HTC Desire HD smartphone

HTC Desire HD review: HTC's new flagship Android smartphone won't be for everyone, but the Desire HD's massive screen and updated software make it one of the best phones on the market

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HTC Desire HD
  • HTC Desire HD
  • HTC Desire HD
  • HTC Desire HD
  • Expert Rating

    4.50 / 5


  • Massive 4.3in screen
  • Excellent performance
  • Great Web browser


  • Poor battery life
  • Removable plastic compartments are awkward
  • Poor volume buttons

Bottom Line

The HTC Desire HD builds on the original Desire by adding a larger screen and updated software (from both Google and HTC). Aside from its questionable battery life, most of the Desire HD's flaws are minor. Put simply, the HTC Desire HD is a multimedia and Web powerhouse; it is one of the best smartphones on the market.

Would you buy this?

The HTC Desire HD is the successor to the HTC Desire. Offering a large display, the latest version of Google's Android software, an 8-megapixel camera and HTC's updated Sense user interface, this Android smartphone is only hampered by poor battery life.

Check out our HTC Desire HD vs iPhone 4 smartphone showdown.

More information on the HTC Desire HD Vodafone pricing.

Read our original HTC Desire review.

HTC Desire HD: Design and display

The first aspect of the HTC Desire HD that will grab your attention is the fact that it is big. Very big. The massive, 4.3in screen gives this smartphone a rather large footprint, though HTC's design team does deserve credit for giving the Desire HD an ergonomic design. Apart from giving the pocket of your jeans a slightly larger than usual bulge, the Desire HD's smooth edges and curved rear casing make it fit effortlessly in your hand; this is a real plus on a device with such a large display.

HTC Desire HD review

The HTC Desire HD has one of the largest screens of any smartphone: a 4.3in SLCD touchscreen.

The HTC Desire HD's body is constructed from a single piece of aluminium. In addition to looking and feeling every bit a premium piece of industrial design, the finish holds up well to the elements and is not easy to scratch or mark. To keep the device relatively thin, HTC has opted for a two compartments with removable plastic panels; one on the back left of the Desire HD stores the battery, while another at the bottom provides access to the SIM card and microSD card slots. Both compartments are fiddly to remove and don't sit completely flush with the aluminium casing. The battery compartment is a chore to click back into place, and the battery pops out as soon as you open the case; given you will hardly ever remove the battery this isn't a huge problem. A more pressing issue is the volume controls, which are awkwardly mounted on the left side of the phone and provide little in the way of tactile feedback. We also aren't a fan of the bottom-mounted 3.5mm headphone jack; it makes much more sense to us to have this located at the top of the phone.

The HTC Desire HD has a 4.3in SLCD screen, making it one of the largest Android smartphones currently available on the market. The SLCD display lacks the vibrancy of the Samsung Galaxy S's Super AMOLED screen and the iPhone 4's IPS screen, but its sheer size and responsiveness make it a winner. Viewing angles are excellent, though the Desire HD can be a little hard to see in direct sunlight due to its glossy finish. A minor design complaint is the fact that your fingers brush against the slightly raised casing when swiping across the screen, which can become annoying when you are constantly moving between home screens.

HTC Desire HD review

The HTC Desire HD has a unibody aluminium case.

HTC Desire HD: Software

The HTC Desire HD is one of the first Android smartphones to ship with the latest version of the Google Android platform: 2.2 or "Froyo". This adds full Flash support, built-in wireless tethering, and the ability to store supported third-party apps on your SD card. Froyo also offers a range of other improvements, mostly centred on speed and performance. The Desire HD is a blazingly fast smartphone; even when running multiple applications, we didn't experience any hint of slowdown or lag.

The Web browser benefits from Froyo as well as the massive screen. It's one of the best browsers you'll find on a smartphone that is not emblazoned with that shiny, chrome Apple logo. Unlike Cupertino's finest, the HTC Desire HD supports Flash video and looks great while doing so. We love that you can use multitouch to zoom out of a page and bring up currently open tabs, and both scrolling and zooming are smooth and fast. Naturally, the Desire HD's large screen is excellent for displaying multimedia and for text entry. We loaded a 720p .AVI file onto our microSD card, and played back the file through the standard video player without any issues. The Desire HD supports Dolby Mobile sound and SRS virtual surround sound; the former really did make a difference when watching movies, especially when using an upgraded set of headphones. The Desire HD is also great for text entry, and HTC's cursor magnifier makes editing easy.

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