When the HTC HD7 shipped back in early November 2010, I was excited to see something hardware comparable to the HTC EVO 4G. Although they are both made by the same manufacturer, they are very different in many ways but similar in some as well. For example, the EVO has a better camera, 8MP vs. HD7′s 5MP, the screens are both 4.3″ displays, the EVO presents 65k color vs. HD7′s 16 million. The EVO is exclusive to SPRINT running Android 2.2 and the HD7 runs the Microsoft Windows Mobile 7 operating system. For more on this, Craig Gillispie at SMARTPHONE ENVY has a fantastic article: http://www.smartphoneenvy.com/featured/face-off-htc-hd7-vs-htc-evo-4g/. These guys write great stuff on “Face Off’s of one phone vs. another”, check them out!
Our reviews are about longer term use ITRW (in the real-world), we basically port our personal and professional lives over to the device and use it in our day-to-day regiment.
I have spent years buying older Windows mobile phones only to come back to the conclusion that the experience of trying to recreate the “Big” Windows environment was just a stupid thing to try to do, about the same as Windows on a TABLET PC.
Windows Mobile 7 however is an entirely different experience, it is simple, elegant and very well designed, although it’s considered to be version 7, it is nothing like v6.5 or earlier. It is a clean slate and it’s lovely.
Over the course of the next few articles I will drill into what I really like, what’s so-so and what still needs improvement.
Windows Mobile 7 starts off with a simple summary screen, showing appointments, new email, missed calls, signal, battery etc.
A quick flick-drag of the finger upward and you’re in. (if you have a screen lock password, flick-drag and then enter the code and tap OK)
The first thing you are presented with are these simple TILES – email, text, phone and other tile icons representing some of your apps, you can modify their order very easily, remove or add by simply holding your finger on one for a second then it breaks from the pack and you can change that specific one and, of course, repeat this until you are happy with what you have for your initial TILE organization. It is very simple.
If you want to get to more apps than what you have on the tile screen, you can press the Right Arrow on the upper right side or simply drag-swipe your finger from right to left and you will see the All-Apps screen cleverly slip in from the right. The interesting thing here, this is pretty much the main way to navigate around the phone, left, right, up and down, a finger drag-swipe motion makes it very simple.
If I drag-swipe back to the tile screen and click an email icon you enter the email app based on the specific email account for that tile, e.g. Yahoo Mail, GMail and so on. If you use corporate email on an Microsoft Exchange Server, the ActiveSync setup is a snap, and it is very solid. On our HD7 we have 9 email accounts setup ranging from Exchange, IMAP, POP and some cloud service types as well. They all just work, no drama. Another key point, corporate calendar syncing is very stable (I know, it’s Microsoft to Microsoft). How refreshing to see a nearly flawless calendar & contact sync.
One of the things that really sticks out nicely with Mobile Windows 7 is the use of great fonts, larger, very readable, contrast is great, really a very usable display when you are bouncing around on a bus, walking, riding in a car, etc. My initial thought was the colors seemed bland, though once you spend time using it you will clearly see why it is easy on the eye, quick to view and it just works. You will also see a reverse use of black backgrounds and white larger text as well. A Themes option in setup allows to change the primary color scheme, yeah, for you PINK fans, it actually looks pretty cool.
Like the EVO, the HD7 enjoys a very similar “Kickstand”, I thought this was a flimsy gimmicky thing but after having used the phone for a while, you really get the idea, it works for so many different things and it is rock solid. I wish this idea would show up on some of my other favorite handsets or cases!
To date, the best NetFlix experience on a small device has to go hands down to the HD7. NetFlix works great and it is very viewable for short content as well as feature-length movies, you can plug-in headphones or you can just prop it up on the desk and the internal speakers are solid enough for a movie break with speakers on both sides, in stereo.
Well, that should get us started for HD7 and Windows Mobile 7 extended use kick-off. Going forward, I will comment on specific things that work well or really need improvement and, so far, I really don’t want to admit it (as an Android and iPhone/iPad fan), the new Microsoft Windows Mobile 7 OS is fantastic, it is downright a contender and in some ways I like it better than the other “big” two.
If you are not a techie (even techies like it), but want a solid, easy, reliable and great phone experience, you should strongly consider Windows Mobile 7, seriously. The Zune media/content market is very nice. The Microsoft Apps Store experience is great, it’s new, it doesn’t have the developer following of the Apple Apps Store, but it is growing quickly.
I do have an equivalent app on the HD7/Win7 phone for all of the most used apps I have on my Android and iPhone rigs, in fact, some of them are the same app from the same developer, the Win7 App Store is growing quickly so I am not too worried here.
If you are confused on what is the best choice for you, hit your local phone store and spend some time looking at all of them, I suspect you will find the Windows Mobile 7 operating system on a nice phone like the HD7 a great choice.