HTC HD7 review

With an operating system that promises so much, it's shame that HTC's HD7 is let down by markedly lacklustre performance Tested at £388

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Our Verdict

A much-improved operating system, let down by mediocre multimedia performance

For

  • Fantastic styling and finish
  • refreshing user interface
  • built-in stereo speakers

Against

  • O2 exclusive
  • sounds weak
  • average video
  • no Flash support
  • no memory expansion

Until now, Windows Mobile (as the OS was formerly known) hasn’t really endeared itself to the mobile crowd, paralysed, as it was, by glitches.

Microsoft has gone away and come back with Windows Phone 7 (WP7). And, seeing that HTC is a seen as a cool brand with buckets of street-cred, the HD7 appears to be the perfect vessel for this new operating system.

Superb, premium feel
The HD7 is a gorgeous device with a premium look and feel.

It’s a serious rival for the iPhone4 in terms of loveliness, and makes the Samsung Galaxy S feel a little Fisher Price in comparison. The front of the unit is just a large glass screen, with no physical buttons on show. Instead, there are three touch-sensitive keys for back, home and menu.

Powered up, the HD7’s appeal goes from strength to strength. First, you notice that the 4.3in screen dwarfs most of its rivals.

You’re then greeted with WP7’s new ‘tile’ interface, which gives you one-touch access to your favourite features and apps. Hit ‘HTC Hub’ and you’re taken to Windows’ new ‘hub’ interface, with a more comprehensive list of games, applications, and other content on the phone.

It’s much improved from the old Windows Mobile experience. Your impression is also helped by the HD7’s remarkably slick and responsive 800 x 480 pixel touchscreen.

Managed By Zune
It’s a Microsoft operating system, so it’s no surprise that Zune software manages all your content.

You can buy additional content to fill the 16GB of storage through the Zune Marketplace. There’s a fine selection of music, videos, apps and podcasts available, and the software is uncomplicated to use.

But while the front end of the HD7 warrants some generous praise, the multimedia performance of this device somewhat lets it down.

Sound quality doesn’t impress. Tunes sound cold and thin, lacking body, warmth and weight. There’s very little in the way of scale and dynamics, and that’s even after you’ve rejected the supplied headphones in favour of a more capable pair.

Initially, picture quality looks pretty good. Whites look brilliant and the screen’s colour balance is arguably the most natural-looking of the bunch.

But, traces of blocking can be seen on the picture, and movie content doesn’t have the same stability as the very best available.

No Flash or iPlayer
Web browsing is done on a special version of Internet Explorer and this works well, although there’s no Flash support, so you won’t be able to view certain content.

There’s also no way of being able to stream video from the likes of BBC’s iPlayer, which is somewhat disappointing.

After all the aesthetic appeal added to the promise of the WP7 operating system, it’s a shame that you’re left feeling a little let down by the HD7.

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Specifications

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Input Devices

Input MethodTouchscreen

Display and Graphics

Screen TypeLCD
Screen Size10.9 cm (4.3")
Screen Resolution480 x 800

Network and Communication

Contract TypeSIM-free
Wireless LANYes
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
GPS ReceiverYes
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 2100
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA
BluetoothYes
Cellular Generation3.5G

Technical Information

Sensor TypeG-sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Digital Compass
Phone StyleBar

Processor and Chipset

Processor TypeSnapdragon
Processor ModelQSD8250
Processor Speed1 GHz
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm

Battery Information

Battery Talk Time6.33 Hour
Battery Standby Time310 Hour

Touchscreen Information

Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
TouchscreenYes

General Information

Product NameHTC HD7
Product ModelHD7
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.europe.htc.com
Brand NameHTC
Product TypeSmartphone
ManufacturerHigh Tech Computer Corp
Manufacturer Part Number99HLY006-00

Camera

Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Built-in FlashYes

Software

Operating SystemWindows Mobile
Operating System VersionWindows Phone 7

Interfaces-Ports

USB StandardUSB 2.0
USBYes

Physical Characteristics

Weight Approximate162 g
Width68 mm
Depth11.2 mm
Height122 mm
SAR Value0.66 W/kg
ColourBlack
Dimensions122 mm (H): 68 mm (W): 11.2 mm (D)

Miscellaneous

Package Contents<ul><li>HD7 Smartphone</li><li>Battery</li><li>USB Cable</li><li>3.5mm Stereo Headset</li><li>Power Adapter</li><li>Start Here Guide</li><li>Quick Guide</li><li>Safety and Regulatory Guide</li></ul>

Memory

Built-in Memory8 GB

Warranty

Limited Warranty1 Year