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

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.

SHARE:

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

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

21 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: Hands-on with the T-Mobile HTC HD7 Windows Phone 7 smartphone

    This is it! My phone for the next two years!! :-)
    Tiggster
    • This phone has a buggy camera

      @Tiggster - I hope you don't mind that the phone's camera tuns all your photos and videos bright pink.
      http://www.zdnet.com/blog/cell-phones/looks-like-the-htc-hd7-suffers-from-the-same-pink-photo-issue-as-the-hd2/4992
      It's the same bug that plagued the HTC HD2.
      Vbitrate
  • Waiting for the US version with unibody, amoled, 32G, 10 MP,1500 mAh

    C'mon HTC. get on it!
    Johnny Vegas
    • RE: Hands-on with the T-Mobile HTC HD7 Windows Phone 7 smartphone

      @Johnny Vegas

      Wha?? Think you'll be waiting a while for that.

      Meanwhile, others of us will be enjoying our new myTouch 4G's!
      lghorn
  • RE: Hands-on with the T-Mobile HTC HD7 Windows Phone 7 smartphone

    Sounds like a great phone but T-Mobile coverage in my area isn't that great (checked their map on their website). I'll have to wait for some of the other carriers to pick up on these WP7 devices. Won't be long before the others implement an interface like this.
    Loverock Davidson
    • I can feel your pain. (nt)

      @Loverock Davidson

      nt
      Economister
  • An irrelevant demo of a toy

    Who's cares about all that playful crap? Show me how well/badly it syncs with Outlook and show me that Bing works as well or better than Google or how to switch to Google and list the available apps. Compare its actual functionality to an Android and iPhone.
    I'm about to surrender and get an iPhone in spite of its limitations and controls.
    doug.crews@...
    • RE: Hands-on with the T-Mobile HTC HD7 Windows Phone 7 smartphone

      @dcrews@... What does an iPhone offer in terms of functionality that you require that you can't get on WP7? Copy and paste is coming, the app store is being populated faster than anyone predicted, and the hardware devices, particularly the HTC HD7, are at least comparable to the best Droid hardware out there.
      Tiggster
      • Not dumping on the phone ...

        @Tiggster I just want to see an overview that relates to someone that has a practical business use for a phone. It was more than a hardware review. What's the sound quality like; does it have good background noise cancellation? I'll go to a store and play with one, but it's a pretty boring looking interface. I'm hoping it's really easy and practical to use. I was hoping to see that in the video.
        doug.crews@...
      • RE: Hands-on with the T-Mobile HTC HD7 Windows Phone 7 smartphone

        @Tiggster "...the hardware devices, particularly the HTC HD7, are at least comparable to the best Droid hardware out there." Uh, not quite. For example, compare the HD7 hardware specs to the myTouch 4G and Vibrant (just to keep it to T-Mobile). Both the latter have faster processors, higher capacity batteries, and on the myTouch 4G - more RAM. These also have accessible/replaceable microSD cards, which the WP7 does not.

        I would like to hear what dcrews is missing from Android in terms of functionality - I switched from an iPhone 3GS after using for 1.5 years, and I have yet to find anything truly useful Android is lacking compared to iOS.
        lghorn
    • RE: Hands-on with the T-Mobile HTC HD7 Windows Phone 7 smartphone

      @dcrews@... Well to be fair, this was a review of the phone hardware, not the phone OS. There are plenty of reviews online about the OS itself.
      Darkninja962
  • RE: Hands-on with the T-Mobile HTC HD7 Windows Phone 7 smartphone

    After using the ZuneHD I was looking forward to the Windows 7 phones. However, I think it was a mistake to leave out a microSD slot. A hard 16GB limit isn't very much these days if you are wanting a phone to be a gaming/multimedia device as well. I filled the 32GB on my ZuneHD pretty quickly.
    tommcd64
    • RE: Hands-on with the T-Mobile HTC HD7 Windows Phone 7 smartphone

      @tommcd64 16GB really is quite a bit of space for a phone. the .XAP files for WP7 applications are pretty small, so you will have more space than you might imagine. Of course you wouldn't want to store an entire large music collection on there, but why would you need to? Most people don't have more than 4GB of music they listen to on a regular basis anyway. Just keep it synced with the content you will consume on a semi-regular basis.
      Tiggster
  • Cheap Looking

    Plastic crap.
    yobtaf
    • RE: Hands-on with the T-Mobile HTC HD7 Windows Phone 7 smartphone

      @yobtaf I bet it doesn't chip and break like the iPhone 4's casing. :-)
      Tiggster
    • RE: Hands-on with the T-Mobile HTC HD7 Windows Phone 7 smartphone

      @yobtaf

      I see your kind of response from time to time. Unually indicates an Android/Apple fanboi running scared...
      Qbt
    • RE: Hands-on with the T-Mobile HTC HD7 Windows Phone 7 smartphone

      @yobtaf Based on "Cheap Looking" comment it's obvious you haven't actually SEEN or HELD the device in person. I think it actually looks sleek and very well designed and built compared to most other phones out there. On T-Mobile, I'd argue the only comparable device in design/build quality is the myTouch 4G. The metal flip-out kickstand is a great design feature, and the stereo grills are the front should make for much better sound than on many other phones (assuming HTC's execution isn't flawed).
      lghorn
  • No 4G service?!?!?

    This phone does not support T-Mobile's HSPA+ (yes I know that it is not real 4G) when the other already released smart phones support it, is T-Mobile actually trying to put a nail in WM7's coffin by offering a crippled phone? T-Mobile has always had lame WM support, I don't know why they even bothered to produce the HD7 phone if they didn't want it to be successful.
    balsover
    • RE: Hands-on with the T-Mobile HTC HD7 Windows Phone 7 smartphone

      @balsover

      While I see your point, and agree that including HSPA+ support would definitely help push the HD7, it's pretty much comparable to any other WP7 phone on the market available via other carriers. And do you really think it's T-Mobile ultimately making the decision to include or not include, or HTC? I would argue that the other HSPA+ compatible phones (G2, myTouch 4G) are also produced by HTC, so why not include it on the HD7? However, I think it's a bit ridiculous to accuse T-Mobile of not wanting WP7 to be successful.

      Regardless, noting that the HD7 does NOT support HSPA+ is a very important point. Unless someone just absolutely loves Windows and the WP7 interface, why buy a new phone with sub-2mbps (approx/avg) vs. speeds 3-4+ times faster by going with an available HSPA+ option?
      lghorn
  • RE: Hands-on with the T-Mobile HTC HD7 Windows Phone 7 smartphone

    Should better prepare yourself to shoot the vdeo. Could not demo almost anything. Lousy video what appears to be a great phone
    piudicibus