HTC HD2 review

Could a Windows Mobile phone actually challenge the iPhone?

TechRadar's in depth HTC HD2 review
TechRadar's in depth HTC HD2 review

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With a phone as big as the HTC HD2, it's easy to forget that it's actually supposed to be able to make calls and stuff too – luckily it does that fairly well.

The call quality is pretty good, if not as loud as you might hope, and the speaker is a little tinny at times – get a connection to someone in a loud place or just a friend with an annoyingly high voice and distortion does creep in.

But on the plus side, you don't have to have to spend three or four seconds shifting the phone around your ear to find the only point where you can actually hear out of it, a la the iPhone for instance.

HTC hd2

Coverage, for calling at least, is excellent – on our train route home (an excellent test bed, as it has areas of strong HSDPA coverage as well as total blank spots) we were able to maintain a call practically the whole way, except for one drop (which no phone has ever surmounted).

However, if you wanted to do the same with data, it's a different story, as the phone will default to GPRS pretty quickly, and won't jump into 3G without first making sure you DEFINITELY don't want the slower connection. No, we don't – just give us the faster speeds please.

This may be more Windows Mobile than HTC as a flaw, as we've seen it on a few other Microsoft-powered devices, but it's still frustrating.

HTC hd2

The contacts listing does go some way to making life a little bit better though – the sheer volume of useful information you can squeeze in there makes it worthwhile.

The reason this is true more so than any other phone is that you've got a two pronged approach – there's the threaded correspondence through text, as well as any emails you may have received from that person.

Seeing as most people will only email through their work accounts, only Windows Mobile and BlackBerry users are going to find adding someone's work email address into their contact profile any use.

HTC hd2

But with the Sense UI thrown in as well, you get the chance to add a Facebook contact to the mix as well. This means profile picture and status (which you can get on BlackBerry Connect, of course), but also the option to see photo albums on the phone as if they were pictures taken yourself.

Well, in theory that's the case anyway – on our HD2 handset this option didn't work at all, with each picture we tried to access coming up with a 'No Entry' sign for some reason.

The HD2 also sometimes struggles to keep the contact up to date with Facebook information as well, with the status updates sometimes disappearing from view.

If you're only interested in doing one thing with some contacts (ie emailing or calling... not anything rude like that) then you can add them to the quick contacts list on the 'People' tab of the home screen bar. You set a function to go with that picture, be it calling or texting, and every time you hit that person, the phone will perform the required action.

HTC hd2

There are actually loads of ways to communicate within the HD2, from calling within an email message to smart dialling their number from the virtual keypad.

While the Facebook integration needs a bit of a fix, when it does start working then the HD2 will be a very comprehensive communication tool.

(Oh, and a small note – don't have the ringer volume up full blast and leave the phone on a table, as when it rings it will make you jump so much that you may have some sort of heart problem).

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.