HTC HD2 preview: First look

GSMArena team, 10 November 2009.
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Unboxing the HTC HD2

Here is a quick unboxing video of the HTC HD2 that we shot at our office. We don't usually do unboxing videos in our reviews as usually several shots of the box contents are pretty much enough. But if you prefer having those instead of the images, let us know in the comments.

Design and construction

The HTC HD2 makes a better first impression than its predecessor - the HTC Touch HD. It's not that the differences are so big, but the thin frame combined with an even larger display makes up for a pretty impressive combo.

We have to admit though that we liked the styling of the keys below the display better on the Touch HD.

The HTC HD2 next to Apple's iPhone

The front is taken mainly by the 4.3" monster of a display of the HTC HD2. Sporting WVGA resolution, the screen is the largest we have ever seen on a mobile phone (the two HTC Advantage devices don't exactly qualify as mobile phones here).

HTC HD2 is also the first among the WinMo family to use the capacitive touchscreen technology, which makes even the lightest of touches enough for a click to be registered. A stylus is no longer an option but on the large WVGA screen even the tiniest interface elements are easy to press with a finger.

We hardly have any complaints about sensitivity and what's more the senistive screen subjectively make syou feel as if the OS is more responsive than on past devices. It just could be the case, but we won't know it before we see an implementation of the capacitive screen without the Snapdragon CPU.

And when it comes to image quality, it is nothing short of fantastic.

However the large size of the display easily exposes the display's primary weakness - it limitation of 65K colors. There is easily visible color banding on multiple screens throughout the interface and on most of the preinstalled wallpapers as well.

Another downer is that legibility under direct sunlight is far from perfect. The display mirror finish and the fingerprint smudges make it really hard to discern what's on screen.

The handset's all about the dispaly

The number of hardware controls on the HD2 body has been increased over its predecessor. There are five hardware keys below the display now. The Menu key is the newcomer - it's mandatory for all WinMo 6.5 devices. Just as a comparison, the original Touch HD had only four keys instead (and they all were touch sensitive).

The disparity between HD2 regular hardware keys and the sensitive capacitive screen that doesn't need any force to be applied certainly needs a little time to get used to but it's not too bad.

The five regular keys below the display

The general build quality of the HD2 looks pretty nice. The steel battery cover and the fingerprint resistant plastic around it are certainly welcome on board.

The bottom part of the phone hosts the microUSB port, the microphone pinhole and the 3.5mm standard audio jack. Understandably there's no stylus this time. This is only the first phone by HTC to come equipped with a microUSB port. Up until now, they used the miniUSB variety.

Unfortunately, there's no camera shutter key on the right side, much like there wasn't one on the Touch Diamond, Touch Diamond2 and the original Touch HD.

The 3.5mm standard audio jack, the microUSB port and the microphone pinhole are all at the bottom

At the back of the HTC HD2 is the 5 megapixel camera lens, stuck between the loudspeaker grill and the dual LED flash. It's a good thing that HTC decided to do something about low-light shooting this time by including a LED flash but we would have really preferred a dedicated camera key instead.

The camera lens sticks out a mile and we didn't quite like how your index finger somehow always landed on the front glass. The lens protection also seems quite insufficient and if you carry your handset in the pocket, it would most definitely get scratched.

The camera is nestled between the loudspeaker grill and the dual LED flash

Removing the steel back cover reveals the 1230 mAh battery. Here, you'll find the reset pinhole along with the microSD card slot. The location of the card slot might not be good news to those of you that like using the card for transferring data.

The microSD card slot and the reset pinhole are under the battery cover

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