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HTC Radar Review

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Nimish Sawant

Digit Rating: Good
3.5 3.5/5 image description
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Features:
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Performance:
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Value:
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Design:

PROS

  • Great camera
  • Fluid interface
  • Fabulous build quality
  • Gorilla glass on screen

CONS

  • Higher price
  • No option to expand memory
Where to Buy

MRP: 18999

Summary

HTC Radar has elegant aesthetics, sturdy build, a responsive user interface and great camera response. It has everything going for it except the pricing - with an MRP of Rs. 23,990 it has tough competition from Samsung Omnia W which has powerful processor and the Super AMOLED screen. If the pricing is got to the same level (better still, under Omnia W's price) this phone can surely be recommended.

HTC is coming out with smartphones at a blistering pace and while it was dominated by Android based handsets around six months back, it is slowly but surely expanding its Windows Phone 7 portfolio as well. The latest – HTC Radar sports the Windows Phone 7.5 popularly known as the Mango update, that has got rid of minor niggles that affected the WP7.

Design and Build
The HTC Radar features the unibody aluminium design with the plastic portion around the base opening up to insert your SIM card. There is no way to access the battery and when you insert or remove your SIM card, the phone tends to restart. The silver colour of the unibody finish runs along the edge on the front portion and covers a majority of the rear portion. We had got the white coloured model. It is also available in black. On the front fascia you have the three touch sensitive buttons - Back, Home and Bing search. On the top left hand corner you have the proximity sensor and the VGA front facing camera on the right hand corner. Coming to the top you have the power/sleep button on the right hand side and a 3.5mm audio jack on the left hand side. The left hand edge has the micro USB slot whereas on the right hand edge you have long volume rocker on the top edge and camera shutter button below. Flip around the phone and you get the 5MP camera which has a fixed aperture of F2.2 beside which you have the LED flash and a speaker section on the other side.

The 3.8-inch screen phone feels quite solid in the hand and metal finish still manages to give a very good grip. One hand operation is quite easy.

Features
The HTC Radar is a 3.8-inch capacitive touchscreen phone having an S-LCD screen with the gorilla glass on top. It houses the Qualcomm MSM 8255 system-on-chip with a 1 GHz Scorpion processor and Adreno 205 GPU. It comes with an internal storage of 8 GB without any option to add external memory, which effectively means that you have only 6.54 GB at your disposal after budgeting the memory taken up by the OS and native apps.

AS you cannot skin Windows Phone OS, HTC has added some native apps. Some of the interesting ones are HTC Hub – which gives you the weather readings of your area and you can add around five other cities; Photo Enhancer allows you to add filters to photos; Flashlight allows you to use your LED flash as a flashlight; Locations is very similar to FootPrints seen on Android phones which allows you to take pictures and geo tag them along with information such as directions, website etc and finally HTC Watch allows you to purchase movies and TV shows, but we could not get this working here as the screen always used to prompt us to download updates and it only had Trailers tab. 

The interface as is the case with Windows Phone OS, does not appear cluttered and the live tiles are carried forward in this update. If you have more than 45 applications, then it divides them into alphabets which makes accessing them easy.

Multitasking is a major feature of this iteration, allowing you to play music in the background while you are on another app. But if you are downloading stuff and minimise the screen, it resumes from where it had stopped when its reactivated. Social integration includes Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and you can sync your Yahoo, Gmail and Windows Live account.

Users who are migrating from Android and Apple will have to do a lot of unlearning as the tile interface is the underlying theme in most apps. Twitter and Facebook apps for instance are completely different from those seen on the other OSes. Facebook tile on the homepage keeps flipping photos of your contacts. Messaging and Mail tiles keep getting updated the moment you get any new message, giving you a quick view of unread mails or messages.

You will need to download the latest Zune software to sync the phone with your system. By default all your content will be synced with your Windows Library. As long as you have every thing in the library, in the right correct format we might add (specially in case of videos), syncing is a piece of cake. But we still prefer the drag and drop offered by Android phones.

The integration philosophy around contacts is quite good. You can have all your social connectivity and contact information under one umbrella, so that you get all the notifications related to a particular contact in one place. You can also create groups for group messaging.

Performance
Call Quality: Call quality was brilliant and we did not experience any dropped calls. In dead zones such as inside an elevator, we did not get a signal. The sound clarity on the phone's speaker is quite good.

Keypad: The onscreen keypad seems cramped in the portrait mode and you will need some practise to avoid spelling mistakes. In the landscape mode the keys are more spaced out but it occupies more than half the screen real estate.

Response: For a 1GHz phone with only 512 MB of RAM, its response was very quick and we did not notice any slowing down or hanging of apps.

Display: The display was quite crisp making the text and videos pop out. Of course, the highly reflective screen will affect the experience in dark scenes, but on the whole we found the display to be quite good. Viewing angles are great and we did not notice any colour cast on the screen. The blacks are deep but nowhere close to what is offered by Samsung's Super AMOLED screen.

Camera: Camera quality is quite good and you get to play around with a lot of options. Colour appear natural and crisp in outdoor shooting. Even indoor shots were devoid of any prominent noise, which is common with most cameras in phones. We really liked the Auto-fix utility which retouches your images with impressive results. Panorama mode is a joy to work with where in you just have to move your camera along the imaginary line which has huge dots, once you circle that dot, the camera will fire automatically. Three such shots will be taken and then stitched to give you a panoramic image. You can go upto ISO 800, although at that level, noise does creep in. The still camera can also be activated while the phone is in the sleep mode, but hard pressing on the shutter button. The autofocus is not as fast as we would have liked it to be, but there is minimal time lag between image to image shot, which is impressive.

The HTC Radar can shoot at 720p and we found the video quality to be quite crisp. The continuous focussing mode is quite good but it tends to blur a bit while panning which was the only hitch. Also while shooting in contrasting light – such as going from a highly lit area to a comparitively darker area, the camera takes some time to adjust. So if you are shooting indoors and suddenly point the camera to the window, you will see blow out highlights which will slowly get more detailed as the camera focusses onto the outdoor scene and vice versa.

Web: The HTC Radar like all other Windows Phone devices comes bundled with Internet Explorer 9. Page loading was quite fast and text is rendered quite sharp even when it is completely zoomed into, showing no jaggies. At a time you can only have one tab open. Text does not auto-align when zoomed into, something we would have liked to see.

Voice Recognition: If you hold down the Home button, you enter the Voice recognition app offered by the phone. It does require a lot of training and you would be much better off using your fingers to get the work done. With Siri as the benchmark, WP clearly has some work cut out in this direction.

Battery Life: The battery of the HTC Radar lasted for a good day and a half with regular usage which included surfing the web over EDGE and WiFi, calling, messaging and listening to music. The battery will last about a day with video consumption.

Verdict
HTC Radar has elegant aesthetics, sturdy build, a responsive user interface and great camera response. Call quality was top notch and we did not experience any dropped calls. WP7.5 has an evidently improved user experience. The handset has everything going for it except the pricing. At an MRP of Rs. 23,990 it has tough competition from Samsung Omnia W which has a powerful processor and the Super AMOLED screen. If the pricing is got to the same level (better still, under Omnia W's price) this phone can surely be recommended.

Overall Rating: 7.0

Also read:

Our Samsung Omnia W review

Test Scores Log Sheet
Brand
HTC
Model
Radar

Street Prices (Rs)

-
Price (MRP, Rs)
23990
Features
 
Physical Specs
 
Form Factor
Bar
2G Network Bands
GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G Network Bands
HSDPA 900 / 2100
Screen Resolution
480 x 800
Screen Size (inches)
3.8-inches

Maximum Screen colours

16M

Touchscreen / Dual Screen (Y/N)

Y/N
Battery Rating
1520 mAh

Dimensions (L x W x H)

120.5 x 61.5 x 10.9
Weight
137g

Expandable Memory Type

None
RAM (in MB)
512
SoC (CPU, GPU)

Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon, 1 GHz Scorpion processor, Adreno 205 GPU,

CPU Clock speed
1 GHz
No. of CPU cores
1
Hot Swappable (Y/N)
N
Other Features
 

Operating System (Tested with)

Windows Phone 7.5

Charging via USB (Y/N)

Y

Hardware Keypad (Regular/QWERTY)

N

Accelerometer (For auto rotate)

Y

Address Book Capacity

Unlimited

No of calls in register

Unlimited

Talk Time / Standby Time (3G) *

Up to 10 h (2G) / Up to 8 h 5 min (3G)

Standby Time

Up to 480 h (2G) / Up to 535 h (3G)

Offline Opearability (Y/N)

Y

Inbuilt GPS / A-GPS support (Y / N)

Y/Y
Connectivity
 

Browsing (GPRS/EDGE/3G)

Y / Y / Y

3G max speed (in Mbps)

HSDPA 14.4 Mbps, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps

Connectivity (WiFi/Bluetooth/IR/USB)

Y / Y / N / Y

Bluetooth Version/A2DP support

V2.1 / Y
Camera Specs
 

Camera Resolution (Mega Pixels)

5

Video Capture Resolution

1280x720
Auto focus / flash
Y/Y
Type of flash
LED

Secondary camera for video chat

Y

Mirror for self portrait (Y / N)

Y

Camera Settings (So 10)

8

Zoom (Optical/Digital)

Digital
Multimedia
 

Music Formats supported

MP3, WAV, WMA

Video formats supported

XviD/x.264
FM Radio / RDS (Y/N)
N
Accessories
 
Bundled Accessories
Wall charger, handsfree headset

Size of memory card provided

NA

Build and Ergonomics (So 10)

 

Surface materials used

8

Overall build and in-hand feel

7.5

Quality of moving parts

NA

Design and ergonomics

8

Keypad design (on-screen or hardware)

6
Menu and interface
7.5

Settings and ease of navigating menus

7
Camera menu options
7
Performance
 

Signal Reception and Voice Clarity (So 10)

 
Zone 1
7.5
Zone 2
7.5
Zone 3
7
Handsfree Clarity
7
Loudspeaker Clarity
6.5
Earpiece Clarity
6.5
Handsfree Volume
6.5
Loudspeaker Volume
6
Earpiece Volume
7

Bluetooth Transfer Speed (in KBps)

 

Imaging and multimedia tests

 

Captured Photo Colour

7.5

Captured Photo Crispness

7.5

Captuted Photo Detail

7

Captured Video Quality

7

Effectiveness of integrated flash

7

Music Quality (loudspeaker)

6.5

Music Quality (handsfree)

7

Volume levels (loudspeaker)

6.5

Volume levels (handsfree)

7
Display (So 10)
 
Crispness
8.5
Colour
7.5
Contrast
7
Font rendition
7.5

Legibility in bright sunlight

6.5
Video playback
7
 
 

* Manufacturer Rated

 
Synthetic Tests
 
Multi Bench
 
CPU Bench
0.486
Data Transfer
3.217
Memory Bench
0.189
 
 
WP Bench
 
GPU
37 FPS
Overall
80.66

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