HTC HD2 preview: First look
Web browser - Opera lacks Flash, IE lacks multi-touch
The HTC HD2 comes with the latest Opera browser. There's also IE Mobile 6 and strangely the choice between the two is not so obvious anymore with only IE having partial Flash support.
The Opera browser is extensively touch-optimized and supports multi-touch. With that big and capacitive screen along with the powerful hardware, the web browsing experience on the HD2 is almost unmatched.
Pages load quickly and look very good on the big screen, the pinch zoom is smooth and very fast with no visible lag. Scrolling through the page is also extremely fast and fluid.
Here is a quick demo video of the Opera browser.
Unfortunately, the Opera does not support Flash, so you can't view Flash ads and videos. Internet Explorer on the other hand handles Flash banners very well. But watching Flash videos is still a no-go.
Compared to the Opera, IE Mobile has two major flaws - there is no multi-touch support and it seems to load web pages twice as slow. Choosing between the two web browsers and their respective downsides will definitely be a matter of personal preference. We know we would go for Opera any time.
HTC HD2 comes with Google Maps preinstalled (no navigation here) but besides GMaps there's also CoPilot 8 SatNav software. It's a trial version alright and you have to opt for a paid license if you intend to use it but it's still nice it comes preinstalled on the device.
The built-in digital compass enhances the digital map experience even further. The compass works in CoPilot, but not in GMaps.
Well, it's not that everything in the mobile phones world revolves around the iPhone but we couldn't help but note that with HD2 HTC are the first manufacturer to outdo almost everything you'd find on the Apple's device.
It's ironic that it took the competition more than two years, twice the processor speed and twice the RAM to finally beat the UI styling and responsiveness of the iPhone. They still haven't got the hang of sunlight screen legibility, we admit. And the AppStore is miles ahead of any competing software distribution platform. But nonetheless, the HD2 is better, faster and stronger than the current golden standard of UI - the Apple iPhone.
HTC HD2 is the first in the long line of Windows Mobile smartphones to break the conservative tradition of using resistive display. But the HD2 does not stop at that. Its capacitive touchscreen is the biggest display ever put into a mobile phone.
HTC have put a lot of work on software development to make the best out of Windows Mobile 6.5. Really, what is a capacitive touchscreen without multi-touch gestures? And HTC have pulled it off successfully. The image gallery, the Opera browser, Google Maps, and even CoPilot Navigator make use of the pinch zooming and it works flawlessly.
Unfortunately, HTC HD2 won't justify its HD tag again. According to our tests so far, the handset is not capable of playing or capturing HD videos. But anyways, you don't need to watch 720p video on the 4.3-inch screen, WVGA one will do just as fine.
But somewhere there inside the HTC HD2 lives a real dragon. And it's got all the teeth, claws and fire breath to match every opponent the competition might send its way.
We'll that's all about the HD2 that deserves mentioning in a brief preview article. We would surely be putting the HD2 through its paces in the coming days and we hope that this short article would be enough to keep you going while we work on our full-featured review.