Score:

HTC HD2 Smartphone

By on February 21, 2010
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We look at what is probably the best Windows Mobile phone you can purchase today.

Editor's Score
Features:
Performance:
Value:
The Verdict:
The Best Windows Mobile phone- Anyone who still using Windows Mobile?

The HD Smartphone from HTC is their flagship Windows Mobile device and recently HTC released its upgrade- the unimaginatively titled HD2. Being the top-dog in Windows Mobile world, you can definitely expect it to have an excellent configuration and HTC does not disappoint in that area. But lets start out with the packaging which looks a bit like the iPhone’s packaging any by that, we mean that its in the shape of a brick with no drivers/applications CD inside.

What is included besides the phone is a USB charging cable, a 2GB SanDisk microSD card with its SD adapter, a wired headset, a very nice looking leather pouch and some literature such as the quickstart guide, warranty information and a 15-day trial of CoPilot Live navigation software (Maps are on the bundled SD card).

The HTC HD2 is a bit bigger in size compared to the likes of the iPhone or Blackberry Storm but its also thinner so you wont really feel that much of a difference carrying it. It has a gigantic 4.3″ screen that almost occupies the entire front of the device and I must say that its probably the best screen I have used on a Smartphone. It has a resolution of 800×480 and is capacitive in nature- again a first for Windows Mobile device, at least in our labs.

Below the screen, there are five keys for Send/End, Home, Windows and Back. At the bottom, you have a 3.5mm jack and the USB connector while the left side has volume buttons. Those are pretty much all the buttons on the device. The back side has a camera which protrudes from the design- not something I’m too fond off and you can feel it every time you slip the phone in and out of your pocket.

Using the SnapDragon 1Ghz CPU, 512MB ROM and 448MB RAM, the HD2 is and extremely snappy device. It doesn’t take very long to reach the home screen from a cold boot and loading the SenseUI on top takes just another few seconds. HTC adds the expected connectivity in the form on Wi-Fi (802.11b/g), GPS, Bluetooth 2.1 and 7.2Mbps UMTS/HSPA. You also have a 5 MegaPixel auto-focus camera with dual LED flash which takes good enough pictures for a mobile phone.

While all that hardware sounds impressive, there’s no point if its not put to good use. Thankfully HTC with its SenseUI interface makes using the HD2 as one the best experiences for a Windows Mobile phone. You will not be able to guess that the HD2 is running Windows Mobile was it not for the Start button on top. The home screen looks beautiful with animated weather and clock, your upcoming appointments and quick access to three of your favorite applications or contacts. Along with the home screen, you can slide your finger to access other things such as the contact list, your twitter client or your web browser favorites. Everything is smooth and looks beautiful. Even the keyboard is great to use when auto correction is turned on- almost as good as the one on the iPhone. The following video shows the demonstrates the SenseUI interface

Unfortunately, beneath the beautiful SenseUI interface, lies Windows Mobile and there isn’t much that HTC can do about that. Applications such as the Microsoft Office Suite or Internet Explorer look and behave very much like a traditional Windows Mobile Phone- which means they’re not that good looking or great to use. I had IE crash on me three or four times during my time with the unit. Not only did IE crash, it took the whole OS down with it causing severe lag in trying to do anything at all.

Battery life on the HD2 is surprisingly very good. For a unit with such a large screen and such high-end specs, I was impressed to see the HD2 last a full day with push email enabled from my Exchange server. HTC has certainly done a good job with regards to that. Camera quality is good but nothing to replace your dedicated point and shoot over- day light pictures come out  nice but its the low light ambiance that even the dual LED flash cannot compete in compared to a dedicated camera’s flash.

HTC is currently running a promotion where you can buy the HD2 for as low as AED 2,579 (US$ 700) which is a pretty good deal for a phone that is so highly spec’ed. However, I’m not sure if this is a good time to recommend the HTC HD2 with Windows 7 announced last week requiring newly designed hardware. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think development will stop for Windows Mobile 6.x devices- its just that when you’re spending THAT much on a device, you want one going forward. In short, a great phone- bad timing.


About

Abbas Jaffar Ali is the founder of tbreak.com and a blogger, geek and self-declared tech pundit who can't stop talking about technology. Find him on twitter as @ajaffarali

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