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


  • 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.

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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.

HTC Desire HD review

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, 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, 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.

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Greg Zeng


Similar size to my very unreliable HTC HD2 (Win 6.5 & Froyo) - in both hardware & software. Not the usual one-handed moble, but a small tablet computer. Luckily eBay has many replacement parts for self protection (screeen covers, cases) and repair parts. Regret buying HTC, eo chose the smaller (physically) Motorola Defy, with more pixels on the screen, but onlt one LED-flashlight.



I had HTC Desire HD for a few months now. It is one of the best phone that I ever had, especailly the ability to customise app viewing and choice that you can't find in iPhone 4, faster/larger internet view and interactive live wallpaper/skins. I chose to buy HTC Desire HD is the personal choice. I have nothing against iPhone 4 or Samsung Galaxy S. They are great phones. I have a long eye side so I need the bigger phone that I can see and read without my reading glass.... HTC Desire HD serves the purpose very well.

I chose this phone over iPhone 4 due to the attenna issue on iPhone 4. However, I missed the video call functionality but if I think about how many calls do I made for ? It is not really the big issue.

The battery issues is not a really major issue and it is more how clever you are in using multiple apps at the same time. I believe I will face the same issue with Samsung or iPhone 4. I normally use multiple functions/apps/downloads/upload when I only charge the phone. Then, the battery life is not really the issue for me.

Samsung Galaxy S is made from high grade plastic. However, it looks cheap for me. In term of design and material, iPhone 4 and HTC Desire HD is the winner for me.

It is personal choice to buy HTC Desire HD over iPhone 4 and Samsung Galaxy S.



I have seen that 'design flaw' ("our fingers brush against the slightly raised casing when swiping across the screen") is such a non-issue. Engadget (the iP4 fanboi's) started that non-sense and while I concede that it will occur, I would need to slap the person over their head if they needed to take their finger off the screen, into the body and then over the casing when they needed to move to a different screen. It takes a slight nudge in the centre 1 inch of the screen to change them! Yeeeesh!

Ross Catanzariti


Hi Akshay,

The raised edges aren't a huge issue, but I thought it was definitely worth mentioning. I think the Desire HD is a great phone, but the finish and fit is not as polished as some previous HTC phones, most notably the original Desire.



I recently bought this phone (HTC Desire HD). It has some serious design problems.... even though it has a big screen it has a very small font which can not be adjusted for the menu screen , SMS and many other applications. It is very difficult to read Text Messegaes unless you have very good vision. Having a big screen and very small non-adjustable font is utterly stupid of HTC. They obviously do not plan to sell it to people over 40. A 2nd very serious problem is the max possible volume of the phone is way to low making the speaker difficult to hear except in quiet situations.

sahil khajuria


i have just bought this phone and i must say that i have made the right decision to buy this phone. Absolutely stunning phone, great camera, nice big screen and i am loving this phone

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image, connection, music
• • •

If ur a child using this phone than yes the battery runs out esp. If ur tweeting ur bowel movements :) if ur an adult u can fix ur settings and save the battery life. Great camera! Samsung struggles getting aps to work HTC does not. I'm due for a new plan saw the new DNA droid hopefully it comes to oz the reviews are excellent. Love this phone love love




• • •

I have a htc desire hd I cracked the screen after two days {fell} everything works great, so after six months decide at my expence to get the screen fixed,,if the phone shops fix it i have no warrenty so crazy john say get it done by there people, WHO SAY IT IS BEYOND ECONOMICAL REPAIR, so im screwd for 18 months iphone can be fixed no probs, make your own mind up, HTC havent returned any responce yet been trying for a month.




fast, reliable
• • •

I totally disagree with Micheal comment below. first, with the font small text in SMS, there is a function you can zoom in and out in there. Second, i dont find it hard to read, look at Mike comment, he/she mentioned that its easy to read, so how come you cant read it? Third, with the speaker, it actually really loud when you put maximum volume. maybe its just your phone you bought from cheap place or stolen phone? or maybe you might not root and up cooked rom. Please go to xda forums and look at the HTC Desire HD threats, you will find all your problems fixed. Cheers

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