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Recently that exciting time of year came around again and it was time for me to upgrade. I'm very picky with phones and usually it takes months of research until I decide upon a new handset, but this year the decision was fairly easy. I soon narrowed it down to two candidates, the iPhone 4 and the HTC Desire HD. Of course there are swings and roundabouts with every phone, but after reading a few reviews, the Desire HD seemed to come out on top.
I excitedly placed my order and awaited it's arrival. I was a little concerned about the size of the phone as it is one of the largest handsets currently on the market and actually thought this would be a deal breaker for me but when it arrived, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.
In the Box
When I first received the phone, I was rather shocked by the size of the box, especially considering the phone is on the large side. Sliding the cardboard sleeve from the box, there it was in all it's glory and I instantly fell in love with it. Yes it was big, but not as big as I had expected it to be. The slim design of the phone almost seems to distract you from the phone's actual size. The phone was encased in a transparent wrapped, and after removing this, I inserted the sim card and I was away to go. Strangely for such a feature-packed phone the instructions didnít offer much information at all and all they basically offered was how to insert the sim card. Thankfully, a full detailed instructional guide can be downloaded via the phone itself or the internet. The battery was already inside the phone, but I did have to take it out to remove the plastic wrapping.
The battery cover was a little tricky to remove which frustrated me a little, but with a little perseverance, I managed to insert the battery and replace the cover. When the sim card was in place the phone came to life and there were various settings to input which was very easy to do. Next to the sim card slot, there is a slot for a micro sd card which was supplied with the phone but is upgradeable.
In about 5 minutes I was all set and ready to tinker away. I had never before had a smartphone or a phone with a touch screen so I found the phone a little difficult to operate at first. I soon got used to it and was amazed to see just how many features HTC had packed into the phone, it was quite overwhelming, but so much fun seeing what the phone was capable of.
Beauty in Design
The phone is an absolutely stunning piece of equipment boasting a 4.3 inch screen which is perfectly smooth and shiny, making the phone look very sleek and elegant. Measuring 68mm wide, 123mm
long and 11.8mm in depth, the Desire HD incorporates the new aluminium unibody design. This means that the chassis of the phone is made using a single piece of lightweight metal which is intended to make the phone more durable and robust. Weighing in at 164g including the battery, this is not the lightest of handsets and I feel it would be quite noticeable if carried around the pockets or jeans or trousers. The weight doesn't really bother me at all, it's something that I believe you get used to and it certainly reflects the sturdy, durable design. In the hand, it feels expensive and solid. I'd like to say indestructible but I won't be testing this out by hurling it at a wall any time soon.
The aluminium casing of the phone is a matte metallic black which contrasts beautifully with the super shiny screen. The battery cover on the side of the phone and the sim card cover are constructed from a hard plastic material of the same colour which appears to be very durable and strong also. When these covers are in place they blend in with the metal casing almost seamlessly.
As I mentioned before, the Desire HD's design is super thin considering the size of it. There are just two buttons present on handset which really helps to keep the design looking sleek and modern. The power button sits on the top of the phone to the left, and then there is the volume control button on the left of the phone near the top, making it super easy to control the volume when listening to music. At the bottom, just underneath the screen, there are 4 touch screen buttons, a home button, menu button, back button and finally a search button. Underneath these is the HTC logo in chrome which contrasts wonderfully with the sleek black outline of the screen. There is also a thin speaker also in chrome at the top of the phone above the screen which is incredibly inoffensive and becomes a part of the fabulous design.
At the very bottom of the phone there is a small hole to attach headphones and a small slot to attach the charger and the USB cable. These are both incorporated very well into the design and are hardly noticeable. I was pleased to discover that it has a 3.5 mm audio jack which means that you can use standard earphones and you don't need a special connector as you do with some devices.
On the back of the phone at the top there is a dual LED flash and just to the right of this is the 8mp camera lens. The LED flash sits flush with the casing, but annoyingly, the camera lens protrudes a little which worries me because of the risk of it getting scratched. Underneath these elements is the HTC logo again. This time a little bigger in size and instead of just being printed on the casing, it looks as though the individual letters have been cut out and placed into the casing, a very nice touch indeed.
Overall, I am very pleased with the design, apart from the way the camera lens is raised. It's a nice phone to hold, looks amazing and has a powerful feel to it.
Speed and Memory
The Desire HTC has a 1 GHz processor which is very fast for a mobile phone. When using the phone I was amazed at how fast I am able to browse the internet and perform tasks. There's not much that's more frustrating than long loading times and thankfully I no longer have this problem.
On top of this, the storage is also impressive. There is 1.5 GB of internal phone memory and 768 MB of RAM. The microSD slot allows for extra storage but the phone does come with a pre-installed microSD card.
One of the reasons I was swayed towards the Desire HD was the fact that it has an 8 megapixel camera compared to the 5 megapixel camera of the iPhone . Having a decent camera built into a phone is very important to me as I am quite interested in photography and itís great to have a camera ready to take pictures of interesting things I may come across whilst out and about when I donít have my digital camera with me.
The camera is operated via the touch screen which I found very easy to use. From the applications screen, the camera is accessed by pressing the camera icon. The camera loads quickly and itís an absolute pleasure to see the potential images on such a large screen which makes it easy to forget that this is a mobile phone and not a digital camera. The scene rotates automatically depending on the angle of the phone. There is a slider in the frame making it easy to zoom in and out by dragging your finger along the bar. At the other side of the screen above the HTC logo, there are 5 touch screen icons to choose from. The first icon which looks like a photograph is used to switch between the camera and picture gallery. Next to this is an icon which resembles a magic wand. Pressing this will bring up a menu of effects which can be applied before the photograph is taken which all seem very useful. The middle icon looks like the lens of a camera and is used to capture the photo. Then we have the flash icon which gives three flash options which are flash on, automatic flash and flash off and the final icon allows you to switch between the camera and video recorder.
After capturing an image there are various effects that can be added which is very easy to do. So far I am very impressed with the images. Although the image quality doesnít quite live up
Pictures of HTC Desire HD
HTC Desire HD
to what can be achieved with my digital camera, it really isnít far behind at all.
Music to my ears
The music player is easily accessed from the application menu. HTC have incorporated Dolby Mobile and SRS virtual surround and I am very impressed with the sound quality with and without the headphones.The music player is easy to operate with the tracks organised into albums and artists. It's simple to flip through songs and start playing tracks and it also runs in the background whilst perfoming other tasks.
Apps, apps and more apps!
There are literally hundreds of applications available for Android phones some of which are free and some you have to pay for. The apps are searchable through Android Market where you can browse applications and games of search for something specific. There were a lot of apps already installed on the phone such as Facebook, Twitter and Ebay. Applications make it easy to access these sites and stay connected on the go just by tapping once on a particular icon. One particular app that I found very useful is Camera360 which works in a very similar way to the camera that is installed but offers different camera effects. There are also recipe apps for people who are partial to a bit of cooking and practically anything else you could possibly think of.
Letís go surfing!
Itís an absolute pleasure to browse the internet with the Desire HD. After tapping the internet icon, the internet loads almost immediately allowing me to access any site. The pinch to zoom feature makes zooming in and out as simple as it could be. Pictures and text look crisp and bright thanks to the high quality screen.
Well, I love it!
Iím extremely fussy when it comes to choosing a new mobile phone and I usually wonder for a while after using the phone if I have made the right decision. I didnít have that problem at all this time around. It was love at first sight and the phone continues to impress me. To date, I havenít been able to fault the Desire HD. It has everything I need as well as a great camera all packed into a beautifully designed handset. The battery life isnít that great and I usually find that I have to charge it every day but I do play with it quite a lot as the novelty hasnít worn off just yet. On the plus site, the battery doesnít take long to charge at all which for me cancels out the somewhat poor battery performance.
I would definitely recommend this phone to gadget-loves who like to stay up to date with the latest technology. It looks amazing, performs excellently and packs in every feature imaginable.
If you get your hands on one of these I would definitely advise using a screen protector and a protective case, this is one piece of equipment that you wonít want to get scratched!