Review: HTC HD2 Smartphone

The first thing you notice about HTC’s HD2 is its enormous size.

A 4.3-inch capacitive touchscreen graces the face of this finely crafted device, while the chassis matches the display’s sleek design. Despite having such a large screen, the phone still feels lightweight at 5.5 ounces. And that display is shiny: We co-opted it as a substitute for a pocket mirror.

However, the phone runs Windows Mobile 6.5, a decidedly outmoded operating system. WinMo takes about 30 seconds to start up and, once running, has a tendency to freeze faster than Bobby Drake. The touchscreen isn’t that responsive, either — it’s jumpy and often registers the wrong button press. The HD2’s 5-megapixel, flash-equipped camera also falls short because it requires a steady hand and produces grainy photos. When using the dual-LED flash, a green-goblin-like glow is cast on your treasured moments in time.

On the plus side, call quality is good on both ends of the conversation with battery life that endured a full two days of constant use before petering out.

The 1-GHz Snapdragon processor makes scrolling through menus zippy, while Opera’s lean-and-fast mobile browser renders websites quickly and cleanly.

A screen of 400 x 800 pixels means you can actually enjoy watching movies on the HD2. Ours came loaded with Transformers 1 and 2, which looked awesome onscreen except for some muddiness that occurred in dark scenes. (Nevermind the fact Michael Bay probably hired a brain-damaged monkey to write the script.)

Preinstalled apps include MobiTV, Blockbuster and Barnes & Noble eReader, the better to while away the hours while you wait in line at the DMV or on the subway.

If only looks mattered when it comes to selecting a mobile device, the HD2 would be an easy choice. Unfortunately, software flaws have it playing catch-up with the leaders of the pack.

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