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I have owned this phone for about 18 months and I have generally found it to be very good but with little niggles that should have been sorted before release. It is quick and easy to use (thanks to the windows operating system and nice layout) and the all round performance is great.
1. Nice screen with good resolution.
2. Quick processor is sufficient for most tasks.
3. Windows live messenger, texts, facebook, twitter and email all covered and intergrated beautifully.
4. Live tiles are ace and so quick and easy to use.
5. Nice looking.
6. Good for watching movies, playing games (although the touch screen is insufficiently accurate on some but this could be down to the game).
1. The operating system has been simplified to make everything quick to use but it is TOO LIMITING. As an example the bluetooth settings are on/off...THAT'S IT. No visibility, no search devices, no anything. Just on or off.
2. Again with the limited windows ability here, you can read an attachment (like a PDF file) from an email, but you can't save it to your phone.
3. Limited memory space and no option for a memory card. The phone has a kickstand for watching videos on and is called a HD7 but has only a 16GB capacity. A few movies and a CDs on there and you're full.
4. The camera button is not user friendly. Touch the screen instead.
5. No need for the search button on the front of the phone. All I do is catch my hand on it because it's right on the corner.
6. Auto correct is terrible. You have the option to add words to the dictionary but if you accidentally add something you can't delete it.
7. Lots of really niggly little bugs which should have been sorted before release.
8. No tunes for ringtones and the ones on there are rubbish. All the alarm tones/text tones sound the same - bong bong-bong!
Overall a slick and fast phone. Quick and easy access to what you want but a little restrictive for more experienced smart-phoners who want to do more with their phone.
I'd give it 8 out of 10.
The HD7 was one of the first phones to come with the new Windows Mobile 7 OS.
Some of the benefits with this was the integration of Xbox Live and the ability to earn those precious achievements on the move whilst playing games on the move - this in my view posed a serious threat to Apples gaming eco system if Microsoft could pull this off. The games on offer where engaging and sported some great graphics - however the issue was price and game on the Windows phone which would set you back on average £2.49 whereas the very same game on iOS would (at the time) have set you back £0.59 (most of the cheapest apps are now £0.69). For this reason it was very difficult to justify spending this amount.
The phone has many of the standard dedicated apps like Facebook, Google Search, Lovefilm Etc. that you'd expect on all operating systems and these worked very well and the way information was conveyed from apps on the home screen is great.
Personalizing the phone, however wasn't great - you could change the background from black to white OR from white to black... and with this you have a choice of a few colours for the Metro UI. This is where the user choice ends, apart from choosing which apps you want on the home screen.
The phone has a mobile version of mobile Word, Excel and other MS Office based applications but are by no means any real use, although documents can be edited it is clumsy and doesn't always show a document as how it should look natively.
It is a good phone, but needs some attention in the future to be competitive in the market. Hopefully Microsoft will support the OS in the long term.
After Christmas last year, I had couple of hundred pounds left over from a combination of previous savings and presents and so I thought I'd treat myself to a smart phone.
After looking at the smart phones out there I noticed that each phone liked to boast a specific feature. For example the iPhone was all about downloading games and apps with ease, and the blackberry was focused on ease of communication (blackberry messenger). But when I saw the HTC HD7 with windows phone 7 technologies, I immediately noticed a mutual balance between work and play.
First off, I'll talk about the price. I payed £400 pounds for my phone from 02, which was the cheapest at the time and still retails for that now, however a variety of contracts do exist at a variety of costs, but that was an option I decided not to take up as I have never been a fan of contracts with phones. £400 pounds is the same retail price for an 8GB iPhone from Vodafone, however the windows phone had a bigger touch screen pad (4.3 inch compared to the iPhone 3.5 inch) and 12GB internal memory compared to 8GB.
First off, I will talk about the appearance. I immediately noticed that the sleek thin exterior with 3 'touch' screen button on the bottom that illuminate once the device is switched on. On the right hand side of the device there is a camera hard key, and above that a volume up and down keys. On the topside of the device there is the power hard key that turns the device on, but doubles up as a but that wakes the phone up from sleeping. On the back there is a 5 megapixel camera that sits about a 1 mm of the back of the phone unit, which is annoying because every time you put the phone down on a hard surface it feels like the camera lens is being scratched. Because of this I would definitely advise buying a phone case and a screen protector. One convenient feature about the phone is that there is a stand off the back of the camera that folds out and allows the phone to stand up like a picture frame. This is incredibly handy when watching any film or podcast however it does topple over easily but I like this none the less.
Now to the hardware. I decided to side with the windows phone 7 hardware because it appeared a lot more user friendly than its android counterpart and for me it was a fresh and unique approach to the user interfaces that so many of the earlier smart phones got wrong. The touch screen itself, with its impeccable responsiveness allows you to easily browse through tiles on your home screen by swiping up or down. Everything else appeared on a sub menus that were accessed by swiping to the left. Here you had all of your applications which you downloaded from zune marketplace except games; they appeared in the Xbox live application which I would describe as the 'games centre' of the phone. All of your music, videos and podcasts appeared in the zune application, which I would describe as the 'music centre' of the phone. I must admit Zune was surprisingly easier to navigate all my music and videos with its simplistic interface and let's face it, its overall appearance is so much better than that of its iPhone counterpart that uses iTunes as its music centre. A friend of mine has the latest iPhone and for me it looked 'too bland' and 'too white', navigation of music is just as easy as the HTC if not easier, but the HTC looks so much better. Another great feature about having Xbox live on your windows phone is that you can earn achievements, however this is only limited to specific games published by Xbox live, not independent games but this is great news if you have an Xbox live account. Being honest though, the iPhone has a lot wider choice of games, but in my opinion they play a lot better on the HTC HD7 (for example Angry Birds).
Now all the games and entertainment are out of the way, I can talk about other applications. One of the handiest applications is adobe reader which allows you to read and store PDF files. I found this particularly helpful as I did all my A-Level revision from PDF files from my college and is surprisingly easy to use however it took a while to load and render large PDF files. Another great feature is that the HTC comes fully loaded with Microsoft office, which allows you create and read Word, PowerPoint and Excel files. This can be particularly handy when doing last minute preparation for power points; however files are rendered differently from what you would see on your computer, and sometimes it renders it wrong and makes a mess of displaying the file. Excel files are exempt from this.
You can also link up multiple email addresses with your phone from most email servers such as hotmail, outlook express and g-mail. This for me was an incredibly handy feature and you received emails like texts, but one problem I found was downloading attachments from emails. You never knew if it was downloading, and how much it had downloaded. So you never knew if your files were downloading and there was no notification to tell you when it had finished downloading, but you will be glad to know, pictures, all office files and PDF files can be downloaded from email.
One annoying problem I noticed with my phone is that its slow rendering web pages , rendering maps on the 'Maps' application and downloading applications via the signal on my phone. I don't know if it's just because I was on 02, but iPhones, even with low signal could render maps and web pages fast, which is brilliant. I thought that this was just down to signal being poor, but even if I had full signal, it was still slow. This is really disappointing for the price I payed.
Ringtones is my next rant. You can't have your own ringtone, you have to select from a massive list of ring tones that are of overall poor quality. After looking through all of the ringtones I finally settled for the 'old phone' ringtone which was just about bearable. Its same story for message ringtones, except the list is shorter but these ringtones are a bit more bearable.
The calendar is also quite user friendly and easy to use with an attractive inter-face; however one thing I noticed is that when you set remainders to wake you up in the morning the ring tone doesn't always wake you up. Even when my phone was on the loudest it sometimes didn't wake me up as none of the alarms are 'up to the job'. Maybe that's just me just being picky but I didn't like this as I relied on my alarm quite a lot.
One thing I would like to mention however the app that comes programmed called 'attentive phone'. This gives you the choice to enable 4 features that I just loved. The features were:
* Flip for silent - when your phone is ringing, flip it over onto its face to silence the ringtone, without hanging up. Good for easily avoiding conversations.
* Flip for loud speaker - when you're midway through a conversation, flip to activate loudspeaker.
* Pocket mode - this made the ringtone slightly louder when the phone was in your pocket. This was activated by the constant movement of your phone in your pocket.
* Quite ring on pick up - basically as you picked up your phone the ringtone gets quieter so as you put it to your ear, you don't deafen yourself.
Personally I think that this app shows that HTC is thinking about the customer and being honest, I don't see apple coming up with these types of apps which is another reason I would side with Windows over Apple.
In terms of display customisation, you can change what you pin to your start menu by simply holding the app you want and clicking pin to start, once there you can hold the tile again and move it where you want on the menu which is simple yet attractive for the phone. The other things you can do are change the colour of the tiles and the colour of the back ground. For the colour of the tiles you have a choice of about 10 or so colours, but for the background you have two choices, black or white. I prefer the white cause it makes the overall appearance of the phone better, but the black option is also good however I would recommend choosing your colour schemes carefully because you can easily loose the visual appearance and attractiveness of the phone. Apart from that, not much else can be customised.
So to conclude, for visual effects and attractiveness the windows phone is your ideal smart-phone, but if you want something with a reputation for doing the job well, then the iPhone is for you. Recently my HTC HD7 has succumbed to water damage which is completely my fault as I went hiking in the Yorkshire dales on a rainy day. But if my phone cannot be repaired I am seriously considering purchasing an iPhone, as I feel it is more reliable and trustworthy, with a faster rendering speed which is essential for me, and this time, I won't forget to insure it!
So before our littlen is born my boyfriend and I decided to treat ourselves one last time as the next few months (and years) are going to cost us a fortune with a little one around. I'm saving my money to spend on lots of lush clothes and nice things to pamper myself when our littlen is born, my boyfriend on the other hand wanted a new gadget. His dream phone - The HTC HD7 - why is it his dream phone you ask? That's because it has Xbox Live on it of course! We're both huge geeks and being able to log onto his Xbox Live account when he's away from the console meant that it had uber geek points and was obviously the best phone on the market.
We purchased the phone on contract with O2 a few weeks ago now and I do use it a fair bit myself as he's got free minutes, texts and lots of cool stuff. I've inherited his old iPhone 3G but i have to say his HTC HD7 is far superior to any phone I've ever used, we were tempted to get 2 of them on contract but it would have cost us too much money.
The Geeky Bit -
Dimensions; 122mm x 68mm
4.3" Touch Screen
5 Megapixel Camera
720p HD Video Recording
Wi-Fi and 3G up to 7.2 Mbps Download Speed
16G Internal Storage
1GHz CPU Processing Speed
3.5mm Stereo Audio Jack
Micro USB port - USB 2.0
Ambient Light Sensor
Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery
You may think crikey that's a hell of a list for all the geeky stuff the phone has built in, but this phone really is an awesome piece of kit.
The price of the HTC HD7 varies depending on where you shop, we purchased the phone on O2 on a 24 months contract at £27 per month. This was one of the cheapest contracts and is great value for money. The o2 store are currently selling the HD7 for just shy of £400. We did shop around a fair bit, there are a lot of good deals from various online dealers from £300+, and the highest we saw the phone at was in the Carphone Warehouse at £480!! We were absolutely gob smacked as to how they could charge an extra £80 for the same phone! Anyway, as I said there are various deals it just depends on where you want to buy from. We have been O2 customers for many years now and felt like we trusted them a lot more to buy from isntead of buying from a random online shop. Yes it is cheaper from some online retailers but I'd rather buy it from a real person, from a company I know and trust.
The home screen of the HD7 has a series of tiles which are fully customisable, some of the tiles on the home screen that we have set up include ;
People - This is your list of contacts, which may also include contacts from your hotmail address book.
Messaging - This is where all of your messages are kept, and where you can create and send texts and IM's.
Hotmail - Check, Send and Receive e-Mails with your Hotmail account.
HTC Hub - This is where all of the featured HTC stuff is available whether it be apps or games your after.
Internet Explorer - Surf the internet via Wi-Fi or 3G with Windows Internet Explorer.
Games - There are hundreds of games to choose from, very similar to the app store on the iPhone, but the added awesomeness with HTC is that Xbox Live is on it! OK so you can't play some of the top games like Call of Duty and LA Noire, but there are still Xbox Live Arcade games available.
Calender - Your own personal organiser, sleek and simple to use.
Music & Videos - Your hub for your music tracks and videos, you can also get to the Zune Marketplace here.
Photo Enhancer - It isn't quite like Adobe Photoshop but it's still a great addition to the phone being able to adjust and play around with your photos.
Me - This is basically a little home page for your Hotmail and MSN, with updates for yourself and your friends.
Settings - The place to change the general settings of the HD7 from ringtones to email and accounts.
Facebook - Takes you straight to your Facebook home page.
Youtube - A hub in which to search through the millions of mainly shockingly terrible internet videos.
Maps - This is pretty much Google maps on your phone, it's a great gadget.
Camera - The HD7's 5 Megapixel camera is of superb quality for a phone. Gone are the grainy dull pictures and in are the bright high definition photos. You can change numerous settings including picture effects, resolution and whether you want the flash on or off etc. The best thing about the camera is you can record HD video in 720p! You can upload your photos or videos straight to Facebook, Youtube or attach them to your emails.
You can customise which tiles you wish to have on your home screen and the colour theme of the phone and tiles themselves. Other gadgets are available to download from the HTC Marketplace on the HD7 include Alarms, Compass, Converter, eBay, Flashlight, Weather and Stocks. These are only a few of literally hundreds of gadgets and add on's you can download for your HD7.
Like the iPhone and iPods, the Windows HTC HD7 has it's own software where you can download and store your games, music and videos. This comes in the form of Zune, which is simple and easy to set up. Included with the HD7 was a lovely bonus of 6000 Microsoft points (which equates to around £50) in which we could spend on Zune, or on Xbox Live. With the free points you can download and keep several films, or download music tracks. We decided to spend the money on Xbox Live content instead as we download a lot of our music and movies. When trying to decide what you want to listen to or watch, you simply move your finger across the touch screen from either direction and the various menu's will show up. When browsing Zune you can choose from music, videos, podcasts, radio or just visit the Zune Marketplace in general.
The built in sound enhancer enables you to change the way your music or videos sound, even when you haven't fiddled with any of the settings the sound quality is absolutely brilliant. Clear sound and brilliant picture quality, even random Youtube videos look great on the 4.3" screen.
Making a call can be done in 2 ways, you can simply choose the "people" tile on the home screen and choose a contact there, or you can simply press and hold the "windows" logo button on the bottom of the phone and say the persons name. Oh yes, the phone has speech recognition, and it's actually pretty impressive. As long as you speak clearly and into the phone it will recognise you really well.
SMS and E-mails are simple and easy to create, the touch screen keyboard can be used vertically or horizontally, I prefer the latter as the keys are a little wider then and easier to use for those who unfortunately don't have delicate slender fingers. The HTC HD7 also has a mini version of Microsoft Office which includes Word, Excel and Powerpoint. We've not used these yet so can't really comment, but I'm guessing that they will be brilliant for office working types who use these on a daily basis at work, or for students who can use these for coursework and presentations.
The only downside apart from the price of the phone is battery life can be quite short, depending on what you use the phone for. My boyfriend has to charge it up at the end of the day which isn't an inconvenience at all but for the amount of cool stuff the phone can do, and the amount of power it takes to run each of the various gadgets they would have used a longer lasting battery. The good thing about the battery is it isn't built in so can easily be replaced or you can buy a spare one which you could take out and about with you in case the phone dies during the day through heavy use.
I could literally sit here and write about this phone for hours with the amount of stuff it has to offer, but I'm going to stop there. Overall the phone is absolutely brilliant, it's of superb quality and has so many little added extra's, I'm sure in 6 months we will still be finding new things that we didn't know were there already. I'd recommend anyone who can afford it really to purchase a HD7, it's great for gaming, music, office and social networking. It's useful for everyone really in every way, yes it's a bit pricey but it really is worth it.
Microsoft have been late to the party! Yes, whilst the likes of Apple have been basking in the glory of their wonderful iPhone the rest of the competition have been rebuilding their portfolios eager to compete. This, Windows Phone 7, is Microsoft answer to this. And boy does it have an uphill struggle. Having only had Windows Mobile 6.5 on the market they had to come up with something special. And you know what? They have!
Windows Phone 7 is running on my HTC HD7 which offers up a reasonable specification. A beautiful 4.3 inch screen, bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 3G, the usual list goes on. In fact the HD7 is pretty much a remodelling of the previous HD2 model which came with Android. This is no bad thing as this device was one of the best in that market too.
The HD7 is quite a big phone but it feels nice and weighty and fits in the hand well. The rear is molded out of this smooth feeling plastic that gives you access to the battery. The camera is a five megapixel with dual LED flash and the surround doubles up as a kick stand - suitable when you want to watch something. the bottom of the phone has a micro USB port and a standard 3.5 inch jack for a pair of ear phones. The top of the device hosts a power switch and the sides have a volume rocker and camera switch. At the front of the phone below the display are three buttons. The left most is a back button, the middle is the home button and the far right one is for searching. This is going to be the standard for most Windows Phone 7 phones. The HD7 is provided by O2 and comes with 16GB of storage. The MicroDS card is actually hidden behind a panel and the user is not encouraged to replace it. This initially sounds odd but the file system uses both the phone memory and the MicroSD card memory to operate. Some cards aren't compatible and at the time of this review various compatible cards are coming to market.
So how does the phone run? Well pretty nice actually. The interface is made up of tiles that can be pinned to the home screen. Some of these tiles are live enabling up to the minute information to be quickly available. Once example is the weather application that instantly warns you of weather warnings and the like. The transistions between the tiles is also very fluid and dare I say it, better than the iPhones. Microsoft have incorporated their own "App Store" called the Marketplace. This is still a little thin on the ground where content is concerned but the system is relatively new so that can be justified some what. Xbox Live is also another feature Microsoft are keen to promote. Xbox Live players can have access to their profiles and purchase games directly to their phone, earning achievements in the process. The People tile consolidates all your contacts whether it be from GMail, Live or Facebook and provides are constant stream of information of what's happening in the lives of all your friends. The Pictures tab performs a similar task and collects pictures from Facebook contacts too. It all works very well and is a joy to use.
The camera on the other hand isn't that great and neither is the video capture. The images are a little fuzzy and not something you would expect from a camera of this price point. The Zune software has also proved a little problematic as some machines I've installed it on don't detect the phone at all.
After a few weeks with this phone it has crashed a few times and some discrepancies show their ugly heads at times. As good as the operating system is it does show some weaknesses in it's makeup. Sometimes the consistencies fall apart. I'm just hoping that the update scheduled for January irons out these and adds some missing features such as cut & paste, turn by turn navigation and the ability to send contacts via bluetooth.
All in all this phone has given me the same giddy feeling I had when I purchased the iPhone. I didn't get it with Android so it's a welcome return.