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Room for improvement

It’s HTC in the lead, bringing us yet another Windows Phone 7 handset – the HD 7.

india Updated: Mar 01, 2011 15:16 IST
Shayne Rana Shayne Rana

It’s HTC in the lead, bringing us yet another Windows Phone 7 handset – the HD 7. Taking cues from its big brother the HD2, the HD7 is just an upgrade in some instances and a downgrade in others. For instance, while the HD7 is a classier, more elegant and more refined looking handset, it’s a tad heavier than the HD2 but not enough to hamper portability or usage. It’s available with 8GB or 16GB internal storage. It’s a big phone to say the least, with a display size and resolution almost identical to the HD2 – 4.3 inches, and 480x800 pixels capable of displaying 16 million colours.

There’s really no difference or changes made to the HD7’s UI as compared to the Mozart’s. It’s still as smooth as ever thanks to the 1GHz Scorpion processor, Adreno 200 GPU and Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset. The Windows Phone 7 user interface is very refined. From accessing menus to animations that happen while the accelerometer is in use and even pinch zooming, it’s all very iPhone-like. Almost anything can be pinned to the desktop making it easy to access.

However, with platforms like iOS or Android, you have slightly more options per screen. Sadly though, the entire menu system does not switch to landscape. There’s just one thing wrong with the handset’s media setup – Zune! Unlike Apple’s iTunes that has issues with file conversions, Zune manages to accept all formats but takes an insanely long time to convert them to the appropriate size.

The HD7 supports 3G, EDGE and Wi-Fi with no frills. At least the HD2 and its much older Windows Mobile system allowed you to use the handset as a Wi-Fi router. The platform also doesn’t allow for tethering. Bluetooth connectivity is still limited to just A2DP with no file transfer option. The Internet Explorer browser does not support Flash or Silverlight making the overall experience a little underwhelming. That the App market is not yet available in India is another sore thumb. One of the perks to this platform is Xbox Live integration. Though the Windows Phone 7 Games Hub, you can access titles from Xbox Live, Microsoft Game Studios and other publishers as well as your stats and other account related information. It even allows you to play online.

The HD7’s 5 megapixel autofocus camera has a dual LED flash and features a few scene modes. Image quality isn’t as sharp as some of HTC’s previous offerings and colours look washed out. Battery life proved to be a big drawback. With tiles being unnecessarily animated, FB and emails on push and the large LCD sucking up power, we found the HD7 doesn’t offer too much usage and needs to be charged every day. On an average talk time ran into the 3 hours and 30 minutes span, which is not really too great.

With a price tag of Rs. 28,990 (MOP), the HTC HD7 might seem like a great handset but do keep in mind handsets with far superior capabilities exist. The HD7, while a classy piece of hardware, is saddled with an OS that is not yet fully functional. The HD7 is a handset to keep your eyes on. If you’ve got the patience, we say go for it. The only big hurdle you’ll have to conquer is poor battery life. Else it might be more prudent to wait and see what the next update brings to the table.

What we like
Well designed
UI is super slick
Audio quality is excellent

What we don’t
Must use Zune for media transfer
No tethering or Bluetooth file transfer option
Poor battery life
No Chat apps preloaded
No Flash or SilverLight support
Music enhancements not within Players UI
No access to App Ma

Verdict
With a price tag of Rs. 28,990 (MOP), the HTC HD7 might seem like a great handset but do keep in mind handsets with far superior capabilities and operating systems that provide you with more functionality exist. For the record, the HTC HD7 is a handset to keep your eyes on. This means you’ll be stuck with a handset with tremendous potential.

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