HTC Desire Z smartphone
HTC Desire Z review: HTC's Desire Z is an excellent smartphone but its biggest selling point -- the physical QWERTY keyboard -- has a poorly designed hinge mechanism
- Excellent touchscreen, great software, updated HTC Sense and HTCSense.com features, HD video recording
- Poor hinge design, keyboard is not exceptional, battery life is not great
The HTC Desire Z is an excellent smartphone, mainly due to a combination of Google's excellent Android platform and HTC's Sense UI. However, its biggest selling point -- the "pop-out" physical QWERTY keyboard -- has a poorly designed hinge mechanism that detracts from the handset's overall appeal.
Best Deals (Selling at 1 store)
- Green HTC Desire 610 Tough Double Layer Protect... 16.95
HTC Desire Z: Software
The HTC Desire Z comes with the 2.2 or "Froyo" version of the Google Android platform. This adds full Flash support, built-in wireless tethering, and the ability to store supported third-party apps on your SD card. Froyo also delivers a range of other improvements, mostly centred on speed and performance. The Desire Z runs an 800MHz processor; slightly below the benchmark 1GHz processors used in other Android phones like the Desire HD, the Motorola Milestone 2 and the Samsung Galaxy S. Thankfully, we didn't experience any hint of slowdown or lag during general use.
The Desire Z also comes with the latest version of HTC's Sense UI. Sense now offers "skins" that change the look of windows and the dock, and other features include an "HTC Likes" widget for recommended app downloads, the "My Shelf" app for storing and reading e-books, a universal search function, a unified messaging inbox, and instant maps through the "Locations" app, which doesn't require network coverage once downloaded. A range of maps can be downloaded and stored on the SD card; the Australian map is a 345MB download that will work without the need to access mobile data. Browsing the map isn't technically "instant" as HTC claims it is, but it is noticeably speedier than using your data connection with Google Maps. We also love the fact that your eight most recently opened applications appear at the top of the notifications panel in a horizontal scroll bar.
The HTC Desire Z's Web browser benefits from Froyo: it's one of the best mobile browsers we've used. It supports Flash video, and multitouch zooming, while it loads and renders pages quickly and smoothly. The Desire Z also handles media efficiently; we loaded a 720p AVI file onto our microSD card, and played back the file through the standard video player without any issues.
The HTC Desire Z may not have a massive screen like the Desire HD, but the inclusion of the keyboard means it is a much thicker handset
The HTC Desire Z benefits from a quick boot up-time (claimed to be 10 seconds) and DLNA support for connection to compatible televisions. We found the start-up time to be just over 10 seconds in most instances, which is a vast improvement on most other Android devices, as well as the iPhone 4. HTC has also thrown in some small but very nifty touches; the Desire Z can be set to reduce its ringtone when it detects movement (i.e. when you pick it up), it can mute the ringtone if the phone is flipped over face down, it will ring louder when it senses it is in a pocket or a handbag, and it will activate the hands-free speakerphone while on a call if the phone is flipped over face down.
The Desire Z also works with HTCSense.com, a set of desktop-based services largely centred on backup and security. Once you've created an account and logged in, you can locate your phone on a map if it is stolen, remotely lock or wipe the handset, re-direct calls and messages to an alternative phone number and archive contacts, text messages and call history — all through your PC. You can also access the Android market from HTCSense.com, including a list of third-party applications recommended by HTC.
HTC Desire Z: Camera and battery life
The HTC Desire Z has a 5-megapixel camera with a single LED flash, and it doubles as a 720p HD video recorder. The flash works reasonably well in dim lighting, and video recording is relatively easy to keep steady and of a good quality. The camera has a wealth of settings, including image effects like solarise and sepia, along with the ability to adjust ISO, sharpness, saturation, contrast and exposure.
The HTC Desire HD was let down by its battery life, so we are pleased to report that although it's not stellar, the battery life of the Desire Z is a little more pleasing. It generally managed to last a full day in testing, though you will obviously get more use by fine tuning the synchronisation settings; e-mail, Facebook and Twitter regularly access the Internet in the background to deliver live updates. To enhance battery life, we recommend downloading a task manager app from the Android Market; this will allow you to close applications that might be running in the background and sucking up valuable battery juice without your knowledge.
The HTC Desire Z is sold exclusively through Vodafone in Australia, but can also be bought outright and unlocked through online store MobiCity.
Become a fan of GoodGearGuide on Facebook
Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @GoodGearGuide
Stay up to date with the latest reviews. Sign up to GoodGearGuide’s Gear Daily newsletters
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Mazda MX-5 (2016) review: Absolute driving purity
- 2 Sony 75-inch UHD TV (X9400C) review: Sony and Android are a winning duo
- 3 LG 55EG960T OLED UHD TV
- 4 Panasonic Viera UHD TV review: good hardware, fragmented software
- 5 Microsoft Lumia 640 review: Honouring Nokia's legacy
Best Deals on Good Gear Guide
Latest News Articles
- Two Sony Xperia Z3 phones now support Android N preview
- Samsung shows off 'pink gold' Galaxy S7, S7 Edge
- Microsoft might be eyeing a Surface phone with a trackpoint/fingerprint reader
- Google Camera 3.2 lets you snap pictures while recording video
- Android device updates: LG V10, Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, Edge+ variants score Marshmallow
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- CCProject ManagerVIC
- CCSystem Administration / Application Support | NV2 clearance neededACT
- FTSQL DeveloperNSW
- CCTechnical WriterACT
- CCSCRUM MasterNSW
- CCWeb Content Developer- Angular, PHP, interface backgroundNSW
- CCSenior Project ManagerNSW
- CCEnvironment ManagerVIC
- CCWeb AdministratorACT
- CCE-Commerce - Senior Web Application DeveloperNSW
- CCSolution ArchitectVIC
- CCHi-Portfolio ConsultantNSW
- CCRemedy AdministratorNSW
- CCAnalyst Programmer (Lotus Notes/Networking) 160504/AP/781Asia
- CCProject ManagerQLD
- FTService Coordinator/Scheduler | IT Managed Service ProviderVIC
- FTSupport AnalystQLD
- CCBusiness Analyst - master data managementACT
- CCWindows Server EngineerNSW
- CCITIL Environment, Configuration, Release Manager- Banking/GovtNSW
- CCSharepoint DeveloperVIC
- FTInfrastructure Project ManagerACT
- CCFull Stack Developers - JavaNSW
- FTProduct Owner - MarketingNSW
- FTTechnical Business Analyst - BINSW