Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My Touch HD vs iPhone

The iPhone - you either love it or hate it, and as I've never been very good at making friends I openly admit that I hate it.Yes, it looks great, it's sexy and it has a lovely big screen to watch your videos on but with today's technology I'm not the only one that thinks the iPhone could, or even should, do a lot more.

Some mobile phone manufacturers have realised that while the iPhone looks pretty and is great at being a glorified iPod it doesn't really do much that other phones can do and they've been looking at whether it's possible to make a pretty phone that also allows you to take decent quality photos, send them via MMS and forward on that great joke your best mate sent you lastnight to all your friends via text message...naming just a few of the simple features that the iPhone doesn't provide (unless of course somebody is good enough to create them and make them available through the regulated iPhone application store).

Add in more advanced features like viewing Flash within web pages, having a higher quality screen, providing good battery life and a decent signal quality and it might just be possible to come up with something that truly rivals the iPhone and makes all of its owners gutted that they had to pay for it on an 18 month contract.

Some have tried already and with the release of the Samsung Omnia and HTC G1 people now have a choice of which touchscreen phone to buy. But the problem is neither of them, in my opinion, is the iPhone killer.

The Omnia looks quite nice, and is packed full of all the great features that the iPhone lacks but it runs on the Windows Mobile 6.1 platform which unfortunately isn't renowned for great usability. Samsung have tried putting their own touchscreen interface on top of this but unfortunately they aren't renowned for great usability either and you end up using a combination of two not-as-good-as-the-iPhone interfaces.

While the HTC G1, which runs on the new Android platform by Google, which is still lacking in features as it's a new type of operating system, the user interface isn't bad but the phone doesn't really carry the same street credit potential as the iPhone.

Introducing the HTC Touch HD...

That leaves people like me secretly hoping that something will come along and burst the iPhones bubble. And thanks to the new HTC Touch HD it finally looks like it is going to be possible.

HTC Touch HD - iPhone Killer

The new offering from HTC is powered by Windows Mobile but they have plonked their tried and tested TouchFLO 3D touchscreen interface on top which makes using the phone much easier. Some might say that this interface is almost as easy to use as the iPhone interface and it looks pretty sweet too. You can move through photos and music in a similar way to that of the iPhone and the vibrant graphics in the user interface surpass that of the iPhone thanks to the high quality screen.

The Touch HD, due to be released in Europe on or around November 8th 2008, looks pretty stunning from a distance too. It's most notable physical feature is the 3.8 inch screen. What's that I hear you say? Bigger than the iPhone? Why yes it is, by an entire 0.3 inches. Not only that HTC have managed to pack in a huge amount of pixels into the screen (800x480) compared to that of the iPhone (480x320). This means that the screen has a much higher definition (thus the rather uninventive name) and can display entire web pages without the need to scroll across or zoom in. The video playback quality is much better as more detail can be packed into the screen and the user interface appears bold and bright.

HTC Touch HD - iPhone Killer

As well as the bigger, and most importantly, better screen the HTC Touch HD comes complete with a 5 Mega Pixel camera which is in line with most of today's phones, although 8 Mega Pixel camera phones are starting to make an appearance. The only drawback of the camera is that, as with the iPhone, there is no flash capability so taking pictures in the dark will probably result in a blank canvas, that said the quality of the lens will result in a much better quality of picture of nothing than the iPhone!

The Touch HD comes complete with WiFi, GPS and Bluetooth connectivity which traditionally are all very demanding on battery life. One of the most important features of the Touch HD is that it comes with a 1350mAh battery. I'm not going to pretend to know what that means, but I do know that this number is bigger than usual and, as a man, that impresses me. It turns out that as a result of this higher capacity battery the standby time on the HTC Touch HD is up to a total of680 hours. That translates into a total of 28 days. I can only assume that by 'standby' what HTC mean is 'find a 3G transmitter and put your phone next to it, turn all the features off and make sure nobody rings you for a month' but it is still an impressive figure compared to the standby time of up to 300 hours for the iPhone.

The battery allows for up to 480 minutes talk time on a standard 2G network, compared to that of up to 600 minutes talk time with the iPhone so for big talkers the Touch HD doesn't perform quite so well.

HTC Touch HD - iPhone Killer

Google Maps is provided out of the box and it looks great on the Touch HD's big and beautiful screen helping the navigationally challenged to get a bigger picture of where they are in relation to everything else. The HD Touch also provides push email and office applications so that on the rare occasion when you're on the train and want to do work you can edit your presentation or word document at the last minute and email it back to the office.

To top it all off Windows Mobile 6.1 supports the new version of the Opera internet browser which in turn supports the viewing of Flash files within web pages, although HTC haven't explicitly announced that the web browser will support flash so it's a 'maybe' in that box for now.

The HTC Touch HD also comes packed with exhilerating features like Text Message Forwarding, MMS Capability and Custom Ringtone Selection which could make it a true iPhone killer.

I can't wait to get hold of one and co-incidently pull it out the next time someone tells me they just bought an iPhone.

Dan Sargent

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