hrs 10mins
Standby, quoted20 days 10hrs

Physical

Dimensions68 x 11.8 x 123mm (WDH)
Weight164g
Touchscreenyes
Primary keyboardOn-screen

Core Specifications

RAM capacity768MB
Camera megapixel rating8.0mp
Front-facing camera?no
Video capture?yes

Display

Screen size4.3in
Resolution480 x 800
Landscape mode?yes

Other wireless standards

Bluetooth supportyes
Integrated GPSyes

Software

OS familyAndroid

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