If you think big is beautiful then the HTC Desire HD will sweep you off your feet. A 4.3-inch display houses Android’s latest OS iteration and the handset is encased in metal. On paper it’s every geek’s dream but does it operate as well as we hoped it would? Read on to find out.
What we like
It may not be as big as the Dell Streak or pack the same resolution as the iPhone 4’s display but the HD’s 4.3-inch screen is superb. From the moment we switched it on we were hypnotised by how good Android looks on it. The Desire HD’s screen is also very responsive.
The Desire HD’s metal casing is as satisfying as its large screen. Unlike the iPhone 4’s glass front and back that causes grown men to cry as soon as they drop it, the Desire HD’s metal casing feels as if it can take more of a bashing, and it looks good too.
Perched on top of all this metal is an 8-megapixel camera. Pictures came out really crisp and even low light shots came out well. Video quality was equally high and we found the interface easy to understand but a dedicated mechanical shutter button would have been nice.
HTC continues to wow us with its ability to combine great screens with easy-to-use interfaces. HTC Sense, HTC’s bespoke Android interface overlay, makes Android a lot easier to use and gives you access to a variety of information, such as animated weather info and Twitter.
A new addition to the HTC Sense bag of tricks is an online hub - htcsense.com - which not only lets you browse for apps, which you can then click on to download on your phone later, but it also lets you track your Desire HD and remote wipe it should it get stolen.
The Desire HD really comes to life when you start using apps. Facebook integration is great, for example, and the Android sat-nav app looks fantastic on the 4.3-inch screen. In fact, we’d go as far as saying that the Desire HD is one of the best Android phones for running apps on.
What we don’t like
Considering HTC has gone to the trouble of creating a uni-body casing, it’s disappointing to flip the Desire HD over and find two rather horrible covers. One of the covers gives you access to the SIM and microSD and battery slots.
While we’re on the subject of batteries, the Desire HD’s battery performance varied a lot during testing. HTC quotes a battery life of 490 hours standby time and 320 talk time. After the first charge is lasted a day but after another charge it lasted for two days standard use.
We’ve heard from other reviewers that they also experienced odd battery life readings but it could be something to do with our review model. That said, it’s expected that a phone with such a large screen and so many features will use up quite a lot of juice so don’t expect too much.
Our final complaint is minor but still annoyed us enough to want to write it up: the lack of a trackpad key means that you have to click the power key at the top of the Desire HD to exit sleep mode, which we got fed up of after a while.
The HTC Desire HD is a worthy successor to the original Desire and boasts one of the most impressive displays we’ve ever seen. You can’t really argue with a responsive 4.3-inch screen and metal casing but this phone won’t be to everyone’s tastes. If you’ve got small pockets steer clear.