HTC Desire HD review

£500
Price when reviewed

It’s nice to have the full web at your fingertips, but don’t for a moment imagine it’s the perfect mobile web-browsing experience. Much of the Flash video we looked at was jerky and stuttered during playback, while buttons designed for the mouse cursor – such as play full screen and volume controls – were fiddly to press. Flash games suffer from the same indignity, since they’re almost all designed with cursor and keyboard control in mind.

Weaknesses

Also of dubious worth is the satnav software HTC trumpets loudly in its various ad campaigns. Developed in conjunction with satnav experts Route 66, this allows you to download and store maps locally, so if you get lost in an area of weak signal you’ll still be able to find your way to your destination.

Alas, it isn’t all it first seems. For starters, it isn’t free: as an example, you pay £3.49 for a month of UK and Ireland coverage, £15 for a year, or £23 for a lifetime subscription, with traffic and speed cameras costing more on top. If that wasn’t bad enough, the way the software works (or rather doesn’t) is worse.

HTC Desire HD

We found the interface confusing, the performance sluggish and the address search utterly woeful. We struggled to locate several residential addresses in London, none of which we’ve had any trouble with on any other satnav device. Fortunately, HTC hasn’t removed the free Google Navigation, which works superbly on the Desire HD’s huge screen.

That’s a small irritation next to the Desire HD’s biggest bugbear, however: battery life is simply appalling. After our 24-hour test, during which we make 30 minutes of phone calls, download a 50MB podcast, play audio on loop for an hour and then leave the phone checking email, the gauge had fallen to a meagre 30%, and adding Twitter and Facebook updates to this will only make things worse.

It lags a long way behind the competition. The iPhone 4 and the standard Desire scored 60% in the same test; the Nokia N8 achieved 70%, and the Samsung Galaxy S 50%. Without being careful, or uninstalling some of the core apps and services, there’s little prospect this phone will last past a single day of moderate use. If you use it heavily it won’t even make that.

Conclusion

That’s a real shame, because otherwise the Desire HD is a quality smartphone. The screen is fabulous, Android 2.2 and the 1GHz processor give it an impressive turn of speed, and HTC’s Sense user interface and customisations set it apart from the Android crowd.

But with such poor stamina there’s no way we can possibly recommend it, especially at such a high price.

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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