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 runs Internet Explorer. Not the yukky old desktop version that was full of rubbish sponsored links and annoying stuff, but a special soupped-up mobile version that is a key part of Windows Phone 7.5 Mango.

And it works really well. Pages load quickly and clearly. It took just a few seconds to bring up the TechRadar home page in full from scratch over Wi-Fi, and although 3G was obviously slower, there wasn't really that much in it.

HTC radar

Text reflow works a treat, and pages look great either zoomed out or in. Obviously you can't read the text when zoomed out, but you do get a good overview of the page.

HTC radar

When zoomed right in, you still get a really crisp representation of text, with no jagged lines.

The URL address bar now sits at the bottom of the screen, although we can't see the point to this other than that Microsoft wants to show it's being a bit different. It supports the ability to type in search terms as well as addresses, and uses Bing to search for what exactly you're looking for.

HTC radar

Bing has been built into the phone from scratch, and it looks beautiful because the results aren't displayed as a Bing web page but as part of the HTC Radar's operating system, offering up web pages, images and local search results.

You can also search from anywhere in the HTC Radar's system by just tapping the search soft key below the screen. In operating systems gone by this would have searched within an application you were running at the time, but now it always defaults to Bing, which streamlines the Windows Phone 7.5 experience even more.

Flash is notable by its absence. Yet again. We're sick of moaning about this but it really is a big gripe considering it works flawlessly on Android smartphones. We didn't see it on the Titan, which we really were upset about, so we would have eaten our hats had we seen it on the HTC Radar. It's a shame really, because this is where Windows Phone could have taken the initiative and come up with a selling point to knock iOS. A wasted opportunity, if ever we saw one.

HTC radar

Bookmarks are accessed through a menu within the browser, and work as you'd expect. HTC gives you several pre-loaded favourites. You're not able to change the search engine from Bing either, so don't get the HTC Radar if you don't like Microsoft's offering. Not that there's really much in it these days, since Bing is far superior to its predecessor, but it would've been nice to specify otherwise had we so wished.

There's also a voice search facility called Microsoft TellMe, which we tried with mixed results. We'd say it's 90% rubbish and 10% OK. It's obviously given it a go, but Microsoft and others really have their work cut out here. And the fact that Apple has shown what voice search can do with Siri has highlighted this. We like the fact that when you search, you don't just do it by text or voice, but there are also options present to scan QR tags/barcodes or listen to music a'la Shazam. Nice touch, folks.