Saturday, March 5, 2011

Day 14 with the HTC Desire HD: Value for money considerations

In the past seven years, my constant business companions have been a smartphone and a laptop. In those seven years, my laptop has gotten lighter with each generation, from 6-pound R50e to a 2.9 pound MacBook Air. Inversely, my smartphone screen has increase in size, from a 2.2-inch HTC Tanager, to a 4.3-inch HTC Desire HD.  As many as written, and has Steve Job's has proclaimed we are nearing the end of the PC era. 

HTC Tanager (a.k.a. The Smart Amazing Phone) circa 2003

While the smartphone originally just displaced the planner, but with each generation of smartphone, it has taken away more and more of the functions that I used to do with the personal computer. Is the HTC Desire HD worth the money. At Php25,000 it costs as much as a lower end laptop.  As compared to any phone I have had before, except maybe the Nokia E61i, the HTC Desire HD will make the most significant change in how I do things. The HTC Desire HD's 4.3-inch screen makes me more likely to reach for my mobile phone than flip open my laptop. If you buy this phone, it is all about the monster screen. That monster screen does bring a lot of baggage with it, which basically is the massive size of the phone and the mediocre battery life.

Still, I now handle 90% or my email, 90% of messaging and 90% of my social networking on the smartphone. Well, those 90% figures were not scientifically measure, but you get the point. The laptop still plays a important role, but is really relegated being mainly a word processor, a good part of my web browsing and of course, maintaining this blog. So by my measure, it was a good "investment".

Is the phone big enough to "save" you from buying a tablet? In my case, a tablet has limited appeal. But the reality is, even the HTC Desire HD's massive screen is small even as compared to the small 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab.

HTC Desire HD and the Samsung Galaxy Tab
So, it you are feeling inclined towards getting a tablet, the HTC Desire HD is not a massive enough device to quench that desire. Given that HTD Desire HD cost 25% more than the entry level Apple iPad WiFi and almost as much as the 16GB Apple iPad 3G, it may not be a great investment for many. You may decide to go for a cheaper smartphone like the HTC Wildfire and use the savings as a partial payment for a tablet.

But if you are like me... when I decide not to bring a laptop, I would not want to carry anything that won't fit in a belt pouch... holding on to a tablet under my shoulder the whole day is not something I am willing to do... than the HTC Desire HD is a compelling option. Other than making calls, what you will be doing most with it is looking at the display while reading messages, status updates, email or browsing the web. For that bigger is always better, well at least until the girth exceeds the reach of your fingers. Nothing significantly larger than the HTC Desire HD will still be usable. After two weeks of use, and with my own sense of priorities,  this is the best smartphone in the local market right now.

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