HTC Desire HD review: Most wanted
A fine organizer on board, office doc editor included
The usual set of organizer apps are on board the HTC Desire HD but it does one better than most other phones – it’s got a mobile Office app that can both view and edit documents.
That’s the Quickoffice app, which has support for viewing Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, including the Office 2007 versions and it can create Office 2003 Word and Excel documents.
There is also a PDF viewer to handle PDF files. The faster CPU (compared to the Desire Z) does give it an edge in speed. The on-screen keyboard does cut down the available space in half but if you zoom out (using pinch zoom of course) you can still fit a reasonable amount of text.
When editing a Word document, you get plenty of formatting options (more than you get on Windows Phone 7). You get text effects (italic, bold, etc.), you can change the font and its size, color and highlight (from a color picker, not just 3 pre-selected colors like in WP7).
However, when you tap Format you get a long list with all the options in it – usable but not quite user friendly. You can’t create tables or lists either. The situation with spreadsheets is similar – enough features, but not presented in the most user-friendly way.
The doc viewer integrates with the Gmail app, which makes viewing attachments a cinch. You can’t download them to the phone’s internal memory however. Attaching saved files (and we mean all kind of files) is possible though.
The calendar has four different types of view: daily, weekly, monthly and agenda. Adding a new event is quick and easy, and you can also set an alarm to serve as a reminder.
The Agenda view shows a list of all the calendar entries from the recent past to the near future. It’s a very handy tool when you need to check your appointments for the next few days.
There is also a calculator aboard. It is nicely touch optimized with big, easy to hit buttons. Flipping it horizontally enables some more advanced functions like logarithms.
The HTC Desire HD features an alarm clock application, which can handle multiple alarms, each with its own start time and repeat pattern. The Desk clock app turns your Desire HD into a… well, Desk clock. It displays the current time and date and allows you to switch off the display backlighting to save battery power or not disturb at night.
The World clock app allows you to quickly check the time in different time zones, while the stopwatch and timer apps might come in handy if you plan to take the phone with you when doing sports.
The Stocks application gives you quotes from Yahoo finance. The Voice recorder might be quite useful for making audio notes and the weather app brings Yahoo’s weather forecast for your area a click away.
There’s an HTC-branded flashlight app too – it uses the LED flash and you can set it to 3 levels of intensity. Nice and all, but the Android Market is full of this kind of apps already.
Facebook and Twitter fans will appreciate the preinstalled Facebook and Peep apps, which allow you to update your profiles on the world’s largest social networks.
The official Twitter app for Android also came preinstalled – some might prefer it over Peep (both are very good, so whichever one you choose will do fine). They integrate with the phonebook, so you can read your friends’ tweets from there, no need to launch the app.
There are two handy search apps Quick lookup and Search Anywhere. Quick lookup lets you enter a query and view the Wikipedia article (formatter for easy reading), search Google, YouTube, use Google Translate or look it up in Google Dictionary. The Search Anywhere app is a universal in-phone search that covers anything – from settings and messages to songs and videos.
The eBook reader puts a virtual library in your pocket
The Reader app is an eBook reader provided by Kobo. It comes preloaded with several classics (from A Tale of Two Cities to White Fang) and access to Kobo’s eBook store where you can buy new books (the store includes more free titles too).
The UI is fairly simple – it presents a cover flow like list of all and once you tap a cover, it opens up the book for you (with a nice animation). Alternatively, you can view your library as a list.
The reader formats the book to best fit the screen and you can change the font setting if it’s too small (or too big). You can add bookmarks, highlight sections of the book with different colors and even jot down notes – you can access those later from the context menu while reading the book.
We wish there were more settings though – colors, backlight control, etc. The background is pure white, which means it glows with the full strength of the backlight, which quickly becomes a problem and tires your eyes. A choice of background colors would have been nice and some easy to reach control of the backlight.
Another thing we missed is the option to import books you already have – like classic books from Project Guttenberg for example.
Anyway, some will find the Reader app useful, others can just grab Kindle for Android from the Market or one of the other free eBook readers.