HTC Touch HD review: Windows almighty

GSMArena team, 28 November 2008.
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Windows beneath

Once you get past the Home screen and all the finger sweeps and animations though, all you are left with is the Windows Mobile Professional OS. The massive screen and the nicely scaled UI of HTC Touch HD makes even that easily thumbable and almost every icon is easy to press without taking out the stylus. And since we're not fond at all of the so-very-outdated stylus, this came as a real treat.

We should also give credit to HTC for making an effort to improve the core Windows usability too. Some of the most used system settings, contacts management, and the messaging department have all benefited, and so have image and web browsing.

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Viewing the standard Programs and Settings menus on the HD

Phonebook is good indeed

Contact management is usually considered one of the strongest points of Windows Mobile. You have an unlimited contacts list, unlimited info fields for each contact and brilliant synchronization options.

HTC have spiced up the default WinMo contacts list by adding thumb scrolling (a slower sweep scrolls them gradually, while a fast single sweep scrolls the whole list from top to bottom). You can also pick a letter of the alphabet by using the letter column placed on the right. Searching by gradual typing is also available.

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HTC have added thumb scrolling to the phonebook

When editing a contact you have a plethora of available info fields - and if by any rare chance, those are not enough, you can always rename some of the existing ones and use them instead.

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Editing a contact

Despite the long list of available fields, when viewing a contact's details, only those that are actually filled show up. A really nice feature is the Last call details that appear alongside every contact.

HTC Touch HD
Viewing contact details

Telephony is uncompromised

Making calls is usually a priority for every cell phone - that still holds true for smart devices such as the HTC Touch HD. We didn't experience any problems with our calls on the Touch HD.

Since the Phone application offers smart dialing, you hardly ever need to go to the Contacts list to dial a number.

HTC Touch HD
The Touch HD Phone app has Smart Dialing, which searches both your recent calls and your contact list

When you put the HD to your ear, the display automatically switches off to avoid accidental presses. To do so, it uses a proximity sensor like the iPhone. Just as a reference, HTC Diamond relied on the embedded light sensor instead.

The downside to that is you need to press the On/Off key to turn the display back on during the call. But once you do, it stays on until you've finished your conversation. You can also activate the display by taking out the stylus which automatically starts the notes application. It even puts down the call details (the other party name and the time of call) on the note for you, which is as convenient as we might imagine.

HTC Touch HD
Receiving a call: slide to left to answer or right to hang up

Thanks to the built-in accelerometer, the HTC Touch HD has another cool feature: you can mute the ringer by simply turning the phone face down on the table. If you turn the handset back up, the ringing won't resume by itself. At least, it's unlikely to get your calls muted accidentally in your pocket - the feature is so set up that it's more likely to not engage at all, rather than engage for no reason.

Bear in mind that if the phone is already face down when a call comes in, the feature won't be available.

The HTC Touch HD also comes with the reject call with SMS feature. When you reject a call, the handset automatically sends the rejected caller a preset text message. We've never found that particularly useful, since you may have a dozen of different reasons to reject a call and there's hardly a universal message text that can cater to them all.

Anyway, with the HTC HD, the SMS is not sent automatically. Instead you are prompted to review and possibly edit the template before dispatch.

The Calls log on Windows Mobile devices offers practically unlimited entries but one of the worst looking interfaces available. Luckily, HTC have dramatically improved them and have also added thumb scrolling.

HTC Touch HD
HTC uses the default Call Log but with a facelift

To conclude the phone part review of the Touch HD, we measured the loudspeaker performance as part of our reviewing routine. You surely won't miss any calls with it, as it's loud enough to score the Good mark. Here's how the HTC Touch HD ranks along several other smart devices. You can find more details about our test, as well as the results of all other tested handsets here.

Speakerphone testVoice, dBPink noise/ Music, dBRinging phone, dBOveral score
Apple iPhone 3G66.162.171.7Below Average
LG KS2066.170.664.9Average
HTC Touch Diamond66.775.966.0Good
HTC Touch Pro74.969.773.7Good
Samsung INNOV875.169.675.8Very Good
HTC Touch HD77.773.776.7Excellent
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