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Old 17th April 2011, 19:06   #1
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Default "Desire'ing' High Definition!" - review of the HTC Desire HD

I don't like 'smart-phones'.

Because they just dumb you down.

On an average, the number of people who've started to forget things (or just not remember them in the 1st place) has probably quadrupled in the last decade...And pray tell me, how can a metal and plastic jacketed, inanimate piece of silicon infused circuitry, primarily designed to fulfill a simple action, invented over a century ago be called "smart????"

Rant over...moving swiftly along.

I am, what many would call an "Apple fanboy". I bought into the Mac way almost 9 years ago and there's been no looking back. My home and office are pretty much complete Apple product driven and just recently, my gorgeous wife on a milestone birthday, was also gifted the Iphone 4 by me; which she loves btw.

But I just bought (gifted) myself a HTC Desire HD. And I have fallen in love, all over again.

I have used a trusted Nokia E71 now for a little over two years now and I'm used to it's insane battery life and it's more than capable OS. But compared to it, the HTC desire HD is like comparing a Porsche to maybe a Honda City... The Desire HD just makes everything look so much sexier!

As most of you probably know, The Desire HD was released about 6 months ago and runs on Google's Android platform. It's runs Froyo 2.2, one behind Gingerbread 2.3, but the news on the big bad web is that this is due to be upgraded anytime now.

It has reduced in price from when it originally launched to a smidgen over 26 thousand Rupees. And at 4.3 inches, it is one of the largest phones you can pick up in the market at the moment.

Some people will hate it for this very reason, because it feels big in the hand. However, having now used it for the past 48 hours, it settles into your hand and the size becomes a non-issue in a matter of hours, rather than days. I'm not going to put down all the technical details here, because if you're reading this, you probably know the tech bits too!


The 'oooooh' bits:

The design is very Applesque in approach; minimal with only a physical on-off key on the top left of the phone and a volume rocker on the left side. Everything else is encased (save for the display of course) in a borrowed from Apple, one piece aluminum unibody construction.

It comes in a nice coppery brown colour which actually goes with the phone and it's look really. A big ear piece grille adorns the top of the handset, and unlike the iphone 4, this does not posses a single hard key. Instead, there are 4 touch sensitive buttons at the bottom (home / menu / back / search), which light up a benign and classy white, when you turn it on.

A big 8MP snapper and it's associated lens sticks out the back, flanked by a speaker on one side (slightly tinny sounding) and a dual LED flash on the other. For those of you blind as a bat, a silly little App turns the LED flash into a ridiculously bright torch light too!!

The screen itself is BIG, bright and very very easy to read in almost any kind of lighting, but beware; using it at anything over 30-35% brightness and you WILL be recharging the handset in a couple of hours at best. Though at 35% brightness, it is still brighter than my previous E71!! It might not have the crystal clear crispness of my better half's iphone4 but it is pretty much up there nonetheless. It takes a 3.5 mm headphone jack, which means it will take ALL high end headphones if you so desire (pun unintended)! It is charged by a mini USB cable, whose port adjoins the headphone outlet.

This is a handset that feels tough, looks very very premium, is finished to a very high standard and is a serious piece of kit that deserves a lot of respect! Nothing in the market will come close to this in premium 'ness' and I include the Iphone in that list. I kid you not.


The 'aaaah' bits:

The HTC sense user interface runs a skin over the plain jane Froyo 2.2. So, everything from widgets to skins are that much nicer to look at than the normal Android interface! The phone comes with 5 different homepages, completely customizable to the whatever widgets you want on them individually. Everything is drag and drop, where you hold down a widget for it to ask you what you want to do with it!!! It is my 1st time with Android and I haven't really played around with the iOS interface too much, so I'm a little gushy at the moment!

*Aplogeeeez for the same!*

There are applications for EVERYTHING. iOS has a lot more of them, but Android is hot on it's heels to catch up! I wouldn't be surprised if in a few months time, an application popped up in the Android marketplace which allowed you to have babies too!!!

*there goes human conception and all of it's associated pleasures!!!!*

A lot of the Apps are free, which is also why you need to be careful of what you download. And 'oh' - (tubelight moment) - the Apps suck battery! They really really suck battery! Which is why it is really surprising that something this size, ships with a relatively tiny 1300 odd Mhz rated battery. Ooh it's woefully short of juice.... And if like me, you're moving from a Symbian device, oh boy is it an eye opener?!?

Best guess - with EVERYTHING turned off except phone functions, I have been able to get about 10 hours out of it...lots of talking on it but nothing else. With wi-fi and bluetooth turned on, it kinda went 'pfffffft' in about half that time.

So, you will be investing in additional chargers, car chargers and a renewed faith in the Almighty!!! An apps killer (which shuts off apps as soon as you've finished using them) will control the problem slightly, but the better way is to invest in a bigger 3rd party battery, which is available on e-bay etc for not very much money really.

Using the phone itself is a breeze and the UI is intuitive enough to figure out in about 4-5 hours of playing with it. I'm sure my sons will have it figured in 1/4th the time, but I BELONG TO THE ANALOGUE GENERATION

so......hrrrrrrmpppppphhh!

As a matter of fact, transferring from one phone to the other has never been so easy. There is a handy App (there we go again!) called TransferData which automatically pulls all your contacts, calendar and your sms's over bluetooth, once you've paired the two handsets. It was all rather painless and a revelation in how quickly technology is becoming uber smart.

The reception on the unit has been very good, seldom dropping below 4 bars. No one has complained about not being able to hear me (I'm a loud mouth I agree!!!!) and the one time they did.....it was because their phone was on the blink! I've not had the chance to use the headphones or the music player since I tend to use the ipod in the gym. But like I said, if the bundled headset is no good, you can always ditch that to replace with a kick a$$ 10 grand piece of technical wizardry!!! (if your conscience, pocket and brain allows it!)

The pictures from the camera are pretty darn good too. Might be a touch under saturated, but I prefer that to the over saturated processed look on some of the competition. The video is true 720p HD and if you can keep the phone still enough, some decent footage is available on offer.

This is not going to replace your dedicated SLR, but for those moments where you have nothing else....this will do the job quite nicely!


The 'uffffff' bits:

This is a big phone, that wants big power. This is also a heavy phone (not Godzilla like, but heavy nonetheless) This phone will also run hot... And this phone will need to be charged atleast once a day.

Most of the power issues are well documented and emerge from the fact that most Android run devices are very very power hungry, by virtue of all the Apps that they run. it's a tradeoff that most android users happily make, and most converts will bend their heads around, sooner rather than later.

There are a couple of horror stories on how this phone crashes etc and I'm not sure what the reason for the crash was. However, there don't seem to be so many stories out there on the WWW for such crashes, so I'm hoping that this is an aberration rather than the norm. Also, I'm not a power user (i.e. someone who is going to root the OS and then go to town with it!!!) but enjoy the regular Fb'ing / push email functionality apart from making and receiving calls of course.

With any luck, it ought to be able to hold up okay with those demands! (fingers, toes and most other body appendages crossed at this time)

Also a glaring design flaw IMHO, is that the lens of the camera protrudes from the back of the phone, so every time you put the phone down, [b]it rests on the lens housing.[/i] The designer was on a coffee break when they let that one pass huh!?!

There is a simple work around, which involves slipping a Capdase glove/skin onto the phone, which comes with it's own screen guard for the huge screen. It costs about 495 Rupees here in Bombay, but it's 495 Rupees well spent, I can assure you.


The 'benign smile' bits:

I still firmly believe that phones should be used for phoning and not everything else under the sun, however having said that...I am more than a little smitten by the desire HD.

It does it's primary job pretty flawlessly and like the quintessential 007, looks bl**dy good while doing it too!!

For all the naysayers who say it's unwieldy ~ it is not.
For those who say the battery sucks ~ yes it does (but so do a LOT of other droids....)
For those who say it crashes all the time ~ I sincerely hope it doesn't!!!
For all those that say it's too expensive ~ Errrrr....so how much was the iPhone again????

And for all those that say they hate it ~ Excellent. So opinions exist for that very reason! To differ!!!

I'm enjoying the experience so far, and my next investment has be a bigger battery that will last me atleast a day....I may also be draining the battery at the moment because I can't keep my hands off it and it might change as the novelty wears off a bit.

Who knows?

So Apple...go right ahead and bite me.

Last edited by bIte tHe bulLet : 17th April 2011 at 19:22. Reason: formatting
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Old 17th April 2011, 20:53   #2
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Default Re: "Desire'ing' High Definition!" - review of the HTC Desire HD

C'mon, please put the photos also,though am not knowledgeable about mobile phones much.
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Old 18th April 2011, 00:14   #3
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Default Re: "Desire'ing' High Definition!" - review of the HTC Desire HD

Wonderful nice review.

But really, for all the tasks you mentioned, iphone 4 would have performed admirably and that too without making many compromises on battery life.

But hey, Google cloud sync is worth experiencing. Big screen badness of your device doesnt hurt either.
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Old 18th April 2011, 01:26   #4
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Default Re: "Desire'ing' High Definition!" - review of the HTC Desire HD

Very well written. Was a pleasure to read.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bIte tHe bulLet View Post
I may also be draining the battery at the moment because I can't keep my hands off it and it might change as the novelty wears off a bit.
This actually could be a reason, though 1300 is a tad on the lower side. I had gifted my wife a Galaxy S, which I very conveniently played around with for hours a a stretch, during the first week. Going forward the battery life did increase perceptibly
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Old 18th April 2011, 02:33   #5
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Default Re: "Desire'ing' High Definition!" - review of the HTC Desire HD

Own a Desire HD myself since almost half a month now. Filled almost 400 mb of apps, and just LOVE EVERYTHING about it. Just one thing which bothers me. Night pics are that nice as the flash is to damn bright, any supporters?
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Old 18th April 2011, 03:10   #6
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Default Re: "Desire'ing' High Definition!" - review of the HTC Desire HD

Its very nicely built but still not comparable to the iPhone 4. That is the best built phone I have come across in a long long time.
The major grouse I have with this phone is the battery. Its like having a supercar with a 5 liter fuel tank. And I do not agree when you say that it is the same with the other droids out there. Desire HD has probably got the poorest battery life of all droids out there. A 4.3-inch LCD screen (not even AMOLED which would have saved power) which when coupled with a 1230mAh battery is not a very bright idea. I dont know what were HTC smoking when they decided to put this battery in?
That apart its very nice phone and a nice droid to have. Feels much better in hand than all the other expensive droids out there including and especially the all-plastic Samsung Galaxy S

Last edited by akhilesh : 18th April 2011 at 03:12.
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Old 18th April 2011, 22:50   #7
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Default Re: "Desire'ing' High Definition!" - review of the HTC Desire HD

Kudos on the great thread! I'm planning on purchasing a phone myself and I'm torn apart between the Iphone 4 and the Desire HD. Since you have experience with both, could you please highlight the pros and cons of each?? Would really help me make a decision. Price isn't a factor as I'm getting the Iphone 4 for 30k which is in the same territory as the Desire HD
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Old 18th April 2011, 23:26   #8
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Default Re: "Desire'ing' High Definition!" - review of the HTC Desire HD

Nice phone, nice review. Congrats on the purchase.

10hrs battery!? Thats.. BAD, to say the least. You might want to root it and use SetCPU and underclock it so that you'll get better back up.

Actually, thats the problem with all these touch screen phones. Pathetic battery back up.

PS - You might want to try out the custom ROM's. They are worth the effort.

Last edited by karthik247 : 18th April 2011 at 23:27.
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Old 19th April 2011, 15:53   #9
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Default Re: "Desire'ing' High Definition!" - review of the HTC Desire HD

Any reasons why you didnt consider HTC Incredible S over the Desire HD?
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Old 20th April 2011, 22:16   #10
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Default Re: "Desire'ing' High Definition!" - review of the HTC Desire HD

Quote:
Originally Posted by DicKy View Post
C'mon, please put the photos also,though am not knowledgeable about mobile phones much.
hey dicky,

will try and post some asap...problem is that my ruddy camera is in another city while i'm stuck in yet another!!! but will try nonetheless.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sids911 View Post
Wonderful nice review.

But really, for all the tasks you mentioned, iphone 4 would have performed admirably and that too without making many compromises on battery life.

But hey, Google cloud sync is worth experiencing. Big screen badness of your device doesnt hurt either.
hey mano,

the better half has an iphone4. and i've got some serious issues with the ruddy call quality. and the battery life is funnily enough only marginally better than this, coz she puts it onto charge once a day too!

and yeah, the big screen badness was a BIG draw. the iphone looks positively puny (and i'm an apple fan mind you!)


Quote:
Originally Posted by shuvc View Post
Very well written. Was a pleasure to read.


This actually could be a reason, though 1300 is a tad on the lower side. I had gifted my wife a Galaxy S, which I very conveniently played around with for hours a a stretch, during the first week. Going forward the battery life did increase perceptibly
thank you for the compliments!

i actually think the battery is settling down a little bit, since ive got a task killer and a whole load of other apps monitoring, killing, praying for the battery to last longer installed as of now!


Quote:
Originally Posted by abhayshanu View Post
Own a Desire HD myself since almost half a month now. Filled almost 400 mb of apps, and just LOVE EVERYTHING about it. Just one thing which bothers me. Night pics are that nice as the flash is to damn bright, any supporters?
i agree. workaround-tracing paper over flash for close up stuff. 'tis called diffusion in the world I inhabit!

Quote:
Originally Posted by akhilesh View Post
Its very nicely built but still not comparable to the iPhone 4. That is the best built phone I have come across in a long long time.
The major grouse I have with this phone is the battery. Its like having a supercar with a 5 liter fuel tank. And I do not agree when you say that it is the same with the other droids out there. Desire HD has probably got the poorest battery life of all droids out there. A 4.3-inch LCD screen (not even AMOLED which would have saved power) which when coupled with a 1230mAh battery is not a very bright idea. I dont know what were HTC smoking when they decided to put this battery in?
That apart its very nice phone and a nice droid to have. Feels much better in hand than all the other expensive droids out there including and especially the all-plastic Samsung Galaxy S
i will fight you on the iphone bit....but forgive you nonetheless. yup, new battery (after market) being ordered as we speak. it just feels so darned sexy, that you (I) tend to use it all the time to just hold it! and i was browsing the www, while sat waiting for a dude to show up at a Cafe Coffee Day, and thats when the screen just came into it's own... man 'o man.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ares05 View Post
Kudos on the great thread! I'm planning on purchasing a phone myself and I'm torn apart between the Iphone 4 and the Desire HD. Since you have experience with both, could you please highlight the pros and cons of each?? Would really help me make a decision. Price isn't a factor as I'm getting the Iphone 4 for 30k which is in the same territory as the Desire HD
the iphone 4 if you want an apple! also for the 'snob' value of being an ip4 owner. The Ip4 also has much much better graphic(s) and management. there is no lag or hesitation when you scroll.

it's got really really really c**ppy reception, and it is only slightly resolved with the hard case mounted onto the back. not being able to change batteries - BIG don't like. becoming commoner than the cows that roam our streets. a very sharp screen, but not big enough to be able to take advantage of it.

the htc desire hd for it's HUGE screen. A very sexy all metal form factor, different from the other out there. spectacular reception. host of downloadable apps that are just so cool (for want of a better word)

OMG battery life! Deal breaker for most. a slight 'edge' on the top of the screen, where glass meets metal. should have been level. OMG battery life. slight judder when scrolling through apps and pages fast. OMG battery life.

I tossed and turned in the same boat and also looked at the incredible s (only slightly smaller) but a whole lot more accomplished, and yet went with my heart and picked up the desire HD. you call mano.


Quote:
Originally Posted by karthik247 View Post
Nice phone, nice review. Congrats on the purchase.

10hrs battery!? Thats.. BAD, to say the least. You might want to root it and use SetCPU and underclock it so that you'll get better back up.

Actually, thats the problem with all these touch screen phones. Pathetic battery back up.

PS - You might want to try out the custom ROM's. They are worth the effort.
Thank you. 10 hrs battery is a joke! (remember i'm coming off an e71, where I wouldn't touch a charger for the better part of 2 days!!! ) rooting is not my cup of tea (or part of my capabilities!)

shall desist, lest I actually break the ruddy phone and then have egg on my face!

Quote:
Originally Posted by drmohitg View Post
Any reasons why you didnt consider HTC Incredible S over the Desire HD?
would i come across as really shallow if I said, "I liked the way the Desire HD LOOKED???" the sleek metal back and the minimalistic look had me captivated from the 1st time I laid eyes on her.

Though the Incredible S is better on battery, this one tugged at the heartstrings a little more!
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Old 9th May 2011, 13:10   #11
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Default Re: "Desire'ing' High Definition!" - review of the HTC Desire HD

Hey bite the bullet !

Congrats on your phone, I'm also in the same boat. Currently using an e71 and almost about to buy the desire hd, loooks toooo goos really. I read the part where you said that transferring contacts was easy which is my only concern, from nokia to htc. It does happen smoothly without any hiccups, right? I'm getting it on flipkart for about 25-26k while croma has it for around 27500. What price did you pay for it, if you don't mind sharing ?
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Old 9th May 2011, 14:48   #12
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Default Re: "Desire'ing' High Definition!" - review of the HTC Desire HD

Nice review, but would have loved pictures.

As regards battery life, even the iPhone sucks. My pals in the US used to charge it after every hour of browsing.
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Old 28th May 2011, 13:22   #13
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Default Re: "Desire'ing' High Definition!" - review of the HTC Desire HD

Quote:
Originally Posted by RJK View Post
Hey bite the bullet !

Congrats on your phone, I'm also in the same boat. Currently using an e71 and almost about to buy the desire hd, loooks toooo goos really. I read the part where you said that transferring contacts was easy which is my only concern, from nokia to htc. It does happen smoothly without any hiccups, right? I'm getting it on flipkart for about 25-26k while croma has it for around 27500. What price did you pay for it, if you don't mind sharing ?
transferring's a breeze, so the contacts and the calendar move over seamlessly; the sms's don't (or atleast with me, they've spat in my face every time I tried) it kinda gets to about 80% and then returns a fatal error, so I've kind of given up on it now really.

another word of caution, which I must pass on as you would be an android newbie like myself. i lost all of my sms's on the desire hd one fine day. pffft - gone. and when i say gone...it really is that they are not there any more. so - 1st install from the marketplace is an app called sms backup (free) and back everything onto the sd card atleast once in 2 days if not more often.

otherwise, i love the phone to bits. and now android 2.33 has arrived as an OTA download and i can see that it's snappier already. mind you, the htc skins (UI) that are used by default mask a lot of the 2.3 cosmetic makeovers... but hey. shut eyes and buy. i bought at just a tad under 27k, so flipkart is your better bet.

tc mano

Quote:
Originally Posted by vnabhi View Post
Nice review, but would have loved pictures.

As regards battery life, even the iPhone sucks. My pals in the US used to charge it after every hour of browsing.
hey bud,

thank you. i'm still trying to figure how to get some pics done, since my slr's in another city. i don't want to use my e71 camera to do pix, because that's JUST WRONG!!!

well, i don't know about charging the iphone every hour, but the wife uses an ip4 and she barely gets through the day, and more often than not plugs the phone in during workdays anyhow...

i now get a full day out of the phone, with either the wifi or the gprs on all the time. (i still carry the charger around, just in case!!!)
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Old 18th June 2012, 17:27   #14
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Default Re: "Desire'ing' High Definition!" - review of the HTC Desire HD

Reviving the thread:

Have been a proud owner of a Desire HD from a year and half now. One thing to say about this phone. Amazing . Got a FOTA update for Gingerbread around 7 months ago and also an update for HTC sense 3.0 around a couple of months ago. Android 2.3 along with sense 3.0 is simply outstanding. Minimal lag, smooth scrolling (not as good as apple though) and hey!! even the battery is starting to last a bit longer. Earlier I used to charge it every night. Now its lasting around a day and a half.

Google play is another cool place wherein you can fill in all kinds of apps to this phone. Takes in almost all kinds of compatible apps and doesnt complain a bit. There have been hardly any instances of apps freezing or the phone dying down.

Some cons though: GPS fix takes an awefully long time, even with clear sky view. Any help on how to resolve? Also the volume up/down button has lost its metallic coating. Looks all plasticky. Perhaps one of the few plastic parts in this mobile.
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