HTC Desire Z – Keyboard Warrior!

 

When pictured alongside the HTC Desire HD, its partner at the recent HTC launch event, you could be forgiven for thinking the Desire Z has a small screen and is perhaps, the lesser brother to the Desire HD; but you would be wrong. The Desire HD’s headline-grabbing 4.3″ touchscreen makes it look this way however, the Desire Z is certainly no shy, retiring underdog.

It’s actually HTC’s return to the QWERTY-keyboard slider phone, a form factor they’ve forgotten about since the TouchPro2 well over a year ago.  Good things come to those who wait though, as the Desire Z represents a step forward in the design and construction of this type of device.

Style.

Like the HTC Legend, the Desire Z has an aluminium chassis with one or two plastic additions, so expect the phone to feel great in the palm of your hand.  Don’t expect it be a flyweight though, as the keyboard and the solid shell add up to 180 grams, making it a touch heavier than the Desire HD.

A series of soft keys sit under the screen and beneath them is an optical trackpad as an alternative navigation option. Of course, the front is dominated by the Super LCD screen, measuring 3.7″ and boasting a resolution of 800 x 480. Along the sides of the phone you have a subtle volume rocker and the microUSB charging port, plus a camera shutter key.

The Z takes its name from the hinge used to flip the screen back to reveal the keyboard, as if you look at the phone side-on when you do this, it takes on the shape of a Z as it hinges up. It’s more than just a cool name for a fancy hinge too, as the design helps provide more finger room on the keyboard, especially along the top row; an occasional problem area if you have long nails or big fingers.

Power.

Inside the aluminium shell, the Desire Z has a Qualcomm MSM 7230 processor running at 800Mhz, with 512MB of RAM and 1.5GB of internal memory.  While the processor doesn’t match the Desire HD – or many other smartphones’ – 1Ghz of processing power, it’s more than enough to keep the latest version 2.2 of Google Android zipping along.

The phone is a 3G device with both HSDPA and HSUPA, plus Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP and a microSD card slot for cards up to 32GB in size.

Android is hidden away by HTC’s Sense, which comes with various improvements including offline caching of maps and access to HTCsense.com, where you’ll be able to backup your phone’s memory, check its location in the event of a theft and even make it ring if you’ve lost it in the house and have it set on silent!

What Else Can it Do?

  • A 5 megapixel camera sits on the rear panel accompanied by an LED flash.  The camera has autofocus, face detection, geo-tagging and shoots video at 720p.
  • Assisted GPS with a digital compass.
  • FM radio with RDS.
  • All the usual Google applications and access to the Android Market.
  • Music and video media player.
  • 3.5mm headphone socket.
  • DNLA certification.
  • Even with a QWERTY keyboard, the Desire Z is still only 14mm thick.
  • An accelerometer and proximity sensor.

Any Downsides?

With the phone due out soon, we can only speculate that the battery may be a little small at 1300mAh to run the Z at full chat all day, and that stocking the phone up with video, music and apps may see the 800Mhz processor struggle to keep up.  But then, if you wanted a multimedia powerhouse, you’d be buying the Desire HD, right?

Summary.

The keyboard looks fantastic, HTC Sense does a brilliant job of pulling your social networking contacts together with your phone contacts, plus Android and Sense have been properly adapted to working in landscape mode; making the Desire Z the current number one choice for the Android-loving user who can’t stop sending messages!

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