HTC HD2 - HTC HD2

By Edward Chester

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
HTC HD2

Summary

Our Score:

9

So, on a hardware front, if you're not too concerned about its size, the HD2 has a heck of a lot going for it. However, as always, there's the software to consider and here the HD2 is a bit of a mixed bag.

Performance is something we certainly can't complain about. The Snapdragon processor at the HD2's heart makes mincemeat of any task you put it to, making this phone very slick in operation. We only had the phone for a short time and so didn't test it with games or other demanding programs, but in general use and when multitasking it was flawless (we'll be producing a video review soon, so you'll be able to see it in full flow).

HTC has also gone to town with its implementation of the Sense UI, revamping all its icons and menus to make them even bigger, shinier, and fancier to suit the enormous screen. Possibly the best demonstration of this - and it's unfortunately rather difficult to capture in still photos - is the weather animation that is activated when you turn on the phone. When raining (as it was at the time), you get animated clouds and rainfall in the background while rain drops will cover the inside of your screen until a windscreen wiper appears and wipes it all away. Of course it's a total gimmick but it is rather impressive and does mean you get a full and accurate description of the weather without needing to read anything.

It's not just the weather app that feels slightly gimmicky with HTC's Sense interface either. We've used it on many iterations of Windows Mobile phones and have always found it to be more showy than practical and this largely hasn't changed. In particular, the sliding icon bar along the bottom has never felt intuitive. Then again, with the limitations of Windows Mobile, even in its current 6.5 (Phone) version, it does well from a limited start. Also, if you get tweaking, you can customise it to be a bit more streamlined and a bit less fluffy.

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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