Windows Mobile generally leaves us with a powerful sense of life's essential ennui. Despite its extensive features, and the improvements of the latest 6.5 version, its little icons and dated user interface are deeply uninspiring.
But we just got our hands on the HTC HD2, and it's the first Windows phone that didn't remind us of the unbearable lightness of being, thanks to a few features that set this phone apart from its Windows brethren. Foremost is its beautiful, and massively huge, 109mm (4.3-inch) screen. Not only is it so big that the keyboard is easy to use, even in portrait mode -- it's also the first Windows Mobile phone to feature a capacitive touchscreen.
We found the screen as slick and responsive as the HTC's Android-packing Hero. We didn't have to press hard on the screen, or use a stylus, as on all other Windows phones currently out there, which have resistive screens. And although the phone is large, thanks to its huge screen, a small bezel means it's not much bigger than the iPhone and it feels smaller than the Toshiba TG01.
Like the TG01, the HD2 is powered by a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, and we found it very zippy compared to other HTC phones running Windows Mobile. HTC has laid its Sense user interface over the WinMo ugliness, and the phone's speedy processor helps it look better than ever -- the weather app animations of sunny days and rainy nights run smoother than we've ever seen them.
HTC's user interface does a good job of covering up Windows Mobile's weaknesses, with sizeable finger-friendly icons and custom applications for viewing photos, emails and videos. Combined with the HD2's mahoosive capacitive touchscreen, we're excited by the possibility of a phone with all the power of Windows Mobile that we'd actually be willing to use.
We can't wait to snag the HTC HD2 for a full review and really see what this phone can do -- look out for it in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, check out the hands-on photos from our Yankee cousins at CNET US.