In a way, the screen’s issues are not down to HTC, but instead due to Microsoft’s failure to quickly produce an OS with decent touch support. If Microsoft properly re-jigged Windows Mobile for touch input then HTC would probably love to switch over to a capacitive screen. As it is the company is left trying to paper over the cracks in Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional with its TouchFLO interface.
It has worked hard on this and it now looks very stylish and is relatively easy to use. There are some nice animations, especially the smooth transitions on the weather screen, but you still don’t have to scratch very deep before you end up back in the unsightly Windows Mobile menus. What’s more, running TouchFLO on top of Windows Mobile weighs down even the HD’s speedy Qualcomm 528Mhz processor as the interface can feel quite sluggish at times.
On the plus side, the HD uses Opera Mobile 9.5 and this really does provide a top-notch browsing experience. It automatically re-orientates pages as you move the device from portrait to landscape view thanks to the HD’s accelerometer, and although you can’t pinch to zoom, you can double tap to automatically resize a picture or column of text, or scroll around the screen using a single finger. Pages are speedy to load over either Wi-Fi or HSDPA and its rendering engine rarely mucks up the layout of a site.
Naturally the phone also has built-in GPS and this works a treat with the Google Maps application. Using it in central London we found it was fairly quick to find a lock on enough satellites to pin point our location and good at holding onto a signal even when surrounded by loads of tall buildings – something which lesser GPS chips often struggle with.
Seeing as the iPhone is still stuck in 2-megapixel camera territory, the HD’s 5-megapixel snapper could be a major selling point. However, apart from the autofocus feature the camera isn’t as hot as the megapixel count would suggest. While shots are certainly usable, they’re not in the same league as even those from a fairly cheap digital camera and not all that much better than most 3-megapixel camera phones. The lack of an LED flash also means that it’s pretty useless for taking shots in low light.