HTC Touch HD review: Windows almighty

GSMArena team, 28 November 2008.
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The Touch HD is storming the WinMo stage to leave a footprint the size of half the HTC portfolio. Not so long ago we saw Windows Mobile changing for the better thanks to the TouchFLO 3D, The latest flagship gets things even hotter with a multimedia twist. And the new screen… well, beauty's in the numbers.

Looks like all that stands between the Touch HD and legend is the actual performance. A bold statement it is, so what we're about to do is push it to its limits. An unforgiving spec sheet calls for unforgiving scrutiny. Join us as we set sail to explore the HTC Touch HD big sway and little secrets.

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HTC Touch HD official photos

Key features

  • Massive 3.8" 65K-color WVGA display
  • Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional OS
  • TouchFLO 3D Home screen and gesture controls
  • Wi-Fi and built-in GPS receiver
  • Qualcomm MSM7201A 528 Mhz CPU and 288 MB DDR SDRAM
  • Dedicated graphics chip (64MB RAM reserved for graphics)
  • Quad-band GSM and dual-band HSDPA support
  • 5 MP auto focus camera with nice image quality
  • microSD card slot
  • Accelerometer sensor for auto screen rotation and turn-to-mute calls
  • Proximity sensor to automatically turn the screen off during calls
  • Fingerprint resistant rear panel
  • Touch sensitive keys with vibration feedback
  • Stereo FM radio with RDS
  • Standard 3.5mm audio jack
  • miniUSB slot and Bluetooth v2.0 with A2DP
  • Active magnetic stylus
  • MS Office Mobile document editor
  • Excellent Opera 9.5 web browser
  • Rich retail package, including 8GB microSD card

Main disadvantages:

  • A wee bit overweight
  • Sizeable body (still within acceptable limits though)
  • Average sunlight legibility
  • Video recording maxes out at CIF@30fps
  • There's no dedicated camera key or flash
  • No D-pad (offers more precise navigation)
  • Power key is really hard to press
  • No TV out port

HTC Touch HD is simply the next big thing in the Windows Mobile realm. And big is by no means limited to size. Indeed, the handset does come out a little too hefty but the feature pack is the kind to make you forget about size. The massive screen and so-unlike-WinMo multimedia skills give HTC Touch HD the kind of crossover appeal to reach beyond the hardcore PocketPC following.

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HTC Touch HD

The main market competitor is probably the Samsung i900 Omnia. Now, technically, it should be the Omnia upgrade competing against the HD, but there we are for the want of any. While the Omnia has a smaller screen with merely a quarter of the pixels, it certainly comes closest to the Touch HD among all WinMo devices. In addition, it is a bit smaller, has some massive embedded memory and goes at a lower price, having been around for quite a while now.

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HTC Touch HD vs Samsung i900 Omnia

Among the HTC very own - the Touch Diamond will probably seem more appealing to those who find the HD too big for a nice ride. The Diamond lacks the 5MP shooter but it ain't much of a loss from our point of view. And if QWERTY is higher on your list than screen estate - the HTC Touch Pro is a must consider.

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HTC Touch HD vs HTC Touch Diamond

Having mentioned Touch Pro, the archenemy Xperia X1 inevitably leaps to mind. However we're not quite sure whether we can call the Xperia a direct competitor of the Touch HD. It's not only the smaller screen and full QWERTY. It's just that the Touch Pro seems better suited to keep Sony Ericsson X1 busy.

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HTC Touch HD vs Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1

Anyway, we seem to finally be getting to the point. The resemblance between HTC Touch HD and the Apple iPhone 3G is just too strong to overlook. While the user experience of the iPhone is still well ahead of anything WinMo gadgets can offer, the Touch HD is as close as we've seen one get. It's got quite a larger screen than iPhone 3G, which takes fingertip navigation to a whole new level (in Windows Mobile terms that is).

Apple iPhone 3G
Apple iPhone 3G

With the alternatives behind our back, we can now give the HTC Touch HD the attention it deserves. Follow us to the next page for the unboxing ritual.

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