HTC Desire HD Review: A True HTC Desire Upgrade (First Part)

Here’s my HTC Desire HD hands-on review for your info: When I went looking for the HTC Desire HD in stores demoing the unit, I was lucky to have had the chance to finally play with it. After a few hours of handling this phone, I can say this is a superb upgrade to the original HTC Desire! This handset reminds me of the HTC HD2 with Windows Mobile 6.5 OS due to its huge 4.3-inch display. But HTC representative did say that the HTC Desire HD is more like the international version of its US-exclusive HTC Evo 4G.

Makes sense, the HTC Desire HD is also a non-4G version of the HTC Evo 4G, same screen size and same 1 GHz SnapDragon processor. Let’s just say that the Desire HD is bigger and reputedly faster now because it ships with Android OS 2.2 Froyo. The larger screen also makes this phone not for everyone. The HTC Desire HD comes in at 123m x 68mm and it’s noticeably thicker than the iPhone 4 at 11.8mm. It’s big but it certainly is still pocket-worthy except for those people who love wearing too-tight pants!

HTC Desire HD Review

Hands-on Review of the HTC Desire HD

The HTC Desire HD’s body comes in aluminum material casing except for the battery and SIM/SD cover. I like the matte-finish on the aluminum construction of this phone, it makes easier to grip. The first thing you would notice on the Desire HD is the lack of physical shortcut buttons which used to a standard for all previous HTC smartphones. The HTC Desire HD now sports touch-sensitive shortcut buttons below the LCD screen.

Unlike all other HTC Android phones like the equally-new HTC Mondrian (exclusive on AT&T), the Desire HD no longer has dedicated directional buttons!

The 4.3-inch display is a bit disappointing. HTC again used Sony’s SuperLCD or SLCD technology. The HTC Desire HD’s screen resolution is 800 x 480-pixel but the SLCD technology is really inferior when compared to the Samsung Galaxy S i9000‘s SuperAMOLED display. Color in the Desire HD is noticeably washed out compared to the Galaxy S Android phones. Some people might like this desaturated color of the HTC Desire HD but it’s not for me. HTC should really license Samsung’s AMOLED technology. The Koreans make the best smartphone displays in the world that are even used by other cellphone manufacturers!

Despite my misgivings on the HTC Desire HD Android phone’s display, I’m very impressed with the new HTC Sense UI! In this version, you can now change the HTC Desire HD homescreen wallpaper and you can even download free themes to customize your phone’s User Interface! HTC also modified the pull-down notifications bar to also show a list of recently used applications, making switching apps more convenient.

The new HTC Sense software also implements a magnifier in text input fields – another great option first used on the Apple iPhone. This magnifier option makes it now possible for smartphones to do away with dedicated physical control buttons such as trackball or directional pad. The HTC Desire HD’s magnifier tool is as precise as the one found on the iPhone 4! The second part of this review is in the next post. Be sure to read these two reviews to know this phone better.

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