We loved the HD2 for its screen but nothing else. Now we can fully appreciate what HTC was trying to do.
- 2G: Quad-Band / 3G: Dual-Band
- 4.3inch / 480×800 pixels / 16.8m colours Capacitive touchscreen
- 5MP autofocus / Flash / 2592×1944 pixels camera
- 720p record / Playback
- Music player / Stereo Bluetooth / 3.5mm jack
- 16GB internal
- 5.3hrs talktime /320hrs standby
- Dolby Mobile and SRS sound, accelerometer
When HTC launched the HD2, everyone was blown away by the display. The 4.3-inch screen had everyone drooling over it and, generating loads of publicity for HTC too.
However, it wasn’t a huge success because of one thing: Windows Mobile. The operating system meant having to sacrifice almost everything. In fact, about the only good thing was the larger screen making it easier to select things in the antiquated menus.
Now, HTC has been able to give the screen a second chance, thanks to Windows Phone 7 (and also Android, with the Desire HD).
The HD7 is, like the others, given the 1GHz processor, and it also has 16GB of internal storage space – which is useful given no Windows Phone is yet expandable.
With a screen calling out to be used for viewing movies, there’s also a fold-out stand so you can prop the phone up on a desk.
The screen is easily the best one of the five models reviewed here, but there is a weird blurring effect when scrolling through the hubs, which will remind some of early-generation colour screens on laptops. It’s not a deal-breaker, but it is slightly annoying once you notice it.
The bigger problem here is the 1,230mAh battery, which isn’t big enough for a phone of this size, plus a very poor internal speaker which rather spoils video playback in its ‘stood-up’ position. Of course, plug in some headphones or speakers and you’ll enjoy the enhanced Dolby audio, so all is not lost.
Although the Mozart has the flagship camera, and the Xenon flash, the HD7 still manages to offer an excellent camera experience; helped along by the amazing display that serves as an excellent viewfinder. The lack of the Xenon flash shouldn’t put you off as there are two of the brightest LED lamps we’ve ever seen on a phone.
While you don’t get the level of lighting that a Xenon flash can produce, it’s not really an issue for most photos where the subject is within a few metres of the lens. You can also use the light to record HD-video (720p), and we found that it produced better quality video than on the Mozart, which had a tendency to drop frames with fast motion.
There’s a reason that this is considered the flagship Windows Phone 7 model, and that’s because it really does offer up a top-level performance, albeit at a price.
Far and away the biggest screen on any of the new batch of Windows Phone 7 handsets, and until Microsoft announces the any WP7 tablets, it’s unlikely that they’ll get much bigger. The large screen is great for looking at photos, watching movies or playing games – but there is a strange blurring when scrolling through hubs at speed, which is mildly annoying. The battery life is also put under great demand, given the 1GHz processor and that large screen, given the capacity is smaller than other models. But, we can get used to more frequent charging.