HTC Radar and WP7: Initial thoughts

While network administration and user support are my primary roles at work, I also have the fun perk of being able to test new products that may or may not be introduced to our corporate environment..

The latest product is the HTC Radar with Windows Phone 7 Mango. As a long time iPhone user, it’s hard not to compare but I’m trying to be open minded.

The phone itself is manufactured using a unibody design, which I like. The phone feels solid and sturdy, albeit slightly heavy compared to the plastic Android phones I’m used to evaluating.

The battery is not user-serviceable which is slightly surprising to me, but makes sense considering the unibody design.. There’s a plastic cover at the bottom that hides the SIM card slot. There’s not much else. The 8GB storage (6,5 available) can’t be upgraded as there’s no slot for memory card expansions. I don’t really mind, but 16GB should be a minimum in a smartphone today. I synced parts of my iTunes library to the phone, and ate up about 5GB in no time at all.
Oh.. kudos for making the Windows Phone connector app able to read the iTunes library. Saves me from reorganizing.

There’s not much else to say about the phone. The 1GHz single core CPU makes it feel snappy enough for day to day use. I haven’t evaluated gaming performance since that’s not what it’s supposed to be used for in our environment anyway.
The screen is nice.. a 3,8 “, S-LCD which really pops. The resolution is a comfortable¬†480 pixel x 800 pixel.

The rest of the phone hardware is entirely up to Microsoft’s hardware requirements and wont leave you disappointed.

What about the OS? I must say, I quite like it. It’s not the same as the iPhone or the Android. Some parts feel less thought through but on the other hand, it’s probably just due to me being used to things being “just so”.

The OS is snappy, with smooth animations and a (for the most part) intuitive menu system.
Exchange integration couldn’t possibly be better (It’s Outlook in your phone after all), and the Office suite is there as well. Documents open and save as .docx and any formatting done on a PC will be left untouched even after edits being made on the phone.

The only gripe is the relatively small assortment of apps available in the Marketplace. Again, this isn’t a dealbreaker considering what the phones will be used for.

Aside from that, it’s a nice phone.. there are things that annoy me, but for the most part it’s a pretty slick experience.

Annoyances (discovered so far):

  • No quick way to change screen brightness
  • No way to prevent screen rotation
  • No VPN support
  • Can’t select which contacts to exclude from your phone book without actually deleting them from Windows Live Messenger as well.
  • The “home” screen can get really cluttered if you add lots of tiles.. give me a few more please?
  • No section for audio books in the Zune player. It won’t remember what I played or where I was in it, and they are automatically included in “shuffle all”.
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