HTC HD2 - HTC HD2

By Edward Chester

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
HTC HD2

Summary

Our Score:

9

User Score:

Getting back to the core hardware of the phone, below the screen sit five small buttons that conform to the usual HTC Windows Mobile/Phone configuration of Call Answer/Home/Start/Back/Call End. These buttons are actually disappointingly small and wobbly, though still just about usable.

A volume control rocker switch is situated on the left edge while the bottom edge is home to a 3.5mm headphone jack and standard micro-USB data and charging socket. The headphone jack would of course have been a welcome addition wherever it was positioned but to find it at the bottom, where it is most practical is a real plus. As for the micro-USB socket, that's even more interesting as HTC has been clinging onto its ExtUSB (essentially mini-USB) socket for quite a while as it can carry data, power, and audio for headsets. With the public so rapturously demanding 3.5mm headphone jacks and the vast majority of the mobile phone industry having signed up to use micro-USB as a standard data and charging socket, HTC has realised that it has to change and we think this is a great thing.

The main bulk of the HD2 is finished in a very pleasant soft touch grey plastic and together with its brushed metal backplate the entire handset feels very solidly made. The backplate wraps around the central portion of the phone and clips to the sides, which is quite a neat trick. Under it sits the SIM slot, battery, and microSD slot, which can accommodate cards up to 16GB. The battery is an 1100mAh unit which kept the phone going for a couple of days of extensive usage.

Above the backplate sit pin-holes for the impressively loud speaker and the 5-megapixel camera with its twin-LED flashes. The camera is possibly the best we've seen on a smartphone both in terms of operation and quality. The camera application, for instance, has the same level of usability as that of dedicated camera phones; responding quickly, offering plenty of options including manual exposure and focus (both using an on screen slider and by pointing at your subject on screen), and giving impressive shot to shot times.

Images viewed on the phone look sublime though inevitably viewing them on a computer monitor does reveal the cameras limitations. In particular, there's a distinct lack of dynamic range so highlights are nearly always blown out and dark areas lacking in detail. The auto white balance also struggles at times, as demonstrated in the second of the 'lawn & trees' shots. For the most part, though, it's simply the case that these tiny little lenses can't pick out the detail to justify the sensor resolution, but at least the LED flash does a good job at close range.

Video is also onboard and it can shoot to a resolution of 640 x 480 pixels. It maintains a good enough refresh rate to capture smooth motion and is quite impressive for a phone camera. You can even use the LEDs when shooting video too. It's only the lack of any autofocus that really lets things down on the video front.

Finally, in terms of internal features, you get Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, a digital compass, HSDPA, GPRS, EDGE, GSM, a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 448MB RAM and 512MB ROM. In other words, you're left wanting for nothing.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

Sleeper

November 7, 2009, 6:29 am

The phone looks gorgeous but it's a bit big for me - I didn't get an iPhone for that reason. Still, it looks awesome...





How prominent is Windows 6.5? I can't imagine HTC will have let it out that much and I'm guessing that even the menus will be finger friendly given the screen's size. I take it - as it's WinMo - it'll also support pretty much every codec out there for video?

renegade1988

November 7, 2009, 7:08 am

Possibly the 1st true iphone contender...

adoniteINK

November 7, 2009, 7:20 am

This makes me extremely happy because it raises the bar in terms of hardware for all the mobile phone makers. With sony ericsson bring out the Xperia 10 for Q1 2010. i cannot wait to see the kind of phones destined for 2010 from samsung, motorola, nokia and Apple.


The downside to this is what kind of prices high-end smartphones will be tagged with 2 or 3 years from now. £500 for a phone! no way...*silence*.... no really?!





ahem! So TR, how many will plan on getting this in the office :D

xenos

November 7, 2009, 8:47 am

I like it, I have big enough hands.. Will it fit in my pocket?

DrDark

November 7, 2009, 11:30 am

@xenos: Jeans or jacket?

farki80

November 7, 2009, 1:43 pm

Too big. With such a screen size I wouldn't even class this as a phone, but a tablet that happens to have phone functionality.

PSV

November 7, 2009, 2:05 pm

Edward, the HD2 doesn't run TouchFLO - it runs Sense, like the HTC Hero. If you want confirmation of that fact, check out the link below to HTC's HD2 product page.





http://www.htc.com/uk/product/...





Please update the review accordingly.

47

November 7, 2009, 2:26 pm

What better review to start the weekend, After orange iphone Epic Fail iphone pricing i will go for this one sim free.

rav

November 7, 2009, 4:36 pm

Wasn't expecting a review this quickly.





Modaco have a great and very long video of it covering just about everything. It looks impressively fast and there wasn't any slow down even with various apps running. It's too big for me but apart from that it really does look nice. And I don'think regular WM pops up much at all. HTC have reskinned quite a few of the legacy screens too.





Can't wait till the hardware becomes mores mainstream and starts appering on other phones.

ChaosDefinesOrder

November 7, 2009, 5:57 pm

I'd like to know more about the bettery life





you say it lasted 2 days of extensive use... how extensive was this?





I was waiting for the Nokia N900, but this may tempt me away!

Nicholas Pires

November 7, 2009, 6:00 pm

Don't be put off by Windows Mobile 6.5, I've been using a HTC Touch Diamond 2 since april (my first touch screen phone and windows phone) and absolutely love it.





The newer build of 6.5 is better than 6.1 better looking graphics more finger friendly but not terrible as some make it out to be. If you're used to using a computer then I reckon the transition is pretty straight forward on these phones because that's what they essential are.





The fact that this phone is Windows Mobile 6.5 means you'll have excellent "extra" support from the xda-developers which in turn relates to a bucket load of extra homebrew apps and tweaks the average user wouldn't be able to find.





As such I've already got the HD2 Interface ported on my Touch Diamond 2... the benefits of having an HTC, longetivity and being able to upgrade it with ease :-)

Runadumb

November 7, 2009, 6:26 pm

Ive been using this rom on my Touch HD for a while now and I really like it. It is awfully slow at times, especially texting but then thats where the new hardware comes in. I just feel they went a bit mad with the size but some people seem to love that.





If I feel I can tolerate a phone this size I will buy it but if HTC's rumoured Dragon appears (soon) as a 3.7 inch snapdragon Sense 2 kickass device I then there will be no contest.

Oliver Levett

November 7, 2009, 6:40 pm

WM6.5 supports kinetic scrolling natively, though developers can choose to not support it, that's hardly MS or HTCs fault and really not grounds for criticism.





Also, you criticise WM, though all your earlier complaints about fiddly settings or whatever no longer apply! All the native settings applications have been replaced by HTCs implementation, and the capacitive zoom lets you zoom in on fiddly things that haven't been upgraded.





I suspect if you gave this device to most people they probably wouldn't even realise it was a WM device, and even if they did and they despised WM, it's still a brilliant device with only the size being a possible detracting factor.





For most WM users, the stylus is useful for example in the notes application it's very useful for quick sketches, but you lose that with capacitive, so that may well be a downside.





Also, Sense is built on the concept of "make it mine" so if you don't use twitter, you can disable it, you don't need the long list of tabs on Manila, though to me, it makes a lot more sense having everything integrated than having "an app for that" that takes 15 seconds to load to tell you that someone sent you a direct message on Twitter.

Kebab

November 7, 2009, 6:41 pm

ARGH!! WHY WinMo!! Can you install Android on it?

hankb6d

November 7, 2009, 7:51 pm

For £500 it's a no buy unless it's bundled with a personal on demend genie.

Tim Sutton

November 7, 2009, 9:21 pm

I'm tempted by this. It'd be a cert for me if it had any internal storage of its own.. with it being that size was there really no room for memory?





I don't think £500 sim free is overly expensive for what's included. If it had even 8GB of internal storage it would be the first device I've seen that I'd be happy to use as both a PMP and a phone.





If you factor in the cost of a couple of memory cards, its very similar in price to the 32GB iPhone and much better specced.. so yeah, not cheap but not outrageous.

xenos

November 7, 2009, 9:30 pm

Knock £100 off and we'll talk..

D-Unit

November 7, 2009, 9:46 pm

Did O2 give you any dates for release? :)

Oliver Levett

November 7, 2009, 10:42 pm

I've just realised you said it had a 1100mAh battery, it's 1230mAh...

JimB007

November 7, 2009, 11:56 pm

Two major minus points for me:





1) The limited 640x480 video recording. There are a few phones which are doing DVD recording now (Nokia N900 , Motorola Droid)


2) Windows Mobile. Dreadfully old despite HTC's overlay interface trying to hide it. A few clicks and your back in 1999.The term "Mutton dressed as Lamb" springs to mind


Also, the Windows Marketplace. Only 250+ apps? A lot of them being overpriced





Give me Android 2.0 plus DID-Resolution recording and I'll come knocking

Helmore

November 8, 2009, 12:12 am

@Kebab - yes you can install Android on this device, if you know how to. I mean Android is Open Source can be made to run on pretty much anything you want, that doesn't mean that it'll be easy to install it on this device. Unless you are some kind of genius.


Installing Android on this device will be just as easy as installing Android on the HTC Touch HD (1).

rav

November 8, 2009, 4:21 am

@JimB007


The Marketplace may be a bit empty but there are thousand of apps which are easily available for free online.

BOFH UK

November 8, 2009, 4:54 am

@Nicholas Pires: the problem with running WM isn't necessarily WM itself (although anytime you have to zoom in on fiddly bits is a cludge in my book and shows the inherent flaws of the software) it's the add-on software. This is a workhorse phone so surely you're going to want to install applications. The INSTANT that you do you're back into a horrible, non-touch friendly world. The marketplace app itself is, ironically, a prime example of that. Simply not good enough considering the cost of the handset.





In general terms it's a nice idea but this is never going to have any traction outside of us web geeks. I used to have a HTC Universal and while it was a great portable computer it was a crap phone simply because it was far far too big. Even stuff like the iPhone is pushing what people really want to carry with them, why on earth would they go for this monster. It's a nice shiny bit of tech but I'd be amazed if it scores any major mainstream use.

betelgeus

November 8, 2009, 5:34 am

a shame really as i like both the dimensions and hardware,and the software can be changed,but £500 pounds is bizare,you could get 2 ps3' with 4 games or a 40"= telly for that price.

Chris

November 8, 2009, 7:07 am

Every time a tasty Windows phone hits the market, someone always says 'can I install Android on it?'.





I feel your pain. It's clear that what people want are Android phones which are packed to the gills with overkill hardware, yet Windows phones still receive the best hardware. Why is that? Don't the manufacturers want to sell what their customers are clamouring for?





I really hope the Xperia X10 and HTC Dragon are just the beginning of a new generation because it's taken too long coming.





Typed on an HTC Hero :)

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