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HTC HD7 ReviewDigit Rating: Good3.5/5
- Well built and sleek
- Snappy hardware, large display
- Very nice interface, great browser
BUYMRP: 29990Available at 1 store/(s) 11750BUY
- Mediocre battery
- Mediocre loudspeaker
- A flagship device deserves a higher grade display
The HD7 is quite a nice phone. The new platform seems promising, and is a huge step forward from WM 6.5, apart from a few shocking omissions. The HD7 loses out on account of these omissions, as well as a few of its own. A decent display in lieu of an S-LCD, a mediocre battery, mediocre speaker to mention a few. It is not a well rounded package and has a number of small, yet visible chinks in its repertoire. At Rs. 29,990 we cannot ignore that fact.Powered By: http://www.91mobiles.com
HTC is a brand that needs no introduction. The Taiwanese giant, known for building handsets for the likes of O2, iMate and so on, has entered the retail market and met with reasonable success. Touchscreen phones are the latest fad, and HTC has been steadily churning out a stream of such phones. They've made their mark in our market too, with some excellent capacitive-touch phones, and some of their phones like the Touch HD2 and Desire. Those interested can read our HTC Desire review here.
The HD7 is a direct descendent from the HD2, the latter was powered by Windows Mobile 6.5 while the former features Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 - the newest cellphone platform available today. However, as we've learnt when it comes to operating systems and cellphones, the latest isn't always the best. Android is far from the perfect cellphone platform, and while it has gotten better, there are still a lot of small nits to be ironed out. And so it goes with today's candidate. The HD7 is an impressive looking phone, with an impressive spec-sheet. However, in the end its usability as a phone and the minor teething issues of the platform prove to be its undoing. As we've said before, there is no perfect touchscreen cellphone, along with adding faster CPUs, applications, nifty gesture-based controls and multimedia, manufacturers have forgotten to master the basics.
Look and feel
The HD7 is a beautiful looking phone - black and dark grey, exceedingly slim side bezels, and a handset that's dominated by a massive 4.3-inch capacitive touchscreen. And this is probably the selling point or failing of this phone. The display will either attract you, or repel you on account of its size. Obviously, we'd have loved the ultra sharp Super LCD technology on the HTC Desire to make a second appearance here, but that wasn't to be. The gently curving rear and the flat front adds another dimension to the aesthetics. The HTC moniker on the top bezel is minimal - a relief from the space-consuming, garish and, at times cheap branding followed by the likes of the LG and Samsung. HTC is an OEM manufacturer, and it shows in the minimalist badging. The HTC is a conglomerate of metal, plastic and of course glass. There is a metal bezel running right around the phone, and the raised edges means placing the phone face down on a flat surface will not scratch the display.
There are three touch-sensitive keys beneath the glass slab that extends below the LCD. These keys are really well spaced out and while their backlighting isn't excellent, it's more than adequate to use. The screen on/lock key is located on the top of the phone to the right side, and quite frankly, while it is intuitive thanks to a slight indication for ones fingerpads, it is hard to press, and offers minimal feedback. The volume rocker located on the right is similar, offering only marginally better feedback. The camera key is even worse, offering no feedback to half click (for autofocus). The microUSB port and 3.5mm jack are conveniently located on the bottom of the phone.
We found the layout quite simplistic. While not as intuitive as the iOS layout on the iPhone, Windows has done a fine job keeping things simple. There are far less settings, and anyone who has scratched his head wondering what the difference between Bluetooth on and Beam on is, in WM 6.5, will find the settings on Windows Phone 7 basic. In fact, too basic for some, as a few advanced options are missing. However, most of the settings involve changing values from a list, or a switch-like, on-screen slider.
The touchscreen is very sensitive, and owing to this, navigating around is a snap. WP 7 has a nice flowing menu system, consisting of large tiles. This is the default homescreen. The second screen, that is just a side scroll away, contains all possible options like alarms, calendar, games, browser, messaging, MS Office among others, in a single vertical-scroll list. A simple press and hold on any of these options, gives an option to add it to the home screen - pretty simple. Since all WP7 phones will run the same interface, the HD7 will look no different from other WP7 handsets, other than a few extra options. The Start menu that Microsoft doggedly persisted on is dead, and we don't miss it a bit. Within an option, you can swipe sideways and you will get different sub options, like a tabbed list, like within mail, side scrolling will get you mails under different and intuitive heads, like all, unread, flagged, urgent and so on. There is a context sensitive list of options, represented by icons, on a bar at the bottom of the screen. Expanding this bar by pressing the "..." symbol shows lists the functions of each of the icons, while displaying a few extra context-sensitive options.
The lack of folders means that installed apps become part of an ever increasing list. Alphabetical scrolling is absent - this is a major pain for those who have a hundred or so installed apps. Multi-tasking has been omitted, and the last application will resume from exactly where you left it. This means that third party apps that are installed cannot be run in the background. This is something the Microsoft should remedy. Messages appear as threads of conversation. Calls show up as individual time-based calls, therefore, if you called a particular number eight times in succession, you will see eight entries in your dialled list. This is both utilitarian and annoying. The Office application is robust, although coming from the PC version, it's still rather bare-bones. The browser (Internet Explorer obviously), is pretty fast, pages render very quickly and we like the pinch zoom that also works seamlessly. Orientation is also snappy, and the bottom control bar disappears when in landscape mode. Up to six tabs can be opened, which is fair for a mobile device.
Click next to read on about its performance and our final take...OS: Windows Phone 7; CPU: Qualcomm QSD8250 (1 GHz); RAM: 576 MB; Display: 4.3-inch, 480x800 pixels, capacitive; battery: 1230 mAh; weight: 162 grams
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