When I opened the FedEx box to reveal the HD2, my first impression (as the title aptly states) was "wow." While I realized that the screen was huge, the combination of large screen and thin form factor appealed to me. Simply put, the device is absolutely beautiful. The 4.3-inch screen pops out at you, and small things like checking e-mail and downloading apps from Windows Marketplace come to life. If you think the device is large in photos, wait until you see it in person.
Though the device packs Windows Mobile 6.5, HTC has pre-loaded their Sense UI onto the device, and it makes for a wonderful experience. The HD2 gives you the ability to set the current weather conditions as your background, meaning that the Sense UI weather widget is effectively displayed all across the screen. It's a neat addition, and somewhat mesmerizing to watch the clouds move across the screen (I'm sure it's a battery drain as well, but I'll have to find out).
When you get down to brass tacks, the thing that makes the HD2 is the 4.3-inch screen (let's be honest, without it, the device would be just another Windows Mobile smartphone on the market). From top to bottom, the unit has a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor, 512 MB ROM, 448 MB RAM, a 5.0-megapixel camera, 3.5mm headphone jack, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi 802.11b/g.
Initial picture quality on the HD2 is astonishing. HTC (and Sense) have always performed well when it comes to sharing media, and with the company's Footprints application and photo sharing features, the HD2 continues that trend. The 5.0-megapixel camera (which comes with a flash) takes clear pictures, with the device's autofocus helps tremendously. Video was mediocre, but I plan to conduct a full test and will report back with my findings.
The one thing about the HD2 that has been driving me nuts (for lack of a better word) is the keyboard. I'm just not a fan of it. Working in the industry, I'm well aware that it takes time to get used to a particular keyboard type (which I plan to do), but I find the keyboard on the HD2 to be inaccurate. There are reports on the internet that describe it differently, but "inaccurate" is the word that comes to mind first for me. At times, typing my name would be flawless. Other times, it would simply skip a beat and miss one of the letters. It's exceptionally frustrating for those that type quickly on their mobile devices, and after about an hour of use, I found myself getting agitated. I'm hoping it's something that can be fixed.
I haven't been able to dive into battery life and call quality numbers just yet, but rest assured, they'll be in the full review. I can say that my testing today has been well, with the 1230 mAh battery holding a charge for a reasonable period of time (particularly given the screen size) and the reception on AT&T being strong. One thing that I did find interesting, however, is the charging time: I noticed that from empty to full, the HD2 charges incredibly fast.
While the operating system (Windows Mobile 6.5) may be a detriment to some, the combination of it and Sense UI may be enough to make it a useful device in the eyes of many. The HD2 has an absolutely gorgeous screen, a fast processor, and the ability to be something great. Does Windows Mobile 6.5 hinder that greatness? Stay tuned for the full written review, coming soon!