HTC Touch HD review: Windows almighty

GSMArena team, 28 November 2008.
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Messaging is well organized

The HTC Touch HD supports SMS, MMS and email. SMS and MMS share an inbox and a message editor. Thanks to TouchFLO you can enjoy thumb scrolling in the inboxes and longer messages.

As of Windows 6.1, users enjoy threaded SMS, so you can be sure you get that feature on the Touch HD. The HTC Touch HD also offers Message delivery reports in its Settings menu.

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Messaging on the HD

The email inbox holds no surprises to experienced WinMo users.

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Browsing the email inbox

Looks like the right moment to elaborate on the input options on the HTC Touch HD. HTC have equipped the device with a set of home-grown keyboards and keypads, most of which are rather nicely designed. Since the default Windows Mobile is hardly usable for anything we are more than happy with the HTC effort.

The first keyboard is full QWERTY, the second one is a SureType offshoot (QW-ER-TY) and, finally, the third one is a regular 9-key multi-tap keypad.

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The available input methods

In the applications where screen auto rotation is enabled, you also get larger landscape versions of those keyboards. Unfortunately, except for the web browser the auto screen rotation and text input paths never cross on the HTC Touch HD. It's a real shame since the messaging could really use one of those landscape QWERTYs.

That's an excellent image gallery

The Touch HD offers a nice thumbnail browser straight from the Photos and Videos tab on the Home screen. There's another thumbnail browser in the Album app available from the context menu on the Home screen or the Programs menu.

Once an image is opened, you can make use of auto screen rotation to view it in landscape mode or you can zoom in with a circular gesture over the part of the image you want to zoom in on (it just doesn't get any cooler than that).

Once you zoom in on the image you can start panning by holding your thumb down for a second. The Albums application also offers a customizable slideshow.

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Opening an image • context menu • zooming in and thumb panning

Scrolling to the next image is a matter of a single finger sweep and it's almost instantaneous. The image viewer actually has the same functionality as in the HTC Touch Cruise.

Thanks to the built-in accelerometer, switching to landscape mode is seamless.

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Opening an image in landscape mode • zooming in

It's got to be said that the Touch HD has a certain advantage over competing devices when it comes to image browsing since this is one of the applications where WVGA resolution does count big time. The images look great on the huge high-res screen.

And there's a cool music player too

Much like the HTC Touch Diamond, the Touch HD has a good music player, which makes heavy use of album art. The music player is accessible straight from the TouchFLO home screen with cool cover flow animation for you to pick an album.

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The really cool music player runs directly on the home screen

In case you want to filter tracks by other criteria beside album, the Library shortcut will take you to the player backend where you can sort music by artist, genre, composer, purchased tracks or simply create custom playlists. The visual interface of the library is fluid and gets as close to Apple's omnipresent iPhone as we have seen any gadget go.

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The music library: Now Playing tab • artists tab • albums tab • context menu

Equalizer presets are available only when you have the headset plugged in. They are not part of the music player itself but of a separate application called Audio Booster. That setup allows you to make use of the presets when you watch videos or even when you listen to music on an alternative player.

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The Audio Booster app is a system wide setting

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