If you have gotten used to having a QWERTY keyboard on your handset, then it's really hard to go back to just a touch screen. And once you're hooked, what can you do when it's time to get a new smartphone but look for one with a qwerty keyboard?
Once you start looking, you'll soon realize that besides rather old phones like the BlackBerry Curve and a few others the there aren't that many high-end phones with QWERTY--but there are a few exceptions like the Motorola Milestone and this HTC Desire Z.
The Desire Z - also known as T-Mobile's G2 - is indeed desirable if you're on the market for a QWERTY phone; it comes with Android Gingerbread 2.3.3 as well as the latest version of HTC's proprietary Sense interface, which is gorgeous compared to the regular Android UI found in other smartphones. If you're a fan of watching gadgets coming out of boxes, here's our unboxing video:
HTC continues to deliver well constructed smartphones and the Desire Z is no exception. It's a very nice-looking but somewhat bulky phone. The extra weight is due to the keyboard and the extra mechanical parts. In your hand, the Desire Z with its aluminum shell feels extremely robust. The capacitive touch screen is 3.7 inches in diameter and one of the phone's highlights. It has good color, deep blacks and good viewing angles. in fact it is even better than the screen on its big brother the Desire HD.
The fold-out QWERTY keyboard has keys with good tactile feedback. Its layout is well thought out and it is possible to maintain a relatively high writing speed. After some practice, writing on it is clearly faster than the more common virtual counterpart. The keys are like small islands on a flat surface and it is unusually easy to find the right key without looking at them, making it quick to write on.
The Desire Z or T-Mobile G2 is HTC's second Desire phone based on Google's Android version 2.2. On top of that it uses HTC's own skin, called Sense. This makes it easier to use Android, and contains some clever features including many useful proprietary apps and widgets. It comes with the latest version of HTC Sense, which presents a series of pleasant surprises. One is the Internet service htcsense.com, that among other things can look up and delete content on a stolen phone.
The camera is decent--similar to the Desire with an LED flash. It's OK, but not on par with some of the top models with branded optics. HTC has also updated the camera app itself to provide far more options than before, including some novel effects. Performance-wise it does not really reach up to big brother's high level, but it is anything but slow.
In the end, however, whether or not you want the keyboard is what determines whether the Desire Z is a better choice for you than HTC's other Desire handsets. If you are an Android fan who has waited for a good smartphone with a real keyboard, your wait is over.
- Quad band GSM, WCDMA (HSDPA)
- Screen: 3.7 inch, 480 x 800 pixels; capacitive touch screen
- Processor: Qualcomm MSM 7230 800 MHz
- Operating System: Android 2.2 with HTC Sense.
- Talk time: 430 hours
- Standby time: 9.8 hours
- Memory: 1.5 GB, Micro SD card slot 8GB
- Camera: 5 megapixels, LED flash
- Other: GPS, WLAN