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
- Massive 4.3in screen
- Excellent performance
- Great Web browser
- Poor battery life
- Removable plastic compartments are awkward
- Poor volume buttons
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.
Price$ 999.00 (AUD)
HTC has updated its Sense UI on the Desire HD; in addition to its continued support for scenes, the new Sense now offers "skins" that change the look of windows and the dock. Other additions include an "HTC Likes" widget for recommended app downloads, the "My Shelf" app for storing and reading e-books, a universal search function, a unified messaging inbox, and instant maps through the "Locations" app, which doesn't require network coverage once downloaded. A range of maps can be downloaded and stored on the SD card; the Australian map is a 345MB download that will work without the need to access mobile data. Browsing the map isn't technically "instant" as HTC claims it is, but it is noticeably speedier than using your data connection with Google Maps. We also love the fact that your eight most recently opened applications appear at the top of the notifications panel in a horizontal scroll bar.
Like the yet to be released Desire Z smartphone, the the HTC Desire HD benefits from a shorter boot up-time (claimed to be 10 seconds) and DLNA support for connection to compatible televisions. We found the start-up time to be just over 10 seconds in most instances, which is a vast improvement on most other Android devices, as well as the iPhone 4. HTC has also thrown in some small but very nifty touches; the Desire HD can be set to reduce its ringtone when it detects movement (i.e. when you pick it up), it can mute the ringtone if the phone is flipped over face down, it will ring louder when it senses it is in a pocket or a handbag, and it will activate the hands-free speakerphone while on a call if the phone is flipped over face down.
The HTC Desire HD provides "instant" maps through HTC's "Locations" app; once downloaded, the maps don't require network coverage to browse.
HTC has also launched HTCSense.com, a set of desktop-based services largely centred on backup and security. Once you've created an account and logged in, you can locate your phone on a map if it is stolen, remotely lock or wipe the handset, re-direct calls and messages to an alternative phone number and archive contacts, text messages and call history — all through your PC. You can also access the Android market from HTCSense.com, including a list of third-party applications recommended by HTC.
HTC Desire HD: Camera and battery life
The HTC Desire HD has an 8-megapixel camera with dual LED flash, and doubles as a 720p HD video recorder. The dual LED flash works reasonably well in dim lighting, and video recording is relatively easy to keep steady and of a good quality. The camera has a wealth of settings, including image effects like solarise and sepia, along with the ability to adjust ISO, sharpness, saturation, contrast and exposure.
The weakest aspect of the HTC Desire HD is its battery life. While this is expected to improve after a few weeks of use, our general impression is that the Desire HD is a battery hog; the smartphone struggled to last a full day with background syncing enabled, and even when we relaxed our push settings for e-mail, Facebook and Twitter to two-hour intervals, the Desire HD was still lucky to last a full day. To enhance battery life, we recommend downloading a task manager app from the Android Market; this will allow you to close applications that might be running in the background and sucking up valuable battery juice without your knowledge.
The HTC Desire HD is exclusively sold through Vodafone and 3 in Australia.
Become a fan of GoodGearGuide on Facebook
Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @GoodGearGuide
Stay up to date with the latest reviews. Sign up to GoodGearGuide’s Gear Daily newsletters
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- 2 Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- 3 LG G6 phone: full, in-depth review
- 4 Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
- 5 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Fake heads and robot probes: testing smartphones prior to launch
- Rumor suggests the Note8 will be a bigger S8+ that adds a missing feature
- Xiaomi's Mi6 has the Galaxy S7’s looks, the S8’s power, and iPhone 7’s camera for half the price
- Samsung DeX turns your Galaxy S8 into a shockingly good desktop PC
- Find My iPhone helps nab a thief at Coachella with 100 phones in his backpack
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 CPU Australian review
- Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- CCSenior Network Architect l CCNP/CCIE R&S l Cisco ACINSW
- FTApplication Services AdministratorNSW
- CCBusiness AnalystNSW
- CCBusiness Project ManagerNSW
- FTChief Architect - Public SectorACT
- FTPERMANENT Business AnalystsQLD
- FTHelpdesk AnalystNSW
- CCTelecommunication Business SpecialistTAS
- CCNetwork Solution Architect - PresalesNSW
- CCChange / Communications AnalystNSW
- CCDevops Consultant - 12 month contractVIC
- FTIT ArchitectNSW
- FTDevelopment Team LeadQLD
- FTTechnical Architect - Network /InfrastructureQLD
- FTSenior PHP DeveloperNSW
- TPProject ServicesACT
- FTSystem Administrator App-VACT
- FTService Delivery ManagerNSW
- FTSenior Finance Business Analyst, Superannuation, WealthNSW
- FTCRM Technical Specialist (Oracle Eloqua)SA
- FTBusiness Specialist - TelecommunicationsNSW
- FTSenior Agile Test AnalystNSW
- CCNetwork Architect - SecurityVIC
- FTSenior Analyst ProgrammerACT
- CCProcess Specialist - TelcoVIC