HTC HD7 review: Dim the lights

GSMArena team, 1 December 2010.
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Introduction

There’s no such thing as a small WP 7 phone. However, 4.3 inches of screen estate are really something else. The best case scenario: the HTC HD7 is the phone you’ve been waiting for. The worst case scenario: it’s too big to fail.

The HTC HD7 was inevitable. Was it not the first Windows Phone 7 ever rumored? And rightly so. There’s no phone too big or too powerful for Windows Phone 7. In fact, if you ask Microsoft they’d say the bigger the better. HTC – on their part – didn’t have to think too hard. They simply skipped right to number seven.

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HTC HD7 official photos

Come to think of it, it may as well have been exactly with the HTC HD2 in mind that Microsoft laid down the law about the Windows Phone 7 required hardware. Effectively, HTC had a Windows Phone 7 flagship on standby for nearly a year – waiting for as much as a nod from Microsoft to let it off the leash. Anyway, as we’ve seen on a number of occasions, this whole thing is about getting things done on the biggest mobile screen possible. And the HTC HD7’s best course of action is to ensure no surprises.

Key features:

  • 4.3" 16M-color capacitive LCD touchscreen of WVGA resolution (480 x 800 pixels)
  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support
  • Dual-band 3G with HSDPA (7.2 Mbps) and HSUPA (2Mbps)
  • Windows Phone 7 operating system
  • 1GHz Snapdragon CPU, 576MB RAM, 512MB ROM
  • 5 megapixel autofocus camera with dual-LED flash, geotagging
  • 720p video recording @ 25fps
  • 8GB of built-in storage
  • Standard 3.5mm audio jack
  • Standard microUSB port (charging)
  • Dolby Mobile and SRS sound enhancement
  • Wi-Fi b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP
  • Accelerometer for screen auto rotation
  • Office document editor
  • Facebook integration and cloud services
  • Built-in A-GPS receiver
  • Stereo FM Radio with RDS
  • Comes with HTC Hub and exclusive HTC apps
  • Voice-to-text functionality
  • Kickstand with trademark yellow accents
  • Great audio quality

Main disadvantages:

  • High screen response time causes visible ghosting
  • Non-expandable storage
  • No lens protection
  • Quite heavy at 162 g (not that we mind)
  • Somewhat susceptible to the "antenna death grip" (signal drops by at least two bars)

WP7-specific limitations

  • No system-wide file manager
  • No Bluetooth file transfers
  • No USB mass storage mode
  • Limited third-party apps availability
  • No Flash (nor Silverlight) support in the browser
  • Too dependent on Zune software for file management and syncing
  • No video calls
  • New ringtones available only through the Marketplace (fixed in Mango)
  • Music player lacks equalizer presets
  • No multitasking (fixed in Mango)
  • No copy/paste (fixed in NoDo)
  • No DivX/XviD video support (automatic transcoding provided by Zune software)
  • No sign of free Bing maps Navigation so far (fixed in Mango)
  • No internet tethering support (fixed in Mango)
  • No handwriting recognition support

Alright, one thing we can be sure of – the HTC HD7 is playing strictly by the Microsoft book in terms of hardware. On the other hand, it does look like a simple copy/paste job. You know, WP7 phones have a hard time demonstrating a personality. The HD7 has the extra task of identifying itself as something different from the HD2.

The brand new OS is the right place to start. In terms of hardware, the kickstand is certainly an eye-catcher – not to mention it tells you’re dealing with a phone that will keep you entertained. Next on the list is the HTC Hub and the exclusive apps it offers.

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HTC HD7 live shots

It still seems the HTC HD7 offers little in the way of creativity. It will be up to the other WP7 phones in the HTC portfolio to do that. The HD7 might just be supposed to be a mere display of power – the one that completes their grand slam of massive screens.

If you are still with us, you’re welcome on the next page where we start with the hardware.

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