HTC Radar review

Could the Titan's little brother bring Mango to the masses?

HTC Radar
Build quality is excellent, but Windows Phone 7 Mango flaws let down the HTC Radar

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HTC radar

The HTC Radar - being a Windows Phone 7.5 smartphone - is a messaging powerhouse. In fact, you're spoilt for choice when it comes to how you want to keep in touch on the HTC Radar, as you can do it in so many ways.

There's the People section we mentioned in the Contacts and Calling part of our review or the dedicated messaging section, which, by default, is separate from the actual email bit of the HTC Radar.

Messaging gives you Online and Threads in terms of different views. Online is what you expect - the ability to chat to your friends who happen to be online at the same time. But HTC is having real problems with this. When we reviewed Mango in the summer, it didn't work. When we reviewed the HTC Titan earlier this month, it still didn't work.

However, when we fired it up on the HTC Radar, it managed to connect, which nearly knocked us off our seat. But then, the HTC Radar told us nobody was online - as we sat on Facebook on a computer, looking at dozens of friends who were online. HTC needs to put real pressure on Microsoft to sort this out, since the buyers will be blaming the handset maker if they can't get it working.

HTC radar

As mentioned, the likes of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are all absorbed here. Remember, that key word: integration.

Once you swipe across you're in Threads, which are exactly what you expect. SMS and MMS are all together and all stitched seamlessly as conversations.

Email is accessed through a separate tile, and we had no qualms about using our Gmail account here. Messages are listed through conversations, with a nice touch being that replies and so on are indented so you can see which is the most recent message.

Tabs include Unread, Flagged and Urgent, which give you more scope for organising your life. Messages are displayed in HTML format, but you have to unblock each one so that you can view pictures sent in the body of a message, which slows down the process somewhat.

We were extremely disappointed with the search function on Gmail. When you search through Gmail on an Android handset, your entire inbox of thousands of emails is trawled through and results brought back. We had high hopes for a similar experience on the HTC Radar, but all we got when we tried to do a remote search was a message telling us it couldn't connect and to check our connection (which was full 3G and full Wi-Fi).

This would be annoying anyway, but made us really mad because it was a bug that presented itself when we reviewed the Mango update all the way back in July. Then, we put it down to various bits of the operating system not being fully ready, but this bug was also apparent when we reviewed the HTC Titan. There really is no excuse, since this is a final version release of both the handset and Windows Phone 7.5. It shouldn't happen.

Searches seemed to work better through an Exchange account, which is hardly surprising considering that it's a Microsoft phone. As you'd expect, Exchange is a cinch to set up and works as well as it ever has.

HTC radar

Luckily, the HTC Radar redeems itself when it comes to typing. There's no haptic feedback by default, but the keyboard is one of the best we've used. It's still easy to tap away on and looks nice in its all-black or all-white (theme dependent) colour. It's just as well really, since if you use the HTC Radar the way Microsoft intends, you'll be typing away on social networks to your heart's content.