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HTC Desire Z review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £400
inc VAT

It's not perfect, but if you’re looking for an Android handset with a proper keyboard then this is the one to buy.


Android 2.2 (Froyo), 3.7in 480×800 display

We’ve consistently applauded HTC’s smartphone efforts in recent years: with the company producing numerous excellent handsets running Google’s Android OS. One such handset was the Desire, which lived up to its name thanks to a 1GHz processor and 3.7in AMOLED display. Keen to continue its success, HTC has now launched the Desire Z.

At first glance the Desire Z looks like a chunkier Desire. The big difference here is the addition of a fold-out QWERTY keyboard. This pivots out from below the handset on a complex trio of hinges. It’s lightly spring-loaded, and though we found it a little awkward to pop-out and fold back at first (with a couple of almost-dropped-it incidents), you soon get used to the action.

HTC Desire Z Hinge

The keyboard has four lines of keys, with numbers accessed by either of the Function keys, of which there are thoughtfully two, one on each side of keyboard, for ease of access. There are two shift keys as well, and a big space bar you can reach with either thumb. A pair of small programmable shortcut keys let you launch apps at the touch of a button.

HTC Desire Z Open

Typing with our thumbs was quick and accurate, after a little practice of course. The keys could do with a touch more feedback, but it’s certainly better than using a touchscreen. That said, onscreen keyboards, and spellchecking, have come on a lot in the last few years. We reckon you’d have to be a serious text and email user to need a proper keyboard like this. It certainly adds to the size and weight of the device; at 180g and 15mm thick, it’s noticeably chunkier in your pocket than the original Desire’s 135g and 11.9mm.

The keyboard isn’t the only difference between this and its predecessor. The original’s 1GHz processor was one of the defining specs of the Desire, so it’s surprising to find an 800MHz processor in the Desire Z. This still makes it faster than aging handsets like the Legend, but in demanding apps, such as games, and switching between apps feels a little sluggish compared to the fastest handsets we’ve seen.

On the plus side, there’s an additional 1GB of internal storage, up from 512MB to 1.5GB. This gives you plenty of space for installing apps, without having to go through the faff of moving larger apps to your SD card to free up space.

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Price £400
Rating ****


Main display size 3.7in
Native resolution 480×800
Second Display No
CCD effective megapixels 5-megapixel
Flash LED
Video recording format 3GP
Connectivity Bluetooth, USB,WiFi
GPS yes
Internal memory 1536MB
Memory card support microSDHC
Memory card included 0MB
Operating frequencies GSM 850/900/1800/1900, 3G 900/2100
Wireless data EDGE, WCDMA, HSPA
Size 119x60x15mm
Weight 180g


Operating system Android 2.2 (Froyo)
Microsoft Office compatibility Word/Excel/PowerPoint/PDF viewers
Email client POP3/IMAP/Exchange
Audio format support MP3, AAC, AMR, WMA, MIDI, WAV, OGG Vorbis, M4A
Video playback formats 3GP, 3G2, MP4, WMV
FM Radio yes
Web Browser Webkit
Accessories headset, USB data cable, travel mains adapter
Talk time 9.8 hours
Standby time 18 days
Tested battery life (MP3 playback) 26h 43m

Buying Information

SIM-free price £400
Price on contract 25
SIM-free supplier
Contract/prepay supplier

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