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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One of the new features on the HTC Desire HD is the connection to the all-new, a portal that allows you to control your phone from afar.

Initially, it looks like the main reason for this portal is to deal with the issue of leaving your phone at home or even worse: losing it.

You can perform basic tasks like forwarding all your calls to another number and messages too - it works nicely and makes the hassle of people not being able to get hold of you a distant memory.

Another neat feature for the lonely and friendless among us (just us? Well, that makes sense...) is the ability to ring the phone as loud as possible - it overrides the vibration setting as well, so even if you've turned the ringer off you can still hear where you've left your precious device.

HTC desire hd review

But there's a lot more to this portal than just that - being able to send a message to your phone or lock it remotely means that if you think you're going to get it back you can protect it or entice someone to return it.

You can also see roughly where your phone is - handy if you think you might have left it at that restaurant across town but don't want to go over there on a wild goose chase.

And of course there's the remote wipe option, allowing you to protect any data that might fall into the wrong hands.

However there is a worry - with nearly all of these elements, it took a couple of attempts to actually make them work, with a 'cannot connect to phone' message popping up far too regularly.

HTC desire hd review

Other elements, like being able to synchronise contacts up to the cloud, are similarly poor - not all of them were sucked up for some reason, and while we're sure there's a fix if we dig around in the settings it's not something the average user is going to be doing.

We like another feature from HTC with the new Sense account - you can add friends also on the service and recommend things to each other, or see what they're downloading.

Except this wouldn't work at all - no matter what we did, we couldn't confirm any friends that added us or vice versa (and no, that's not because we're alone and boring).

We like as a handy portal, but it's not going to be the massive lure HTC is making it out to be.


There are a number of connectivity options on the HTC Desire HD, and mostly they work better than other smartphone contenders on the market at the moment.

For instance, Wi-Fi, which was a slight issue with some Android phones, seems to be a little stronger on the Desire HD than on the original Desire or the Galaxy S - it's about on a par with the iPhone 4 in our tests.

We had a few issues with data connection though - on some occasions the phone would look like it has full signal but then you'd realise that those bars wouldn't change and you can't get any data - it was actually frozen, and we have no idea why.

HTC desire hd review

Another bug from the original Desire was back too - Bluetooth A2DP stereo connection. It was choppy, as the audio would cut out momentarily once or twice a minute when walking or dancing around your living room. It's not a terrible problem, but it's certainly not seamless.

Bluetooth was fine in other instances though, making it easy to transfer and connect between devices, so while we hope the audio issue is solved soon, we doubt it after it landed on another device.


We're big fans of the calendars on HTC phones in general, as they offer up integrated functionality as you'd hope it would work - seamlessly taking information from your Google or Exchange account with no issues at all, and using colour coded labels to let you know which account the meetings are from.

And a superb touch - telling you the weather in the region you're going to be in on that day. It's not pivotal but it's another one of those cool moments that makes you realise how hard HTC is thinking about the user.

HTC desire hd review

The use of Android 2.2 on the HTC Desire HD means it also comes with a few built-in bells and whistles, and one of those is the Wi-Fi hotspot.

All you need to do is turn this on and fire up your internet device - the phone will be pumping out a name of your choosing, and you simply input a password that again you can choose.

It works nicely, eats as much data as you choose and as you can imagine, vaporises your battery in a heartbeat - it might be a good idea to have a charger handy with this one.

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.