The HTC HD2 is the most anticipated mobile phone at the end of the year 2009 in the world of Smartphones running Windows Mobile that is also a new terminal from the Taiwanese firm.
Highly anticipated because it has the new version 6.5 of Windows Mobile from Microsoft. A Phone that has Windows as its OS, they are especially characteristic of the terminal that most experts were eager to see how does it work. Indeed, it is a leading mobile market after Toshiba TG01 to be equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor clocked at 1GHz. And on paper, HTC seems to have earned on the other components that accompany it. And to enjoy it all, a beautiful screen and high resolution capacitive was grafted to the mobile, and finally a multitouch on a phone using Microsoft operating system.
And since HTC never does things by halves, we find a great user interface added over Windows Mobile to conceal its faults yet in many such way, but primarily to give users a better mobile experience with the HTC Sense that was initially unveiled on a HTC Google Android Hero in a few months ago.
Today, most high-end mobile that can boast more or less compete with the leader in sales, Apple iPhone, adopt a packaging in the same spirit. A small box, few accessories and a customer to be satisfied with what he uses are included, unless you invest later in a few hundred dollars extra to afford the protective cover, cigarette lighter charger, etc.
You will understand, the HTC HD2 is a bit disappointing on this point. To summarize, we found the headphones fairly basic and not very comfortable, a USB cable and an AC adapter to the same USB cable.
Design, finish and ergonomics
With a large 4.3 inch screen displaying 800 x 480 pixels, the HTC HD2 seems impressive. The screen of Apple’s iPhone is almost ridiculously small next to it when compared. But compared to a Toshiba TG01 whose screen measures 4.1 inches, still the HD2 wins on aesthetics with the thinner edges and more compact size despite a larger screen size. The end edges are really impressive and it also gives the impression that the screen is larger for lines which is more enjoyable.
HTC HD2 comes with the world’s first capacitive touch technology on a Windows® phone along with 1 GHz processing power ensure a smooth and lightning-fast response to the lightest touch of your finger. We find the famous button to switch communications or simply hang up. Besides this, a key "Home" to return to the main screen of the mobile, a key to start the Windows start menu and back key to return to the navigation screen are given. On the side, no buttons to access the camera but only keys to adjust the volume on the left side of the mobile could be found. On the back, you find the 5-megapixel sensor camera of the HTC HD2 with a LED flash which we shall talk, later in this test.
All elements are placed in a logical and intuitive way which allows easy use of mobile and especially an excellent grip despite its quite large size as you can see from the pictures. Only the sensor of the camera that shows the aesthetic lines of this phone.
As always on mobile premium amount of the Taiwanese manufacturer, the HTC HD2 offers quality materials for a touchdown agreeable goal. The assembly of the product is of excellent quality that really reassures on investment.
The name Windows Phone has been given by Microsoft to all new terminal equipped with the latest version of its mobile operating system, Windows Mobile 6.5. It is a new version that fixes many problems of previous versions and improves a little general ergonomics of the mobile.
Indeed, we found the tabs a little sexier and a start menu with large icons which is simple to use. The icons can be placed as you like by a process far too tedious. Indeed, each icon can be reassembled at the top, then reorganizing everything takes time and requires a certain method. Other details that change on the new version of the system are rather difficult to find on HD2. We return to the HTC Sense in the next part of this test.
In everyday life, screen size and good ergonomics of the menu is very pleasant. The phone is easy to use, no need to remove the glasses to read what is written on the screen. The full keyboard is large and very pleasant to use. Moreover, few applications can be used in landscape mode. To continue on this full keyboard, you will notice a motion for word smart suits as on an iPhone that you used to write. A function is already present on the HTC Hero but improved.
A large screen and powerful processor also may worry a lot of people, at least those who know something about the middle of Smartphones. Indeed, such components often cause a significant decline in the autonomy of the terminal. But HTC seems to have perfectly managed things with a lot of optimization work. But let us not forget that, a Snapdragon uses a 528MHz processor which is double the speed. Then, it is quite possible to use the mobile for two to three days if one does not uses the 3G +, WiFi or GPS frequently. A good point for this phone.
The Tactile Sense Interface
For over two years, HTC unveils different Touch interfaces allowing the terminals to make Windows Mobile more pleasant to use. Recently, the TouchFlo 3D was much talked, Sense of the HTC Android Hero is just adapted to HD2.
On the HTC HD2, the interface HTC Sense covers a huge part of the Microsoft operating system for our pleasure. This interface is distinguished by its tabbed browsing now known but nonetheless original compared to the competition. Thus, we will detail here the various tabs and other opportunities of this huge overlay software developed specifically for the latest Windows Mobile devices
The home screen, Contacts and Messages
The first tab displays the time and a glimpse of the weather. The latest events calendar are also present. You can customize completely the bottom of the screen with an animated image, for example. It is also possible to view some shortcuts to a contact, an application or a favorite as large icons. It is very convenient to access functionality of the mobile.
This tab provides access to all its contacts, but mostly you can also define favorite contacts to display on a checkerboard with big pictures and very smooth scrolling. Shortcuts are as simple and fast to use.
The contact list is available of course, the scroll is also available and it is too fast. Contacts can be synchronized with several solutions like Gmail or Exchange. After that, a Facebook plugin can intervene to view the profile photo, the final status or the birth date of contact.
The Message tab displays the last SMS you received. Unfortunately the presentation has not changed since the first version of TouchFLO 3D. It’s pretty, but not very practical to use. Better click on "More" and access to the form of conversation and completely intuitive. HTC had to spend a lot of time researching how to create a pretty and pleasant interface, and we can say that it succeeded.
E-Mails, Internet and Calendar
At the center of all smartphones, e-mail is certainly the means of communication that is mostly usedin our day to day life. Any Windows Mobile device is equipped with a native email client called Outlook that you can find on PC.
HTC, with its dedicated tab displays your accounts in a way a little sexier but nothing exceptional. No view in conversation, and eventually poor visibility of the latest e-mails at least make the interface too different from the rest of Windows Mobile. In short, IMAP, POP and SMTP protocols are well managed but we prefer to use an Exchange server to receive instant messages (PushMail).
The Internet tab renamed "Orange World" version of our operator has a direct search engine Google, a shortcut to launch the browser and display some customizable favorites. The default browser is Opera, we will return it in the next part of this test.
Windows Mobile includes by default a full calendar sync with Google or an Exchange server. The timetable has also been greatly reworked on the HD2. Adding events is much easier with a more clear view with big buttons and large text fields.
Exchange, Pictures / Videos and Music
Now well known to all users of HTC or Apple phone, there is a small program that uses information provided by Yahoo Finance. Once again, it’s perfectly readable and you can really see the evolution of action with graphics. A tab that will certainly be appreciated by businessmen for its simplicity.
There is a tab that has earned its slight upgrade from the recent Touch Pro2. In this version, the tab can be passed horizontally to navigate more easily through the photos taken since the camera is accessible from a shortcut here. The videos are also listed here. By clicking on "Album" one can access to different directories. The displayed pictures, no matter the resolution, is fast, we feel that the HTC HD2 has a 1Ghz processor and a large amount of RAM.
The MP3 player from HTC is directly integrated into the manufacturer’s touch interface. No need to run another program like Windows Media Player, which is yet present. The sorting of songs is done automatically. The tab itself is not particularly convenient to use.
Weather, Twitter, Footprints
The weather tab is very important at the appearance of the mobile. Since the first TouchFLO 3D, the Taiwanese manufacturer applies to this utility. The first page automatically detects the city where you are and displays the weather accordingly. You can add many cities. Depending on the weather, the weather appears with nice animations. One thing is certain, it’s nice to watch anyway.
At the heart of the current Web, Twitter has to occupy a minimum space on a Smartphone today either via application integration or both as on Windows Phone exception. It is the application HTC Peep, already seen on the Hero, the Taiwanese now have integrated. Practical and comprehensive, almost everything is possible except research. A simple application that allows you to publish your views on Twitter, an image or a simple text.
Footprint has not been tested on this phone, but that’s exactly the same as a Hero or HTC Touch Cruise 2, allowing it to tag photos based on their location and quickly sort your photos by specific locations.
HTC has developed an interface for easier access in an attractive manner to various mobile settings. Many are also stylized to the selection of options. Easy to use and accessible only to the finger. The capacitive screen becomes really simple to configure. Finally, the HTC Sense is a truly successful touch interface that lets you access to all major components of the mobile.
Multimedia and Camera
With its 4.3 inch screen anyway, the HTC HD2 is obviously intended to use multimedia. The music video is the appointment of more or less lead.
As regards to music, we have already mentioned it in part based on the HTC Sense that is presented as a tab simple to use but with just the basics. Most consumers do not demand more, and fortunately for the Taiwanese. Then, some users are much more demanding on the number of settings. And here it is clear that the manufacturer provides only very limited opportunities and not even on the sound quality delivered by the built-in speaker, or better, the 3.5 mm jack port. Fortunately, the 3.5 mm jack is now something obvious on the high-end mobile from Taiwanese, so we can catch up on stereo headphones with better quality than that delivered.
To continue in the audio, the HTC HD2 features an FM tuner. An application developed by HTC. It is pretty easy to use but it still lacks some text indication of the preset stations. As all applications on Windows Mobile, or almost, it can obviously work in the background.
With its 4.3 inch screen, video highlights on the HTC HD2, but no movie player worthy of the name itself was built by Taiwanese manufacturer. Fortunately, the tab Photos and videos can take a minimum of its own recordings.
Besides, we have not failed to test a simple DivX movie about 700MB and can say that the HD2 and Snapdragon processor will come out very well this year. So if one takes the trouble to install the appropriate software, the HD2 has got a true PMP player in addition to the application of Orange TV broadcasts which unfortunately has too low resolution.
For the photo, the HD2 inputs part with good specifications. It integrates into effect with a 5-megapixel sensor with autofocus, LED flash and touchfocus. The menus of the camera are easy to use, simply tap the screen to display additional settings that are well organized and always accessible.
For quality images, the HTC HD2 unfortunately suffers from a rather poor value for color and external color. Fortunately, an updated firmware is distributed by HTC, which should correct its problems with a little too pronounced for a mobile at this price and this quality.
Internet services and connectivity
The HTC HD2 is obviously a top-end mobile phone really expected from the followers of Windows Mobile for its technical capabilities represented mainly by Snapdragon processor clocked at 1GHz and of course its 4.3 inch screen resolution 800 x 480 pixels. This screen allows it to become a real machine to surf, so the WiFi connectivity and HSPA are very important factor on this phone.
During our test period, we have never met a real network problem on this unit. In some region, sensitivity is almost always at its maximum in HSPA. WiFi is also very simple to configure that can benefit from either a maximum speed in demanding applications.
The Opera Mobile Web browser is preinstalled for our pleasure. Internet Explorer is of course present but we do not recommend using it. Opera is much more successful, easier and manipulated daily. This is when printing a web page that you say that the screen is really great! Page displays at a speed rate, it is not to complain, the HD2 is faster than HTC Android Hero as such and the same time as iPhone 3GS.
The HTC HD2 has many tools requiring regular access to the Internet. Weather, Exchange, and so on, all can synchronize on demand.
To conclude this part, the HTC HD2 has a GPS chip compatible called A-GPS which allows a very quick calculation of the position.
To conclude, the HTC HD2 is certainly one of the best Smartphone and strong competition from the iPhone that comes with a bigger screen and faster processor. For multimedia, the HD2 can be perfect, but due to lack of powerful software that is preinstalled, it will find it is on the canvas to truly appreciate. The Internet however, is its strength through extensive connectivity.
The camera is not disappointing either, despite some flaws on the first retail version but after some update small problems relating to color is fixed in certain situations.
Level ergonomics, HTC Sense is an interface that completely changes a Windows Mobile, it is complete and covers 95% of Microsoft. HTC has really done a nice job on that interface and we are very anxious to see if the manufacturer will renew some tabs in future versions.