HTC HD7 review: Dim the lights
Remote services from the WindowsPhone.Live.com cloud
Microsoft has added extensive support for “in the cloud” features in Windows Phone 7. The WindowsPhone.Live.com site is where you can access those features from your browser – everything from remote wipe to browsing photos.
Open the site in your browser and sign in with the Live ID that you use on your WP7 phone.
Once that’s done you have access to the Find My Phone features. You can make the phone ring or see its last location on a map.
If it turns out that your phone is lost, you can lock it and leave a “please return” note on the screen.
If you fear it’s been stolen, you can remote wipe it too (which erases all data from the phone).
The Windows Phone Live also lets you browse and edit contacts, calendar events and OneNotes too (those are edited with Office Live).
You can also browse photos you’ve uploaded to SkyDrive. We already mentioned that the camera of every WP7 phone can be set to automatically upload all pics you snap there.
Speaking of SkyDrive, using Windows Live Mesh you can sync your computer with your SkyDrive account too.
Having the biggest screen around is a matter of prestige and the HTC HD7 is a marvel – the bezel around the screen is so thin it makes other phones look fat, despite their smaller screens.
We’ve already seen the same basic setup as the HD7 with two other OSes – first the WinMo-powered HD2, then the Desire HD Android (and its CDMA cousin, the EVO 4G).
But the HTC HD7 comes with the newest OS on the market and it’s one of the flagships. There are so many things that just work better on a bigger screen (web browsing, viewing photos, even typing on a virtual keyboard), which is what the HD7 thrives on.
There are potential showstoppers however – and, disappointingly, it’s the display itself. It obviously has some high response time, which results in ghosting when scrolling or watching videos. Now that certainly reduces the perceivable fluidity of most UI elements (and is a serious disadvantage when it comes to watching videos). The screen is also a little less saturated that we would have liked.
The camera is not perfect (especially that shutter key), the gallery with no slideshow is a missed opportunity, the singular loudspeaker on the back – the HTC HD7 has its flaws.
But if you want Windows Phone 7 and a big screen the HD7 has a good lead on the competition. The QWERTY-fied Dell Venue Pro (4.1” WVGA) aside, the 4” Samsungs (Omnia 7, Focus) are the only ones that come close.
So, the Samsung I8700 Omnia 7 is the closest competitor – it sports a 4” WVGA screen but it’s SuperAMOLED and offers a much better picture than the HD7.
The HTC 7 Trophy and LG E900 Optimus 7 have screens that are a good half an inch smaller. Unlike the 7 Trophy and the euro version of the HD7, both the Omnia 7 and Optimus 7 are available with 16GB built-in memory.
3.8” is the screen size of the HTC 7 Surround as well and it’s got a kickstand just like the HD7. However, it adds slide-out surround speakers to the mix and it’s got 16GB internal memory too.
Finally, you can ditch Windows Phone 7 all together and go with the HTC Desire HD – pretty much the same hardware, besides the 8MP camera, the microSD slot (with 8GB card already in it), more RAM and of course Android 2.2 Froyo. You can even just buy the older HD2, install Android on it and thank the devs that made it possible.
It’s a tough call between the HD7 and the Desire HD – unless you insist on Windows Phone 7, the Desire HD is better (even if it’s a bit pricier). The HD7 has one of the poorest displays we’ve seen in a while (regardless of OS and manufacturer) but if that doesn’t bug you, you are welcome to give the HTC HD7 a serious consideration – there are no compact WP7 phones, so you might as well get the biggest screen around.