Hands-on with the T-Mobile HTC HD7 Windows Phone 7 smartphone

Summary:Windows Phone 7 devices hit the AT&T and T-Mobile stores on Monday, 8 November, and the best one for T-Mobile may just be the HTC HD7. This familiar form factor brings Windows Phone 7 in a high quality package.

I have spent a few months playing with Windows Phone 7 and after playing with the HTC Surround and Samsung Focus on AT&T I couldn't wait to get my hands on the HTC HD7 on T-Mobile since T-Mobile is my personal primary carrier. T-Mobile sent me an HD7 a couple of days ago and after stopping at the T-Mobile store I now need to choose between the HD7 and the T-Mobile myTouch 4G device. The T-Mobile HD7 feels great in your hand and is going to be a tough device to return in a couple of weeks. You can check out my image gallery that includes some device photos, my YouTube video, and my first impressions walk around below.


Image Gallery: Check out photos of the HTC HD7 on T-Mobile.
Image Gallery: T-Mobile HTC HD7 retail box
Image Gallery: HD7 in hand

In the box and first impressions

The T-Mobile HTC HD7 comes in a solid box very similar to the one that the HTC HD2 was packed in with a large glossy image of the HD7 on the front and list of features and services on the back. HTC and T-Mobile have created a fairly consistent out-of-the box experience that helps you feel that you have purchased a quality device.

Inside the box you will find the HD7, battery, A/C charger, USB cable, wired stereo headset, and some pamphlets like the Start Guide. Everything is packed and presented well with soft plastic bags holding the accessories.

The HD7 feels fantastic in your hand with a form factor similar to the EVO 4G and HTC HD2, but with even more refinements and sleekness. It feels solid and even though the display is big there is very little black around the display and the device doesn't feel that big in your hand.

Specifications

Specifications for the T-Mobile HTC HD7 include the following:
  • Windows Phone 7
  • 1 GHz Snapdragon processor
  • Quad-band GSM and dual-band 3G (1700/2100 MHz)
  • 4.3 inch WVGA (480x800) capacitive LCD touch display
  • Integrated 16GB flash memory
  • 512MB ROM and 576MB RAM
  • 5 megapixel camera with dual LED flash
  • Proximity sensor, light sensor and digital compass
  • Integrated A-GPS
  • Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n)
  • Bluetooth 2.1
  • 1230 mAh battery
  • 3.5 mm headset jack
  • Dimensions: 4.8 x 2.68 x 0.44 inches and 5.7 ounces

Note that there is no accessible microSD card slot for the end user to put in whatever they lack, which is typical for most Windows Phone 7 devices. The display is fairly standard and looks a bit lackluster when you put it side-by-side with a Super AMOLED Samsung device. Then again, fonts look good and the display is still quite good so I highly doubt too many will complain.

These internal specs are fairly standard for Windows Phone 7 devices and the differentiation comes in the form of some hardware and software differences.

Walk around the hardware

The front is dominated by the large 4.3 inch capacitive touch LCD display. It is a nice display with fonts and photos looking great on the screen. There are the three required buttons, touch capacitive, for Back, Start, and Search below the display. You will find a cool set of stereo speakers on the front in the form of speaker grills at the top and bottom of the front.

The large volume button and camera capture/activation button are found on the right side with nothing at all on the left side.

The bottom is where you will find the microphone, microUSB port, and 3.5 mm headset jack. The only thing on the top is the power button.

The back is pretty cool with a slick kickstand that flips out from around the camera. I have seen photos of the camera surround being yellow and red, but the T-Mobile USA version is simply gray. The camera lens and dual LED flash are centered on the top of the back. The entire back is covered in cool soft touch material.

The volume button has a bit of movement that I have read about on a few other sites. It isn't a major issue, but you can easily move it up and down a bit in the slot and it does make a bit of a clicking noise when you move it.

Walk through the software

As I said in my first impressions post on the other Windows Phone 7 devices, carriers are limited in what they can install on devices out of the box. On the T-Mobile HTC HD2 you will find the following loaded by default:
  • Netflix
  • Slacker Radio
  • T-Mobile TV
  • T-Mobile Family Room
  • TeleNav GPS Navigator
  • HTC Hub

T-Mobile TV is a rebranded, and much improved, version of MobiTV that will set you back $9.99 per month after the free 30 day trial. T-Mobile TV is quite good and plays well on the HD7.

The T-Mobile Family Room application and service only allows other family members with Windows Phone 7 devices to "write on the virtual chalkboard", post images, and more.

The rest of the standard Windows Phone 7 suite is on the device.

Pricing, availability, and final thoughts

The T-Mobile HTC HD7 will be available on T-Mobile on Monday, 8 November, for $199.99 with a 2-year contract. The full Even More Plus (no contract) price will probably be in the $500 to $550 range. My T-Mobile SIM has been in the HD7 for a couple of days and I am seriously considering the device for myself, but I may get the myTouch 4G first and if I don't like it switch to the HD7 within a couple of weeks.

If you are looking for a Windows Phone 7 device on T-Mobile, then the HD7 is an excellent choice. The Dell Venue Pro will eventually be available directly from T-Mobile at some time. I am curious to see how well the HD7 does at T-Mobile.

Reviews of the HTC HD7

As I continue to check out the HD7, I recommend you check out the following sites who have had the chance to spend a lot more time with the device before I did:

Topics: Mobility, HTC, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Smartphones, Software, Windows

About

Matthew Miller started using a mobile devices in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since. He is a co-host with GigaOM's Kevin Tofel on the MobileTechRoundup podcast and an author of three Wiley Companion series books. Matthew started using mobile devices with a US Robotics Pilot 1000 and has owned over 200 d... Full Bio

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