It's a big day for Microsoft with the official debut of Windows Phone 7 in New York City today. Plenty of the major mobile device players brought their WP7-enabled devices to showcase, and here's a quick hands-on review of the HTC HD7.
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Officially announced this morning, the speed of the HD7, powered by a Qualcomm 1GHz Snapdragon processor, is evident right from the start. Based on how speedy the rest of the WP7 smartphones on display were too, part of that swiftness has to be attributed to the operating system.
[Image Gallery: Hands-on with the Windows Phone 7 smartphone collection]
Zooming in and out of applications is almost as quick as the blink of an eye, with a few exceptions. Strangely, Twitter took awhile to load. Not strangely, Internet Explorer took between 30 seconds and a minute to load a page. Given that there wasn't a SIM card installed and the device was connecting via Wi-Fi, part of the load lag could have been due to crowding of everyone else trying to connect to the network.
The immediate feel of the HD7 was a bit bulky for my hand, reminding me of the Motorola Droid X and HTC Evo 4G, both of which also sport 4.3-inch displays. The 5.71-ounce smartphone doesn't feel all that heavy, and it should be able to slide into a pocket easily, measuring in at less than an inch thick. Everything on this WP7 device is controlled on the touch screen, with few buttons 'round the sides for volume control, power and a camera shutter button.
One of the extra unique features on the HTC HD7 is the kickstand on the rear of the device near the 5-megapixel camera and dual LED flash (pictured below). That should certainly be convenient for watching movies on-the-go. Now all they need is Netflix for WP7.
Otherwise, there aren't many differences between the HD7 and the other eight devices currently in the Windows Phone 7 line-up. It really comes down to mobile carriers, physical characteristics and pricing.
T-Mobile will begin rolling out the HTC HD7 throughout the United States mid-November. As ZDNet's Matt Miller reported this morning, this particular WP7 smartphone should also be retailing for $199 (on contract).