thoughts on generative & mobile music making from the co-founder of intermorphic

Archive for January, 2009

Some likes and dislikes of HTC Touch HD

Posted by Tim Cole on 11th January 2009

Well, I couldn’t wait to get hold of my HTC Touch HD before Xmas, as I wanted to make sure Mixtikl was going to run fine on a WXGA device – and it does btw!

I went for the HTC Touch HD over other WVGA devices, as it just seemed to be a bit better specified on paper, but also ‘cos I was able to negotiate a good deal on it on renewal of my mobile contract (a big factor, no mistake, as these devices are not cheap!).

I don’t plan on going into minute detail about anything, and I am not someone who knows the intricate technical details of mobile phone hardware, how to update ROMs, change registry entries (‘cos I don’t) etc. I am approaching my new phone it as would any normal non-tekkie user that has not used a phone without a keypad or navkey (DPad).

NB: Before I had this device, I had a Nokia N95, which I grew to love as it is a great piece of hardware (with a few exceptions – camera speed being a big one, along with GPS “locking” time). I dropped my N95 several times, but it kept working, and I always appreciated that.

Overall, i think it is a cool device. I do (strangely) miss having keys to press, as you know exactly where you are with keys (without looking), and they respond quickly. How does it compare to iPhone? I cannot answer that!

- The WVGA screen display is really rather fantastic. I do not watch movies on the Touch HD (occassionally You Tube, see below), but I do use it a lot for browsing, and a big screen is great there (especially as my eyesight is not what it was).
- Battery life is actually pretty good indeed I think, and _much_ better than the N95 (which with Bluetooth on would die in hours).
- Call clarity is good, and i have no probs hearing callers.
- Looks cool!
- Lots of RAM, and SDHC support (up to 16GB I think)
- Weather update and other HTC apps are good.
- GPS seems very responsive
- Lots of connectivity
- Can run apps in the background
- Nice the way you can enter SMS and see the body text of what has gone before (really helpful)
- TouchFlo 3D interface is generally good, visual, and nice to look at

DISLIKES (some of these are probably due to me not yet knowing how to do things yet):
- Call answering. There is a strange way you have to slide a slider to accept a call, and I just cannot seem to get my head around it, and have missed calls (and yes, i have the latest hot fix). I just cannot seem to get this right, so it is either me (possible), or….
- Cannot seem to lock device when in Touch Flo3D; this means I am often mistakenly calling people when I have the phone in my pocket. You can press a button at the top to turn it off, but if you press this by mistake, then oops. The only way around this is to use a SIM lock code. It is so much easier when you have keyboard keys to press to lock/unlock.
- Once you start a call process, is slow to stop it (i.e. of you call someone by mistake!). This does bug me.
- Pressing the end call button seems to take ages to end the call, so you have to watch to know it has ended.
- Cannot seem to set it to disable Data. As I browse often, I use WiFi when at home, but it often seems to end up using 3G because Data for some reason gets turned on, perhaps if I get an SMS (just quessing). I would really like much better control of when I use Data connnection. The N95 was really good in this respect. I am always having to go in and turn Data off.
- The bottom 4 buttons are impossibe to see in the dark, and they are flat, so it is very hard to tell where to press. Why could they not glow, or be raised a little? Because they are close to the softkeys, and you cannot see/feel them, I often find myself pressing the wrong button.
- The side volume control. Sorry, but i find this has not the granularity i want, and it is so hard to feel/find (sure, maybe just me) and that it irritates me.
- When using Opera, you have to tap a link for _just the right length of time_ to select it, or you get a menu item, with no ‘select link’ item. doh! I am always getting this wrong, and this makes it a pain (often) to select links (even the N95 with navkey/key pad was quicker to use on occassions).
- I find not having haptics on all key presses (text entry) means i find it hard to get used to entering text. i could enter text much quicker with the phone keys on N95. You cannot really use this device one handed (i.e. to enter SMS)
- Being able to drag a web page round is great, but i am forever fiddling with the zoom and page alignment. i think Opera have further work to do there, but they have made a good start. This one does drive me potty.
- When i have looked at YouTube videos, they only display in landcape, but i would prefer to view in portrait. why not?
- Windows mobile: really does seem not particularly suited to a big screen, as you have to be very accurate to tap certain areas and font sizes are often too small. Onenote Mobile is not particularly easy to use with just fingers, and I tend to resent having to get out the pointy stick (stylus) on a device like this with such a big screen. Just a lot of little things in this area. I hope that when Windows Mobile 6.5 is released there will be an upgrade available for me (as would do Apple for iPhone).
- There is no way I can see to have on the main HTC Touch Flo screen a set of favourite links, e.g. to OneNote, or Comm Manager or even a particular web page. The N95 allowed this, and I used it all the time. Otherwise, everytime you have to drill down to find the ap you want.
- I can find no way to re-order my webpage bookmarks so that my faourites are at the top: you just get an alphabetical list.
- I have tried an app “Pocket Scrobbler” to listen to LastFM over WiFi. This works Ok, but regularly the stream glitches, and i don’t know why this should happen on such a powerful device.
- Can often take a loooong time for webpages to load, even over WiFi, and I recall that they often loaded quicker on N95 (I could remember incorrectly of course).
- I often find with using finger swipe that i select the wrong item, often because it seems to be slow to respond or because finger swiping seems to work in different ways for different apps. EDIT. This happens on the home screen sometimes with icons at the bottom.
- It is quite slippery, and i am terrified i am going to drop it and break it (so i am looking at getting a silicon case).
- I far too often get crashes with a message about “Services.exe” having failed for some reason. Just had one about Shell32.exe.
- Dissapointing internal speaker. I would have thought on a high spec device like this the integrated speaker would be better, and be stereo, too. Reason for this is related to LastFM about, and I dont always want to listen with headphones or plugged into another speaker system. I also find that ringtones are a bit quiet, but I have to experiment further there.
- Has neat MP3 trimmer app, but it does not work with high quality MP3s? (cannot see them for some reason).
- FM Radio. Hmmm. Nice on paper, and prob similar quality on other phones. but i cannot get enough reception to make this worth listening to (and you need to plug the headphones in to act as an aerial, too).
- Why no bundled generic IM app like mundu IM (comes bundled on the BenQ E72 WM Smartphone), as this would be really handy and means you can use any IM system and not just MSN
- Proprietary HTC USB connectors (odd shape). Why?

So, don’t let the (seemingly long) list of dislikes put you off: some of these are pretty minor. Besides, it is always easy to find fault with things and write about those. That means they can tend to outweigh the good things, even if there are plenty (of which there are). And, everyone has different likes and dislikes.

I DO like it, but I am also still getting used to it and to figuring out how to do things.

One thing is for sure, it is certainly a powerful device!

NB: I would love it if the Touch HD could somehow accept audio line input (with adaptor or not) :) . I would love that cos it would be useful to use with Mixtikl, and I understand a software update on iPhone is going to allow this (I may have got that wrong of course).

Will update the post to add/edit etc as I find out more.

Posted in Mixtikl, Mobile, Music hardware, Pocket PC, Review, Windows Mobile | No Comments »