A glance at the specs doesn’t do the Touch HD any favours: it has an identical core to the HTC Touch Pro, including the 528MHz Qualcomm processor, 288MB of RAM and 512MB ROM. Even the range of features is the same – HSDPA, Wi-Fi, FM radio, assisted GPS and Bluetooth.
But with the Touch HD, HTC has achieved something remarkable. It’s targeted at the iPhone with its plain, screen-dominated front and similar shape, but switch it on and you’re faced with a glorious touchscreen that literally outshines Apple’s: it measures 3.8in across and has a 480 x 800 resolution.
This is more than double the iPhone’s resolution, as well as most others here, and it makes quite a difference to browsing the web. Zooming in and out is straightforward thanks to Opera Mobile 9.5’s double-tap zoom, and the addition of a new zoom bar along the bottom of the screen.
But the key advantage of the screen is that you can read headlines and other text without getting too close. It also means you can squeeze in more email and map data, and working with Excel documents takes on another dimension.
The Touch HD can’t match the iPhone’s ease of use and elegance of operation, but it’s getting closer. TouchFLO 3D does a good job of covering up Windows Mobile’s ugliness, and the screen size means, underneath the glossy wrapping, prodding tiny checkboxes and buttons isn’t so much of a pain as it is with other devices here.
The inclusion of an accelerometer, which rotates the screen when you tip the phone on its side – and haptic feedback (the phone gives a faint buzz whenever you press a link or button onscreen) helps, and battery life is immensely impressive, lasting 119hrs 50mins – the best performance by far this month.
We’re very impressed with the Touch HD. It doesn’t have the elegance of the iPhone in terms of the OS, but delivers in every other way, from its high-resolution screen and 5-megapixel camera, to its work-friendly document compatibility and killer battery life. While the contract price is ridiculous, SIM-free this phone isn’t unreasonably priced for what you get.