Just before Christmas, I dropped my Verizon Touch Pro 2 running a new shiny build of Windows Mobile 6.5.3 in the ocean. Needless to say I was not pleased. Saying that it may have been a blessing in disguise. I had my eye on an HTC HD2 on ebay but just couldn’t justify dropping $800 for a new phone. This gave me an excuse to help convince the wife that this was really required for my job. A week later, the fed-ex man dropped off a package and I had an early Christmas.
I’m really glad I did this, although I was happy with my TP2, the hardware and the HTC Sense home page truly made this a completely different experience. Yet, one that will hopefully pail in comparison to when we start getting new Windows Mobile 7 devices later this year.
Here are some of the features that make the HD2 what I believe is the best smart phone you can get today. Some of which aren’t unique to the HD2, but the combination brings home the point and identifies what is possible.
Enjoyable Experience – Using the HD2 is an enjoyable experience. Over the past year I really started to get the concept of User Experience. This isn’t any one thing but there is a science to this. It’s a combination of instantaneous response time, animation, providing the exact right information that is available with a minimal mount of interaction. All of which the HD2 excels at.
HTC Sense Interface - I use my mobile device to try make sure little sparks don’t become big fires, keep up to date what is going on and keep in contact my clients. The HTC Sense interface achieves this goal in spectacular fashion. Within a second or two of unlocking the device, I can do a couple quick swipes of my finger and I’m up to date. You may say, well that’s not really a Windows Mobile feature, I somewhat beg to differ. Show me this type of home page on an iPhone, Android or Blackberry and we can have that discussion.
Capacitive Touch Screen – The capacitive screen makes a big difference for accurately capturing gestures. All my Windows Mobile devices before this one had a resistive interface, they worked fine, but this one works flawlessly. It’s very seldom that my gestures or touches get misinterpreted. Multitouch is also a nice added bonus on applications that support it.
Touch Access – The HD2 doesn’t have stylus nor does it need it. With the huge screen you can access all the features/functions by just touching the screen.
Performance – What can I say, the 1GHz processor makes simple work of most tasks. The device is extremely responsive.
1/8” Headphone Jack – I really like the ability to just plug in a set of headphones and as much as I like my ZuneHD, I find I’m starting to use this device as my media player.
MicroSD Card – Pop in a cheap 16GB SD card there’s plenty of room for music and TV shows.
Display – the 4.3” display is HUGE. If you like big displays this is for you. In some cases the size of it makes it a little difficult to use with one hand, but as with everything there are trade-offs.
5MB Pixel Camera and Flash – Although I’ve had devices in the past that claimed to have a built in flash, they really didn’t work all that great. The flash in this device works great. The pictures from the 5MB camera are also very impressive.
Battery Life – So far, I’ve been very happy with the battery life of this device. Although I haven’t really done any formal tests, in most cases I have WiFi turned on and it seems like I’ve never picked it up and was surprised that the battery was unexpectedly drained.
Micro USB – At first I was somewhat annoyed by the fact this device didn’t use the standard Mini USB, but rather the Micro USB, the smaller flatter version. I’m starting to like it, I can’t exactly describe why but it seems like it’s a better fit, or maybe it just a sleeker look. It seems like a number of other newer devices including my Sprint MiFi and the wife’s Omina II both use this connector.
Microsoft My Phone – Set it and forget it. If you aren’t using this program you should. This really works well if you have multiple devices like I do. It’s nice to have all your pictures, text messages and documents sync between your different devices.
Overall I’m very happy with this device, I have two complaints however. Since I didn’t get the device from a carrier, it doesn’t have support for 3G on T-Mobile. This is a minor gripe, I just don’t do that much surfing. My major gripe is that even with this expensive device HTC continues to ship their devices with the software reference drivers for DirectDraw. Most users probably don’t even realize this, but the device supports hardware acceleration for the display and has the potential for stunning 3-D graphics. It’s sort of like purchasing a Ferrari but only 2 of the 8 spark plugs are installed.
Using the HD2 as my primary device raised the bar on what I expect from a mobile device. It’s currently expensive but as soon as it comes to T-Mobile this will probably be the best phone you can get your hands on.