Happy Twenty10 to you! Finally, I decided to come back and make another post. My last post here, a review, was published more than two months back. I am back with another review; not a movie review this time though. It is about my new GSM mobile handset – the HTC HD2.
I was happy with my Samsung Star. But the honeymoon ended in six months. I had to change the screen, upgrade the unstable software, and even go for a complete motherboard replacement. But aye, you Star owners don’t worry. It must have been a rare problem. Some of my friends are using the Star and they are quite pleased with its performance. So I consider my case as a rare one. But after facing these problems, I was constantly searching on the Internet for a decent handset. I wanted to buy one which has plenty of features, and so did not consider the cost factor. The phones that made it to the final round were Apple iPhone 3GS, HTC Hero, and HTC HD2. All had their advantages and disadvantages. Though it is a very good phone, I didn’t like the shape of the Hero. I also wanted a bigger touch screen. The preferred choice was the iPhone 3GS. But some factors like its lack of Bluetooth data transfer facility, flash (both camera flash and webpage flash), and FM radio made me think again. To add to it, I had to purchase the phone from abroad, unlock it illegally and use here. So, the option came down to the HD2, the Windows Phone. I referred a lot of sites, read several reviews, compared its specifications with other phones I considered, and finally decided to own one. But owning one wasn’t easy either. Its sale had not started in India. A few weeks later, Tata Docomo started selling it through their Dive In stores. But the problem was there was no Dive In store in Kerala. In a few days, they opened one in Kochi, and another one popped up in Trivandrum in the following week. The best thing is that Docomo does not want you to buy their connection along with it. So, I could use my Vodafone SIM with it.
HTC HD2 is a Windows Phone that comes with Windows Mobile 6.5. The phone has the biggest touch screen on a mobile. It is a sheer pleasure to use the giant capacitive screen. Since this is a capacitive screen, you don’t need a stylus to work on it. The phone has a fast processor and more than decent RAM capacity. So, the phone is really fast! In case if you buy the phone from a Docomo Dive In store and take a Docomo postpay connection along with it, you will get 500 MB of free data per month for six months. I checked with Vodafone support and sadly their GPRS settings will not work on Windows Mobile 6.5. So, I had to go for Vodafone Mobile Connect for Internet. Now the price – I bought the phone for INR 36,269.
So here goes the review; hopefully the bullet list is better than a detailed and elaborate one.
- Screen size: The screen size is 4.3 inches, which is almost 11 cms diagonally. This is the biggest screen on a mobile phone until now.
- Display: Even though the phone supports only 65K colours, the display is the best I have seen on a mobile, thanks to the HD screen. It is brilliant for images and videos.
- Looks: 10/10 for the design and looks. The phone also comes with a handy pouch. You may find the pouch a bit tight initially, but it will loosen up in two days.
- Slim: Even though the phone carries a huge screen, it is so slim; just 1.1 cms of thickness.
- Capacitive touch screen: It is a joy to experience its iPhone like touch control.
- Unlimited contacts and call log: Self explanatory. I think this depends on the available memory.
- Camera: Comes with a 5 MP auto-focus camera with dual LED flash. Great for outdoor shots. You can also tap the required part on the screen and take adjust the focus. There is a problem of a pink tint in the pictures taken with the HD2. But a fix is available for that on the HD2 support website now.
- Calculator: Has a scientific calculator in the landscape mode.
- Digital compass: Has decent accuracy. It is possible to calculate the distance to the required location using Google Maps and the digital compass.
- MP3 trimmer: Suppose you have a lengthy song, and you want to set a particular portion of that song as your ringtone. How? Quite possible with the HD2. The phone has a very good song trimmer to make ringtones from music files.
- Phone search: A brilliant search facility that searches the entire phone, mails, messages, notes, tasks, MS Office, calendar, help, and other files and returns the results in a jiffy.
- Home screen: The home screen displays the time, weather, upcoming event, alarm settings, date, and shortcuts.
- Lock screen: The lock screen displays the date, time, upcoming events, and missed notifications. You can tap the lock icon and the phone will display the missed events. Instead of locking the phone by sliding the lock icon, you may go directly to the required event by tapping the lock icon and sliding the corresponding icon.
- 3.5 mm headphone jack: You can plug in your own headphone using the 3.5 mm jack of the phone. You can also connect the phone to external speakers this way and listen to some loud music.
- Headset: The phone comes with a quality headset. It contains dedicated music keys using which you can play and pause songs, change tracks, or even seek the ‘now playing’ song.
- Weather wallpaper: You can set weather wallpapers which will display animated weather effects on your screen, by downloading the current weather of your city from the Internet. For example, for a rainy weather, the phone screen shows showers on it with a wiper clearing the water drops.
- Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube ready: I tried the Twitter application, which is brilliant and quite easy to use. It has settings for URL shortening host selection, photo host selection, and notification control.
- Menu bar: This is a welcome change from other phones. One may feel it a bit difficult in the beginning. But a host of options appear in the home tabs which is very convenient and easy to use.
- Processor and speed: The phone comes with a Qualcomm 1 GHz Snapdragon processor. With it, you can launch, use, and close applications in no time. Just try changing music tracks or seek a track for a feel of the processor speed.
- Threaded SMS view: Like in GMail and iPhone, you can view your messages with each contact in a threaded view.
- Scroll facility: The text on webpages and that in documents can fit themselves into the screen even if a zoom view is set.
- Pinch zoom and multitouch control: With two fingers, you can zoom in and zoom out photos, documents, and webpages (Opera only). Double tap the required part in an image for zoom in and zoom out effects.
- Internet experience: Thanks to the big screen, speed, and pinch zoom, using the Internet is a great experience with the HD2.
- Calendar and appointments: The phone presents a brilliant calendar and an MS Outlook like event organiser. You can also view the year calendar, thanks to its big screen.
- Reject calls with SMS: Suppose you get a call while you are in a meeting. If you want to let the caller know that you are busy, you can click the option ‘Send Text’ which will send your pre-configured message to the caller.
- Intelligent ring: The phone will automatically reduce the ringtone volume if the phone is moved while it is ringing. This is helpful if your phone is placed on a table.
- Mute ring: You can hold the phone upside down while it is ringing, to mute the ringtone.
- Pocket mode: The phone will automatically increase the ringtone volume if it is kept inside a pouch or a bag. A really useful feature.
- Auto backlight: The phone has a facility to adjust the backlight to suit the light settings of its surroundings. A good feature that provides a clearer screen even in bright sunlight.
- Micro USB cable: The charger which itself is the data cable, has a micro USB connector so that you don’t need another charger that comes with a proprietary pin measurement.
- Business card reader: Open the business card reader and point your camera to a business card and take a snap. The phone recognises the details and allows you to save the card holder to your contacts list. You can also edit the details if required.
- Contacts navigation: It is so easy to navigate to the required contact. You have three options; one is to scroll using your finger, two is to use the find button, and three is to use the alphabet listed on the right side of the contacts page.
- Contact history: When you select a contact from the contacts list, the phone presents your complete contact history with that person. This includes SMSs, mails, appointments, and call history.
- Data card encryption: You can encrypt the contents of the memory card so that the card contents can be read only by your phone.
- Expandable memory: The phone comes with an 8GB micro SD card. The phone supports up to 32GB of external storage.
- Other features: WiFi, 3G, GPRS, EDGE, GPS, Bluetooth, Stock Alerts, Opera and Internet Explorer browsers, Digital Camcoder, MS Office Mobile, SIM Manager, Connection to Windows Marketplace, Voice Recorder, PDF Viewer, Windows Live Mail and Messenger, Windows Media Player etc.
- Install programs: Self explanatory.
- Automatic data configuration: The phone detects the available data configuration settings and it can implement the settings automatically.
- Back cover: The phone has a metal back cover which cannot be opened easily. My finger nails got damaged twice. The third time I sought the help of my brother to assist me in opening the back cover.
- Internal memory: The phone comes with only less than 600 MB of internal memory. But it comes with an 8GB micro SD card and supports up to 32 GB of external storage.
- Data counter: I didn’t see any option to view the downloaded or uploaded data.
- Keyboard: I have been using Samsung Star’s small qwerty keypad and I found the HD2 keypad a bit difficult to operate with both hands when composing a in the landscape board. The phone is that big!
- Data service check: The notifier ‘E’ appears at the top of the screen always. This appears as enabled when data service is available. The notifier automatically fades itself when data service is not available. I didn’t see any option to disable this automatic check.
- Weather display: I didn’t see any setting by which the once activated weather settings can be removed from the home screen.
- Windows Live account deletion: I didn’t see any setting by which the once activated Windows Live account can be deleted.
- Powerful flash: The camera comes with a dual LED flash, which when used close to your shooting object produces only white pictures! Wonder why? The flash is that powerful. So, you will need to adjust the distance to the object for better pictures with the flash on.
- Cost: The phone is costly.
- Windows: Yeah, the phone may hang occasionally. If nothing works, you may need to open the back cover and press the red button to soft reset the phone. This must be a Control+Alt+Delete option!
The HTC HD2 is a brilliant phone. It has more features than what you may find in another leading phone in the same price range. It will be nice if most of the problems given in the Cons list could be corrected. This is undoubtedly, the best phone I have used or seen. I would give the phone 9 out 10.