HTC Desire HD review

The Desire's successor finally lands but is it an improvement?

The definitive HTC Desire HD review
The definitive HTC Desire HD review

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The HTC Desire HD comes chock-full of applications and services to get your teeth into, and many of these make it a delight to use the phone.

For all the wonder of today's respective application portals, there's nothing like having some cool options available on your phone from the moment you turn it on, and that's another thing HTC has taken care of with the Desire HD.

We'll go into the separate applications in a moment, but there are a couple of new things that HTC has added with the new Sense UI that really make a difference here.

The HTC Hub is a place to get elements that totally overhaul your handset - from widgets to new messaging sounds; it's all here and free.

HTC desire hd review

You need an HTC Sense account to get involved, but after that you're treated to all manner of things, and most are presented in cool, swipe-able thumbnails that show off the power of the inbuilt GPU.

Downloads are swift and easily used and viewed - if you get one of these phone do it soon to try it out, and you'll feel like the link between cloud data and your phone has been closer.

The other new offering is the HTC Likes, basically a collection of applications that HTC is promoting from the App Market - but there are descriptions, comments and likes/dislikes to let you know how popular the app is in real time.

HTC desire hd review

You have to sign in through HTC Sense again here, so you can interact with your friends' choices, but it's nice to see what your buddies are downloading too.

Onto the pre-loaded applications: there are a number we're 'into', so we'll give you a quick rundown.

Flashlight - this is exactly how is sounds, and we only wish there was a home screen widget for it. Offering three levels of brightness, it uses the dual LED flash on the rear of the phone to create a light so bright it will melt your eyes.

News and Weather - this little widget shows you the local weather in your region (although the HTC Weather widget is also excellent and does the job a little better) as well as local news.

With an easy swipe system and various categories to choose from, this is a really good place to keep up with what's going on in the world of politics or what Cheryl said/did/looked at on X Factor this week.

HTC desire hd review

Reader - not to be confused with Google Reader (which is called News on the HTC Desire HD, which is not to be confused with News and Weather... we know) this is the e-book option for readers all around the world.

Offering a tasty selection of books from the outset (Dracula, The Art of War etc) it also lets you choose words to research, easily hop between chapters and bookmark pages with little fuss. It's a nice effort, and as full-featured of an e-book reader as you could want on your phone.

HTC desire hd review

SoundHound - This is a Shazam-style application, but one that goes one step further - you can hum and sing and lalalalala a song into the phone and it will try and identify it.

Utterly pointless for 90% of songs you can't remember (you very rarely can remember the name even if you read it) and it can be a little inaccurate - but it's a fun way to ridicule your mates down the pub.

However, you only get 10 free tries per month, so don't go overboard too soon.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.