Android… iPhone… Microsoft???
So a new contender for the new phone landed in my lap yesterday:
Ok, the report on the HTC HD7…
This is a big thing for me. I like a phone this is simple to use for 99.9% of the time, yet if I want to, I can dig a little deeper for more functionality.
The interface for Windows Phone 7 (WP7) does this superbly.
On the main screen you have two main screens that you easily slide between. The consist of a dozen of so large tiles that you can customise with the apps that you want. Each tile also has the ability to display small info (ie, the mail tab hows you how many unread messages you have). Certainly nothing new there, however it is very slick and stylish. It’s very clean and gives you the information or the access you want simply and easily.
Then if you want more (ie, all the rest of your apps, access to settings, etc) its a simple case of sliding to the left instead and you are presented with a long list all oll your apps etc. This is list is probably my only criticism of the user interface. The list in standard form is pretty long, let alone if you have a zillion apps installed. IOn this screen I would have much rather a more iPhone/Android style grid layout of icons so you didnt have to scroll up and down so much.
From the apps that I installed (Facebook, youtube, and Freada (and ebook app)), both these apps carried over the very slick animations etc from the main OS.
It’s big. Very Big. It struggles to fit easily in a man’s jeans pocket (which is my usual ‘test’). However the upshot is that you get one of the biggest screen on a phone in the market. The build quality doesn’t seem too bad, however given this is HTC’s new “flagship” phone I would have liked to have seen a something like a nice brushed aluminium shell. However given its size and already considerable weight, I can see why HTC decided against this.
The three buttons at the bottom work well and are sensitive enough without being annoying.
The very large screen could have been slightly better. For the most part it isn’t notiocable, however when viewing a fast moving, HD video on Youtube there was a little motion blur.
My main criticism would have to be a) lack of external storage, and b) the headphone jack is at the bottom of the phone and not at the top.
I only tested the three free apps, however the quality was certainly there. The Facebook app however does have a few bugs that need working on. Links are sometimes too small to click on and you end up going to the wrong thing. The eBook app (Freada) work exactly has expected. I was able to transfer book from Calibre on my Mac without issue and customise the display properties to suit the way I like them. The default “theme” is white writing with a black background – not my cup of tea.
The Youtube app is *very* average from a functionality point of view. However there is a reason for that: http://www.winrumors.com/microsoft-o…use-of-google/
All apps kept MS’s animations happening between screens and were a pleasure to use from that point of view.
On the very first charge of the battery, it only last a little over 16 hours. However that is very common for most modern Li-ion batteries on their first charge, so I can’t really give a good idea on battery life after this. However given that initial charge, I would expect the battery to end up comparable to say an iPhone – so about a solid 24 hours +.
WP7 is not perfect, and there is some functionality still not there (ie: tethering and cut/copy/paste for instance) However all these are “coming” according to MS. Given that the original release of iOS didnt have these and much more – its not a made job on MS’s behalf.
The phone does all that it set out to do, bar a few minor quibbles. However I can’t help but think it could have been more. MS set a very stringent hardware list that phone builders can choose from, and unfortunately the dual-core replacement for the 1ghz snapdragon processor is not on that list. I would have loved to have seen this phone with a ever so slightly better screen, the dual-core processor, and more ram.
Given all that however, I like what MS have done with WP7 and with the App market actually growing faster than Apples did in its first 6 months – the community support would seem to be there. HTC have done a fine job in making the most of MS’s hardware requirements have have a produced a great phone that is easy to use, has good functionality, and surpasses all in regards to viewing multimedia.
All up: 8.5 out of 10.