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HTC Desire HD Review

HTC Desire HD 9

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HTC Desire HD Review
When it comes to speed, the HTC Desire HD has a 1GHz processor trucking everything along. The HTC Sense widgets weigh heavily on the phone. The fact they're so useful means they are worth it, but the phone does lag every so often. Symbian fan-boys, please cover your ears, now: despite occasional lag, we would nevertheless take the added functionality of Android with HTC Sense coupled with some lag, over the all-in-all more stable Symbian^3 with its clunky interface and dated functionality.

With active noise cancellation, call quality on the HTC Desire HD is very good indeed. When calling from the phone, the in-call speaker delivers great audio quality, with the person on the other end sounding audible. When talking on the HTC Desire HD, the listener found the call quality good with no complaints. With reception also being good, it works reliably as a phone. HTC's dialler and contacts tools are also easy to get to grips with and use daily.

Battery life is without a doubt the HTC Desire HD's weakest area. With regular use and at mid to full brightness, the phone would usually struggle to make it to the evening before prompting us to put it into power saver mode. Quoted at 9.16 hours of talk time (5.3 hours 3G) and 18 days of standby time. However, if you have an HTC Desire HD, you will want to use it a lot, because it's so functional. You will want to crank up the brightness, watch a movie and surf the web while listening to music and getting directions when you're done. This means your battery may not make a whole day if you don't show some restraint (notably with screen brightness). For all this functionality however, it could be a worthwhile sacrifice depending on the kind of user you are, and whether or not you’d think of getting a spare battery.


The HTC Desire HD is more of an exciting phone than it is a perfect phone. We're as excited about how HTC are evolving Sense UI, as we are about the hardware. As it happens though, the hardware and software are married into a wonderful mix, so well done, HTC. You're not really getting the best of anything. The Nokia N8 has a much better camera, the Samsung Galaxy S has a richer screen of a similar size and the iPhone 4 has a way better app support. What the HTC brings together however is the best amalgamation of everything, with a mouth watering injection of innovation to go with it. It's certainly one of our favourite candy bar Android devices at the moment. Battery life being the only big drawback, the HTC Desire HD is nevertheless on our highly-recommended list. Alternatives would be the iPhone 4 as mentioned for an alternative operating system, the Nokia N8 for a stronger camera experience, or an HTC Desire Z if you're enamoured by much of the functionality mentioned, but want a QWERTY keyboard.

HTC Desire HD Video Review:


  • Screen is ideal for movies on the go
  • Keyboard input offers one of the best touch experiences
  • Dolby Mobile / SRS provide great sound variation
  • HTC Sense offers fantastic functionality out of the box


  • Poor battery life
  • Occasional lag when multitasking
  • Fiddly battery / card covers
PhoneArena rating:
9 Excellent
User rating:
8.8 18 Reviews

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posted on 05 Nov 2010, 07:57 1

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

posted on 05 Nov 2010, 13:04 1

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...

posted on 05 Nov 2010, 22:31

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

posted on 05 Nov 2010, 14:34 1

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 :(

posted on 06 Nov 2010, 01:31

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

posted on 06 Nov 2010, 15:26

7. PhoneArena Team (Posts: 258; Member since: 27 Jun 2006)

Hey Fakhri,

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

posted on 06 Nov 2010, 10:07

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.

posted on 06 Nov 2010, 18:23

8. Donny Dee (unregistered)

Verizon this month I hear? Incredible Pro or HD?

posted on 07 Nov 2010, 13:27

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

posted on 07 Nov 2010, 16:57

10. ghost_uwi (Posts: 47; Member since: 05 Nov 2010)

*grumbles @ missing video review* :P

posted on 08 Nov 2010, 07:19

11. ..... (unregistered)

guys can you help me pick. i can't choose between the desire hd and samsung galaxy S wich 1 is better

posted on 03 Feb 2012, 18:52

24. ilandror (Posts: 1; Member since: 03 Feb 2012)

htc desire hd.

posted on 08 Nov 2010, 08:28

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.

posted on 08 Nov 2010, 13:31

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...

posted on 09 Nov 2010, 18:45

14. ghost_uwi (Posts: 47; Member since: 05 Nov 2010)

Oh sweet video review *grabs popcorn*

posted on 10 Nov 2010, 17:07

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!

posted on 10 Nov 2010, 18:18

16. admin (unregistered)

Mike, have you installed the latest 2 updates?

posted on 11 Nov 2010, 01:38

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...

posted on 12 Nov 2010, 02:04

18. icooon (unregistered)

how's the comparison b2een HTC desire HD and the samsaung galaxy tab which plays phone role. Ur comments pls.

posted on 13 Nov 2010, 05:13

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.

posted on 13 Nov 2010, 11:57

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...

posted on 18 Mar 2011, 23:14

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.

posted on 05 Apr 2011, 19:47 1

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.

posted on 05 Apr 2011, 19:52

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.

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HTC Desire HD

HTC Desire HD

OS: Android 2.3.5 2.3 2.2
view full specs
Display4.3 inches, 480 x 800 pixels (217 ppi) S-LCD
Camera8 megapixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon S2, Single core, 1000 MHz, Scorpion processor
0.75 GB RAM
Size4.84 x 2.68 x 0.46 inches
(123 x 68 x 11.8 mm)
5.78 oz  (164 g)
Battery1230 mAh, 9.16 hours talk time

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