Here’s a poser for you. If HTC can give the T-Mobile G1 touch moves as fluid as the iPhone, why can’t it replicate them on its own Touch brigade?

They may be classy and stylish smarties, but the likes of the Touch Dual, Cruise, Diamond and Pro have traditionally suffered from clunky and lag-tastic touch UI’s.

So has HTC remedied this on the new Touch HD? Unfortunately, the straight answer is no. But it is the first Touch phone to fully embrace a touch UI, right down to the call, menu and back keys, making the closest HTC we’ve seen to the iPhone so far.   

Dream screen

Measured against the iPhone 3G, the Touch HD’s vital stats are identical. Like the Jesus Machine it’s expertly constructed, solid as an ox and, despite similar dimensions, HTC has still brilliantly managed to jimmy in a larger display.

Unsurprisingly, at 3.8 inches, the 480x800 pixel resolution display dominates the phone. HTC has cheekily borrowed the HD moniker to emphasize its big screen credentials, but while it’s undoubtedly eye-poppingly stunning, don’t be hoodwinked into thinking it’s in anyway high definition.

Finger-licking bad

Expanding the screen size also means the TouchHD is more pinkie-friendly then previous efforts. But HTC’s proprietary TouchFLO 3D UI puts the mockers on this newfound freedom for the fingers.

It’s baffling to think after the seamless G1 experience that we’ve regressed to an erratic, unresponsive and slow interface. Granted, the TouchFLO front end system is more pleasing to work around than standard Windows Mobile, but it’s still frustrating.

It all makes you wonder if Google was behind the G1’s fluent touch UI and not HTC after all. But if getting to grips with TouchFLO proves a problem for your trusty digits, an old school stylus is on hand to help out, especially with Windows’ deeper and more fiddly menu system.

Web wonder

Web surfing on such a capacious screen is effortless. It’s even slicker if you plumb for the efficient Opera Mobile 9.5 browser ahead of Internet Explorer, and with support for 7.2 Mbps HSDPA and Wi-Fi web pages load quickly.

The easy-on-the-eye display is also a great stage for video playback and navigation. Google Maps is poised for basic directions and with support for A-GPS, locking onto a sputnik fix from a cold start was speedy indeed.

But with such a sizeable touch-screen, sat nav would be better served using a more dynamic Windows compatible software like TomTom Navigator 6 or CoPilot Live 7.

Camera envy?

The Touch HD’s five-megapixel snapper easily eclipses rivals like the iPhone and T-Mobile G1, but sadly isn’t as impressive as similarly ranked camera set-ups we’ve used.

The autofocus is a tad lethargic and takes a while to get its eye in, while the CIF-quality (352x288 pixel resolution) video capture is jerky and riddled with digital blocking.

HTC’s Touch phone series keeps improving and the HD is the most realised Windows Mobile we’ve tickled. Its smart design and blinding widescreen undoubtedly catch the eye, but it’s still not enough to persuade us to trade in our iPhone or G1.

Stuff says... 

HTC Touch HD review

A widescreen smartphone giant but the touch performance is still off the pace