Friday, July 1, 2011

HTC’s HD7, the HD2 update


By James Booth

Last year's release of HTC's HD2 was the final evolution of the Windows Mobile device. It made the most of the mobile OS and really took it as far as it could go. For Windows Phone 7, HTC has released the T-Mobile HD7, essentially a WP7 (Windows Phone 7) update of the HD2. I took a look at this updated offering from HTC.

The specs

The HD7 comes with a 1GHz processor, 512 MB + 16 GB (non-removable microSD) ROM, 512 MB RAM, a 4.3-inch WVGA screen with capacitive touch, UMTS 2100MHz AWS1700/2100MHz + GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900MHz network access, a 5.0 megapixel camera with auto focus, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. The HD7, shown in Figure A, even features a kickstand for landscape viewing of video files.


The new HD7 for T-Mobile from HTC. (click for larger image)

For a cell phone, the HD7's camera takes excellent pictures and video. I used it to take video of my daughter's swim meets and was very pleased with the results. Both the still camera and video offer a variety of settings, including an auto-white balance, zoom, auto-focus, and more.

I had no problem with maintaining a solid Wi-Fi connection anywhere in my home, regardless of the floor I was on. When paired with my Jawbone Icon Bluetooth headset, conversations were crisp and clean, with an excellent volume level; much better than the Alcatel phone I was previously using. On several occasions, I was even able to make it outside the far end of the house and still maintain my conversation, although the signal was degrading a bit, making the transmission a bit scratchy for the listener. And the included wired headset is about the best of any I've received with a phone.

The new OS

Even though the HD7 is essentially an updated H2, with the new Windows Phone 7, it's a completely new device, operating in a completely new way. While Windows Mobile was more like its desktop counterpart, Windows Phone 7 is a much more graphically driven interface; more entertainment-geared than its predecessor.

Personally, I feel as though Microsoft has severely crippled the WP7 OS by imposing certain user limitations, but the OS does what it was designed to do, and does it quite well. The graphical interface makes good use of the capacitive touch screen, utilizing swipes and gestures for navigation and activation.

Via the Zune connection, users can load their collections of photos, music, and videos in order to have them anywhere they go. Also included on the HD7 are connections to Netflix and T-Mobile TV for mobile viewing, as well as Slacker Internet Radio. Furthering the entertainment value of WP7 and the HD7 is its connection to Xbox Live gaming.