HTC Touch HD preview: First look

GSMArena team, 21 October 2008. Read the original review at
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Unboxing the HTC Touch HD

The HTC Touch HD has a rather regular package, nothing fancy as the one of the Touch Diamond and Touch Pro. The contents are pretty much standard and include a USB data cable, a charger and a stereo headset.

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Unboxing the HTC Touch HD

All the accessories are the same styling as the ones of the Touch Diamond with only one exception. The headset now plugs directly into a 3.5mm audio jack instead in the proprietary HTC miniUSB port. That's good news as you can use a third party headset (or output audio to an analogue receiver) without the need of an adapter.

Design and construction

The HTC Touch HD has a remarkably pleasant design with rounded corners and polished looks. The back panel has a soft-touch rubbery finish that allows a non-slip firm grip and also doesn't attract any fingerprints.

That is not the case with the front panel, which is almost entirely covered by the display glass and leaves an ample space for fingerprint smudges. HTC promise that the glass cover provides protection to scratches and we certainly hope it does, as our Touch Diamond got scratched in the first week of use.

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HTC Touch HD - wider than Diamond, but still fashionable

The screen estate of the HTC Touch is absolutely fabulous as we've never seen such a big display on a mobile phone. Unlike other Windows Mobile devices operating the touchscreen is really nice - a slight touch does it (as opposed to pressing) as sensitivity seems to be on a new level.

There are only a handful of controls on the body. The on/off key is topside and there are four touch sensitive keys below the display (two receiver keys, Home key and Back key). There is no D-pad here, as touch is your sole way of operating the device. While the iPhone could get away with that, we have our doubts regarding the Windows Mobile usability without a directional navigation solution.

The stylus is tucked in the lower right corner of the phone. Much like on the Touch Diamond the stylus is active and there's a magnetic action to help keeping it in place.

The volume rocker is on the left side of the body (pictured above) and all that pretty much sums up the available controls on the Touch HD.

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HTC Touch HD has a 3.5mm audio jack on/off key stylus touch controls below the display

On the back of the HTC Touch HD is the 5 megapixel camera lens, which is surrounded by a protective brushed metal plate. There is no LED flash, but that's not a big waste.

The more serious issue as we see it is the lack of a dedicated camera shutter key. To take a photo you need to touch the screen lightly, which lets the camera auto focus, and then press it harder without lifting your finger at all. It works the same as on the Touch Diamond, but there you have the reassuring hardware click of the D-pad for the second harder press.

We still think that the lack of a hardware D-pad might turn out to be a major nuisance, but we'll report on that when we spend some more time with the Touch HD.

The implementation of the touch operated shutter on the HTC Touch HD reminds us greatly of the much criticized iPhone camera where the lack of a hardware key made third-party developers work hard in reassigning the function to some of the already present hardware keys - such as the volume rocker.

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The 5 megapixel camera lacks a flash and a dedicated shutter key

Removing the back cover doesn't really reveal much of the handset except the fact that HTC have put the reset pinhole there hidden away from an easy access. You don't have to remove the battery to access it but still it doesn't seem comfortable from usability point of view.

The microSD card slot is also under the back cover but luckily it's accessible without removing the battery itself. So as it seems the future Touch HD users will have quite a nice time opening the battery cover on a frequent basis.

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The red reset knob and the memory card slot are below the battery cover the battery has a rather large capacity

Final words

Well, we round off the HTC Touch HD preview rather abruptly but we had a very short encounter with the HTC uber smartie. Our brief impressions made us highly enthusiastic about its potential and we can't wait to test out its real life performance once we get to spend some more quality time with it. Until then, all that's left is drooling over the live shots that made this preview possible.

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