HTC HD7, from an EVO user’s perspective

htc-hd7

Once upon a time, I was a windows mobile user. I loved my Samsung Black Jack, among other windows mobile phones.

Fast forward to today, past Nokia (S60) use, Blackberry use, iPhone use, Android use…. Finally Windows Phone 7 has arrived.

I picked up Windows Phone 7 today in the form of the HTC HD7 from T-Mobile. I still have my Sprint EVO – I need to be sure T-Mobile’s network works well for me where I live & work before considering porting my number.

I’ve only just picked up the HD7 today, so these are very early impressions.

Hardware: The HD7 hardware is attractive and easy to handle. It has an EVO-esque look but seems even thinner. It has a kickstand, which comes in handy when viewing Netflix.

Navigation: Coming from Android, the Home, Back and Search capacitive buttons were intuitive and I found it easy to move between apps and screens.

App availability: While I think apps are interesting, I am more interested in the basic functions of a smartphone: Call voice/audio quality, data speed / availability, GPS, maps, mail, browser. Based on what I saw in the Windows Phone 7 marketplace, the basic apps I’d install on a new phone are all available (and free):

  • Twitter
  • Flixster
  • IMDb
  • Last.FM
  • News360
  • Stocks
  • Twitter (basic app; wasn’t able to determine  how to set notifications for @ mentions & DMs)
  • Weather (The Weather Channel)

Of course, these are in addition to software already loaded on the HTC HD7 by HTC & T-Mobile:

  • The basics (Alarms, Calendar, Calculator, Camera, Contacts, Email, SMS, Browser)
  • Netflix (not yet available for Android)
  • HTC Hub (HTC-specific market)
  • Maps
  • Marketplace
  • Music & Videos (Zune. I’d love to see podcast and channel subscriptions sync to the cloud, to remove need to connect to computer via USB)
  • Office
  • Slacker
  • TeleNav GPS Nav
  • T-Mobile TV

Most interesting app: Netflix, which enables subscriber to not only view their queue but also watch movies. Interestingly, it doesn’t seem to require WIFI (appears to be available via 3G).

Most disappointing apps:

  • Camera: I’m finding it difficult to get well-focused photos. I realize I need to press down the shutter button half-way, but find I’m struggling to apply enough pressure to trigger the shutter to go off.
  • Maps and TeleNav GPS Nav. Not sure if it’s something about my specific phone but GPS wasn’t always accurate and the maps sometimes indicated one street name while the TeleNav voice prompt stated a different street name. (In all fairness, I’ve noticed some disparities in my street name on different maps. However, I’ve found Google Maps to be consistently accurate.)  EDITED TO ADD: I just read that Phonescoop.com also experienced GPS accuracy problems with the HD7. Interesting.

More first impressions, in no particular order:

  • Call quality: Okay, but not stellar; I noticed some audio breakup during calls. This may be due in large part to my location (weak TMobile network coverage area) rather than the phone itself.
  • Messaging (SMS): App UI is attractive. The layout makes it easy to follow conversations and fun to use.
  • Calendar, Contacts, Mail: While I have a Windows Live account, I turned off sync and will sync Mail Calendar & Contacts with my Google account instead. I appreciate that Microsoft provided robust support for Google accounts since most of my personal data (calendar, mail, etc) leverages my Gmail account.
  • Mail: Loads quickly & is easy to use. I like how the sender name & received time are displayed along with a brief preview provided in smaller font.
  • Marketplace: There seem to be quite a few apps available already, although I wouldn’t expect to see more specialized apps to become available until Windows Phone 7 has been out a while. There is a “free” section, although it did take me a few minutes to find it.
  • Hubs: I like how recent activity in a similar app is displayed in the related Hub. Example: I streamed music via the iheartradio app for a few minutes. Later, when I opened the Music & Video tile, I found a reference to the radio station I’d played in the iheartradio app.

Will I keep the HD7 and kick the EVO to the curb? Not at this point. While I like Windows Phone 7 and the promise it shows, I am reliant upon my mobile for accurate gps/navigation and point & shoot camera capabilities. Could I work around these shortcomings? Sure, but why when my EVO already supports these needs?

However, I’ll be keeping an eye on Windows Phone 7. I like what I see – Windows Phones will only become more refined / improved in coming months. Kudos to Microsoft for breaking the old mold and offering an OS/UI that’s fresh and innovative.

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8 responses to “HTC HD7, from an EVO user’s perspective

  1. I liked the device very much when I saw it. I just cringe so much at getting more than one phone, let alone more than one carrier. So, I won’t be getting one to replace my EVO anytime soon. Plus, per usual, I need the OS to mature a bit before I leave Android. Still, I was quite impressed with the HD7 hardware and the WP7 UI is stellar.

  2. Totally understand on wanting only device. I wasn’t planning to keep both; will be returning the HD7.

  3. Well, I’d love to carry around all kinds of devices, but alas… Too EXPENSIVE!

    So, have you really decided to return the HD7? I figured you were thinking about keeping it and porting?

  4. That’s my take, too… gadgets are fun, but I’m not interested in paying monthly service on more than one mobile. If I had decided to keep the HD7 (over the EVO), I’d have ported the number over too.

  5. Am wondering about HD7 Gps seems not to be accurate…..is it HTC manufacturer fault or something is wrong with Google map…..?
    Do anyone come across like i do? Pls share with me…

  6. Hi Ray69: That’s a very good question. As mentioned in my review, I found the HD7 GPS to be inaccurate at times (sometimes wildly inaccurate).

    For the sake of HD7 users, I’m hoping it’s an issue that can be fixed via firmware update. I am not sure if it’s something about the HTC hardware itself (specifically GPS chip) or not.

  7. I just bought an HD7 and it has been quite an impressive device. I have found that while the GPS does take longer than my BlackBerry and Epic to get a fix at times it is still very accurate. Oddly, even though the GPS sometimes takes a minute longer to get a good fix, the localized searches, especially via voice, are much better than any phone I have used. I hope there is not a widespread defect in these devices…I don’t want it to get a reputation it doesn’t deserve.

  8. I want to know why almost everytime I make a call it keeps ending it and I have to repower the back on to make a call without it saying ended for no reason its so annoying, other than that its great but somebody please help me figure this out! 😐

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