Few would argue that the HTC Desire - aka Google Nexus One - is a very fine smartphone but that hasn't stopped HTC cooking up a new version which looks like it's been at the steroids. HTC Desire HD HTC's Desire HD: beefy Actually it's not the pills that HTC has raided but the parts bin, the HD being essentially an updated and …
Good review, for which my thanks, but what's the relevance of the titles on p4 and p5 of the review to the content on those pages? (or are you now following the BBC News website style-guide)
I assume it needs to be made by Apple to get that extra 20%...
Oh, and 3GP is a container, H.264 is a codec. Infact the Desire records H.264 in a 3GP container is clearly lost on you.
Can someone point me to a El-Reg review that's not epic fail?
You mean like the Apple made iPhone 4 that received 75%, or the Apple made 3GS that scored 85%, or the Apple made 3G that scored 80%. Hardly the extra 20% you assumed.
Not so much an El-Reg review fail so much as a comment fail, sorry.... and I hate Apple.
Those Apple phones only deserved 80%ish ratings... The Desire (and DesireHD) both blow the pants off the iPhones, and are clearly 95%ers
Yes, but had any of those phones been made by HTC, I guess they wouldn't have got more than a 55-65% rating, so there's your 20% :-)
Hopefully the reliability on these are better than my existing HTC S620 phone. Thankfully on warranty, but I'm onto my fourth phone now. The last time, I'd only had it for 3 months.
I like the Desire, so the Desire HD would be nice. Not so sure about the Google App Marketplace as compared with the apps on iPhone and the different hardware on Android does make writing apps difficult (games etc.)
At least there is a single base for iPhone to develop to.
"Review that's not epic fail."
Can anyone point me to a reviewer that isn't biased? Name a website or reviewer anywhere in the world that isn't biased in some way. I am not just talking about being bought off with free gear, trips to conferences and the like...but personal biases as well. I worship at the alter of objectivity, but even I could not claim to be so perfectly objective as to be guaranteed to write a completely unbiased review every time.
Overall, El Reg does good reviews. Ignore any reviews about that are about a product that Apple also makes and you’ll be fine. The primary reviewer has a soft spot for Apple and a real “thing” for aesthetic design that frankly a great many geeks just don’t have. Then again, if you are someone who has a “thing’ for aesthetic design and like the way that Apple ties everything into a locked-down bow, you’ll look at El Reg reviews and see nothing but pure unbiased excellence.
In other words…
…there is no such thing as an unbiased review because each and every one of us have different personal biases! We actually value different things in our equipment, and thus we would all rate different equipment differently, given the chance. Berating the reviewer for being in love with Apple’s design philosophy is pointless: it won’t change the reviewer and it won’t change the fact that a goodly chunk of the population actually prefer form over function.
If you want “unbiased,” then maybe you should write the editor and ask them to consider doing “duelling reviews.” One from a lover of aesthetics and one from a lover of “open” functionality and pure pragmatism. Or whatever two angles of life you feel make for an unbiased opinion.
So until you – or anyone else – can properly define exactly how one goes about giving a 100% unbiased review, I don’t think heckling the author is worthwhile. For what it’s worth, in my personal opinion, I’d lay the Smartphones I have used out like this;
Desire HD: 95%
iPhone 3GS: 92%
Galaxy S: 83%
iPhone 4: 75%
But then again, that is the biased opinion of myself. I may worship at the alter of impartiality and objectivity…but it doesn’t mean I always achieve it.
where are you buying your phones?
it's not free on £40 per month , it can be quite easily found for free on £30 at carphone warehouse, or even free on £25 per month at mobiles.co.uk
I've received the DESIRE HD free on a 24 Month contract at £25 P/m @ Phone4U instore .
No hard sell ; went in there and bought it. They didn't even try to sell me insurance. - An isolated experience I believe.
£25 pcm, free phone, 18 months on Orange
The catch? It's the "Chocolate" version, which means it's brown.
Looking at the back of my HTC Desire HD right now, and comparing it to the publicity pictures in the review, I'd say "brown" is an exaggeration. If you can upgrade, do it. You simply cannot regret it.
... get sa lot better after a couple of weeks use and charging.
HTCsense is currently broken, which is a shame as it does offer some good services and some people have bought the phone based on the HTCsense offering. According to HTC they are aware of the problems and are working on a fix.
As with all phones liek this if you really want the absolute best out of it and are preapred to tinker then pop over to XDA Developers.
re: HTC Sense Website
Great phone - I love it to bits - but the HTC Sense website is terribly unreliable. Sending text messages through it is a bizarre game of chance. Their support stay it's under maintenance but for something that has been so heavily marketed and really isn't that complex, this should have been fixed by now.
Download from the android market, create an account with MyLookout.com and use that. Service is much more reliable. Locator, basic backup and Antivirus are free, remote lock / wipe, Privacy Inspector (monitors outgoing data for private information) and "Enhanced" backup cost money.
Already had a play with one
A colleague got one for £35pm from Vodafone. Nice piece of kit, but apparently the battery life is abysmal.
Phone standby times....
....used to be really good when we used them mostly as phones for voice calls and the odd text. Now that it's a bloody video player, music player, web browser, unlimited text sender and all the other syncing to the cloud stuff, why are you surprised that the battery life is crap? Still got that Nokia 6310i? Use that instead if you want it to last forever....
iOwn an HTC EVO
i don't really look it as a phone... it's more of a laptop in your pocket, and it gets astounding battery life compared to my lenovo x61 tablet! if i end up only moderately using it, it'll last a good 24 hours... hey!
Nice....if you like a big phone.
Been looking at these as my mates are slaves to this kind of crap.
Just looks like we are going backwards with phone tech not forwards.
These things are huge, they are not phones, they are mini tablets. They are heavy too.
Ohh I get a days use before I need to charge it! Errm is that good? I dont think so.
Nobody is that important they actually need to be 'connected' 24/7. Sorry, you're not.
Smartphones? £400 quids worth of plastic crap more like.
Why read a review about a smartphone and then comment on it if you don't even like smartphones? GTFO will you? Pffff.
... that heavy, granted it's a larger device than my TouchPro 2 but that was far heavier and thicker. This boasts a bigger screen and is lighter and thinner, I'd call that an improvement. I certaintly feel the difference in my pocket.
I get a days use, then when I get home I stick it on charge and largely forget about it unless I get a text message.
Your right not many people are that important that they have to be connected 24/7 but a lot of people WANT to be connected 24/7 and they have that choice thanks to the advancement in phone technology.
Don't worry I'm sure your grandkids will come round and show you how to use the video player thingy-ma-jig when they next visit, in the meantime keep peeking through that curtain in case some pesky youth's are leaning against your graden wall or similiar.
I have a year left on my contract, but DAMN! The advances that are bing made in Android phones at this sort of price point are crazy. I'm really looking forward to the future :-)
My only wish is that they'd include a task killer app with the standard Android image. Having one that automatically kills off unneeded but unseen threads does wonders for the battery.
1 GHz but slow
Have had the phone for almost 2 months. Have to say it sometimes slows to an absolute crawl, waiting a second or 2 to flip between screens. And if you have loads of photos, browsing them takes so long you give up rather soon.
I've installed many apps, so not sure if they cause the slowdowns. I really hope the next Android version gives more fine grained control over apps and don't leave it up to 3rd party devs.
I can concur with an earlier post that the battery life gets better after a couple of cycles, but it's still abysmal, I've reached paranoid levels in switching wireless on and off and ensuring the the screen switches of when I put it away.
As for the gap where the sim is loaded - I have a 'gel' type cover for the phone but even without it, it really is a non-issue.
80%? Think it's fair, the phone is mostly great.
There's a problem in the Android 2.2 that shipped with my HD in that the init process seems to get itself stuck in a loop and much CPU.
To see if this is your issue, download & install Watchtower process manager, run it and select the middle tab which will display all processes by descending order. Give it a few secs to settle and if the init process is at the top of the list munching 80%+ CPU you need to....
Open settings, go to Applications > Development and turn ON the USB debugging. The phone will think about it, vibrate a couple of times or so and then if you switch back to Watchtower you should see the init process gone and CPU down to 9% or something depending how much stuff you have running.
Vodafone has since issued an update to Version 2.2.1 which seems to fix this, so depending on your network you may have a system update to grab.
Hope this sorts your nattery issues. Mine lasts 3 days on a charge now (I don't have wifi, bluetooth on all the time and don't surf the intertubes all day)
I was seeing this as well
The init process was burning 80% of the CPU and killing the battery in a few hours. The 2.2.1 update released on the 24th of Dec has fixed the problem. My Desire HD now runs for 2-3 days with moderate use (i.e. using it as a phone with email). Even when using it more heavily (using nav and the music player) it lasts over a day now.
Re: INIT bug
Thanks for reminding me! Knew this from XDA-Dev forums, did it on my Desire. Just done it on my HD, and the difference is staggering!
Off-topic: Get 3G Watchdog from the market. Watching streaming video on that giant screen will chew up your data allowance, so it's proved invaluable for me! Set it per contract month to reset, will automatically disable data (using another app like APNdroid) when you hit the cap if you wish.
Not affiliated, just impressed.
Weather App Broke??
I think the weather app on that thing is busted...there's no way it was 'Partly Sunny' in manchester
This review glosses over the HTC software somewhat which is a shame because that is where the problems start to crop up as it's rather unpolished.
For starters, try using HTC's mail client with a Gmail account (so you can use all the widgets and contacts integration) - you can't because HTC don't use the same drafts, sent and trash folders that Google does - instead prefering to create it's own. Not a problem right because most email clients allow you to change the location of these folders? Nope, not HTC's.
So you have a choice, use HTC's for the integration and widgets but end up with two sent folders within Gmail ... or use the GMail and not get any of the integration or widgets.
Should people really have to make this choice?
There are plenty of other silly things like this on the device. It's not bad, but HTC need to stop with adding features and concentrate on polishing up and finishing what they have.
@Silver re. Unpolished
My experience of HTC (on a Wildfire, now updated to 2.2) is that you only get full Gmail integration with the main Google account which you first register on Android, and this is with the separate Gmail application. Then, you get push e-mail and your calendar synched all very nicely. The HTC e-mail app is for any e-mail service and does not treat a Gmail account any differently from any other IMAP/POP account. This is all explained in the User Manual.
What pissed me off is that the 2.2 update removed the facility to have a local calendar (stored on the phone, with a different colour code to the Google calendar) and also replaced the small and neat HTC pdf reader with an Adobe reader, which is slow and clunky in comparison. It also wiped my APN settings so that I was scrambling around for a while trying to find out why I couldn't get mobile data, until i figured it out.
I had forgotten that the phone is not really owned by me, it is owned by HTC and they will do what they damn well like with it. No more updates for me !
HTC email client
But the silly thing is that if HTC fixed the mail application to either intelligently work out your IMAP folders (a la iPhone) or allow you to configure them manually (a la K9mail), then you could use their client, you could get the tight integration with contacts and you could use their widgets which show you your email (rather than the ugly one that Google have).
It seems odd that I have to pick one of two mail clients to use - both of which give me a different experience throughout the whole of my phone. In the end I chose the GMail one because I don't want a messed up "Sent Mail" but at a cost of having nothing listed in the "mail" section of every contact.
It just doesn't feel very polished.
Got mine for £35 per month.
Agree with camera and yes the battery can be armed very fast but if set up correctly then no faster than my 3gs used to.
Got one free on £30 a month with Vodafone in November.
It's a lovely bit of kit. Fair play on the camera, it is a little bit disappointing for 8mp but definitely good enough for a phone. If you're fussy about photos, you'll be using a proper camera anyway. The video's been pretty impressive so far.
Battery life's an issue, but it makes a cracking commuting and office tool and if you're in the office, then a USB socket is never very far away. Turn off wifi and GPS and you can use it happily all day as a regular phone. You only need GPS for navigation anyway, otherwise the cell-based location works fine without killing the battery. The last firmware update seems to have fixed the GPS so it only runs if you've got an app open that's using it.
Lots of bundled apps - some of them good. Why can' you uninstall the bad ones? (or the ones with better alternatives) grrrr....
The last comment is spot on for me. Add a case and you've got a mini tablet you can acutally fit in your pocket. It's perfect for reading the news, browsing the web and sending emails on the train.
Love mine, but if you're not into playing with all the custom settings (there are LOADS) then get something else.
Looks like the hd2 but with android on it....
oh wait i already have a hd2 with android running on it lol
That will explain why it's called the "HD" then, when it has exactly the same screen resolution as the original Desire. Pure marketing.
Updates to it differentiate it more
The DHD has a newer CPU revision with all the bonuses that brings (power efficiency, faster operation of the same tasks etc), higher colour display at 16m vs 65k, more RAM at 768MB vs 448MB, massive (for Android phones!) internal storage at 1.5GB, 8MP camera vs 5MP, and the newest Sense UI.
While I appreciate how great the HD2 is and how awesome it is that it has been given extra life by developers putting Android on it the DHD is a superior phone. That's not a slight on the HD2 by any means and if I had the HD2 I wouldn't upgrade but I had a G1 and a Motorola Failstone. The G1 had updates via developers on XDA but it was slow and the Failstone, while a great piece of hardware, is stuck waiting for Motorola thanks to their locked bootloader.
I have had this phone about two months now, and when I first got it the Battery life was *shocking*!
I mean it would last until the end of the day before it was begging for the charger! I usually dont have WiFi, Bluetooth or GPS turned on, and not a huge heavy user, but I thought I sit next to a power socket all day at work and again at home, so no biggie!
However, about two or three weeks ago (kind of like a Christmas Pressie) I got a notice offering me a software update patch OTA. So installed it and now can last about two days without a charge.
I love the phone, great features and great experiences using it!
forgot to say
If you don't like sense like try Launcher Pro from the market place its much better....
Also Advanced Task killer from the market is good...
Fair comment about the way I worded the 3GP/.H.264 part of the review. My point was that I would have been much happier if the HD encoded video as .mp4. 3GP is really not an ideal container, at least not in my book.
As for the software on the HD, I could have rambled on for weeks about it but with so much quality software in the Market I work on the principle that as long as the bundled stuff works as advertised, why get bogged down in the undergrowth? Most of us have favourite third party apps that we use anyway. I started using K-9 as my Android e-mail client about a year ago, and haven't used a Google or HTC mail app since, a lack of widgets notwithstanding. Same goes for Handcent for texts and Folder Organizer to keep everything neat and tidy.
I was looking forward to getting a HTC desire but positively began to drool when the HD version was anounced... Its the phone that iphoe users will all be wishing they had got instead...
looking forward to the day my current contract ends... 185374 min and counting....
Is there a way to move the cursor - the trackball on my hero has been a godsend for this.
Default keyboard has arrow keys
It isn't an ideal solution but having used various trackball and navipads I don't miss them at all. Add in the fact that holding your finger in a text area (text entry or all 1st party apps) brings up a magnified view of the area under your finger so you can easily move it around and I'm glad there's nothing like a trackball on it. The magnified view trick is also used to select text to copy / paste and works very much like the iOS version, albeit slightly less polished. Compared to all other pre-2.3 versions of Android it's a very welcome addition to Sense.
I upgraded to one of these after putting up with a HTC Hero for 12 months.
It's a fantastic phone, I don't have a bad word to say against it.
Having come from a Hero I was already used to the short battery life. Investing in a desktop charger and developing the habit of charging after lunch will see you amply though a heavy days use and a decent night out showing funny YouTube clips to your mates.
@ David Holden. No, the only way to move the cursor is by touching the screen. It actually wasn't an issue after a day or so, and that is despite me having used a G1, a Hero and a Desire over the last two years.
The reason I asked is that with the Hero if the keyboard is up or your typing into a large text box you sometimes can't get out of it - switch focus - except by using the trackball - is this not the case with the Desire HD?
... can save you battery life.
It's not free but it rocks. For instance - automatically switch wifi off when not in range of home wifi; enter power saving mode if placed face down. go into quiet mode if both at home; on charge and it's between midnight and 6 am.
Also divert calls from mistress' phone straight to voicemail if you're at home :-)
I got a DHD for Xmas and I haven't yet put it down, I absolutely love it. Hopefully a bigger battery will be available someday but I'm quite happy having it on charge whenever I am at home or in the car.
The screen is so large it is effectively a mini-tablet, and as a handheld computing device, I think HTC have set the bar. Any larger, and you'd probably not want to hold it up to your head, unless you are Dara O'Briain. But for chunky fingered lardies like me, who could use the exercise of carrying an extra few grams, it cannot be beaten.
If you want a lot of standby time, just do what I did - spend a fiver on a tiny cheap Samsung and carry that around as well. But
is poor so I invested in a 2200mAh USB charger from Expansys and take it with me when I am out and about. £25 well spent to avoid having to worry about running out of juice.
It's good, but it's considerably too small & too thin
I've had one since October & overall I like it.
The battery life is appalling - it lasts about 6h in normal use, which I do not regard as heavy. It's the first charge-twice-a-day phone I've owned; I now constantly carry a charged spare battery & a USB charging cable.
It really would benefit from simple cursor & select keys & make/end call buttons - both for ease, precision & for use with gloves, for instance. You lose the onscreen cursor keys with Swype or any other enhanced keyboard; even with these tools, text entry & editing is infuriating, slow & painful. Entering more than a short paragraph makes me shout at the device in rage.
Those whinging about its size are munchkins, hobbits or something. The Desire HD is *too small*, if anything! A phone should reach from ear to mouth; this thing is a good inch+ shorter than its predecessor, a Nokia E90, & HTC's battery is just laughably tiny.
It would benefit a lot from being 2-3cm longer with some of the extra space used for just a few physical buttons. It also really needs to be twice as thick, with a big slab of detachable battery on the back - it needs something like 3500mAh to be usable *as a smartphone* all day. By which I mean calls, email, social networks, GPS, some music playback, occasional Web use, etc. Even with spare batteries I daren't listen to music or run the IM client on mine - it would die in a few hours.
Of course, then the little tiny people with their little tiny child hands & tiny miniature pockets would whine - but sod them, they have an abundance of microscopic kiddie-sized hairdressers' phones to play with. Let 'em whinge.
Better still, a slide-out keyboard on a phone with a screen this big - or bigger. An Acer Liquid Metal with a half-decent keyboard and a 3500-4000mAh battery would be ideal.
But no, oompaloompas rule the mobile-phone world these days, so even we proper man-sized actual *adults* are cursed with phones designed for infant People Of Restricted Growth.
For comparison, my old HTC Universal, with a 3rd party extended battery of ±3800mAh, could last for about 2½ days on a charge. Go to work Friday morning, go away for the weekend & it was still running when you got back to the office on Monday morning & could charge it. *That* is a credible battery life. The Desire HD's is a joke. Yes, it was 1½" thick & weighed about 400g, but it was totally worth it.
Re: It's good, but it's considerably too small & too thin
I think you must have a rogue app or similar if you're only getting 6hrs out of a charge.
I suffered similar, did a factory reset and was very careful about what apps I let back on and now get 1½ - 2 days out of it.
Also, Juice Defender is your friend.
Anecdote of my own
I have GPS turned on all day, WiFi at home, and Friendstream and weather updating hourly, ebay / Aura (Eve Online app) every 5 minutes. Also have Lookout running constantly. I charge the phone overnight plugged into my PC, but if I forget I can get 2 days with the power-saving at 15%.
You must be doing something wrong, or your idea of use you "do not regard as heavy" must be completely different to mine. El Reg got 5 hours by playing video constantly!
SIM cover gap
The SIM cover gap is one of two things.
1. Not fitted properly.
2. Hardware issue related to hardware seating in the unibody case.
If it's the first then you have to pay attention when you're slotting it on due to a small clip that needs to click in place. If it's the second issue you will also notice a slight misalignment of the camera in the case, mine isn't centered so I know and have this issue. It doesn't interfere with images though and I have a protective case from OtterBox that practically seals the rear of the phone up.
There are some notable issues that are still to be addressed by HTC but I'd consider them to put the score at 80% from a higher base score. Listed below.
Intermittent notification LED issue - turns itself off seemingly at random, other times fails to go off at all.
Default camera sharpness is too high, set to -1 or -2 for more accurate results.
Quiet volume on the speaker, no real fix for that unless it can be tweaked by devs later.
HTC Sense website is generally unresponsive but as noted by another commenter they are aware of it and supposedly working on it.
There are other issues that I can't remember, full list on the XDA forums if you're interested. The phone itself is still a very good phone and I'm glad I got it but I would like HTC to get a move on with either fixes for the bigger issues (notifications!) or at least state they're working on them and will be either releasing a fix for FroYo or that they will be fixed in Gingerbread.
HD2 with Android anyone?
Head on over to XDA Devs with your HD2 and you can achieve the same thing, only better.
"Few would argue that the HTC Desire is a very fine smartphone"
Surely this means the opposite of what the author intended?