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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

Software upgrades are also part of the package, with HTC’s Sense modification for Android continuing to produce genuinely useful tools. The most notable is the addition of Locations. Developed with satnav company TomTom, it gives you a familiar turn-by-turn satnav alternative to Google Maps. Best of all, you can save maps to your SD card, and access them even when you don’t have an internet connection. Another favourite is the inclusion of HTC’s Fast Boot – this works like resume on a desktop PC, and allows the handset to boot from being powered down in just 2-3 seconds.

As you’ll be using the screen sideways a lot, HTC have modified Android 2.2 so that the home screens work in this orientation. Widgets and icons have to be resized and repositioned to make this work, but we saw no problems with how this is dealt with. The screen itself still measures 3.7in and has the same 480×800 resolution. It looks brilliant in either orientation, with bright and vibrant colours.

HTC Desire Z

The battery has reduced in size marginally, from 1400mAh to 1300mAh. However, this is balanced out by the slower processor, with a battery score in our continuous light usage test of almost 27 hours. It’s not bad, but the 1GHz Samsung Galaxy S is capable of going for almost 30 hours. While we’re making comparisons, we also think the Galaxy S produced sharper photos and videos than the Desire Z. Photos in particular looked noisy and lacked detail, with colours looking washed out and a marked lack of contrast.

HTC Desire Z Back

The Desire Z is worthy of the name, it’s a lovely piece of portable kit and those looking for an Android handset with a proper keyboard should buy it without hesitation. However, we feel that the Samsung Galaxy S outperforms it in so many key areas – processor speed, screen brightness, picture quality and battery life – that we can’t recommend this handset to everyone – and especially not to those who like to take snaps with their phone.

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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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