HTC Radar review

HTC's all-seeing Windows Phone 7 handset

For

  • WP 7.5 with multi-tasking
  • Bright and clear screen
  • Social integration

Against

  • Lack of apps
  • Build design
  • Camera

The HTC Radar is the sibling to HTC's mammoth Titan, and with Windows Phone Mango straight out of the box it clearly means business, but can it compete with its larger brother?

The HTC Radar has quietly appeared alongside its imposing sibling the HTC Titan, a goliath phone boasting a 4.7inch screen and it's certainly a handful. The Radar on the other hand has opted for a slightly more understated design with just a 3.8inch screen and a resolution of 400x800. They're also HTC's first phones to have Windows Phone 7.5 Mango straight out of the box, adding features such as multi-tasking and Internet Explorer 9.

HTC Radar: Design

With the same aluminium unibody design that's found on pretty much all HTC phones today the Radar certainly feels solid in the hand, the plastic accents at the top and bottom however feel cheap, the bottom accent in particular takes over the bottom tip of the phone and looks odd in comparison to the rest of the phone. This however is more down to personal opinion, so while some may like it, it certainly isn't the best-looking phone HTC have made.

HTC Radar: Specs

The Radar has a 1GHz processor and 512MB of RAM which sadly excludes it from the upper echelons of the smartphone elite, but you shouldn't let those specs fool you, it's incredibly nippy and not once feels like it's straining. You'll also find 8GB of storage, as is custom with all Windows Phone handsets and while it would be nice to have bigger storage, 8GB is still plenty.

HTC Radar: Camera

With a dedicated camera button on the side the 5MP camera is quick to respond and also features tap to focus, in low-light images have a tendancy to get grainy however turn on the superb flash and a room is quickly illuminated with no problem. Video is 720p and looks excellent with slow moving footage however turn up the tempo and you'll start to see some shuddering in the playback.

HTC Radar: Features

Most notable on the HTC Radar is the inclusion of Windows Phone 7.5, in fact it pretty much dominates the entire experience. Still very much a 'Marmite' issue, Windows Phone 7 is still one of the most original looking operating systems, and while it takes some getting used too, much of the functionality on it is incredibly intuative. Setting up a Gmail account and adding contacts couldn't have been easier, simply type in your account and the phone automatically sets up an inbox and syncs your contacts onto the phone. While it been possible to create Google contacts for some time now, this is by far one of the slickest examples we've seen with contacts being synchronised almost instantly.

The Mango update hasn't brought any major cosmetic changes, it's definitely a bold style direction and you'll either feel claustraphobic or releived from its simplicity. The Twitter app is a perfect example, once set up you can swipe across your tweets, mentions and messages in such a way that it actually all feels connected.

Multi-tasking works a dream and helps with the claustraphobia issue making sure you can quickly switch between applications without the need for any of the animations and menu browsing. Finally as a socially-orientated phone the Radar excels, by joining your Facebook, Twitter and Gmail account it aggregates all your social feeds and contacts into something which feels incredibly natural. That's not to say it's a good thing though, for social-networking junkies it could be considered Nirvana for others, including us, scrolling through ALL your Facebook contacts just to find a phone number is technology hell.

HTC Radar: Verdict

Although small on changes, Mango has helped make Windows Phone much better, that said the OS is chronically undersupported by apps and although HTC's Hub tries to help it's still incredibly noticeable and has you yearning for the same apps found on Android or iOS, even BlackBerry.

If social media is more your thing however then the HTC Radar is for you with superb integration of all the major social-networks and a seamless ability to switch between. Therein however lies the problem, for those who don't want that you'll find yourself longing for more and sadly the Radar falls short in that department with an average camera, lack of apps and a 1GHz processor in a smartphone world increasingly inhabited by faster more powerful handsets.

HTC Radar availability: Out now

HTC Radar price: £329