HTC HD 7 review

Full review: HTC's big screen Windows Phone 7 contender

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The largest of the Windows Phone 7 clan promises a gargantuan movie experience

The Windows Phone 7 clan landed in the UK with a five strong army at launch, and by far the biggest is the HTC HD7.
All five phones are rocking the same WP7 interface, so it’s in the hardware that the HD7 is going to make its mark, and with a 4.3-inch screen with kickstand, it’s clear that movies and internet browsing are going to be high on the agenda.

Find out more about Windows Phone 7 and it's interface in our LG Optimus 7 review

It shows off the slick tiled interface really nicely – it’s a slick experience to slide your finger through, and the wider screen means it’s much easier to see content.

It’s sadly not an OLED screen, which means the HTC HD7 suffers somewhat from a lower contrast ratio – it’s not a deal breaker but it pales (literally) in comparison with the Super AMOLED on the Samsung Omnia 7.

But with great size comes great browse-ability, and it means you can see so much more of the internet without needing to zoom in as closely. With pinch to zoom enabled, it’s easy to get lost in website munching on the HD7 as the screen feels almost tablet sized.

HTC HD7: Browsing

The WVGA resolution is good in this scenario too - zoomed-in pictures and text look great against the white background. However, the Internet Explorer browser on the HD7 isn’t as fast as we’d like it to be, and with no HTML5, Flash Video or text wrapping it’s not the best mobile internet experience on the market.

The Zune media interface on the HTC HD7 is one of the selling points, and HTC has added in a sound enhancer to make movies and music sound great. The only problem is, thanks to Windows Phone 7 being a non-multitasking platform, you have to exit the Zune application to change the sound settings – which borders on the ridiculous.

HTC HD7: Video

Video is smooth and plays a number of formats; however, copying it across via the Zune PC interface requires most movies to be re-encoded even though they’re supposed to be supported, and this can take hours.

The kickstand can make train journeys a lot more palatable when you’re trying to take in a movie or two and don’t want to end up with horribly cramped hands.

The dual speakers either side of the screen seem like a nice idea too, but we doubt that any nearby passengers would agree with that.

We’re relatively impressed with the camera as well, despite only being a 5MP effort. The dual LED flash is really bright (almost too much at times) and captures a lot of detail, and in bright sunlight it can pick up some nice colour differentiation.
We’re not as taken by the HD video recording as it certainly lacks the slickness of the Apple iPhone 4 or Nokia N8, coming out a little pale and choppy when it gets anywhere near a light source.

HTC HD7: Verdict

The HTC HD7 is a nice idea from the Taiwanese firm in terms of offering up something different to the rest of the Windows Phone 7 clan, and it apes the HTC Desire HD in terms of making the larger screen the best feature.

However despite the addition of the HTC Hub, which offers a few HTC-specific applications like Notes and Flashlight, there’s not a lot else that makes this a really stand-out Windows Phone 7 phone, and for the small handed among us, that larger screen is going to be just a shade too wide.

HTC HD 7 release date: Now on O2

HTC HD 7 Specifications:

  • OS: Windows Phone 7
  • Processor: 1Ghz
  • Storage: 8GB/16GB
  • Screen: 4.3-inch 800x480
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 2.1, HSDPA 7.2Mbps, 3.5mm jack, N WiFi
  • Camera: 5MP with dual LED flash
  • Video: 720p, 24fps
  • Talk time: 5 hours 20 mins3G
  • Dimensions: 122x68x11mm
  • Weight: 162g