Review: HTC HD7 For T-Mobile

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Short Version:T-Mobile has a thing for big phones. Their last monster, the HD2, was the last of the Windows Mobile phones and this new model, the HD7, is the first of the new Windows Phone mobiles. It is a flawed masterpiece, an early-adopter’s delight and marks the first salvo in a long, hard slog for Microsoft through the mobile battlefield.

Features:

  • Kick-stand
  • 4.3-inch 480 x 800 LCD touchscreen
  • 1GHz/512MB RAM
  • 720p camcorder/5-megapixel stills
  • $199 with two-year contract

Pros:

  • Huge, beautiful screen
  • Nice implementation of Windows Phone 7
  • 16GB storage

Cons:

  • It’s huge
  • Limited app availability
  • Did we mention it’s big?

Full review:

There is little I can say right now about Windows Phone 7 that Greg hasn’t already said. Here is basically WinPho 7 in a nutshell and probably one of the best descriptions of the OS I’ve read:

Windows Phone 7 is elegantly executed, incredibly intuitive, and straight-up beautiful at times. What it’s not, relative to the competition, is complete. The things it does, it does well — but the things that it doesn’t (yet), tend to stick out. These things — third party app multitasking, copy and paste, or tethering — are things that people complained about other mobile operating systems lacking a year and a half ago.

So I won’t comment on that in this review. Instead, I’m focusing on hardware and value-for-money.

The 4-inch phone form factor (4PFF, for short) is quite popular recently, and for good reason. A 4-inch phone seems bigger and bolder than a puny iPhone or a similar, but smaller, touchscreen phone. In reality the HD7 just looks big because it is a bit wider and has a smaller bezel than the iPhone 4.

The phone has three touch-sensitive buttons along the bottom edge: a back button, a “Windows” button, and a search button, and elsewhere on the phone are a dedicated camera key, power key, and volume keys. Two speaker grilles peek out on either side of the phone, suggesting that the HD7 can be used as a mini boombox, but I wouldn’t recommend it. The speaker audio is thin and tinny, sufficient for a quick listen with your friends but probably not worth using as a dedicated music playback device (not that you ever would.)

The touchscreen has haptic feedback, which is very useful when tapping the buttons at the bottom of the screen. The screen itself is quite amazing, with 480×800 resolution and a brightness that is at times astounding. In fact the staid blue WinPho interface is actually a detriment here as it makes the phone look like it’s a CGA phone just waiting for a copy of King’s Quest to load.

Call quality is strong but not amazing. I had some problems getting signal in New York and Columbus, Ohio, but those were anecdotal problems. If you have good T-Mo coverage where you are, you should be fine. Otherwise, well, caveat emptor.

The camera is acceptable and includes a flash. This is a picture it took. Strangely, I could not focus on those beautiful flowers right in front of me, which makes me concerned for its usability in proper macro photography.

The battery is sub-par, pooping out after half a day of heavy email. Your results may vary but this is a 1-day phone, if not less if watching media or using the GPS a lot.

Bottom Line

In the week I’ve used this phone I’ve felt more and more love for Windows Phone 7 but little real attachment to the phone itself. While this phone truly showcases the power and elegance of the new UI and OS, I’m worried that the huge-phone market will soon be eaten up but the burgeoning tablet movement and thinner, smaller phones will soon prevail. That said, I can say that if you’re looking at a Windows Phone 7 handset you could do worse than the HD7, especially if you were a fan of the striking HD2.

Otherwise, give this a quick look and move along. WinPho7 phones will only get better and this is one of the first.

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