HTC Desire Z review

Is it worth giving up your BlackBerry for HTC's latest Android phone with its physical keyboard and remote security features? Read out review to find out.

We tested the remote ring service and it worked a treat. We also tried the remote lock and wipe features, but these did not work properly. Teething problems with the HTCSense.com web site, we suspect.

The 800MHz processor is not as fast on paper as the 1GHz processor found in other smartphones, but we didn't notice any lag or slowdown. Battery life is as you'd expect from a smartphone. You'll be lucky to get through half a day if you want to use the GPS for navigation for very long you'll be advised to get car charger. Leave social media and push email on all day and you'll probably find the battery is pretty low by the time you get home from work.

The camera is capable of 720p video recording and it will focus on where you touch the screen rather than the centre of whatever image is being framed. It's also a decent stills camera capable of taking reasonably good looking images. Some novel visual effects can be applied to photos as you take them, such as distortion, vignette, vintage and depth of field too.

HTC Sense, the overlay that HTC puts on top of Android, has always added a lot to the operating system in terms of both look and feel and capability. HTC is constantly adding new features and tweaking existing ones.

Among the Sense features new to the HTC Desire Z is that the home screen swivels into wide format when you flip out the keyboard. Widgets are suitably stretched to fill the available space. This screen rotation is not dependent on the accelerometer so the home screen doesn't go wide when you turn the HTC Desire Z in your hand if the keyboard is hidden. The accelerometer functions in the normal way when you are in applications, though.

So what's our verdict?

Verdict

The Desire Z is the first smartphone we’ve seen for some time from HTC to have a physical keyboard. Overall, the HTC Desire Z is a little large and heavy when compared to other smartphones with a similarly sized screen, and that’s all down to the keyboard which we don’t really think pays its way. It's not even good enough to match a quality Blackberry keyboard. Just as important is HTC's online service, www.htcsense.com, with its remote security features such as remote ring, lock and wipe. They still need some work though and aren’t as attractive if you already have access to remote security through a Microsoft Exchange server. Overall the Desire Z is a good smartphone, but there are one too many rough edges. Unless you must have an Android phone with a physical keyboard, we’d rather have a Samsung Galaxy S or wait for the Google Nexus S.

Connectivity: GSM 850/900/1800/1900, 3G 900/2100 Display: 800 x 480 pixels, 3.7 inches OS: Android 2.2 with HTC Sense Camera: Five megapixels GPS: A-GPS Processor: 800MHz Bluetooth: v2.1 + EDR Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n Memory: 1.5GB internal, microSD card slot Dimensions: 119 x 60.4 x 14.16 mm Weight: 180g Battery: Li-Ion 1300 mAh

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