N4BB
You’re probably scratching your head as to why a BlackBerry website would be posting a hands-on preview of an HTC device. The main reason we couldn’t resist touching this bad-boy is the mystery that surrounds the (currently in Verizon testing) Android device. We could not pass up an opportunity like this. Obviously, we’re die-hard BlackBerry fans, but we had to get the info out on the HTC Desire in order to let RIM (and Apple) fans know what is about to enter the market.

This phone hasn’t even been approved by any carriers yet, so you can imagine it’s on lockdown and is such a secret. We were not allowed to take pics or video just yet. We should be getting a few new photos (hopefully video too) in the days to come, but the specs are most important.

Read the full hands-on preview after the break….

ADVERTISEMENT

 
The Aesthetics:
The HTC Desire we touched was completely jet black. It is in a candy bar style shape. The casing itself is made out of rubberized plastic, which helped keep it from slipping out of our hands, but makes it flat in color. There isn’t too much shiny ‘bling’ to the appearance. The back of the device is slightly curved, which made it very pleasing and comfortable to hold. It is thin and long. It seems slightly thicker than the iPhone, but it is definitely thinner than the BlackBerry Storm2 (even with an extended battery) .

We estimate it to be about 1/3 smaller than the size of the Samsung Omnia. It has four main touch-sensitive buttons (absolutely no ‘clicking’ on this phone). The camera was 5 Megapixels, auto-focus, and with flash. We could not help but play around with the white trackball (not sure why it’s not a trackpad), which resembles the BlackBerry Tour. However, the trackball did work flawlessly, unlike some other BlackBerry devices. We weren’t completely sure why the trackball was added. The only thing we can think of is the trackball could play a role in future applications or operating systems.

The weight of the HTC Desire felt like it was next to nothing. Slipping this phone into your pocket was easy and it did not weigh you down.

The Screen:
If we continue to compare the size of the HTC Desire to be 1/3 smaller than the Samsung Omnia, then this will put the Dragon’s screen size at about 3″ in horizontal width. The HTC Desire does have a capacitance screen. The screen felt like, or better, than the iPhone’s. We still can’t get over why you would need a trackball on a device with such a responsive touchscreen. Literally, the very second you touch the screen the Desire reacts with lag time being nil.

There is an on-screen full QWERTY keyboard that projects the letter you are typing to help thwart errors, which is useful and reminiscent to the iPhone. We don’t have all the hardware specs for the screen, but it was very bright, crisp, clear, and smooth. Multi-touch was enabled. The screen most likely displayed 65k colors.


The Internals, OS, and Browser:
While we weren’t able to dive too deep into what is inside of the HTC Desire we do know that it has Wi-Fi capabilities, 802.11b/g enabled. The HTC Desire is an EV-DO device (at least this is the network it’s testing on) . Without using Wi-Fi, we strongly believe the HTC Desire is the fastest phone to browse full webpages using EV-DO. Using Wi-Fi was, of course, even better. The browser speeds were quite remarkable.
The Desire has Google Android operating system with Sense UI. The layout shows 4 icons wide, in either landscape or portrait mode, with the ability to scroll up or down through more (we’re not sure what the maximum amount is). The layout is the same throughout the entire device, even when opening a new window. The icons and layout are very clean. The Android OS was definitely designed for performance, it is without any fluff.
It comes with bluetooth, FM Radio, and the standard 3.5mm headphone jack. We also did not notice a ‘power on/down’ button.
Apps & Misc:
From what we saw the HTC Desire had the standard Android applications. We didn’t have time to play around with a lot of the apps on the device (other than the browser), but we did test out the GPS. This left us in amazement. The GPS was not locked down (at least it currently isn’t by Verizon). It shows street views and shows your exact position (even in buildings) with a red dot. Google Maps and satellite view were the fastest on the Desire than any other HTC Android phone. This is by far the best GPS application we’ve seen on any mobile phone.
Only other bit of info we can confirm is the HTC Desire is not a dongle. The screen has anti-fingerprint film. There isn’t a stylus, only pure finger-tapping-fun.
If more information is to arise and we get a second chance to test out this device we will be sure to post our findings. As we mentioned above, we will have photos soon and hopefully even a video. Aside from the Motorola Droid, the HTC Desire, so far, appears to be the only other formidable opponent to Research In Motion’s BlackBerry and Apple’s iPhone.
*UPDATE* We previously had the name of the HTC device incorrect. What we got to go hands-on with was in fact the HTC Desire and not the ‘Dragon’. Sorry for the confusion.