HTC Desire HD

The next device we’ll look at is the Desire HD. LCD has always been more mature than AMOLED, so it would make sense for the improvement over the past four years to be much less. However, it seems that the Desire HD’s display is a far cry from today’s smartphone displays. While not as grating as the effects of PenTile on the Galaxy S, the low resolution is still quite obvious on this display. Careful examination shows quite a bit of aliasing, but from a distance it isn’t too obvious. The other issue here is the viewing angle stability. Much like the Xperia Z1s, the display rapidly washes out towards homogenous white with increasingly extreme viewing angles. This is likely due to the same *VA display technology used in both, although that’s about where the similarities end. There’s also no display lamination so reflectance is quite high, subjectively speaking.

As seen by the brightness graph, the Desire HD’s display is incredibly dim. I suspect this was done to try and keep battery life in check as the Desire HD was rather notorious for poor battery life. Contrast is also rather dismal, but I suspect this is partially due to the lack of dynamic contrast or similar mechanisms to artificially boost contrast values. The low brightness may also be due to the sheer age of the device.

In grayscale, the Desire HD is also rather poor. Although things aren’t quite as bad as the Galaxy S, they aren’t very good either. I suspect that the excessive green/blue in these devices was a method of boosting peak brightness, although by the Sensation it seems that HTC had clamped down white point to some extent.

In the saturation sweep, the Desire HD is eerily reminiscent of the One (M8), although this is mostly due to the rather extreme blues produced. The display exceeds sRGB by a certain amount in every sweep, and while the error here is relatively low, such error tends to magnify a great deal in the ColorChecker test.

It turns out that this is exactly what happens. Relatively acceptable error does become unacceptable in the ColorChecker. In reality this display is likely to be inaccurate for any color-sensitive use case, and color reproduction is unlikely to be close to the original image. It’s definitely better than the Galaxy S for color accuracy though.

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  • akdj - Saturday, August 9, 2014 - link

    That was supposed to be 'you've NOT read the...'
    Spell correction. Sweet
  • Impulses - Saturday, July 26, 2014 - link

    Anand didn't even write this article... :p And phones are increasingly used for more and more things where accuracy can matter, dunno why you'd want to give manufacturers a pass on it, specially with phones being most people's primary camera.
  • Alexey291 - Saturday, July 26, 2014 - link

    I meant anand as in anandtech collectively. But yeah I'll be clearer on that in the future :P (if I remember to be :P)

    Generally its not a matter of giving a pass its a matter of "meh who cares".

    As for photography people mentioned above. Whenever I walk around on my hiking trips I am always torn between extra weight + space that a decent camera would require vs terrible quality that phone cameras provide.

    Because whatever the screen colours - the camera that takes the photos is still shit. And besides the primary camera if any of those dumb stats are to be believed is the front one. You know... the 2mp selfie cam :/
  • Streamlined - Saturday, July 26, 2014 - link

    Good point. Some people are always making excuses for mediocrity.
  • Alexey291 - Sunday, July 27, 2014 - link

    People above are making excuses for poor quality (of a phone camera) and you're going to pick on me prefering BETTER LOOKING colours to low contrast and washed out crap that "perfect colour representation" offers.

  • Streamlined - Sunday, July 27, 2014 - link

    Because over saturated colors is to cameras what Beats headphones are to audio. Poor quality. Those crappy phone screens will lead to printing crappy photos. And if you think EVERY SMARTPHONE is poor quality than you are insane.
  • Alexey291 - Sunday, July 27, 2014 - link

    So oversaturated colours on a screen will changed how you take a shot on your 2.1mp selfie cam? Really? Even your 8 (or 13) mp camera on the back still holds a tiny lens and never catches any colour or light. And then you look at your screen on your phone and shrug because whatever you have taken looks ok on a small screen. And will look like shit on a big one.

    As for "all smartphones have crap cameras". Sorry to break it to you. But they do.

    Do all smartphones have crap screens? Nope. Some have ugly "perfect rgb colours" and some have pretty overblown contrasts and colour ranges.

    And if you print your smartphone photos I have nothing but pity for your wasted cash.

    That's pretty much all there's to it.
  • HangFire - Saturday, July 26, 2014 - link

    Objective testing is necessary because certain ardent brand fans accept and believe whatever they hear about their phone and cannot believe they can be inferior in any respect. I once tried to explain the pixel density on my M7 far exceeded the, um, other phone in question and was met with complete denial. D'oh it's a 1080p display. At least links articles like this can be emailed after the conversation for the coup de grace.
  • sonci - Saturday, July 26, 2014 - link

    What's the point of this review, my Galaxy S died a long time ago,
    anyway since I got my iPhone I stopped looking for smartphones,
  • mkozakewich - Sunday, July 27, 2014 - link

    Sorry! You should email them with your newest model, and they'll hop right to reviewing it. I'm sure if they knew your Galaxy S died, they wouldn't have bothered writing you this personalized review.

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