The Xbox Live integration on the HTC HD7 is excellent as you'd expect, and we think this could be one of the killer features of this handset thanks to the sheer range of things you can do with the Xbox Live hub.
The least important (but among the most fun) features on there is the ability to play with the avatar from your Xbox Live account – you can dress him/her (depending on your taste) as you'd like, buying new clothes and accessories for it and interacting with it on a regular basis.
For instance, you can shake the phone and see your avatar fall over – it doesn't seem like much but its one of those things that makes the phone seem cool and something fun to show off to your friends, especially when you've clearly made it a lot thinner than you are in real life…
The Xbox Live portal is clearly set up to defeat the oncoming might of Apple's Game Center, and will do so using the power of the Xbox brand to lure in gamers.
To that end you can set up your Xbox live account on the HTC HD7 and use that to record achievements, talk to friends or even challenge them to a game.
However, Microsoft has yet to put its multiplayer offerings live as yet, waiting until after the launch to do so.
And although it has built its strategy over the years on online multiplayer gaming, no such luck on the HTC HD7, as only turn-based games are on offer from the outset, so you can't see another person's moves in real time, which would have been awesome.
Some of the best games on the Marketplace when we first used the phone ranged from the innovative and powerful (like Rocket Riot) to the old school classic (like Frogger) and what's more you can try them in a basic mode (with limited options/gameplay) before buying them, a model which will surely entice more people to purchase a game or two more than usual.
The HTC HD7 offers a great gameplay experience, with things like Rocket Riot proving to be easier to play thanks to the larger screen.
With more space to hit the on-screen controls, this phone could be the one that really offers the best gaming of all the Windows Phone 7 handsets.
Gameplay is more than adequately handled by the HD7's internal GPU, and you can see the slickness in play – during our tests we noticed very little, if any, slow-down.
We reckon this could be a serious contender to the iPhone as a gaming platform in your pocket – it just depends if Microsoft manages to get a decent enough gaming portfolio together and manages to bring cool things in the future like real-time Xbox compatibility across titles.