TmoNews Hands On With The HD2

Editors note: I apologize beforehand for the video quality, my digital camera went and broke down on me right before shooting. The quality is ok but it’s certainly not our best effort. Next time will be better, I promise!

Let me just put this right out there. The HTC HD2 is a FANTASTIC phone and I have loved every minute of using it.  I have never been a Windows Mobile Phone fan and have made little effort to hide that, much to the chagrin of my colleague Mystictrust.  That being said, whether the phone is better than this phone or that phone is a matter of absolute opinion.  Whether it is better than Android or better than Blackberry is going to be up to you, the individual user.  The decision will depend on what your requirements for phones are, what preferences you have, etc.  When you ask something of the HD2, the snapdragon processor screams to life and makes browsing the phone effortless.  Of course, there are the usual hang-ups and slowdowns but I’ve been pushing the phone hard so I thought nothing of these infrequent hiccups.

The rest of the review follows after the jump as well as a full gallery of images!

IMG_0029

Starting with a review of the hardware is a real mixed bag for me as I want to sit here and praise every single portion of it, from the screen to the battery cover to the placement of the charging port.  That being said, the size for me, and I emphasize for me, is something I am hesitant to say I love. On the one hand, the 4.3-inch screen is amazing, beautiful and really just a pleasure to use, but, on the other hand, I am having a hard time picturing myself with the HD2 as my daily driver.  It’s just big.  We have seen plenty of pictures of the device so I won’t show you anything you haven’t seen, but it’s really just a large device.  For some people, the 4.3 inches may be the biggest draw and I can absolutely understand why.  My complaint is merely that the phone is wide and my hands aren’t exactly the biggest.  However, it’s possible that I am merely so used to the size of the iPhone that anything larger becomes unattractive to me.  In retrospect, though, I used to dislike the size of the iPhone as well when I came from the original Samsung Behold.  It’s possible with time I would get used to it and become very comfortable so don’t let my hesitation be yours.  This is a phone you need to see to believe and hold to understand.

IMG_0030

The screen itself is beautiful.  It is vibrant, the colors pop out and it’s got more than enough real estate to make browsing, reading emails or watching movies possible though not all at the same time, mind you.   Multitasking proved no problem for the Snapdragon processor as I was able to go in and out of apps without any real slowdowns.  The buttons on the front while small are readily accessible and feel quite comfortable.  The capacitive touchscreen is very very good with almost no problems registering finger touches.  The only time I ran into a problem was browsing IMDB.com and the links didn’t work but I don’t know if that’s a website problem or just a quirk of the phone.  Overall, the capacitive screen registered all presses perfectly and I had little problem moving throughout the phone on this front.  I have a newfound appreciation for mild haptic feedback on a keyboard as well and never really realized what I missing on the iPhone until now.

htc3

As far as the software goes, it’s easy to praise Sense UI for any number of reasons. First, it does a terrific job of completely hiding the Windows Phone experience.  Sure, there are some instances where the Windows experience comes out, especially the general menu structure and the Start button.  More often than not, you will probably forget that Windows is hidden underneath the incredibly attractive Sense interface.  I could stare at the weather indicator all day and just watch the clouds move in and out.  It’s just cool and I’m easily entertained.

IMG_0031

Browsing through images is one of the best experiences I have ever had on a phone. It’s hard to explain and even more difficult to judge from just a picture, but the way you flip through images in a manner that resembles Cover Flow, ala the Apple experience, is truly enjoyable.  It makes browsing through an album unique and is a small, but fun benefit of the Sense UI experience. Pinch to zoom here is excellent and works exactly as it should allowing you to reach in and out of a picture and scroll around to find the perfect spot.  That’s not to say that all scrolling is smooth scrolling.  In all honesty, nothing has matched or bettered the iPhone scrolling experience. The HTC HD2 comes damn close though.  I did see a slowdown here and there but mostly only in the Opera browser so I don’t know if that was related to the browser itself or something else.  For the record, in the video, I purposely typed TmoNews.com wrong because I wanted to show that, inside Opera, clicking on links can be a hit or miss experience.  So it wasn’t just a random spelling mistake.  I had the full intention here of showing this off and the result took me more times than I had intended to finally click the link.

IMG_0034

The camera itself is a thing to behold.  It really does take some beautiful images and while I accidentally restored the phone prior to uploading the pics, you can just take my word for it. Using the 4.3-inch screen as a viewfinder is just fun and the pinch to zoom effects make for some extra joy.  The album browsing process again is just fun as well.  Did I mention there is a lot about this phone that’s just fun?

IMG_0036

I don’t even know where to continue about this phone since I could write for hours talking about how much I enjoyed the experience.  I highly recommend it even with some small little annoyances that are easily overshadowed by the rest of the phone’s capabilities.  As you can see in the embedded video, I had some trouble inside Opera selecting links and while I wanted to demonstrate it a little, it ended up taking more times to get to the TmoNews homepage than I would have preferred.  Is that a dealbreaker?  Absolutely not, not for me and it shouldn’t be for you either.  There is so much here to like, the Sense UI, the large screen, excellent camera and great sound quality.  Mind you, I spent the entire time on this phone running on EDGE and, even though I did that, browsing was almost shockingly quick and voice quality was excellent.  I imagine the software will change a little in the T-Mobile official version but the result should be the same since it’s just a great phone.

I know and understand some of you have hesitations against the purchase of a Windows Phone and, for some of you, those reasons are quite justified.  I’ve made no secret that Windows Mobile was not my cup of tea or how lacking I thought it was in particular areas.  While the root of the HD2 is still Windows, the Sense UI more than makes up for that with smooth animations and a large feature set.  The important characteristics are all there, multitasking and exchange, camera and video, full web browser and YouTube and so much more.

The bottom line is this is a serious phone and a serious competitor to the US market. It’s not a phone you should ignore just because you’ve had less than positive experiences with Windows before.  While the Sense UI isn’t as game changing as Windows Phone 7 might be, there is more than enough here to please even the most stalwart Windows fan.  Trust me, I know.   So who should pick up this phone?  It isn’t for the casual user because it’s a power phone for a power user and you would be picking it up to use it to its full capabilities. This phone has some serious game and those who are looking to buy should know that.

Enjoy the gallery!

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  • shawn1224

    My only problem is that I’m on the even more plus plan and will have to pay full sticker price, although I can get the 20 month installment plan so my upfront cost will be similar to the upgrade price. For instance the mytouch 1.2 set me back $99 initially with the rest done on installment. So that’s why it’s imperative that I know how much it’s going to cost me. If this phone is around $600 – $700, I could be looking at a $300 initial payment and that is just flat out not going to happen.

    • Nobody cares

      $600-$700 is about right in my opinion. The My Touch isn’t a bad phone, I have the 1st version and it’s not a bad phone. The HTC HD2 is just on another level compared to this phone, which is why I’ve been putting money aside for the last few months to grab this when it comes out next month. I see your point shawn1224….it is a lot of money to throw down for sure.

    • ItsMichaelNotMike

      You can look at my other posts on here for a detailed guess on why I guess the HD2 will be $550 at most.

      1. The T-Mobile Touch Pro2 was priced at $550 when it debuted. At the same time the European version was selling for $650 to $750.

      The HD2 European version sells for about the same as the TP2 did back in July 2009. So hopefully the price spread on the HD2 will be the same as it was for the TP2.

      2. HTC charges Google appx. $184 for each Nexus One. The Nexus One has about the same specs as the HD2, slightly better on the HD2, of course. So assuming a $250 cost to T-Mobile for the HD2, there’s more than enough room for profit if T-Mo sells the retail HD2 for $550.

      3. On a long shot I am hoping T-Mo prices the HD2 as the phone it is, which is a touch screen only phone with a large display. In other words, while it’s a great phone, technologically it is not all that revolutionary.

      In that case I am hoping we see the phone unsubsidized at $450.

  • Pimpin ain’t easy!!

    My advice to you is to save up every penny you can. The price of this phone is not known yet. If you really want it that bad, save up and hopefully by the time the phone comes out, you will have enough to buy it or you will have to keep saving until you have enough.

    • shawn1224

      Yea, if it was left to me I would shell out the money no problem but I already have 2 other android handsets and that’s going to be a tough sell to the wifey after I already convinced here that the mytouch 1.2 was going to be the last addition to my toys.

      OH if only the smartphone GODS would shine on me with favor :D

      • DotNetCoderAZ

        “Yea, if it was left to me I would shell out the money no problem but I already have 2 other android handsets and that’s going to be a tough sell to the wifey after I already convinced here that the mytouch 1.2 was going to be the last addition to my toys.”

        LOL… My girlfriend… same story. She gives me crap every time a new phone comes out. I’ve been placating her by simply saying “I swear, this is my last phone for at least 6 months!” Of course, she doesn’t believe me, but it keeps her quiet about it until the next release. ;-)

      • daguila29

        HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

        We are all in the same boat…I bought the touch pro in March of last year and in December 09 i bought the touch pro 2 and I’m planning to buys this one when it comes out, i know its going to be tough to convice my wife on why i need this phone and not my 3 month old TP2 but man this phone is really really making me want to buy it.

        Specially since i heard about the upgraded ram and the amazon MP3 store (Something i missed from my pre)

  • Obviously your a dork

    You get what you pay for! Remember that.

  • Sgt. Cell

    By the time this phone has been released the European version would have been out just under a year. New and exciting things are right behind it. 500.00 tops for this phone, anything else is just crazy.

    • Nobody cares

      I thought it released in November in Europe? That’s not close to a year really…it’s around 5-6 months.

      • Sgt. Cell

        Seemed longer.

  • Eric

    This phone looks really nice BUT I don’t think it would be smart to use my upgrade on this device since it will be OLD NEWS come holiday season. I rather just wait a few more months and get the latest and greatest. If this phone is able to run WP7 then it will be the phone to have for sure. I just don’t see myself locking myself into a 2 yr contract with so many new things expected for the holiday season. I would then have to wait another full year before I can play with WP7 and that would suck being stuck on old winmo technology. That’s just my opinion though. Some people love the current winmo and for them, this is the phone to have!!!

    • FutureGuyKnowsSoLittle

      Its all about the update. If it will have the WP7 update later, then sold. If not, FAIL.

    • DotNetCoderAZ

      I don’t know if it’s going to be old news any time too soon. With the processor and the RAM in it, it’s going to be the phone to have on TMO. Plus, the guys at XDA have been working for months now to get Android 2.1 on the HD2 and have made a lot of progress on that front. I figure that within 6 months, we will have a working Android 2.1 ROM for the HD2 in which case, the winmo argument (both WM 6.5.x and WM7) will be out the window.

    • Danny

      You can upgrade every 12 months if you upgrade and keep data on a smartphone.

  • Eric

    My thoughts exactly!!

  • HD2 Android style!!

    Has anyone read about the HTC Supersonic for Sprint? This bad boy might make me want to switch over to Sprint!! It’s basically an HD2 with Android. That’s what everyone’s been asking for!!

    • Nobody cares

      Correction…it’s what Android lovers have been asking for.

      • Mockerfab4

        I second that correction. Enjoy Sprint. No more Android devices for me…

  • just some d?de

    you can through the best hardware at it, the end of the day its still crappy old WM. And WM7 is the same garbage.

    • Josh

      @ just some d?de (Troll)

      You can commet as much as you want but at the end of the day it is still your crappy old comments over and over again. And yes Craproid is the same garbage as your commenst and taste.

    • daguila29

      Android is following the same footsteps as WM, just that now WM has evolved to the next level that will be hard to catch by android (mainly becuase its free) or iphone which will have to rethink the iphone.

  • HD2 Android style!!

    DotNetCoderAZ, sounds like you should just go with the HTC Supersonic. Why go through all that trouble when you can have all that straight out of the box?

  • ItsMichaelNotMike

    People who want Android should just switch to Sprint rather than waste time here dissing T-Mobile and its handset lineup.

    And there are Android sites too. Hang out there.

    Besides, it’s a useless endeavor to try and convert WinMo believers to Android, and vice versa.

    I don’t hang out on Android sites dissing the OS. Nor do I hang out on Sprint or AT&T fan sites saying how crappy their phones are.

    I really don’t understand the logic of people posting on here their hatred of WinMo, T-Mo or T-Mo’s handsets on a T-Mo fan site (despite the name, TMoNews). Must be a mental slob, moron kind of thing. You know, people who say “through” when they mean “throw.”

  • papito007

    here’s t-mobile us version rom,

    http://wmpoweruser.com/?p=13662

    • ItsMichaelNotMike

      I forgot to check WMpoweruser. Thanks for the link.

      That video really shows off the capability of the HD2 with the capacitive screen, RAM and processor. Amazing the way he zips through the apps. And the interface was super responsive to his finger commands.

      Makes my “old” Touch Pro2 look like something from the stone age and that operates in slow motion.

  • HD2 Android style

    Through was the right word you dork. Before you talk crap make sure you know what your reading. “Why go through all that trouble” not “throw”. HAHAHAHAHA!!! Someone obviously failed their English class!!

    • brittbrat

      I think she was referring to the other guy who said you can “through” anything at it” not you.

    • ItsMichaelNotMike

      Alas HD2 Android Style, you really stepped in it, barefoot, didn’t you. Your nastiness warrants response.

      First, you shot up the wrong house on your drive by in the family Yugo. As others knew, but you did not, I was referring to JustSomeDud’s use of the word “through” when he clearly meant “throw.”

      To echo your public admonition, before talking crap about me you should make sure what you’re reading.

      Second, you spew a sinister laugh and say because of my post I obviously failed English class. The irony of your statement in light of who said what and how, well, that’s the real LOL.

      Third, you say “Before you talk crap make sure you know what your reading.”

      Aside from the fact that you fail to follow your own admonition (make sure you know what you are reading before talking crap to someone), you use the word “your” when you should have said “you’re.” E.g., The correct usage would be “You’re a dumb ass.” Incorrect would be “Your a mental slob.”

      Well, what to do about all this since you are now a marked pre-teen trying to deal with girls. Take away your Sidekick for a month? Maybe no posting on blogs past 7:00 p.m. Or maybe take away the keys to the mini van for a week?

      May I suggest you close your account and sign on with a new name. HAHAHAHAHA!!! (Sorry, there’s an echo in this thread.)

      OK… the Ambien is coursing through my veins. I better go before I make even more mistakes in this post. Things are getting blurry. After all, it’s 3:00 a.m. here in San Francisco.

  • efjay

    Fear not, my droidy friends. Soon WP7S will be here in all its Xbox and Zuney goodness then you can all dream about running it on your data mining spydroid phones. Yay!

    • chris

      lol, google is doing marketing strategy when looking into e-mails not spying. just like what disney does to your child’s account, when they sign up to play kim possible games on disney’s website. so, does that mean disney is a spy company too? i like the HD2 and the WP7S that was announced last MWC but please, stop with the google hate. tho i gotta agree buzz sucks but overall the company provides free stuff for people.

      • efjay

        “Marketing strategy” does not give them the right to spy on emails. Doesnt matter how you want to phrase it, they shouldnt be looking into people’s emails. Just because Disney or another company does somethng similar does it mean google has to do the same? And with them they data mine ALL your data and services you use, why would I want a company with no accountability to hold so much information about me, especially without an opt-out option?

        People are stupid and lazy, thats why they love google and its “free” services but if they knew how much information they were giving up they might think twice. Then again, they are stupid so I doubt it. :)

  • gargoyle999

    Engadget has a blurb that WP7S upgrades will be possible but up to OEM to make it happen. But I guess that is already known?

  • YousoundlikealilBIABIA

    ItsMichaelNotMike get a life!! You’re going to get all riled up over a stupid comment and write a whole book about it? Let’s stick to the subject and talk about phones! Who cares if someone doesn’t type something correct or not. We’re not in school here. Anyways, I love Android. I still have my G1. I also LOVE the look of WP7S. The HD2 looks AMAZING as well. I am eligible for an upgrade but I don’t think I will be using it on the HD2 only because I don’t believe it will be upgradeable to WP7S. I am just going to wait it out until WP7S is out to see if it’s worth going that route. If the developers get the HD2 to dual boot with Android and have everything working smoothly, I might reconsider and go with the HD2. I believe they have dual booted it with Android already but its buggy. Hopefully they can get that working to perfection soon!

    • ItsMichaelNotMike

      Well you miss the point. I only made a one-sentence passing comment in a post and it’s another who dedicated an entire post to “taking me to school.” Why should I let that insult be the last word. (I know, you would be the bigger person and not say anything. But remember, you did say something about all this, didn’t you.)

      Look at my posts. Where do you see I ever talk about grammar and spelling. (Such usually starts flame wars, those saying who cares about grammar and spelling, those who say it’s important.) To be sure, I mentioned a short sentence about someone’s use of the word “through” instead of “throw” and that brought in someone else who haphazardly thought I was talking about him to post a finger wagging diatribe against me. Then I commented, then you commented, and the flames continue.

  • ItsMichaelNotMike

    This is very revealing. Is this the HD2 replacement? I suspect it is. Listen closely to this Qualcomm rep. He says that they are working with “partners” (code for handset manufacturers) to debut devices with the next generation of Snapdragon “later this year.”

    This is the Windows Phone that MS keeps talking about.

    I feel I stand corrected. I have said there was nothing in the pipeline that would be replacing the HD2 Snapdragon, at least not by Nov. 2010. But this looks like the HD2 replacement!

    As to what this is, look at the video and listen. It’s a faster chip with significant multi-media capability. The video shows the processor playing games, flash and most significant 720p video connected to an external LCD display via the HDMI cable.

    I said before that HDMI would be the new connection on smartphones. I suspect that this is what the new, powerful Windows Phones will have, an HDMI port.

    Wow, I may have to rethink my game plan. I will pass on my HD2 purchased next month and be compelled to get one of these new “super phones.”

    • efjay

      Was there a specific device you are referring to? Timestamp where it appears? Dont see anything that may be a HD2 successor or a specific Windows phone. As for the demo, I think the current Snapdragon processor in the HD2 can do 720p video and we know the HD2 can play 3D games well.

  • C

    Sounds like the HD2 will only be “The must have phone” for a few months only. It seems as if it will be “so last year” come holiday season.

    • Nobody cares

      Doubt it. Sounds like WM7 is happening…so that’s a big no.

  • gargoyle999

    I’m going to buy the HD2 when it comes out and give my wife my Curve. Then when the next gen phones come out later this year decide if it’s worth it to buy one of those and give my wife the HD2. Course in the fall we’ll probably be hearing about the 2GHz phones coming out next spring.

    • ItsMichaelNotMike

      LOL, we all apparently have someone to hand off our handsets so we can justify getting something else.

      Same here. I’ll probably still get the HD2 since it will always be a nice device.

      Plus, I am using my “backup phone,” a Pearl 8120. I am going nuts, especially after using the spacious screen size and versatile Touch Pro2. And going from 3G to Edge is unbearable.

  • SteveG1

    You talk alot at the begining about how large the device really is. That is the only concern I have about this phone, as I’m sure with other people here.

    Can you update this post with additional photos comparing sizes to other devices and how it looks holding it up to your ear? Maybe another video would be good.

    I saw a video about the new Dell phone with its 5″ screen and the reviewer showed what it looked like up to his ear, very informative as you could really get a sense of the size.

    btw: that new dell is huge at 5″ and looked horrible when its up to the ear. I would be curious to see how this one “sizes” up.

  • Nobody cares

    I just got my silicone case in the mail today for the HTC HD2, it gives a good idea what the phone will feel like. I don’t feel like it is too big, but it is a drastic size differential from my current phone (My Touch 3G). Can’t wait….HURRY UP already!!!!

    • ItsMichaelNotMike

      I bought on Craig’s List an almost new G1 (with Android 1.6 installed, it’s that new) for $100. Got this to tide me over until the HD2 comes out. Will then keep the G1 as a backup phone or when I want to play with Android.

      That’s what I love about SIM cards, remove it from one phone, put it on another and bam, good to go.

      Anyway, that’s not the point of my post.

      I called T-Mo to change my data plan from BlackBerry to a Google Android data plan.

      After chit chatting to loosen up the rep’s lips, I asked him to tell me what he knows about the HD2. He said that they are scheduled for HD2 training in the next couple weeks! Woot!

      But that’s all he knew. I’ll take it though, confirmation of March training.
      Looking good for a HD2 March debut.

      Oh, I did ask him a few questions to which he did not know anything:

      1. Do you see anything on your computer display on the HD2 debut date. Response: No.

      2. Anything on whether it might be available for pre-order? Response: No info.

      3. Are people asking you about it? Response: Yes, and many asking the same questions you are (laughter on his end).

  • asparagus19
  • logan

    me and my kid love our new unlocked phones. great htc phone. easy to use, incredible touch screen. processor is faster. email is great for my business and gps. and the facebook and htc apps keep us busy when ur on trips and bored. camera is very nice and the touch screen is very responsive so texting is pretty easy. much better than my old unlocked blackberry phone. htc is really killin it this year! i’m just mad i missed out on the evo but that’s ok. memory and battery life are good on this too. 2 thumbs way up.