HTC Desire HD

Michael HTC, Mobile, TechTalk

After using the HTC Desire for several months I was very eager to get my hands on its “Father” The HTC Desire “HD”. Only after taking it out the box and holding it did I realise how much bigger this phone is compared to the Desire.

[singlepic id=6 w=160 h=120 mode=web20 float=right]The phone felt solid yet not too heavy, the rounded back corners make it slightly difficult to hold on to with your fingertips compared with the sharp edges of the iPhone 4 and smaller size of the Desire, this is one phone I am definitely going to end up dropping. Inserting the sim card is pretty easy but there should be a massive warning sticker over the cover showing you how to open it because if you do it slightly wrong you will more than likely crush the cover and crack it just like I did on my first attempt. Other than that the phone seems to be pretty robust and I like the large display.

Currently (Jan 2011) the phone is retailing at £380 ex vat which is substantially less than the iPhone 4. It is also readily available now that the Christmas rush is over. We did have to wait about 8 weeks before they were available for us to test. Strangely this was longer than the iPhone waiting time which may go to show how popular this device is becoming

Gone are the days of slow screen response and delays. The Desire has a 1GHz processor and 768Mb of internal RAM. Typing and swiping is a lot easier than the Desire and iPhone but with such a large screen I think that is to be expected

Call quality is what you would expect from any phone, without taking out the oscilloscope and performing bench tests I would not be able to tell what new smartphone I was talking on. I think from now on we should only ever mention call quality if it is so amazing my hair stands on end or so poor that it is not usable, making a call however is where the HTC Android Phones shines. I cannot believe that in IOS4 and Windows 7 they have still not got this right. If I open up the dialler and use the characters to type a name it searches through your phonebook and displays all the contacts with that key sequence (6453) in the telephone number and all the names with MIKE – 6(M) 4(I) 5(K) 3(E), this allows me to easily type a name rather than scrolling until my finger is bleeding (I could delete some contacts I suppose). Incidentally when I call my Mother all I have to do is type 666 and MOM appears, I certainly hope this is a coincidence 😉

As with all the new smartphones battery life is a huge part of deciding what phone to go with It almost feels like we are back in 1998 and phones only last a day! The HTC Desire HD gets me through the day; I make several phone calls, browse the web and listen to music on the train occasionally. I am definitely a heavy user when it comes to smartphones and tend to use a lot of data so if this phone can get me from 7am to 8pm without being charged then it is definitely going to be staying in my pocket. The fact that you can also have spare batteries is incredibly useful when you know you are going to be away from power for a prolonged period of time, something I wish other certain devices were able to do but then not everything falls from the same apple tree.

The device is full of features; it has HTC Hub, HTC Sense, eBooks (you can also load Kindle) Find my phone, Calculators, scanners, radio, flashlight, Friends stream and a host of other really great apps. But where it really stands out is with navigation. It has something called Car Panel which turns the Google Navigation software into something very easy to use in the car (obviously whilst you are stationary and not on the road?) Before the Google navigation on the Desire came along I was a die hard TomTom fan, Now with the Desire HD there is just no way I would go back, not even if TomTom decided to offer their product for free, the HD has completely converted me to Google navigation.

App Store – If anyone says “but the Apple Store has more apps!” please ignore them, there are only a handful of actually useful apps and if the exact same one is not available on Android there is something very similar and vice versa. Larger companies are increasingly developing for both platforms and if they don’t then they stand in line to receive a barrage of abuse from angry people everywhere like did on launch day, for some reason this Angel funded start-up had no Android version and only started advertising for an Android developer shortly after launch (how these supposed tech gurus missed this is unfathomable ) but needless to say you probably have not heard of this new social network anyway!

Email is once again as you would get on most other android devices and is easy to use. I just wish they would hurry up and support HTML emails for Exchange. I cannot for the life of me work out why the Gmail app has HTML mail yet Exchange and the others are all text based. The Phone is running Android 2.2 which means there is multiple exchange mailbox support, great if you have more than one mailbox and as crazy as it sounds you would be surprised how common it is. If you are using multiple exchange accounts you will get two identical mail icons in the notification area with how many new mails you have, unfortunately you don’t know which mailbox it is until you slide down the notification area. Once inside Exchange mail they have added a really useful COMPOSE button at the top so no more scratching around to write a mail, Switching to sub folders in your mailbox is a quick 2 step process.

The 8Mp Camera with dual flash is very impressive, these samples of Photos and video were taken on the phone, (pictures coming soon)

The impressive 4.3” screen with 480 X 800 WVGA screen is bright and vivid. The Desire sometimes battles in bright light but that seems to have been taken care of in the HD version, it has absolutely no problems whatever light you are in. So if you are sitting in the sunshine listening to music you can still see the various albums on your phone. An interesting feature with the built in music player is the ability to turn on Dolby Mobile or SRS enhancement and if that’s not enough you can choose from a long list of other equalizer options if your headphones are plugged in making listening to music on this phone an actual experience.

Syncing music, videos and pictures is exactly as it should be. (Apple & Microsoft please take note) You can connect it up and turn it into a disk drive so you can copy and paste whatever you like on whatever PC you like without wiping your entire collection, there are no silly restrictions. So not only is it easy but is can be used as a USB Memory stick. You can use Double Twist if you like to manage and keep all your music in a Music Manager.

The Desire HD accepts aac, .amr, .ogg, .m4a, .mid, .mp3, .wav, .wma so if you don’t like flat sounding music you can start loading up your AAC or WMA versions

Another great feature if you are on the move is the ability to create a WiFi hotspot and use your phones data connection for your laptop or other devices so no more carrying around dongles and MiFi’s.


After using the phone for several days I suppose the big question is will I be trading the Desire in for the HD version and I honestly cannot answer that question right now. The Desires balance of power, size and functionality fits perfectly with what I need and the Desire HD may just be a little too much in the direction of a tablet? Either way I am not yet ready to let go of the HD.


4.5 star rating .25 because of the rounded back and .25 because of the flimsy simm cover

Sample Images and  video

Technical specifications:

  • Size: W 68mm (2.68”) X H 123mm (4.84”) X D 11.8mm (0.46”)
  • Weight: 164 grams (5.7 ounces) with battery
  • Screen: 109mm (4.3”) touch screen with resolution of 480 X 800 WVGA
  • CPU: 1GHz
  • OS: Android Froyo 2.2 with HTC Sense
  • Storage: 1.5GB Internal Storage, 768MB RAM & a MicroSD expansion slot that is SD 2.0 compatible
  • Camera: Auto focus, Face Detection, GeoTagging, Dual LED, flash 8 megapixel color camera capable of recording HD video at 720p With Built in effects for depth of field, vignette and many more.
  • Internet: 3G with download speeds of up to 14.4 Mbps and Upload of 5.76 Mbps, GPRS up to 114kbps downloading, EDGE up to 560 kbps downloading & WiFi IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
  • Connectors: Micro USB, 3.5 mm Sterio audio jack
  • Sendors: G-Sensor, Digital Compass, Proximity Sensor, Ambient light
  • Bluetooth: 2.1, A2DP for wireless stereo headsets, FTP & Object push for file transfer
  • Multimedia: Dolby® Mobile and SRS virtual surround sound, Share videos, photos, or music from your phone to your TV via DLNA
  • Supported Audio formats: aac, .amr, .ogg, .m4a, .mid, .mp3, .wav, .wma (Windows Media Audio 9) and records in amr
  • Supported Video formats: 3gp, .3g2, .mp4, .wmv (Windows Media Video 9), .avi (MP4 ASP and MP3), .xvid (MP4 ASP and MP3) and records in .3gp
  • Location: Internal GPS Antenna
  • Tethering: USB & WiFi Tethering
  • Battery and Power: Rechargeable Lithium-ion 1230 mAh battery, Talk time of up to 320 Minutes on WCDMA and 550 minutes on GSM. Standby time on WCDMA is 490 hours and 420 hours on GSM
  • Special Features on give you the ability to manage your phone remotely in case of loss.


After several days of running I noticed the Desire HD started experiencing lag and speed issues. This is a bug which has a work around found by the guys over at

On your phone go to MENU / SETTINGS / APPLICATIONS / DEVELOPMENT and turn on USB Debugging. The only down side to this is if you connect your phone to your PC you will need to have HTC Sync installed as it tried to install another USB driver, but it is also said to increase battery life.

For the XDA-Developers article regarding this issue click here

or if you just want to install the latest HTC Sync click here

Michael is a Technology & Digital Consultant to the Real Estate, Property, Travel and Tourism industies with over 13 Years of leading Technical teams & Programme Management. He has worked with agencies in multiple countries and cities from the UK, New York, Russia, France, Dubai to Australia and South Africa. In his spare time he is a commercial drone pilot that dabbles with Photography & Videography.

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