I’ve had a few days to become acquainted with the , so this seemed like as good a time as any to take a walk-around the device and talk about some of its features.
The Touch HD’s minimalistic body is composed of shiny black plastic on the top half and matte plastic with a grippy coating on the back. It measures 4.4″ long x 2.5″ wide x 0.5″ thick, and it weighs 5.2 ounces.
The Touch HD is nearly the same size as an iPhone, but has a larger screen (3.8″ vs. 3.5″) and a much higher screen resolution (480 x 800 vs. 480 x 320).
The case is very solid, and when torqued it doesn’t creak or give. If I could have designed it anyway I wanted, I would have made the body out of black anodized aluminum or a brushed stainless steel gray, just to give it that extra little bit of panache. But the Touch HD is truly gorgeous, as is.
Let’s start with the top end of the phone, which is clean except for the power button (with notification LED) and 3.5mm jack. I love that this device can accept any standard pair of earphones, and I also appreciate that there are not a bunch of blinking lights on its face. The power button’s LED will glow orange when the HD is charging, and blink green when a call has been missed or for other notifications; there are no LED colors to indicate that Bluetooth or WiFi are working – just the icons which show on the screen.
Near the top front edge are the ear speaker and light sensor, and over to the side is the round secondary camera which can record still photos in VGA resolution — or be used for video calls if you live in a country which supports the feature, which unfortunately does not include the US.
The bubbles on the HTC logo and the sides are from the included screen protector; they didn’t seem that noticeable until I looked at these photos.
The screen is everything I had hoped it would be, and more. At a very generous 3.8″ it takes up most of the device’s front, and the result is a pleasing black frame around a gorgeous high resolution picture.
On the bottom front edge, there are four buttons which at first glance seemed to possibly be capacitive, or activated by touch. Since they can be activated by the stylus’ tip, my initial impression was incorrect; they are instead just really good looking standard buttons. From left to right they are: Talk/Send, Home, Back and End.
I’m not sure why, but these buttons have no backlighting; it’s not a huge deal, but it seems an odd thing to leave out.
When these four buttons are pressed, the user’s finger is rewarded with haptic feedback. It would be awesome if haptic feedback were available anytime the screen was touched as well, but for the most part it is limited only to those four buttons. I found two pleasant surprises: when using Opera, the default browser, haptic feedback was felt any time a link was clicked or the pan slider was used. Haptic feedback is also present when touching the icons at the bottom of the sliding TouchFlo interface.
On the bottom is the Sync connector and microphone. I have already discovered that when I am holding the phone while in speaker mode, I tend to put my finger right over the microphone hole, effectively muffling my end of the conversation; I need to be more conscious this.
On the left side there is a volume up and volume down rocker bar. The absence of the other usual HTC side buttons is welcome, and I think this adds to the device’s overall elegance.
On the back side there is a battery cover door which slides up for removal.
Housed in this area is a 5 megapixel autofocus camera which, in all honesty I did not expect much from. Today, it surprised me. This picture was taken under partly cloudy skies, and I can’t get over how good it looks. Frankly, if someone had told me that it was taken with a phone’s camera, I would have automatically assumed Nokia. If I were told HTC, I would have laughed; color me impressed.
It’s almost not even necessary, but there is a stubby little 3″ stylus housed in a silo on the bottom right; a magnet keeps this stylus snapped tightly in its home. So far the only time I have even had to use the stylus was during the initial set-up screen sequence and calibration. Truth be told, my fingernail would have probably done the job just as well. One neat party trick that the Touch HD can perform is that the screen will come on when the stylus is removed; it’s intelligently designed so that you won’t have to add the extra step of pressing the power button for a backlight.
Of course there is much more to this device than just the hardware; it is running Windows Mobile Professional 6.1 with HTC’s TouchFlo interface, and I will be talking about my impressions of that flavor WM OS running on this device soon…