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HTC HD7 review: First look

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We love the HTC HD2. It is a slim, beautifully engineered handset that is so nearly perfect, save for its Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system. Naturally then, when rumours surfaced about an HTC HD7 handset, we hoped for the HD2’s body coupled with the new Windows Phone 7 OS.

Unfortunately, as the 4.3-inch touch screen (480 X 800 resolution) beast made its way around the table with many an eager-eyed journalist waiting to get their mitts on the new device, it became clear the HD2’s body shell had, sadly, been ditched.

However, we perked up a bit when we saw just how crisp, clear and responsive the sizeable touchscreen was, and although the casing felt a little cheap, a handy stand can be folded out for film watching.

On the subject of the four UK HTC handsets, each has a focus and the HD7 is all about films, video recording and gaming. Though each device can handle the same tasks, as the specifications are so similar and purposefully standardised by Microsoft, the HD7 has the largest screen by a fair margin, which makes it the best for sheer viewing purposes.

It features a 1GHz processor, which was put under no strain whatsoever in the few minutes we got to try the HD7 out. Whether it was Xbox Live, the Zune Music hub or the Internet browser, everything loaded promptly, as it should. We have to admit, Windows Phone 7 looked particularly great on this device, each tile suitably bright and smoothly animated.

Fans of HTC’s Sense will be sad to know Microsoft’s strict rules on its OS meant it could not be so easily implemented. So, instead of an animated home screen, what you would see on an Android device, tiles exist for each bit of HTC software, including Stocks and Shares, weather, and a few others. It is still possible to see the Sense UI, but it is not the home screen on Windows Phone 7 handsets.

At 162 grams, 122 x68x11.2mm in dimension, the larger size does equate to a bit of excess fat, but it is by no means heavy and we found it ergonomic to hold.

If you wish to record video, 720p quality ensures the result should be of an impressive quality, however, we were unable to confirm our suspicions in the brief time we had.

In terms of storage, an 8BG and a 16GB model will be purchasable. Whilst, this does not compete with the larger iPhone models, you will be able to store more than enough multimedia content. And because this is a Windows product, dragging and dropping content onto the device is so simple it is not such an issue, even less so when content can be transferred over Bluetooth, removing the need for a cable.

Unlike the HTC Mozart, the photography-specific device, the camera on the HD7 has 5-megapixels instead of eight, and the Xenon flash is replaced with a flashlight. Why? Because as said before, this device focuses on video capture, and a flashlight is more suited to filming 720p video.

Rounding off the package is a very handy 3.5mm jack, Dolby Mobile and SRS Surround Sound, Bluetooth 2.1, Wi-Fi and standard microUSB 2.0.

Above and beyond features, the HTC HD7 handset was our favourite from the trio we got our hands on. When it comes to games and films, and viewing anything in general, a screen of that size is perfect. The HD7 will fit in a pocket (at a push in some cases, admittedly), yet still offer a display that gives the user real viewing pleasure.

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