End User phones

The HTC Desire HD – Android review two months in a step up from my old Nokia N97

phonebox in snow in Lincoln Bailgate

I get asked what I think of my Android phone – I seem to have a wave of friends whose contracts are now up and are looking to move (predominantly from a Nokia!)

My first observation is that the moves are typically away from a Nokia and the question is Apple or Android? A second observation is that none of the phones being considered are cheap and people are signing up to spending £850 or so over two years, including the bundle, on a handset that they are almost certain to want to churn at the end of their contract. Such is the pace of development. That’s the equivalent of buying a new 42″ plasma/LCD TV every year!

My two month old HTC Desire HD is the best phone I have ever had. Before that I had a Nokia N97 which was also at the time the best phone I had ever had but the HTC is streets ahead of it.

The biggest leap forward is in usability. Everything is intuitive and easy. Next is the huge range of apps you can download for the device. This is not unique to Android but it is collectively for the industry a big step up from where we were before. There may well have been apps available for older generation handsets but today it is more natural for people to use them. If anything the difficulty is trying to decide which app to use – there are just so many of them.

The apps are also better designed for their environment. For example on the N97 I had a Facebook App that used to give me problems when leaving the house. The device didn’t easily switch from WiFi to 3G and the Facebook app kept complaining about “not having a connection to the network” – a nuisance when I had just set off in the car and didn’t want to fiddle about with the phone. It was easier for me to use the 3G connection most of the time rather than keep switching back and fore from WiFi.

On the HTC Desire HD this is never a problem. It isn’t a problem on the iPad either so I imagine this is a “generational” improvement in software. Using 3G does pose battery life problems though so I do take real steps to prevent this, normally by keeping the phone disconnected from any data network unless I particularly need to use it. With careful management the battery lasts me a whole day and if I know I am going to be “hammering” the phone I take advantage of any opportunity to recharge it.

The Apps I use are TweetDeck, Voice Recorder, Mail, Camera, Messages, Search, Gallery, Internet, Four Square and AudioBoo. I also have Skype on there but more from the notion that I feel I ought to have it than because I really use it. In fact I very regularly use all but Skype and AudioBoo and I’m planning on doing more audio posts.

It isn’t a phone anymore. It is clearly a personal communicator – it’s just that the PC acronym has already been taken.

If I had to make a criticism it is that the sound quality of the HTC Desire HD doesn’t match up to the quality of the rest of the device. The speakers don’t anyway. When I use the headset it is great. Also because it is a touch screen phone I sometimes find that my cheek has “ended” a conversation.

The only other gripe is not phone specific and that is the spelling auto-correction sometimes leads me to including words that I didn’t mean so send in a tweet or text. The benefits of the function outweigh the problems and I am happy to live with the added overhead of having to check what I have a written before sending.

From a parental perspective I fear that a new bar has been set in terms of a child’s expectation of a mobile phone. It’s all about money these days. Whilst I realise that I make a living out of technology, part of me yearns back to the days of my youth where nobody had a mobile, the internet hadn’t been invented and I used to put two pence in the phone box outside school to call my mum to come and pick me up from cricket/rugby etc. In fact I didn’t even need to spend the money because as soon as the pips went mum knew I was at that phone box.

Of course I could always become a monk! Click on the header photo and you will see a boy waiting outside a phonebox in the snow for his mum to pick him up. I suppose there are benefits to technology :). He should have used his Android! (he does have a HTC running Windows mobile 6.5 and an iPod Touch!!)

Trefor Davies

By Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of, writer, poet,

6 replies on “The HTC Desire HD – Android review two months in a step up from my old Nokia N97”

Completely agree.
One of two minor glitches but nothing to take he shine of this phone. My last phone was a last generation Android stuck on version 1.6 – the changes Google have made transforms the platform from kind of interesting to a serious tool.
Love the way it turns the ringer up to full volume when you drop it in your pocket or you can silence it in a meeting by turning it face down.
I switched to Swype as a keyboard which transforms typing on a touch screen.

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Adrian Wooster, tref. tref said: New blog posting, The HTC Desire HD – Android review two months in a step up from my old Nokia N97 – […]

I agree with all of that! 🙂 I didn’t realise you had the HD, I thought it was just a Desire.

My kids have ‘smart’ phones and iPod Touches but I’m still stuck in the stone-age ‘thick(brick)’ phone rather than smart!

My problem is when I do the maths – as you say a decent phone on a decent package is BIG money. I always equate that to what normal bills I could pay 🙁
I know people paying £65 a month for their iPhone4 package!!!

As a self employed bod working from a home office I don’t really get out enough (literally!) to justify a nice new smart phone. For those people that aren’t stuck in front of a bank of PCs all day then I can see that having a smart phone would be an absolute must.

But after saying that I’ve been so impressed with my daughter’s HTC Android phone I’m getting close to biting the bullet and signing up for a ‘phone mortgage’ of my own just so that I can keep up with things…

My favourite Android App:
“Where’s my Droid” – I text my daughter a keyword and get a text back with her exact long/lat coordinates! If I had a smart phone then I could see this in Google Maps – but I have to type the coords into my PC. Every taxi driver should have one 🙂

Where’s my Droid or similar is something I have to get up and running for myself. I keep putting these things down and not remembering where – especially when the phone is on silent. You can use “phone finder in conjunction with a login on the HTC website. This is supposed to make the phone ring even if it is on “silent”

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