HTC HD2 review: Portrait of a rockstar

GSMArena team, 17 November 2009.

All-in-one connectivity

When it comes to connectivity the HTC HD2 has it all - HSDPA 7.2Mbps, HSUPA 2Mbps, Wi-Fi, stereo Bluetooth + EDR. It hasn't added 802.11n but that is still in the drafting stages.

The HD2 has quad-band GSM support and dual-band 3G - 900 and 2100 MHz bands are supported (that is Europe and the like). You can check out our Worldwide GSM Network Bands distribution database.

USB 2.0 connections are supported as well, but for the first time through a microUSB port. When connected to a computer, the HD2 prompts you to select among ActiveSync, Mass Storage or Modem mode.

The 3.5mm audio jack for the audio purists is also onboard.

Web browsers at war - 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 Flash support.

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Opera • Internet Explorer

The Opera browser is extensively touch-optimized and supports multi-touch. On that big 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 up and down the page is also extremely fast and fluid.

Unfortunately, the Opera does not support Flash, so you can't view Flash content and videos. Internet Explorer on the other hand is supposed to handle Flash flawlessly, but watching Flash videos is still troublesome. Embedded YouTube videos in websites play very well, but you can't open the desktop YouTube without the help of direct video link. The IE always opens the mobile version and there is no link to the original one. It's just odd. IE can't handle the contents on Vimeo or some other Flash video sites either.

Of course, there is HTC YouTube client preinstalled, so watching streaming videos from the mobile YouTube version is trouble free.

As far as the Internet Explorer interface is concerned, it somehow resembles the Opera one, auto hiding context buttons at the bottom of the screen. There are five available settings for text size and there is a mobile view mode. Still, on a high-res screen we are far more comfortable using the desktop mode, as web pages look much more natural.

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Opera and Internet Explorer itnerfaces

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. Anyway, users want to have a choice and that’s what the HD2 is ready to provide.

here's a video we shot demoing how the two web browsers work on the HTC HD2.

The organizer we like the most

Windows Mobile offers several time-management features and all of them are easily syncable with Outlook. In the HD2 the standard interface is kept under wraps - the only times you catch a glimpse of it are when creating or viewing an appointment. The homescreen only shows the basics - time and subject.

The Calendar offers daily, weekly, monthly and even yearly views. All of them are available in the Sense UI, so you will never go again to the white WinMo interface. The left context key allows you to switch only between the monthly and daily view. For the others you will need to go to the menu.

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The Sense skinned Calendar views • viewing a task in the tabbed UI

Adding an appointment is easy and you can do it by the dedicated button. It has plenty of fields, reminders and notes. The time settings resemble the iPhone clock wheels, which LG already adopted in their S-Class UI.

When viewing tasks, you can also see weather information for that particular day if available. The Sense UI preloads the weather forecast for up to 5 days ahead of the last update.

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Viewing and editing a task from the Calendar app

The To-Do list allows you to add tasks and assign them priority; the Notes also come in handy. The Voice recorder and Calculator need no explanation.

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The Calculator • Voice recorder

The Alarm clock has three alarm slots. Each Alarm can have its own repeat pattern. Unfortunately, due to the limited customization options in the default Alarms application, we suggest you check out some of the free third-party alternatives.

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Alarms

A document editor is readily available

Among the other WM core applications is the Office Mobile package featuring support for viewing and editing Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files. With the latest version of Office Mobile, you also have the OneNote application.

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The Office Mobile allows viewing and editing Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote files

Once again, the WVGA display of the HD2 proves superior in fitting as much of the documents contents on the screen as possible - especially in portrait mode.

Thanks to Adobe Reader LE, there is also support for viewing PDF documents. We are pleased with the performance of the HD2 in this area, as opening and handling PDF documents is usually rather slow on handhelds.

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Opening PDF documents with Adobe Reader LE

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