HTC Desire HD Review
The camera has some very cool functionality. Being 8MP with autofocus, the HTC Desire HD kicks things off to a solid set of specs, and with a dual LED flash, we're expecting good things. The inclusion of a range of special modes: Distortion, Vignette Depth of Field, Vintage, Vintage Warm, Vintage Cold, Greyscale, Sepia, Negative, Solarize, Posterize and Aqua work very nicely, some are gimmicky, but others such as 'Vintage' are adding a quality to the image we really like.
As far as standalone performance of the camera, it's unfortunately a mixed bag. Focusing is a bit of an issue, with shots out of focus roughly 10% of the time. Colour reproduction is on the whole okay, however inconsistent. While some shots, such as that of the post box produce a decent level of saturation, others look dull, and others washed out. Detail isn't too bad at all in well lit environments, however, any night shots don't even need to be zoomed into to notice the crackle. Exposure is also very inconsistent. The camera interface allows for touch to focus, which also controls what we presume to be spot metering, and there is an exposure bar which can be adjusted, however, in automatic, we found that the HTC Desire HD got it wrong more often than we would have hoped. This is mainly an issue when there is a broad dynamic range, for example with the macro shot of the fence being dark, and the light creeping through the the rest of the shot. Noise on the phone's camera isn't handled too well at all. Evident even in daytime shots such as that of the Windows Phone 7 billboard, in which the black visibly suffers from grain. This leads directly onto night shots, which as mentioned, aren't particularly usable unless the subject is well lit. Macro shots weren't too bad at all. There is a focusing distance of about 4 inches, and we found that this is one of the phones stronger points. This mode worked especially well with the filters, as can be seen with the flower shot with the vintage filter looking rather attractive. Indoor shots are entirely dependent on lighting.
The camera performs pretty well in well lit, and even in environments with medium lighting, however, as soon as the lights go down any lower, it struggles a lot. The twin LED flash does an okay job of remedying the situation, but by this point, suffice to say, if you're looking for a camera phone to replace your digital camera, the HTC Desire HD isn't it.
At 720p and 25fps, video recording is on the whole, good. Detail is visibly lacking when comparing video with some other HD handsets such as the Nokia N8 and colours are also over saturated on the HTC Desire HD2 as you will see from the sample, however, video looks much smoother overall, so it's a trade-off. Video effect options are limited to: greyscale, sepia, negative, solarize and posterize.
HTC Desire HD Sample Video:
Onto the music player. It's usable, employs the popular cover-flow-esque interface that's cropping up in most OSs these days, and supports your usual viewing tracks by artists, albums, playlists, even linking in directly to the inbuilt DLNA if you so choose. Audio quality is good. We were using a pair of Monster Turbines and found the sound relatively indistinguishable from an iPod, however, the Dolby Mobile and SRS Wow HD offer a nice amount of roundness to the sound the HTC Desire HD can produce. Unfortunately, we were unable to activate these features for audio and video players that aren't the system's standard. This means that for, say, Spotify or an additional video player, this advanced functionality isn't available.
The loudspeaker plays back music well considering the sound's being pushed through a tiny grill on the back, though it isn’t a quality of sound that can be listened to comfortably for a considerable length of time.The HTC Desire HD will play back DivX, H.264, MP4 and Xvid files out of the box. Unfortunately, HTC haven't implemented the standard of video playback that can be found on the Nokia N8 or C7, with DivX and Xvid only playable up to 640x480 without audio sync issues. That said, we found it played back H.264 and MP4 up to 720p well.
Once a movie is on it in a format the phone likes, preferably at its native resolution of 800x480, all we can say is wow. Okay, maybe that's not all we can say, but you get the idea. We were able to get immersed in a movie, wherever we were when using the HTC Desire HD. The Dolby Mobile audio and SRS Wow HD does make a difference, and coupling that with the huge screen made us forget we were in a packed train watching Avatar on our phone, and left us feeling all shades of blue and CGI. Other than when using the Dell Streak, which is arguably not even a phone, the HTC Desire HD topped out for movie playback immersion. A note which was alluded to earlier, when watching a movie, it's much, much more enjoyable if the brightness is set to full.
1. jaadx (Posts: 1; Member since: 05 Nov 2010)
Great review for great phone
Thank u phonearena but wish to see a galaxy s vs desire hd review that will be so nice
2. Jigar (unregistered)
well the review looks fantastic...great job phonearena...
i've been using n95-8gb for over 2.5 yrs and m currently looking for a gud android phone..
had shortlisted Desire and Galaxy S...but now Desire HD looks simply awesome...
Only concern is the battery life...hope its taken care of in future updates...the phone should at least last a day (like n95-8gb)
Good job HTC...
4. ghost_uwi (Posts: 47; Member since: 05 Nov 2010)
WOW @ N95 had that a while back great phone. When you upgrade you will be blown away by almost any of the new high end (grade 9.0+) phones out
3. ghost_uwi (Posts: 47; Member since: 05 Nov 2010)
Wow excellent review. After reading about 20+ reviews on this phone you hit the nail on the head with this one. My only gripe is where is the video review :(
5. fakhri (unregistered)
how realistic would the desire hd be as a primary ebook reader?
if anybody here is a ebook reader, please do chip in your opinions. id like to know whats the minimum screen size for comfortably reading an ebook.
trying to decide whether i can get a big screen phone like Desire HD or Droid X, or go with a phone + separate ebook reader.
thnx PA. great review
7. PhoneArena Team (Posts: 237; Member since: 27 Jun 2006)
Thanks for the positive feedback on the review.
As for whether the HTC Desire HD could double up as an ebook reader, this is subjective. The onboard ebook reader is a bit harsh on the eyes, though we really like Aldiko. It's a free ebook reader that lets you make the background black and text white, making it much easier on the eyes. Also, it isn't really usable in portrait as lines are way too short, though landscape is ok.
If you're looking for a "pocket friendly" Android phone that could double up as an ebook reader, we're using the Dell Streak at the moment and it does a really great job of handling ebooks and just about fits in your pocket. You will be sacrificing on Sense UI however.
A good idea would be to try out the native app and if possible Aldiko in a store near you.
Hope that helped,
The phoneArena Team
6. bbbb (unregistered)
its really funny that symbian^3 smartphones with 'outdated' cpu and tiny amount of RAM are more stable and can do better multitasking than desire hd.
8. Donny Dee (unregistered)
Verizon this month I hear? Incredible Pro or HD?
9. Mark (unregistered)
If you have heard about the Voodoo lagfix (it speeds up Samsung Galaxy S, and avoids the 'lag' you were facing in your review), then can you please tell me which phone is better, this or the Samsung i9000 Galaxy S
11. ..... (unregistered)
guys can you help me pick. i can't choose between the desire hd and samsung galaxy S wich 1 is better
12. Eingild (unregistered)
It's nice to know that Phonearena is now responding to the comments of the readers. This is a definitely + points for the user experience. Kudos to PA.
13. admin (unregistered)
guys, I have the Desire HD.
It doesn't last as long as my "old" Galaxy S.
Nor does it have as much storage 1.5gb vs 8gb.
Doesn't take as good photos as my SGS, not videos either.
In the complete darkness yes the DHD CAN take pictures/videos but...
Also I prefer the more nimbler body of the SGS, but I do like the metal body of the DHD. btw is there a swype app out there? I really need it in order to type fast but thats me.
The screen on the SGS, must be hands down the best I have ever seen (so far)
I don't know if I shall give the DHD back to the store and get my self a Galaxy S again (remember 2.2 is out now)
I dont have any lag on my DHD, phone arena you should check out "USB DEBUG" mode on the device, some are having problems that the CPU is active for no given reason.
and I do agree on the plastic covers, I fear I might break them if I need to open it up again...
15. Mike (unregistered)
I bought the htc desire HD after letting my iphone 3gs go which i had since release. First impressions were good, but sadly i didnt turn out to be very happy with this phone. I was impressed with the camera, htc sense and the speed of phone, oh and the best thing it can be used as wi-fi hotspot, but it was not long before i had some niggles.The internet crashes very frequently, when i take pictures using the camera after perhaps a day the pictures are shown only as error grey boxes, a surprising amount of the apps i downloaded either dont work properly or cause the phone to crash and occasionaly the phone crashes where i cant even make a call without restarting the phone (only happened 2/3 times but not good with owning this only 2 weeks or so). I had really high expectations due to the hype of the original desire so its a shame!
16. admin (unregistered)
Mike, have you installed the latest 2 updates?
17. notlying (unregistered)
i have the desire build on my hd2 and i have had no problems with apps, maybe you should learn to use your phone first before complaining...
18. icooon (unregistered)
how's the comparison b2een HTC desire HD and the samsaung galaxy tab which plays phone role. Ur comments pls.
19. Dan_p (unregistered)
I'll play the devil's advocate here. I'm not really that into what the HTC Desire HD's offerings. Will gladly go for a stock android experience on any day as it is more stable. The phone should at least give the user the option to turn Sense off.
Aside from iPhone 4 and Nokia N8, the attempt on HTC Desire HD to marry steel and plastic looks desperate at best. There have been reviews in other sites heavily criticizing the clunky handling of battery cover, ill fitting parts, and physical gaps... I hope these get fixed. Totally unsightly for a supposed flagship.
The impact of battery life is simply understated, a dead high-tech device is simply unacceptable for the corporate types who need to be connected most of the time.
I would still gladly recommend the older HTC Desire or the Samsung Galaxy for a more rewarding Android experience.
Symbian-wise, N8 makes up for a very compelling offering with its excellent build quality, unrivalled spec list, and a reliable and functional OS.
iOS-wise, iPhone 4 is definitely the only choice that offers simplified OS to cut across all intellectual levels, a compelling collection of apps in its app store, and a universally likable build.
20. Mad Max (unregistered)
@desire HD users:
can anybody tell me something about the Microphone-quality?
I need a recorder, that works quite as good as the iphone-recorder.
A friend has got the old desire and that has got a real bad mic-quality...
21. dkvc (unregistered)
Symbian^3 got dated functionality? What hell? What you think about iOS then that doesn't even have Widgets? That was such a biased "observation" from the reviewer.
22. diogorva (unregistered)
The phone was way overated. You got a giant screen but you can't see anything in direct sunlight, the battery is terrible, the HD video-recording is bad, if you read the GSMArena review, you will see that even the audio quaility is poor. You can have better phones for way lower prices.
23. dkvc (unregistered)
Dated functionality is much more related with iOS doesn't even have a proper homescreen or widgets, but how PhoneArena would dare call the almighty iOS dated? It's much more convenient to say that Symbian that got dated functionality, since it became usual to bash this OS.
I really like PhoneArena reviews, but sometimes you act so biased.