HTC Desire Z review

HTC's next Android wunderkind wanders in sporting a QWERTY keyboard

The definitive HTC Desire Z review
The definitive HTC Desire Z review

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HTC desire z review

HTC has been hurtling towards smartphone stardom for over a year now; just look at its stock prices to see that it's not just a select few that's getting excited.

From around the Diamond2 onwards the company has been churning out top-end handset after top-end handset (with some questionable choices in there, admittedly) so the question is: can it keep up the pace?

The HTC Desire Z is clearly a phone designed for a certain demographic: those that like Android, like touchscreens but want the freedom of a physical keyboard as well.

But does the rest of the package stand up as a well-rounded phone or is it the mobile equivalent of Frankenstein's monster?

We liked

We have always been fans of HTC's Android line-up, and the HTC Desire Z doesn't stray too far from the pack.

The polished aluminium chassis feels like a decent lump of quality in the hand, and the cool fold-out hinge really adds something unique.

The 800MHz processor's perceived lack of zip was nowhere to be seen, as nearly every time the Desire Z responded under the finger exactly as we expected.

HTC desire z review

The Locations application is actually a real boon - finding things nearby is excellent and the way you can integrate Google Maps Navigation in shows that it's not meant to be a completely separate product.

The new Sense UI and portal are also both good additions to the party, with the former offering some nice cloud cross-over for phone customisation.

We disliked

The build quality of the HTC Desire Z, while it feel premium, is actually a little suspect. The hinge feels a little flimsy, and pressing down on the touchscreen on our review unit actually caused it to wobble a little.

The keyboard will obviously add some heft, but the weight and depth of the device makes it sit a little uncomfortably in the hand at times too.

The battery life is once again a little low - and why we couldn't have a larger capacity option in there when there's so much chassis to play with, we don't know. It's not terrible, but there will sometimes be days when you might struggle to get through the whole day without charging.

Video still didn't display properly, and navigating through it is a nightmare in the Gallery and Video applications - you'll need to download additional software to make it easier, and that's something we're never happy recommending users should do.


Whether you like the HTC Desire Z or not is will depend on your love for a physical keyboard. If you want one desperately and love Android with a fiery passion, then the Desire Z is for you.

However, if you can take it or leave it, we'd suggest you look elsewhere. While the Android 2.2 OS works well and plays nicely within the phone, you're carrying round a rather substantial amount of extra heft with the Desire Z.

The new HTC Sense is a step forward in terms of an impressive UI, and the addition of things like Locations can only be a boon.

It's a decent attempt at bringing it all together in one tidy package - we just wish the hinge was a little more solid, as other than that, it's a top phone.

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.