The HTC HD2 certainly feels impressive at first sight. Lighter and quicker, it is a brisk flicking across the phone as compared to previous versions of Windows Mobile phones which are often laggy. So there may still be hope yet for them.
First look, the HTC HD2 is certainly bigger than most phones with its huge 4.3-inch capacitive and multitouch screen area and looks more like a tablet than a mobile phone.
Looking really clear under low light or in sunnier conditions, such a vast wide area will definitely allow easier surfing and is a welcome sight for most of us using multi-touch screen smartphones. But it can get a tad difficult if you have small hands and are thinking of typing and swiping with just one hand.
Looks wise, the HD2 is a nice mix of matte metal and glass, giving it a smart chic feel that can be easily matched with your clothes. With such a huge wide screen area, there is really little need for the physical keys and HTC has included really tiny brushed metal ones at the base of the HD2’s screen just like the Android OS, Hero
There is a phone, home, a Windows key, back, and end function buttons that seems more like escape buttons; buttons that you usually hit to get out. On the left side are really thin volume buttons and along the bottom is the micro-USB port and a 3.5mm headphone jack, and the rear reveals protruding camera lens.
Running on a 1GHz Snapdragon CPU, a generous 4.3-inch, 800 x 480 capacitive WVGA touchscreen display, a 5 megapixel camera, GPS , it has pretty much everything you will have in a smartphone but upped. It is especially fast in surfing the internet and looks like the best the Windows Mobile 6.5 can offer.
Nicely hidden by HTC’s upgraded user interface, Sense, the HD2 is a lot easier to move around in with what HTC calls its people-centric navigation. It combines parts of the Android interface and kneads them together with years of TouchFLO 3D development. This means you can pinch to zoom without all the previous strange movements now and it is a lot more sensitive.
It’s unbelievably fast and snappy. Applications open and close, really quick and over Wi-Fi, web pages render in Opera Mobile as if you’re browsing on a laptop. It is only multitouch for Opera Mobile and you still have to scroll in IE.
Entering the text is easy enough and rather quick, but the smart predictive text spewing out word suggestions are a little distracting. Continue to type if you don’t see it displaying your word or you may just end up typing the wrong word.
But really the more urgent problem on hand is the HD2’s disappearing SMSs. It isn’t that frequent but there are occasions when my SMS just did not make it out of the folder.
Unlike previous Windows Mobile Phones, there are now widgets downloadable from the Windows Marketplace through the phone. I tried out the Facebook app but I think that the best Facebook apps are still for iPhones. Unlike those, the Windows Mobile widgets downloaded through the phone from its market has limited news feeds (you can only view the latest) and really stark limited features.
Using the emails was all right but there were times when the HD2 starts to lag when switching from email to normal functions. You can use up to 10 email accounts onto the same device even through Exchange, POP3, IMAP.
Other welcoming features include a Wi-Fi router that is similar to the iPhone’s tethering function but with the HD2, many phones in the same space nearby can just hooked on and use your 3G network.
The 5 megapixel camera is also really easy to use and photos taken from it are really sharp. And the macro function is just fantastic, with focusing going really touching close to the object. And if it is really dark, the dual LED flash will help with that unlike the iPhone that is so depended on apps to help with the lighting.
Unedited picture taken with the HTC HD2’s 5 megapixel camera
Music sound quality is really clear as well and its interface easy to use. The large screen, together with the large buttons and cover flow interface makes it so much easier to use. The cover flow especially moves very smoothly unlike the earlier iPhone models. But the sound is the most important and equipped with an equaliser helps with a range of options that can rave up the music.
On the whole, the HTC HD2 is a welcome sight with its wide screen and more intuitive features but there are areas it needs to improve while fighting that law suit with Apple.