HTC Touch HD Review
Review of Astounding New HTC Touch HD Exemplifies What a Treo Pro Might Look Like Without Its Keyboard & Power Of Windows Mobile
As you might know, the Treo Pro is designed by Palm and manufactured by a company called HTC which recently released a super high resolution 480x800 pixels touchscreen-only smartphone called the HTC Touch HD (pictured above right) exclusively for Orange in the UK that I was rather lucky to receive a couple of days ago.
In much the same way that the Treo Pro is the best Windows Mobile smartphone available today with a full QWERTY keyboard, the HTC Touch HD is without a doubt the very best example that I have yet come across of a full touchscreen version and I have to admit that I’m somewhat disappointed that it doesn’t carry the Palm logo…
As you can appreciate from the full side-by-side specifcations below, the HTC Touch HD offers some absolutely spectacular hardware and also astounding value (I got mine for free with an 18 months contract). For starters you get an ultrafast 528MHz processor, 512MB memory with 288MB user available, ultraslim (only 12mm) and ultralight (only 147 grams) body, a huge 3.8 inch TFT-LCD touchscreen with 480x800 resolution, a 5.0 megapixels camera _and_ a second camera at the front for video calling, built-in G-Sensor (motion), HSDPA, GPS and WiFi as well as a 3.5mm audio connector, built-in radio and (with Orange at least) a free 8GB microSDHC card thrown in.
The combination of all of this super high-end hardware on the HTC Touch HD is nothing short of amazing (it’s better than anything I’ve seen out there including the iPhone 3G and BlackBerry Storm) and I have to admit that it has not only greatly excited me but also helped to further open my eyes as to what the future of smartphones will be - we’re about to experience another revolution that will finally combine Web 2.0 energy and creativity with a new Smartphone 2.0 world.
Virtually the only things that I would like to have seen added or changed on the HTC Touch HD are: to have Palm’s convenient silent slider at the top + a standard microUSB sync & charge connector instead of HTC’s proprietary ExtUSB + a built-in flash to complement the superb high-resolution camera + tri-band UMTS radio to be able to use high-speed wireless data in the US + perhaps a very slightly more polished body design (which Palm could do really well). Aside from this, in terms of hardware, one could say that the HTC Touch HD is basically as close to perfect as you can get today.
As you might expect with a super sharp screen that offers a 480 x 800 pixels resolution, working with the HTC Touch HD is an absolute delight both on your eyes and senses with ultra rich graphics and animations (click on actual screenshots above for full real size) – overall the screen is nothing short of AMAZING… Additionally, I’m sure that you’ll agree with me that HTC has done a superb job with its custom interface on top of Windows Mobile (I’ll review the software in a separate post).
Also, thanks to its built-in G-Sensor, the Touch HD naturally allows you to among others view images, movies and more importantly web pages in landscape mode at 800 x 480 resolution (actual Opera browser screenshot above).
Two other worthwhile mentions about the screen are the fact that 1) you can use a stylus (built-in above) and 2) it’s touch sensitive but you can also use your fingernails (unlike the iPhone) which makes it _much_ easier to type on the on-screen keyboard (screenshot below).
A couple more HTC Touch HD details below include a slightly raised camera at the back to ensure that the speaker does not get muffled when laying on a flat surface and also the “video calling” camera with is discreetly embedded at the top front of the device (image below right).
Finally, the Touch HD kit (below) is also pretty complete and impressive with a USB wall adapter, USB sync & charge cable, spare stylus, 3.5mm headset with built-in microphone and clothing clip, soft velvet pocket pouch and also an 8GB microSDHC memory card (presumably specified by Orange to compete against the iPhone 3G launched by another carrier).
Overall, I have to admit that before getting my hands on this HTC Touch HD I didn’t think very highly about the company’s devices which more often than not I found to be extremely ugly and clunky. HTC has clearly now managed to completely win me over as this full touchscreen smartphone is absolutely nothing short of incredible with some of the very highest specs available today.
The HTC Touch HD will not replace my Treo Pro principally because as I outlined the other day (see Treo Pro “Smart” Phone) it is still the device that allows me to make calls in the fastest and most intuitive manner possible as well as because ultimately there is (for me at least) no substitute for a real, physical front full QWERTY keyboard for typing emails and messages – particularly for business.
Having said this, there is no doubt that I’m evidently extremely jealous of all the capabilities the Touch HD offers and I hope that Palm will be able to 1) release an updated Treo Pro with some of these more powerful features (including a faster processor, more built-in memory, a 480x480 resolution screen and 5.0 megapixels camera) as well as 2) perhaps in due time offer a full touchscreen Windows Mobile smartphone of its own (rebranding the Touch HD for Palm?).
Separately, as I’ll cover more in-depth later in the week, both the Touch HD and Treo Pro are undoubtedly perfect examples to demonstrate that Windows Mobile powered smartphones have made huge progress and have become considerably more versatile and exciting than we thought…
Treonauts are always looking for the next revolution…