I’ve been awaiting for this kind of iPhone competitor since…well…the iPhone! And there’s certainly a lot I could write about it, but most it has already been written – there are a few detailed reviews and un-boxing walkthroughs online. instead, I’m going to give a few of my initial impressions as a humble user!
- Firstly, the screen is fantastic! You can literally view a full size webpage (it was here that i gave up writing this post on the Touch HD and switched to a shiny new Black NC10 – definitely my netbook of choice!). Even with the phone on portrait view, you can read normal size font on a webpage without zooming in – that’s impressive!
- Secondly, the device itself is gorgeous. It feels well made, and there are some nice touches like the fact that stylus is held in place magentically, and the back of the phone has a softish matte texture so doesn’t show fingerprints quite as easily as the Touch DIamond.
- Thirdly, although this may be specific to Orange, it came with an 8GB MicroSD card! That is a seriously nice touch.
Now…unfortunately it’s time for the downsides to this beastly device. And, there are one or two that i’ve encountered so far.
- Generally, i get the overwhelming impression that the hardware is considerably let down by bad software. It seems as though HTC have done everything they can to improve the standard Windows Mobile 6.1 with the introduction of their TouchFlo UI, but it’s just not enough. I reckon that it is a fundamental mistake to have released the G1 with Android, and the Touch HD with only WM6.1. I could go on for a while about the little things i’ve noticed which enforce this, but i’ll save you the boredom.
- It’s designed to be used with a stylus, but with finger-friendly usability here and there, and it seems to be slightly lacking in both departments, because it doesn’t tick all boxes as either! It’s not multi-touch enabled, so isn’t a truly finger-friendly, and there’s no ability (that i’ve found so far) to be able to customise the screen’s sensitivity…so its slightly tricky to use. But, because it’s partly designed for fingers, it’s quite difficult to use with the stylus!
- Text input is not great. I could just have high expectations, but it doesn’t feel as good when compared to my old HTC.
- Web-browsing is mediocre. On most mobile browsers you can’t read text without zooming in, so you can’t click links without zooming in. On the Touch HD you can read all text, but still can’t click links without zooming in…hhmm…they didn’t really think that one through!
Before i rant on for days…i’ll sum up. The phone is astoundingly good, the software is astoundingly bad. This is the fundamental cause of most of the problems i’ve found with it. Although WM6.1 isn’t the worst OS in the world…it feels like it should be so much more – and that just leaves me feeling disappointed. It feels like it should have a brand spanking new and clever user interface that is a pleasure to use, but instead feels a bit like a Ferrari with an old Lada engine! Hopefully someone will develop Android for it in the near future!