HTC Touch HD2 review
Gorgeous, gorgeous hardware, but beware: this smartphone is not without its problems
Review Date: 27 Nov 2009
Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray
Price when reviewed: £0, on a £35.00 per month, 24 months contract.
Features & Design
Value for Money
Ease of Use
So many smartphones are flooding onto the market right now it can be difficult to see the wood for the trees, but the hotly-anticipated HTC Touch HD2 is one of the few that stands out.
Big, bold and desperate for attention, this is an absolutely huge phone, measuring a pocket-stretching 67mm wide and 120.8mm tall - it's not what you'd call shy and retiring. The size is largely due to the screen, which is the largest and brightest screen we've ever come across on any phone. It measures 4.3in across, boasts a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels and is eye-poppingly bright.
But it isn't just impressive on paper. The first time you meet this phone in the flesh it makes you go weak at the knees. It's the perfect smartphone specimen: shapely in all the right places, tightly knitted together and with the sort of quality feel that even Apple would be envious of. It's a phone that'll make you dribble like a fool the first time you clap eyes and fingers on it, and it makes every other phone on the planet look second-rate.
Start using the Touch HD2 and that love affair may well continue, for though this phone does unfortunately run Windows Phone, it's the first we've come across with a capacitive touchscreen. All others Windows phones we've seen, including HTC's, make use of resistive touchscreens - the reason is to keep the potential for stylus operation and handwriting recognition alive.
Fortunately, HTC has layered its own touch-friendly user interface over the top of Windows Phone, which makes a stylus unnecessary, and it's a great decision. Where the resistive touchscreen of the original HTC Touch HD required pressure, or the end of a nail, to activate, you can merely brush the display of the HD2 with a touch as light as a feather and it will respond instantly.
It's multitouch too, so where BlackBerry Storm2 and Android handset owners are left tapping feverishly at their screens to zoom in and out, those lucky enough to have an HD2 can use iPhone-alike pinch gestures. Again, the response of the Opera browser is instantaneous, with very little lag on zoom operations, adding to the feeling that this is a phone that means business.
Under the hood
In fact, in general operation, the HTC Touch HD2 feels more like an iPhone 3GS than any other smartphone we've tested and that's largely down to what's inside. Instead of simply transplanting the innards from its last Touch HD - a practice that HTC has been following with every one of its smartphones over the past couple of years - this second generation boasts the cutting-edge Snapdragon chipset.
The clockspeed is an impressive 1GHz, backed up with 448MB of RAM, and this helps it feel like there's nothing the HD2 can't do. Want to watch video at native resolution? Check. Edit video? Check. Browse websites without having to wait an age? Check. In fact it's the only phone we've found that can come close to the iPhone 3GS for speed, loading up the BBC homepage over Wi-Fi in an average of 13 seconds compared to 8 secondsfor Apple's finest. And don't forget the HD2 is having to render more pixels than the iPhone too.
Elsewhere, the phone is very well equipped - as you'd expect of a top-end luxury handset like this - with GPS, digital compass, HSDPA, 802.11g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and an FM radio tuner. You also get a 5-megapixel camera with dual LED flash and such niceties as face detection and touch autofocus. Plus, of course, it shoots video - in this instance at up to VGA resolutions and 25fps.
Sound quality is decent and picture quality from the camera good too, with clean colours and crisp detail capture, but video is not up to the same standard. Movies looked soft and blurry and the phone has a tendency to burn out highlights badly.
HTC's TouchFLO 3D UI is still firmly nailed down over the top of Windows Phone and that's a good thing as Microsoft's mobile OS didn't impress us with its overhaul earlier in the year. It's had a little lip gloss applied this time around, with customisable application shortcuts added to the main home screen and thumbnail shortcuts added to the browser home screen.
Marvellous phone - seems a hell of a lot better than the competition.
I was just thinking maybe a change of logo would pull in the fruit loving audience of the alternative - maybe a half eaten banana or pear would move the apple bunch.
By nicomo on 27 Nov 2009
Now if they could put Android 2 in this package.That would be nigh on perfect.In fact make it a 7" screen of 1280x800 add in open office 3 apps and you would have convergence with netbooks :-)
By Jaberwocky on 28 Nov 2009
I have had this phone for a week now and it is amazing. I cannot stop playing with it. I have worked with iPhone before and the UI is very similar if not even better. This phone seem to be a lot smarter than iPhone.
BTW, it is very pocketable, I put it in my jeans, jacket and formal trousers and cannot feel it since it is very thin.
So far very very happy and thank you PC Pro for the review.
By einstein84 on 28 Nov 2009
AMAZING Phone indeed
It is simply the best smartphone available. The feature list is so long that it needs quite a long learning curve. WM 6.5 perhaps isn't the best looking mobile OS by far but it is feature rich and more importantly, for me, incredibly customisable.
By vikarmo on 28 Nov 2009
not too big at all
I am happy with my HD2, but wish it was a little bigger. I far prefer the wider standard VGA layout of my hx4700 than widescreen.
Compared to the typical home or office phone, it is not at all too big or heavy.
Yes it is big compared to the tiny things that you cannot read the screen of. But I want to be able to actually USE the web browser, calendar, contacts, satnav, mobile office, pdf viewer and much more. I could not do that on a baby phone, could I?
It fits happily into my pocket, though I do have a tendency to switch it on as I pull it out to answer a call.
Sadly, i don't actually like the capacitive screen. I find it much harder to use than the resistive hx4700. I even miss the stylus.
By fellwalker2000 on 3 Dec 2009
How can you slate the HD2 for size?
It is only 5mm wider & longer than an iphone, but actually 1.3mm thinner too.
In return you get a screen that is 2cm diagonally larger than on the iphone & packing 2.5 times more pixels!!
Yes the HD2 is showing some bugs but HTC are actively working on releasing fixes AND these are not show stoppers as I have found ways around all of them & have a reliable HD2!!
Despite the bugs, colleagues of mine are switching away from their iphones because the HD2 is so impressive.
By apemonkeyman on 22 Jan 2010
But reviews seldom tell the whole story
Bear with me HD2 readers:
I've just been reading the 'A' list HTC desire review... It complained that though Flash lite was available it could not play BBBC news... Well use Skyfire - built in version of flash play anything... So my HD2 is more than happy with any video content despite the review.
This is where rush reviews let us down.
After some four months of living with my HD2 these are the bits that make it sing:
HD2 Tweaks - tweaks all of the settings
BSB Tweaks - Tweaks more settings - release the power lol
Sprite - backs up and has a remote data destroy lock down if phone lost
SlideIt: A keyboard to put iPhone in the shade... very fast predictive text entry... accurate and smooth.
OK these are not in the reviews... they are not in the phone unless you get them (most of the above are free).
But they turn the phone into another animal... one which was not reviewed.
Win Mob is prob. dying... The HD2 is a seriously good phone and apart from the odd app. not available
an HD2 rigged with this stuff is a seriously good phone... I would not swap this for an iPhone...
By Kevin000 on 3 Jul 2010
Slidelt in the comments above should read SlideIT
By Kevin000 on 3 Jul 2010
No Upgrade Availalbe
As has been noted, this would be a world-beating phone if it were not let down by MS Phone. Never mind, Windows Phone 7 will fix that? Apparently not. I have been informed by HTC that “HTC and Microsoft do not have plans to offer Windows Phone 7 upgrades to any existing HTC phones”. This is pathetic, and well short of the support offered for both Android and iPhone. If ever there was a sign the Microsoft do not understand the PDS market, this is it. I for one, will definitely not be in the Windows Phone camp, which is shame.
By GrahamE on 30 Nov 2010
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