Now that the initial hype has died down, and t-mobile employees are officially advising against purchasing an HD2 itís time for an educated and thorough review that new buyers can actually use. Iím not going to include any technical information, because 1) it is widely available 2) most people donít choose a phone based on technical specs and 3) we all know this sucker is super fast. What I will do is offer up my opinions along with some tips and tweaks --NO HACKS-- should you decide the HD2 is right for you.
To start with, what about the Galaxy S?
Yes, at least one t-mobile employee tried to steer me away from the hd2 and to the galaxy s. And yes, the screen on the Samsung, while a bit smaller, is also a bit more impressive. Darker blacks and more vibrant colors. If screen resolution is the only thing you care about, even over size and price, then stop reading now, because the galaxy s definitely has a superior screen. Holding the galaxy s in my hand though, I didnít give it a single thought. Hereís why. To start with, I prefer the slightly boxier build of the hd2. Also I feel more comfortable with a couple hard keys, and for me at least, a slightly bigger screen is desirable over a slightly better one. The real decision factor however, was that I was replacing a Samsung touch screen phone which had become intermittently non responsive to touch and after three straight Samsung phones (sgh r210 - t909 - behold) I figured Iíd give HTC a chance, after all Google did.
The early days were dark.
This was my first data plan with t-mobile, so the extra 25 bucks a month was a hard pill to swallow. I was really expecting the hd2 to blow me out of the water, thus making it easy to rationalize a 50% increase in my monthly bill. It didnít. I wonít list all the issues I had with this phone because they are well documented through out the web, but also because thatís just the start of the story.
A happy ending.
Bottom line, Microsoft is great because you can customize the **** out of it. The hd2 doesnít suck HTC Sense sucks. ITíS HORRIBLE. A waste and an annoyance, but, easily removed. Thatís right disabling HTC sense is the first and most important step to loving your hd2.
Settings > today > items (bottom tab)
Then just select windows default (HTC sense is at the bottom, but who cares)
On to the tweaksÖ
I read a lot about hacking the hd2 registry, but seeing as I was still contemplating returning the phone, I didnít want to do anything drastic. So I kept it simple. Here are the apps (cabs) I installed to perfect my HTC hd2 experience. Just search the web (and Microsoft marketplace) and you can download all these apps for free. Also, to install a .cab file, just drag and drop it from your computer (connected via USB) to your phone. Then unplug your phone from the computer and browse to the file.
Start menu> file explore> storage card
Click on the .cab file you just dropped onto your phone and the app will install. Then go back to the start menu and at the bottom there should be an icon for you newly installed app. Here are mine:
GYRATOR 2 - Brins0.net
-a simple rotator. A lot of the screens on the hd2 wonít go into landscape without this app
RESET ME - Y.K. Ying
-I think I downloaded this one from the market place. I was messing around with my phone a lot in those early days, and this app cam in handy for settings that required soft reset.
HOMESCREEN CUSTOMIZER - Danny Su
-Another marketplace free download - this is the MOST IMPORTANT app I downloaded for the HTC hd2. It removed that horrible HTC Sense crap, and replaced it with a simple, one screen option.
SHOWCASE - e-natives
-for some reason, when you hit the ĎXí in the upper right hand corner of the screen, whatever app or function is running simply minimizes. The phone is so fast though, that launching applications takes just as long as switching to them, so thereís really no point in having a bunch of apps running, sucking up battery and processor resources. This app makes that X actually close a program and not just minimize it.
So What about the camera, what about the battery?
As for the battery, it takes just a couple hours to loose half your battery power, then the phone seams to operate for another 10-15 hours on the remaining power. I read that this is a snapdragon issue (the powerful 1 GHz processor running the HD2). So while those quickly dwindling bars cause much stress, the phone will operate for almost two days without charge.
I am still looking for an inexpensive camera app to replace the HTC camera, but I have managed to tweak the settings enough (contrast, saturation, white balance) to get some decent pictures in well lit situations. The fact is, the Samsung Behold has an amazing camera in it, and the hd2 just isnít as great. Oh well.