final rating

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Criteria Comments Rating
  • Reception and call quality No comments
  • Display No comments
  • Battery life No comments
  • Camera No comments
  • Ease of use No comments
  • Design and form factor No comments
  • Portability (size / weight) No comments
  • Media support No comments
  • Durability No comments
  • Ecosystem (apps, accessories, etc.) No comments
Detailed review
I'm not a fan of the physical keyboard. If there's no better option I'll use it but since the 1st gen iPhone, the soft keyboard's ability to know what I wanted to type is much better than the hard keyboards ability to figure out which of the tiny keys my oversized fingers were aiming for. So in December I decided to drop my blackberry and take a dive into WinMo territory after hearing Ryan & Peter talk about the HD2 on the podcast.
This phone is a dream... which means I unfortunately keep getting woken up to the harsh reality of the underlying system.

So the pro's. The screen is unbelievable. Beautiful. Bright. Sharp. You really have to spend some time with it to really appreciate it. The Sense UI is also amazing. Just the animated homescreen alone is worth it but the flip pad for your mail, the image pads... all in all a smart, well thought through and very attractive UI.

The cons: it's windows underneath! Turning the phone from portrait to landscape doesn't work in Word, xl, acrobat reader etc. After a month, going from the beautiful mail preview in Sense to the actual mail in outlook is a shock to the system.

More importantly though - the soft keyboard is terrible. It never manages to get my password right on the first try... usually takes me three times and some swearing.
The XT9 is cool but I'd rather it better pick where I'm hitting than guess what multitude of words I may have been trying to write. If you've never used an iPhone then maybe this is the best thing you've seen. But going from a low def old-fashioned screen on the iPhone to this beauty - the software just doesn't keep up.

Oh yeah - battery life is amazing. The thing will suck a battery dry in 4 hours by doing nothing, I swear I've left it sit on my desk, no calls, no mails, no anything, screen off... about 4 hours of battery.

I remember when the iPhone came out many complained about the lack of changeable battery - since 2007 I0ve never understood why that was an issue. Until the HD2 came along. Problem is it takes longer to charge a battery than a battery lasts. I'm pretty sure this is a software issue - something's going on because it runs hot for 4 hours then dies... while doing nothing.

Of course, the removable battery has another benefit - I need to reboot the bloody phone at least once a day and this is the easiest way. Not quite sure what HTC were thinking. Hard reset (delete everything and back to factory) you get by holding down the two volume buttons. Soft reset (when the phone's just locked up) you have to remove the cover and press a small tiny button with the top of a pen - or, seeing as the cover's off, just remove and replace the battery instead of looking for a pen. The soft reset without taking off the cover and the hard reset more difficult to do would seem to have made more sense.

The rebooting... yeah - minimum once a day... and this is being nice. Sometimes it's the keyboard just locks. Sometimes it's windows remembering that it's not actually able to support a touch based UI... sometimes it's running it's magic battery drain and just locks while not doing anything at all.

So I give it a 5. It's a phone that I want to use every day because when it works it's beautiful. However, since I've gotten I've basically stopped using it as a phone and have lost my entire blackberry style e-mail capability. I still carry it with me everywhere but I use my iPhone for all calls. I print my calendar and take it with me and the HD2 is just something I show to people as a cool new toy...

I'm hoping HTC have a firmware upgrade in the works 'cos I really don't want to have to go back to the blackberry.