HTC Desire Z review

Price when reviewed

The Desire Z seems a bit of an oddball. It’s a big touchscreen phone, along the same lines as the Desire, but it also includes a keyboard that emerges from underneath and an optical touchpad for general navigation.

That hybridisation means it’s a bulky device: it’s thick, measuring 14.2mm and, at 180g, pretty heavy too. Neither are we completely convinced about the mechanism through which the keyboard appears. Instead of sliding smoothly, it pivots on a double hinge out and over. It feels a touch on the flimsy side.

The keyboard itself, however, is beyond reproach: if you don’t get on with touchscreen text entry, this is the phone for you. The keys of its physical, Qwerty keyboard are large, well-spaced and responsive.

HTC Desire Z

That, combined with the beautifully bright, clear 3.7in 480 x 800 TFT screen, means the Desire Z is just at home tapping out texts, tweets and Facebook updates as it is browsing around complex websites.

The presence of Android 2.2 as standard boosts that browsing no end. There’s Flash 10.1 support, so you get all of the web, including games, embedded video and rich content, and performance is nothing short of superb. Panning and zooming complex websites is an experience as smooth as silk, as is navigating the UI.

Our performance tests backed up those good impressions, with the BBC homepage appearing in eight seconds flat, and the SunSpider benchmark completing in seven seconds. Battery life is superb, too, with 70% remaining on the battery gauge after our 24-hour test – the best from an Android phone we’ve ever seen.

It isn’t just about the hardware, however. HTC’s Sense UI is present here along with its excellent social-networking tools and dialler app, and there are a few improvements over the version on the standard Desire.

HTC Desire Z

Drag the status bar down from the top of the screen and you’ll see shortcuts to recently used apps. Plus, Wi-Fi tethering means you can hook up non-3G devices to the internet via the phone’s data connection.

Also installed is Route 66 satnav, but we’re not big fans. Yes, it stores maps on your SD card, giving it an advantage over Google Maps Navigation in areas of weak signal, but you have to pay for the privilege and it has possibly the world’s worst address search.

Other than that, the Desire Z is an excellent phone. It’s a touch pricier than the standard Desire, but if you’ll take advantage of that keyboard it’s worth shelling out.


Cheapest price on contract Free
Contract monthly charge £25.00
Contract period 24 months
Contract provider

Battery Life

Talk time, quoted 9hrs 50mins
Standby, quoted 17 days 22hrs


Dimensions 60.4 x 14.2 x 119mm (WDH)
Weight 180g
Touchscreen yes
Primary keyboard Physical

Core Specifications

RAM capacity 512MB
Camera megapixel rating 5.0mp
Front-facing camera? no
Video capture? yes


Screen size 3.7in
Resolution 480 x 800
Landscape mode? yes

Other wireless standards

Bluetooth support yes
Integrated GPS yes


OS family Android

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