Let's just get this out of the way first: the HTC Touch HD2 is by far the best Windows Mobile smartphone we've tested. In fact, we'd go as far as saying there is daylight between it and the next best Windows Mobile phone.
Updated, January 7, 2010:
Until the HTC HD2 arrived on the very last day of our tests, the Toshiba TG01 held the distinction of being the largest-screened, chunkiest smartphone we'd tried. The HD2 comes in at a scales-busting 157g - nearly as much as the Nokia N900.
However, unlike that particular device, the HD2 is a well-crafted, fantastic-screened smartphone that, despite its size, manages to exude quality and desirability. In fact, it's so well-assembled that we had real trouble getting inside to insert our SIM.
The 4.3in display is exceptionally fine, packing 480-x-800 pixels into its sensitive capacitive touchscreen. Of all the touchscreen models we tried, the HD2's was the best.
A smart onscreen slider unlocks the screen and prevents you accidentally surfing the web from your handbag. Appointments scheduled, calls missed and messages incoming are notified here, so you don't have to constantly keeping checking for them.
HTC has done a great job with the overlay interface. As with all Windows Mobile devices, what you see onscreen is customisable both by you and the operator, but you'd be hard pushed to improve upon the default settings.
The current date is shown as a large flip-over calendar; the weather is made obvious by a huge sun or by raindrops dripping down the screen. The device automatically checks where you are, so you don't need to keep telling it you're not at home.
This location-aware feature is also used to good effect in both the compass and in Footsteps, where photos are automatically geo-tagged with where you are and saved as digital postcards.
Large, attractive icons offer one-click access to your calendar, messages, albums photo folder, camera and so on.
The Home button takes you to the unadorned and finger-friendly Windows Mobile 6.5 icons. The screen itself, however, is the real star of the show.
Swipe through the sample photos and you'll gawp at the quality. Zooming in and out is a matter of double-tapping. The decent camera has an autofocus and zoom, and even the speaker is above average.
NEXT: Original full review.