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HTC Radar Review

 

HTC Radar Review

 
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Design

The Radar is designed to replace the HTC 7 Mozart and HTC 7 Trophy. It introduces a number of new features, while at the same time offering a mid-range entry point into the wonderful world of Windows Phone 7. While the Titan will impress the high-end users, those early adopters that like to show off their gleaming phone at the first chance, the Radar is going to be a more subtle offering, and the design reflects that.

Measuring 120 x 61.5 x 10.8mm it’s not the thinnest phone, the flatest phone, or even the most sexiest phone out there. Coated in white and silver the design mirrors the company’s tablet, the HTC Flyer, and we are surprised that we haven’t yet seen this design on an Android handset, so as to complete the set if you have both.

The 3.8-inch screen dominates the front with the three standard Windows Phone 7 buttons beneath that. There's also an extra, double chin underneath that. It’s a strange bit of design that, for us, doesn’t really work. It’s not as pronounced as the HTC Hero from 2009, nor is it enough to warrant being there, and considering the phone isn’t that flat we wonder what it's purpose is.

Double chins aside the rest of the phone is standard HTC “inner strength” design with a metal case, white plastic to allow the antenna to do its work. There's a slip-off cover at the bottom which slides off to reveal just the SIM slot. Yes, that's right, the battery isn’t user-replaceable.

Around the back you’ll find a 5 megapixel snapper with a single LED Flash. The front offers a VGA-quality front-facing camera. There is also a dedicated shutter button to make taking photos easier.

Innards

If the outside isn’t that hot, then maybe the inside will offer more hope. Sadly, whilst the HTC Radar does get a boost over the Mozart and Trophy, it’s pretty mediocre in terms of specs. You’ll get the same Qualcomm MSM 8255 1GHz processor from last year and 512MB of RAM to power it.

On the storage front you’ll get 8GB to store your pictures, apps, movies and the like. The phone comes with the usual connectivity options; Wi-Fi, HSPA, Bluetooth, and GPS. New for 2011 is DLNA, allowing you to share your music or video with compliant devices and computers. There is also a 3.5mm audio jack, for headphones. What you won’t get is Near Field Communications (NFC) capabilities for touchless micro-payments or microSD expansion (as standard for Windows Phone 7).

Although we weren’t able to test the battery life, the phone has a 1520mAh battery. That’s the same size as the HTC Sensation battery which in our tests just about got us through a days use and bigger than the Windows Phone 7 powered HTC Trophy which can also last a day. All of that means, in theory, that this phone should manage the same, given average usage.

Cameras

We weren’t able to fully test the camera either. We were able to take pictures in the darkish room in which the phones were demoed to us, but we weren’t allowed to email them to ourselves. That said we were able to try out some of the new camera modes HTC has added including Panorama Sweep and Burst mode.

The HTC Radar comes with a HTC’s 5 megapixel camera and it likely to be the same as found on the HTC 7 Trophy (also a 5 megapixel sensor). The front has a VGA forward-facing camera so you will be able to make video calling when Skype makes its inevitable arrival on the Windows Phone platform.

Burst mode does what is says, lets you take five pictures in quick succession so you can capture a moment as it happens. Panorama automatically stitches three shots together, producing a super-wide image. What’s helpful is that the screen shows you when to pause and when to move, but also using the phones sensors adds in a horizontal 'spirit level' so you can try and take as level a picture as possible.

Images on screen looked okay, although not perfect, but this could have been done to poor light, pre-release software, or a host of other factors, so we aren’t going to judge the picture quality just yet.

Docking Station

As an optional extra you’ll be able to get a docking station for the HTC Radar. It’s a first for a Windows Phone 7 handset and HTC has created a dedicated docking app to benefit from the landscape cradle.
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