The title says it all really. I finally got my hands on a Telstra version of the HTC HD2 to use with 3G on the AT&T Network! I have been using the T-Mobile (review coming) version of the HTC HD2 and it is simply awesome. Burning with curiosity I had to see this device perform on a high speed network and advocate for the Telstra HTC HD2 that has the same AT&T 850MHz 3G bandwidth. So thanks to our good friends at OnTheGoSolutions.com, they have entrusted me, to show you, just how this device will fare under a rigorous review process. So please jump after the break to continue reading the Mobility Digest Review: Telstra HTC HD2 T9193!
I’m a little nervous. Nervous about the HTC HD2 for many reasons actually. First, I am very concerned about buying a device for the first time that does not have a slide out keyboard. Will I be able to adjust? How will the on screen keyboard (SIP) compare to the incredible keyboard on my AT&T Tilt 2 (HTC Touch Pro 2)? The HTC HD2 is not a small device either. I am not even going to kid myself that I won’t fall madly in love with the 4.3 inch WVGA capacitive touch screen. But how much is too much screen size? Another issue is the processor. Yes, we have all heard about the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, but I was not terribly impressed with the processor speed improvement with the QUALCOMM (R) 7200 400mhz CPU to the Qualcomm MSM7201A 528MHz in the Tilt over my Fuze. Will the QSD8250B-1GHz Snapdragon meet or exceed my expectations over the 7201A? The last and biggest concern for me is, will the Telstra version of the HTC HD2 with 850MHz Bandwidth allow me to use the AT&T 3G Network as good as branded AT&T Device? If you are curious about these questions and many more, hang with me as I review the Telstra HTC HD2 T9193 courtesy of OnTheGoSolutions.com!
I know I have said this before, but by the time I get my hands on a device over here in the United States, I have already seen it in action hundreds of times via leaks, videos, or reviews from overseas. So I pretty much already knew what I was getting. But I was very curious as to just how large the HD2 really was. So upon opening the package and holding it for the very first time two thoughts immediately hit me. First, this is a large device, but not as large as all the reviews made it out to be. No, I’m not saying that they measured it wrong and published errors. What I am saying is that most of the reviews went on and on about how HUGE the HD2 was. The second thing that hit me was how thin this device was! I would not have suspected that the mix of the two really made a very balanced device for me. Getting past that, the Telstra HTC HD2 is a very solidly built device that we have all come to expect from HTC. You will not find a better engineered device in mobility than just about everything HTC makes. Speaking of engineering, I am thrilled to finally have a 3.5mm audio jack! It’s about time! To summarize, the HTC HD2 is a large front facing device that is pleasantly offset by an amazingly thin side profile construction that really balances the device. Check out my first impression video box opening:
WHAT YOU GET IN THE BOX
Brand New UNLOCKED HTC Touch HD 2 Phone
Original battery door
Original home charger
Original data cable
Original HTC leather sleeve
16GB Sandisk MicroSD
Original HTC box with barcode
All sealed in original plastic
CPU: QSD8250B-1GHz Snapdragon Processor
ROM: 512 / RAM: 448
WiFi: 802.11 b/g
Bluetooth: Version 2.1/2.1+EDR
Weight: 157g (with battery)
Display: 4.3-inch HD touch-sensitive screen with 480 x 800 WVGA resolution
GSM/GPRS/EDGE WCDMA / HSPA
MicroSD (Up to 32GB)
Battery: 1230 mAh Talk Time: 380 min (GSM) Standby Time: 490 hours
Speakerphone: Built-in microphone, speaker
Camera: 5MP, including widescreen capture, digital zoom and 2x LED Flash
Audio/Video: Windows Media® Player, Albums, Pictures & Videos, FM Radio,
Video supported formats: wmv, .asf, .mp4, .3gp, .3g2, .m4v, .avi
User Interface: * HTC Sense user experience
* Capacitive touch screen with pinch-to-zoom and haptic capability
* Proximity sensor
* 3.5 mm headset jack
Qualcomm MSM8250B Snapdragon @ 1GHz
GPU: AMD z430
OpenGL ES 2.0 support
The Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8250B is simply the fastest processor on a mobile handset I have ever used. One of my concerns listed in the introduction was if the Snapdragon would have a “Real Life” speed increase over the TP2 processor by Qualcomm, the MSM7201A 528MHz. The answer is simple and that answer is YES! It is blazingly fast and the difference between the two processors is night and day. One of the real strengths of Windows Mobile is it’s ability to multi-task. The problem with that has always been feeding enough processing power to do that. I can now tell you that multitasking is awesome and I have yet to encounter the lagging or freeze ups associated with earlier processors used on Windows Mobile devices.
I also found that video playback on the Telstra HTC HD2 was fast, and did not suffer from any lag what so ever. I watched several movies on it and I was thrilled with the performance. In the past, I had experienced issues on devices when I wanted to multi-task and pause the video and answer a text, email or phone calls. This consistently brought the device to it’s knees. But not on the HD2. Video playback paused and picked right back up where it left off without even breaking a sweat. The same goes for the camera and video capture. Switching to an album used to be arduous and took a lot of time to complete, and on occasion locking up. The HD2 performed all camera tasks with the greatest of ease and without a trace of problems or freezing up.
512MB internal flash
Supports up to 32GB MicroSD, 16GB Sandisk MicroSD included.
HTC supplies the HD2 to Telstra with ROM: 512 / RAM: 448. This is a ton of program memory to make multi-tasking perform well and more than enough storage memory for large assortment of programs should you choose to put them there for some reason.
Telstra also includes a 16gb SanDisk storage card that will hold a ton of your videos, movies, and pictures with plenty of room left over. I also keep all my third part software on my storage card and install just about everything to it. Also, if you are running cooked ROM’s most chefs are making their ROM UC Compliant so setting up a folder on your storage card will be a must. This is a great value added and confirms HTC’s direction with the device to make it as media friendly as possible as well as a first class business phone.
Quadband GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz, WCDMA/HSDPA/HSUPA (3G) on 850MHz and 2100MHz
Supports AT&T, T-Mobile, Rogers, Cellular One, Centenial, Tuyo and other GSM providers
Bluetooth with A2DP, 802.11b/g wifi, GPS receiver with A-GPS support
Honestly, this is one of the areas I thought the HD2 was not the strongest at. The radio version supplied with the Telstra HTC HD2 is 2.07.51.22_2. In my week with the phone on AT&T’s (less than stellar) network is that call quality suffered and it consistently had 1-2 less bars than my AT&T Tilt 2, AT&T Fuze, as well as a friends iPhone and wife’s Samsung Propel. I know most of you that read my articles and follow me on our forums know that I will be flashing this device within seconds of completing this review. The new recommended radio for almost all custom/cooked ROMS is the 2.07.50.xx but there is a strong movement towards the 2.08.50.xx radio from the latest ROM’s being released. I will be checking out both of them in later articles so stop back by! With the sub par call quality that I have been used to, the battery life is outstanding! So as with just about all radios, there is a give and take to be had.
The primary reason for me getting this device was to take advantage of the Australian bandwidth that AT&T also uses for their 3G, and that is the 850 MHz bandwidth. I see this question asked all the time in many different forums: “Will the Telstra version support AT&T’s 3G High Speed Data Network?” The answer is yes it will!! The T-Mobile version, which is the only HTC HD2 launched in the United States, does not have the 850MHz bandwidth to work on AT&T for 3G. This really upset some people because of the considerable price disparity between the two devices (T-Mobile vs. Telstra). The T-Mobile HTC HD2 can be purchased for $450.00 dollars without contract where the Telstra version is currently $750.00 converted to USD. And that is if you can get them to ship it to the United States contract free. The reason why OnTheGoSolutions.com sells the Telstra version for more money is the value added features. In this case, the HD2 is already unlocked by Telstra, but OnTheGoSolutions.com also HardSPL unlocks the device ($$$), exchanges the Euro power plug for a US compatible plug ($$$), and lastly installs their own custom ROM which uses a later version of Windows Mobile 6.5, HTC Sense, and strips out all of what we call here in the United States, Bloatware. Bloatware being all the trialware and useless applications that hog resources and become incredibly annoying. OnTheGoSolutions.com also provides updates after the sale as well as support. So these are all very nice value added products to coincide with an awesome device!
Speed? I don’t think I mentioned that this device is really fast downloading data off the AT&T network. Cruising the internet and watching YouTube videos was great. Check out the photos below:
I also tested the WiFi: 802.11 b/g radio included in HD2 and it performed very well at home on my DSL Connections as well as at work where I have a Broadband cable connection. Lastly, the Bluetooth also paired well to my BT headset and performed as expected.
Brilliant. I have been sitting here looking at my HD2 and I can think of no other word to describe the screen but ‘brilliant’. It is without question, the best screen in all of the mobile device market. The Telstra HTC HD2 comes with a 4.3 inch capacitive touch screen with a resolution of 480 x 800 WVGA. This is the screen that all other devices must be compared to. And yes, in case you missed it, I did say capacitive! Even though there are a limited amount of applications that can do it, you will now be able to “pinch to zoom” just like all the other iPhone friends you have (but of course you can expand this to other apps using Zoomer). Using it in Opera is really a great experience. The photo album andviewing pictures really is easy and fun. I am not a huge mobile device movie watcher, but having watched both Transformers movies on my T-Mobile version of the HD2 (T-8585) is second to none. I recently flew from the deep south to Vancouver, BC and occupied my time watching these awesome movies and none of the special affects were diminished by watching it on a smartphone. The experience was outstanding and if you are a media rich mobile device user, this is the screen for you!!
The Telstra HTC HD2 is one of the largest devices I have ever owned but having said that, it is still a device capable of fitting in your front pocket. As a matter of fact, wearing a dress shirt with a front pocket, I could have never put my Touch Pro 2 in there because of the girth and weight that phone has. Check out this little chart for a quick comparison:
HTC Touch Pro 2
Even though the HD2 is larger in surface area, I still found that it fit perfectly in your pocket and because of the –0.22 thickness decrease and –0.76 weight savings, it actually felt a lot better than my Touch Pro 2 in my pocket. Another surprise was when I could not find a belt holster for my HD2 to carry my device around with. I prefer to carry all my devices in a horizontal holster that I can wear on my belt. On a a whim, I tried to put the HD2 in the TP2 case and it actually fit. It was a little snug at first, but because of the thickness decrease, it allowed the holster to “stretch” some more to make up for the difference in length and width. (This may not work on all cases, so please do not go out and buy a TP2 case for your HD2)
The Telstra HTC HD2 exterior including button layout, front fascia, and bezel all compliment the screen of the HD2 and take nothing away from it. The outer bezel feels excellent with a rubberized coating that makes the HD2 easy to hold on to. The same rubberized coating is applied to the upper and lower rear skirts. The rear cover is made up of a brushed gunmetal material that really sets the HD2 off but does. As I mentioned above, the build quality is absolutely outstanding. As with all HTC high end devices, the HD2 has a very solid feel to it and you will not be shy when handling the device for fear of breaking it.
The front of the device is dominated by the 4.3 inch screen, but HTC did leave room across the lower bottom for five hardware buttons. From left to right they are: Talk/Send, Home, Start, Back, and End/Power. The five buttons all share the same rear cover theme and are the exact brushed gunmetal look. The buttons all look and feel good and are well spaced apart.
The bottom of the device that is pictured above has from left to right, the long awaited arrival of the 3.5mm Audi Jack, Mini USB Sync/Charge slot, and a microphone for phone calls. I was not overly thrilled to see that HTC used a Micro USB plug instead of the standard Mini USB plug (but this is the new standard going forward fo mobile dvices). Since HTC did in fact add a 3.5mm audio jack I have found myself able to overlook this. 🙂
The left side of the device contains only one up/down button which controls the volume. The button is raised enough so that it is easily located when needed and allows decent volume changes with minimal effort.
Unlike many of the HTC Devices I have owned…..ah…..still own, the top of the device has nothing going on except the rubberized bezel I spoke about earlier which wraps around to the rear of the device:
The right side is also designed without any buttons, but has a fingernail slot to help remove the rear cover:
So now let’s have a look at the rear of the device. Starting at the top there is a speaker phone just to the left of the 5megapixal camera. On the right hand side of the camera is dual LED flash that really works well. All this located on the upper part of the device leaving nothing else going on except the HTC logo below the camera, and a “WITH HTC SENSE” written across the lower part of the battery cover:
The Telstra HTC HD2 is outfitted with a 5 MP camera accompanied by a dual LED flash. The software running the camera is relatively the same as all current generation HTC devices which is version 6.26 (Build 1922.3428) so if you love HTC, then this controls will feel very familiar to you. The Camera takes beautiful pictures during the day time, it’s truly amazing. And for those low light, night time shots? The dual LED flash shows its stuff with style. Shooting video will also leave you satisfied. The videos captures will get you 420p quality on YouTube. I am sure that is good enough for most. Even though the picture quality is excellent and the processor does a fantastic job with the camera hardware, at times I did find the auto focus a little “weird” and tended to re-focus multiple times before getting it right.
Because there is no physical keyboard on this device, you will no doubt develop a natural curiosity about the on screen offering (SIP). Thankfully, the Telstra HTC HD2 does not disappoint here. Thanks to two key hardware features, the onscreen keyboard is a joy to use. First would be the capacitive display. The technology really shows its worth here, there is no need for a stylus any more. Second is simply the size of the massive display. The screen is so big, you’ll find yourself needing to make very little adjustment with your fingers to reach letters. The word predictive software does its job well. It is entirely possible to miss 5 letters in an 8 letter word and still have the correct work pop up for suggestion. Even though I liked the on screen keyboard and it performed well, I would have really liked to have had Swype added. Even on my beloved Tilt 2, I have found mysef using Swype more and more. Swype is also preloaded on the T-Mobile version and it would have been a welcomed addittion to the keyboard options.
The Telstra HTC HD2 comes equipped with a 1230 mAh battery that did a lot better than expected. Under normal circumstances of using the phone on multiple calls throughout the day, Twitter, Email, Internet, and RSS Feeds, I was able to get a full day out of the HD2 without any problem. The more serious user that is also watching video plus internet will not fair that well. I started with a full charge and watched a movie on the device and it wore it down to 40%. I had no expectations that it would survive a full day watching videos and running applications listed above, but given the processor and the bigger screen that have to be huge power consumers, I was very pleased.
3.5mm audio jack
Carrier unlocked (insert any SIM)
Boot loader HardSPL unlocked (flash any ROM)
I for one am really loving the 3.5mm audio jack which has been missing for quite some time from the majority of the HTC Devices including all Slide out Keyboard devices. We have covered accelerometer many times on the website and since it is nothing new,
Windows Mobile 6.5 Professional (HTC stock v1.66), unlocked boot loader
At this point I have gotten into the length of a short story with this review and since we have so many resources and reviews on HTC Sense 2.5 I thought I would give you my evaluation of this version and then link to a review done by Mobility Digest on HTC’s Sense 2.5. So please CLICK HERE for David’s review Let’s Take a Walk Through TF3D 2.5 (Sense) that will take a much deeper look into HTC’s Sense User Interface. Also, don’t forget to look at NRG’s comparison between all the latest versions of HTC Sense currently being cooked into ROM’s. You can find that here: What Is The Difference In HTC Rom Versions? NRG Explains.
As I mentioned before, HTC Sense 2.5 performs lightning fast on the HD2 and if you are a fan of that UI, you will not be disappointed. You will find all of the usual tabs on this Version of HTC Sense with the exception of Documents and Facebook which are really hot adds to Cooked ROMS right now. Included tabs are:
Home, Contacts, Messages, Mail, Internet, Calendar, Stocks, Photos and Videos, Music, Weather, Footprints, Twitter, and Settings. All performed well and I still use the Twitter application (Peep) daily instead of the tons of third party Twitter applications available. Some other notable software included is:
Opera 9.7 Build 35627
Pictures & Videos
Microsoft My Phone
JETCET PRINT 5
Remote Desktop Mobile
Format SD Card
View Full Album
Wow, so this brings us to a close of another exciting edition of Mobility Digest Reviews: The Telstra HTC HD2 from our friends at OnTheGoSolutions.com. So I need to summarize this review into a small little bit size piece so that all my rambling makes some sort of “Sense” (no pun intended). The bottom line is this, it is hands down the best Windows Mobile Device on the market. Nothing comes close. From a hardware standpoint, this is the best device on the market today. (The Verizon HTC Incredible with it’s 8mp Camera might change my mind). But how does it compare to the iPhone, Android, and Blackberry devices? Is it the long awaited iPhone Killer? I don’t think this device changes iPhone users minds. But from a performance standpoint, it is the iPhone killer without question. From a user interface experience, you are still going to be forced to monkey with Windows Mobile at some point despite HTC’s brilliant Sense UI and deep integration into the dated abyss of the Windows Mobile operating system. Microsoft has already said the HD2 will not be upgradable to Windows Phone 7 (insert loud complaints and curses here). Which really takes a lot of the wind out of this fantastic devices sails. The carrier support has been limited to T-Mobile here in the United Sates and the accessory market for this device is horrible at best. Otterbox and Seidio are not currently making cases for the HD2. But with all that being said, this device is simply the most exceptionally well built device I have ever used. The speed, screen, memory, build quality, improved Windows Mobile 6.5, and HTC Sense make this a winner.
Lots of ram
Can handle up to 32GB MicroSD, includes 16GB chip
Fully unlocked (SIM, CID)
Extreme standby life at 490 hours
Decent talk time at 6.3 hours
AT&T 3G and 3.5mm jack (a first for HTC devices with AT&T 3G support)
Big screen adds some length and weight, but still very thin
Battery only 1230mAh (versus 1500 of the Tilt 2) but radio is efficient