HTC hd7 review

The HTC HD7 is a phone that uses the large 4.3-inch screen to differentiate itself, which is obvious when you see the kickstand at the back.

Putting up the best Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 has to offer obviously is working for this gargantuan phone, and the unit works well as a whole.

We liked

A year ago we wouldn't have believed we were saying it, but we love Windows Mobile. Well, what Windows Mobile has become: Windows Phone 7.

From the industrial and simple-to-use tiles to the brilliant way the screen responds to the finger, it's a top notch interface for the first time user from start to finish.

The large screen is lovely for watching movies on, if not sensational – we actually preferred it for playing games, because we didn't need the stellar performance as much.

The speakers on the sides of the phone were a nice touch, and the double flash really helped photos in the absence of a Xenon flash.

The sound enhancement is a real boon, but why can't it be in the Zune media player rather than in a separate application?

We disliked

We're not massive fans of the way Windows Phone 7 is so locked down at the moment, because it means there's no genius tinkering from the brilliant developers that can go on yet in the same way as on the likes of the Galaxy S or BlackBerry range.

At launch, the HTC HD7 has very few applications to play with from the store – there's not even a YouTube or Twitter client to mess around with as yet.

The Internet Explorer is a bit slow for our tastes, especially since we thought it was going to be really, really fast, and the lack of Flash, Silverlight and HTML5 is ridiculous when you think about the heritage Microsoft has in those areas.

The large size of the phone might be a turn off for some, and the way the back got damaged so easily is a little worrying for a £40-per-month handset.

The outside of the screen is a little sharp too, which makes a difference when pressed to your face.

Verdict

We like the HTC HD7 as a phone – it builds nicely on the HD2 without being a complete revamp.

The Windows Phone 7 experience is ace on it, and simply just works, which is all we're really looking for at this early stage.

However, we're worried about how it will stack up against the awesomeness of the HTC Desire HD – it's like two twins fighting on two sides of a war, both mirrored in specs and style almost exactly.

But we're all for choice, so we have to give a big thumbs up as part of the five way Windows Phone 7 launch – we just wish Microsoft wasn't so precious about locking down the OS so much, as this could be a five star phone with a little extra functionality and customisation from some creative types.