HTC Desire HD review: Most wanted

Most wanted

GSMArena team, 11 November 2010.

Image gallery can read pics over DLNA too

The gallery has the usual list-with-thumbnail structure. The Albums app automatically locates images and videos, no matter where they are stored. Images and videos stored in different folders appear in different sub-galleries that automatically get the name of the folder – which is quite effective file management.

Right next to the folder's name is a figure indicating the number of images stored. Each sub-album has a thumbnail of the latest image. The contextual menu of the main Album view has only one shortcut to the settings menu. There is also a camera shortcut, but it’s only available once you start browsing any of the sub-folders.

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The Albums app works with Facebook, Flickr and DLNA too

At the bottom of the main album there are three virtual buttons – one for the actual folder list, another for Facebook and, one for Flickr. These two display images from either account or those posted by your friends.

And finally, the Connected media button lets you pull multimedia content from a DLNA-enabled server (your PC with Windows Media Player will do just fine).

Sharing a photo from the HTC Desire HD is very easy – tap the share button and pick your preferred sharing method. There’s everything from sharing via Bluetooth or email, to posting on Facebook, Twitter or photo sharing sites like Picasa and Flickr. Direct posting of videos on YouTube is also enabled.

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Browsing the image gallery

In the HTC Desire HD image folders you can choose between grid and filmstrip layout (flip the phone horizontally and the accelerometer will take care of the rest). You are also able to mass delete images, but still no mass copy and paste options.

You can’t copy/paste images from folder to folder either – you’d need a proper file manager for that.

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Sharing images is easy • Basic image editing tools

HTC Desire HD supports multi-touch and you can take full advantage of it while browsing your images. You can zoom to 100% with a simple double tap on the screen. The implementation here is extra smooth too.

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Smooth finger-sweep browsing of images and pinch zoom

Video player does DivX/XviD

Video files can be accessed from the All videos subfolder in the Gallery or from the Videos shortcut in the menu, they launch the same thing. The video files can be viewed as a grid or filmstrip and can be shared over MMS, email, or YouTube, Facebook and Flickr.

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The Videos app is part of the Gallery • The video player handles HD and DivX/XviD just fine

The video player interface on the HTC Desire HD is quite basic. There’s a full screen mode, where the clip gets stretched / cropped to fit the screen and you can scrub through the video.

The video player did well to handle most videos we tested - 720p MP4 videos were no problem. Surprisingly however, high-res DivX/XviD videos were. D1 DivX/XviD videos at reasonable bitrate played just fine and we did get a 720p XviD going, but there were sound and playback issues. It's strange because we didn't experience these problems with the Desire Z.

Anyway, most DivX/XviD videos should play just fine (HD DivX/XviD videos are rare) and even if you’re not a fan of watching movies on a mobile phone, the big screen of the HTC Desire HD will make you reconsider.

The video player doesn’t support subtitles though.

Music player has Dolby Mobile, SRS

The standard music library view is the Artists section, but you can easily switch to one of the other six tabs beneath, which are for Albums, All Songs, Playlists, Songs and Connected media (which handles DLNA).

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The music library

The now playing interface is a Cover-Flow-like visualization of the current playlist – you can swipe sideways to skip songs or go back. You can opt to view the full playlist if you need to skip more than a few phones.

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The new player interface is nice

The Desire HD has a couple of technologies to boost the audio performance – Dolby Mobile and SRS enhancement. If you plug in headphones, you can change equalizer settings too. With these settings at hand, everyone should be able to find the sound they prefer.

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Playing with the sound enhancement settings

Two shortcuts in the top corners act as toggles for shuffle and repeat. From the context menu, you can share a song (over Bluetooth, email or message) and you can look up the music video too.

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The music player in landscape mode

There’s a music recognition app – SoundHound. It easily recognizes a song from just a short sample. Or you can say the name of the artist and song and SoundHound will find it for you, including lyrics. The free version however limits you to just 5 recognitions per month.

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The SoundHoud app

FM radio has RDS, but starts slowly

The HTC Desire HD is also equipped with an FM radio, which has a pretty simple interface. It automatically scans the area for the available stations and allows you to mark some of them as favorite. It also supports RDS and allows loudspeaker playback.

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The FM radio UI

It’s a bit annoying that it takes 5-6 seconds to start but other than that the radio app is very good.

Disappointing audio quality

We aren't particularly impressed with the HTC Desire HD audio output. When you plug it in an active external amplifier (such as your home or car stereo) it does pretty decently, save for the below average intermodulation distortion. It may not be perfect but it certainly is good enough on those occasions.

Yet plugging in a pair of headphones, the stereo crosstalk skyrockets and it's almost as bad as if you had a mono device - much like with Optimus 7. The intermodulation distortion increases even further and the handset is not particularly loud too. All in all a mediocre performance and we really expect much better for that kind of cash.

Check out the table and see for yourself.

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
HTC Desire HD+0.09, -0.44-90.690.40.0140.517-92.6
HTC Desire HD (headphones attached)+0.09, -0.44-
Samsung I9000 Galaxy S+0.03 -0.04-90.790.60.014 0.019-90.6
Samsung I9000 Galaxy S (headphones attached)+0.40 -0.12-90.790.60.018 0.329-43.3
HTC Aria+0.12, -0.58-84.586.90.0220.172-85.4
HTC Aria (headphones attached)+0.37, -0.15-
Apple iPhone 4+0.01, -0.07-90.590.60.00410.011-92.0
Apple iPhone 4 (headphones attached)+0.01, -0.07-90.490.40.00360.092-68.4

HTC Desire HD frequency response
HTC Desire HD frequency response

You can learn more about the whole testing process here.

Reader comments

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