Its solid aluminum body feels reassuringly hefty, and its curves are perfectly defined to fit in the hand. The battery is built in, the SIM card slips underneath a removable plastic chin and there’s no microSD or other expansion slot. The 3.8-inch touch screen is crisp and vibrant, with the OS’s stark neon icons standing out against their black background.
The Radar runs on a 1 GHz CPU and 512 MB of RAM, with 8 GB of storage space. You also get Bluetooth, Wi-Fi b/g/n, 3G, an accelerometer, a proximity sensor, and GPS.
WP’s iconic ‘Metro’ visual style is a far cry from the grids, icons and lists we’re used to, making even iOS and Android feel rather dated. Still, it’s not for everyone —the look is stark and modern, text titles are stylistically blown up so that they fall off the screen’s edges.
Most notably, the traditional phone book has been transformed into a ‘People Hub’, with live updates from Facebook, Windows Live, and even Twitter. This lets you focus on people, rather than the apps required for each kind of interaction. The downside is that things can quickly get cluttered, especially if your email accounts automatically add contacts you don’t want.
The Messaging app lets you pick up a conversation via SMS, Facebook chat or Windows LiveMessenger. The Radar didn’t feel underpowered at all during use; WP’s menus and animations were consistently smooth, and even the few games we tried were a pleasure to play.
However, 8 GB of storage space will fill up very quickly. Photos taken with the camera lacked definition in low light. Call quality was disappointing. Voices consistently sounded tinny and machine-like. The Radar easily lasted through a day of normal usage without needing a recharge.