If you’re on the prowl for a quality Windows Phone 7 smartphone, HTC might have what you’re looking for with its HD7. It features a large 4.3″ WVGA display, dual-LED camera flashes, a kickstand for improved media viewing, solid application and game performance, a responsive on-screen keyboard and fantastic call quality.
At its first launch, the HD7 has a simple setup menu. Setup will integrate your Windows Live account with your phone (optional). If done, this will sync your e-mail, contacts, calendar, photos, and feeds.
Not only limited to Windows Live, you can also sync your Facebook and Xbox Live as well as other e-mails easily once you are out of the setup menu. For media sync, the Zune software is recommended.
Syncing your Windows Live ID allows you to integrate your Xbox Live account with the HD7. Xbox Live mobile allows you to customize your avatar, track your achievements, and of course, challenge your friends to games online.
Some titles include popular EA games Need for Speed: Undercover, The Sims 3 as well as many others. Load times for games were far from impressive, but once launched, the games do play like any other native application on the HD7â€¦ smooth.
Windows Phone 7 uses live tiles on the main display of the phone, as mentioned in the intro. You can make almost anything on the device a tile including shortcuts to individual contacts, your favourite websites, or your favourite applications. For your e-mail, there is no universal inbox feature so each e-mail account must be individually checked. Because the OS does not support multi-tasking, you must switch back to the home screen to swap between accounts.
No operating system would be complete without an Application Store. Windows Marketplace is growing daily and includes some of the most popular apps and games available. Some of the top free apps include: YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Netflix. Some popular paid apps are: Fruit Ninja, Pac-Man, and Tetris. One notable game that has been missing from the line-up is Angry Birds, but Rovio has recently announced plans to bring the title to Windows Marketplace, so readers need not panic if planning on switching to the Windows Phone!
Windows Phone 7 has a powerful search tool that will not only gather results from the phone but also straight from the Internet.
The HD7 we tested was on Bell’s HSPA+ network. One key feature was Bell’s Mobile TV, but US carriers offer this also, under many different names. After some initial buffering, live TV did play via the app; however this was with a 30-second delay from the live broadcast on television. There was some expected freezing and the picture quality was pixelated at times; however this is a great solution for anyone looking to watch a sports game on the fly. Bell is currently partnered with the NHL and NFL so fans can watch their favourite team while mobile.
Office Mobile includes Word, Excel, OneNote, and PowerPoint making viewing documents easy while on the run. Using Office Mobile to edit Word and Excel files has proven useful in everyday business use. The only obstacle we experienced with Office was the inability to edit a PowerPoint file, although PowerPoint viewing works well.
Overall, the HD7 proved to be a solid, easy-to-use device. Watching a movie on the smartphone is unlike any other Windows Phone device, provided you are prepared to use headphones or a third party external speaker. The kickstand is solid in construction and tilts the phone at a comfortable viewing angle.
Most people who pick up this phone will find it easy to navigate its games and features and, of course, use the phone for its most important purpose: make phone calls. Windows Phone 7 has a lot of work ahead to help us forget about some bad Windows Mobile experiences, but the HTC HD7 with Windows Phone 7 is a step in the right direction.
The HTC HD7 was launched late last year in the US and was available on T-Mobile ($99 on 2 year term). The HD7 recently hit shelves north of the border on Bell Mobility ($99.95 on a 3 year term).
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