HTC’s first phone with Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7.5 Mango is here– the HTC Radar. We can call the Radar the little brother of HTC’s Titan device. It’s got tuned down specifications and price points.It comes with a 3.8 inch screen S-LCD screen, a fine unibody construction, and a 5-megapixel camera. It’ll be competing head to head against Samsung’s Omnia W, which has many of the same specifications. How does it fare? Check out the full review after the break.
- 120.5 x 61.5 x 10.9 mm, 137 g
- Li-Ion 1520 mAh battery
- Talk time: Up to 5 h 30 min (2G) / Up to 7 h (3G)
- Microsoft Windows Phone 7.5 Mango
- 1 GHz Scorpion Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon chipset
- Adreno 205 GPU
- 3.8-inch Super LCD display
- 480 x 800 pixel resolution
- 246 ppi
- Gorilla Glass
- 16 million colors
- 5-megapixel camera
- LED flash
- 720p HD recoding at 30 FPS
- VGA front-facing camera
- 8 GB storage
- 512 MB RAM
[tab name=”Our Take”]
Excellent design is the backbone of this device. The Radar has a near-seamless unibody construction, and it feels solid in-hand. It’s not too heavy at 137 grams, but it has an internal battery, which can’t be replaced.
The top of the device houses a 3.5-millimeter headset jack and power button. On the right side, there’s the volume rocker and camera shutter. The left is bare except for the microUSB port.
On the back of the phone, the Radar has a beautiful silver matte panel with “Windows Phone” and “HTC” etched into it. Above that, we have the 5-megapixel camera and LED flash, along with the speaker grill. All of that is packed in white plastic. The back of the Radar also sports a removable bottom that will expose the SIM card slot. Sensors power off the device when the back is removed, in order to prevent hot SIM swapping.
Now the front. Certainly, HTC’s Radar has a very beautiful face. It comes with a 3.8 inch SLCD screen, which looks fantastic with the white border. Casing the screen is a plastic silver that gives the phone a very solid look. Below the screen are the three conventional capacitive buttons: back, menu and search. On top: the VGA camera, light sensor, and speaker grill with a tiny LED inside the grill.
Kudos to HTC’s design department. This is a beautiful unibody device.
With a Qualcomm MSM8255 SoC (that includes a 1GHz Scorpion CPU and Adreno 205 GPU) and 512 MB RAM, this device is no powerhouse. Still, it did not disappoint in terms of speed – the Radar has fantastic boot up and shut down times, and the Windows Phone tiles are very fluid. The touchscreen is equally responsive. Of course, multi-tasking won’t be the best with these specs– but it shouldn’t bother the average user. However, the fact that the physical memory is limited to 8-gigabytes, with no port for expandability– that may bother a few users.
Keeping in mind that this is the first Mango device from HTC, we give a lot of credit to HTC for a fantastic device. The fluidity of the user interface was beyond expectation. There were no stalls when using the core interface, and the live tiles do a fantastic job. They are easy to get the hang of– even a first time smartphone user will learn quickly how to get around with live tiles and the Mango interface.
Emailing, texting, and chatting is easy and fun on the Radar. Typing is painless. Although, the Radar sometimes acted confused when the orientation was switched from landscape to portrait– then it takes a few seconds to adjust the keyboard.
A plethora of document formats can be viewed and edited flawlessly using Microsoft’s Office application. Everyday functionality with Office is good. It’s fairly easy to use compared to other Office applications on Android and iOS.
If you are a social networking buff, this phone is built for you. It comes with a live tile dedicated to social networking where all accounts and their notifications are handled in one place. From Twitter to Facebook, to LinkedIn, the level of social networking integration is amazing on the HTC Radar. It feels like a flawless blend of all the networks.
HTC’s Radar also comes with the HTC Hub– an HTC Sense lookalike for the Windows Phone platform. It’s got a fancy clock, amazing weather animations, stocks information, and news tabs. The hub is both good looking and useful.
Unfortunately,while using Facebook, Twitter and Google Talk as well as other third-party apps, we did face some stalls and unresponsiveness. The Marketplace does not have enough apps at the moment for us to test too in-depth. Still, everyday apps like Facebook, Twitter, Google Talk are available and usable. They still need work in some areas, but they are okay.
Aside from these common applications, there isn’t much offered by the Windows Phone Marketplace. We did try some of the games and most of them worked fine. Game-play was smooth and the graphics were great for the mediocre hardware. Surely, Microsoft needs to work to attract developers to make apps for the platform. The good news: the Marketplace application itself is wonderful and easy to use.
The HTC Radar comes with a 3.8 inch Super LCD screen. It sports a WVGA 800 x 480 pixel resolution with a pixel density of ~246 ppi. Compared to other popular smartphones in the market, this screen might seem small. It’s not problematic, though. The screen is vibrant and well-suited to the phone. The image quality, contrast, and colors are excellent. Outdoors, the sunlight does not impair sight of the screen. Viewing angles, clarity, and sharpness are on par with the latest smartphones.
If you’d rather have a screen over four-inches, then you might want to check out the HTC Titan.
Call quality and voice clarity on this phone was simply great, the voice of the caller was lound and clear – and the dialer and phonebook itself are user friendly and great to use ! Both the speakerphone and the in-ear phone work equally good on the HTC Radar.
The camera was just okay. Mostly, the pictures were sharp and well-focused. Still, some of the photos were miscolored. The LED flash does a decent job compensating in low-light conditions. And the special modes, especially the panorama one, can be fun to use!
Video recording on the Radar was good. The camera mostly remained in focus and shot 720p video at thirty frames-per-second. The front camera is okay for video calling, but you won’t want to take any pictures with it.
Media playback was smooth on the Radar. Microsoft’s done a good job integrating audio and video into the same player with just a touch of Zune influence. A variety of video-audio formats are supported, and Flash Player support makes the entertainment experience even better.While browsing the internet, the media playback was great. Sound quality was excellent.
HTC’s Radar exceeded our battery life expectations. With moderate browsing, media playback, emailing and clicking lots of pictures and video, a full day’s use was a simple task. The device hit about seven hours when left on with continuous video playback.
[tab name=”Install or Not”]
Despite its smaller screen, slower CPU, and lower resolution camera, we must say we’re quite smitten by what HTC’s Radar. If you don’t require more than 8-gigabytes of storage, and can live with the limited applications available in the Windows Phone Marketplace, the Radar is the perfect phone. It’s fluid, snappy, and easy to use. Pricing is around $440 unlocked, without contract, which makes it a good buy for a mid-level smartphone user.
We would have loved to see a faster CPU, more memory, and a higher resolution camera – but all that is difficult to come by at this price point.
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