Camera—Standard Snapdragon Fare

The HD7 has the same 5MP camera/dual LED flash arrangement as the HD2, but adds 720p video recording. Again though, this is a previous generation device, so it doesn’t have the same image quality advancements that the newer HTC models have, as Brian detailed in his Thunderbolt review.

But overall, it works alright. Decent for web publishing and Facebook albums, as long as you have enough light. Low light is still basically terrible, and the flash is not very useful. As far as options go, HTC allows you to set the scene mode, after effects, metering mode, and flicker adjustment, in addition to resolution and flash modes.

I don’t get a whole lot of smartphones through here, so I don’t have a standardized test location for pictures like Brian, but I tend to take pictures of various Audis (I live next to the dealership). Also, I’d like to thank the guy that parked his Continental GT right outside my apartment building. Cue Janis Joplin—“Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes-Benz? My neighbors drive Bentleys, I must make amends...”

Most of the pictures turned out okay, but the ones that didn’t usually ended up not being okay either because the camera didn’t focus quickly enough, or because the picture ended up being blurry. So I shall resume my old complaint with WP7—they really need to add a software camera button. I’ve gotten more used to using the camera button in the HD7 than the one in the Venue Pro (or maybe the camera button just doesn’t suck as much), but I still end up taking 2-3 pictures at a time, because invariably, at least 35% of my pictures end up blurry.

As mentioned previously, the HD7 shoots 720p video. Unfortunately, I got the same really weird underwater-microphone effect that Brian saw with the Surround. It’s unexplainable, it almost sounds as though there’s some kind of heavy wind blowing into the mic, even on a clear day. It basically makes the video recording feature completely unusable, I don't understand how HTC hasn't fixed this yet. Also, it annoys me to no end that the camera application doesn’t default to the highest quality video recording option, you need to manually set it to 720p recording, every time.


Meet the HD7 The Trusty Old 4.3” WVGA
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  • VivekGowri - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    Not much, other than the NoDo update being delayed from January to April. I very much understand that Mango will cure most, and very close to all, of the fundamental issues with WP7. But it needs to come out sooner. June-July would be preferable, but I'm willing to settle for the October-ish time frame. If it gets pushed back another 2-3 months like NoDo, and Mango devices end up shipping in December-January, Microsoft is screwed. This isn't a question about the OS itself or what Mango will bring, it's a question about how quickly Microsoft needs to iterate and how basically flawless their execution needs to be to catch up within the next 24 months.
  • irsmurf - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    I had an HTC HD7 and now own a Dell Venue Pro. Thank you for writing such a thorough critique of the state of the Windows Phone 7 OS. I love my phone and while I accept lacking the advanced functionality of iOS and Android, I can do so only because Microsoft's promise to include these components in the next OS update.

    You're list WP7's shortcommings, "...3rd party multitasking, decent JavaScript performance, Silverlight, Flash, USB mass storage support, some decent form of IM support, VoIP and video calling, tethering or WiFi hotspot support, file transfers via Bluetooth, and custom ringtones," is the most complete I've seen attached to constructive criticism.

    I can't agree more about keeping the OS update cycle shorter than twelve months. Like movie studios, these mobile operating systems futures are only as bright as the next OS update. Microsoft will generate an enormous amount of good will if Mango is delivered ON TIME with its promised features.
  • VivekGowri - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    I went the opposite direction - first the DVP, now the HD7, with a little Android in between. Honest to god, I'm probably dumping the platform for Android again, probably whenever the Sensation comes out. I love the UI, I just really need IM support and better Gmail support.

    And man oh man, WP7 needs Mango soon. Like, it'd be great if they could get it out in the next five weeks kind of soon, but at this point, I'd settle for September or whenever they said they'd release it. If it ends up three months late again and we see it in December or quote Russel Peters, "SOMEbody gonna get a hurt reaaaaaal bad." That somebody will probably be Microsoft.
  • XMason386 - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    Excellent article!

    So far the only irritating problem I have encountered with the HD7 is finding a holster and arm band that it will fit in easily. I hear that owners of the Droid X and EVO 4G experience similar challenges with 4.3 sized devices. In store accessories are also a bit hard to find because just about everywhere I go, most of the mobile accessories are for iPhones.

    I have had this HD7 for 6 weeks now and love it. It's very simple to setup and use daily. The integration with Windows Live, XBOX and Zune is great. I'm not an app hoarder so all the apps I will really use are available.

    The battery life is better than I expected and I'm hoping multitasking enhancements do not interfere with power consumption or stability later on.
  • paulpod - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    I like the simple functionality of Windows Phone tiles but the missing functionality and wasted space of the homescreen take this to too much of an extreme.

    In that first screenshot, above the tiles you could have a signal strength indicator, a ringer setting indicator, a bluetooths conneciton indicator, a location setting indicator, and many more. But instead you have BLANK SPACE. That makes no sense whatsoever. And having to touch something to see indicators is a massive step backward for even the earlies "dumb" phone.

    Then look at all the wasted space down the righthand side below the arrow. You could have optional settings switches here (airplane mode on/off, etc,) and smaller quick-launch buttons for apps that do not warrant a full tile and get buried way down the page.
  • paulpod - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    Wish I could edit the typos! *backward from even the earliest
  • VivekGowri - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    It's an industrial design thing - it's just cleaner that way. I'm not going to bug Microsoft for the minor UI details, because I know how much they sweated each and every single UX interaction and the thinking that went into it. The UI design is one of the single best things about WP7 in my mind.
  • Belard - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    I'm an Android user... and the design of WP7 is a clean and easy look. I wish Android didn't copy Apple so much with its icon layout.

    While they are called "tiles" on WP7, they are still icon-buttons with interactivity really. But hey, for a main screen on a phone, only 4-8 buttons are needed.

    On my Android, I have it mostly clean of buttons... just 8. I wish they were bigger (double size). I still like it over Apple a bit more, which doesn't give you custom desktops.
  • cj100570 - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    The problem with WP7 is that Microsoft is incompetent.
  • VinnyV - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    Imagine sitting on your couch in the living room, saying: Xbox Kinect, Skype, call Anand!

    Then Anand's new Nokia rings (with his custom ringtone of course!) and over his Wifi Internet connection instead of over 3G or 4G or whatever, he sees you on his nice big clear WP8 Nokia screen, sitting on your couch, feeling like the future's finally arrived.

    I wouldn't just be worried if I was an Apple or an Android, I'd be worried if I was making my money sending people bills for using my mobile network...

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