HTC HD7S Review - Does Adding an 'S' Make the Smartphone Super?

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What Does the ‘S’ Stand For?

The HTC HD7S is a follow up to the original HTC HD7, that is being offered through AT&T in the U.S. market. Windows Phone 7 didn’t make a very impactful appearance, and it seems it’s already starting to lose market share, but the HD7S is HTC’s attempt to still try to capture the slow rising market. Though, what the ‘S’ stands for in the HD7S is a mystery, it’s most likely the Super LCD display, as it seems to be the only new addition on the HD7S.

HTC HD7S Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 124 x 65 x 14 mm (4.90 x 2.54 x 0.56 inches)
  • Weight: 155 gms (5.46 oz)
  • Display: 4.3 inch Super LCD capacitive touch-screen display
  • Memory: 16 GB
  • OS: Windows Phone 7
  • Processor: 1 GHz Qualcomm QSD8250
  • Camera: 5 megapixel camera
  • Connectivity: GSM 850, 900, 1800, 1900 / UMTS 850, 1900
  • Data: EDGE
  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth 2.1
  • GPS: GPS with A-GPS
  • Battery: Li-Ion 1230 mAh

Design and Display (4 out of 5)

HTC HD7S Reviewed

The HTC HD7S is a spitting image of the original HTC HD7, with only slight differences when it comes to design. The HD7S has added a small gold trim around the camera on the back. The front of the smartphone is dominated by a large 4.3 inch WVGA Super LCD screen, which displays rich, deep colors and a slightly larger viewing angle than a regular LCD display. Beneath the beautiful display are the mandatory buttons for back, Start and search.

Along the left edge of the HD7S is where the volume rocker and dedicated camera button resides. The microUSB, and strangely the 3.5 mm headphone jack reside on the bottom of the phone and the power / lock button resides at the top. Rounding out the back is the 5 megapixel camera with dual LED flash and a flip out kickstand. Pretty much mirroring the original HTC HD7 in every way.

Performance (2 out of 5)

The HTC HD7S runs on a 1 GHz processor and is preloaded with Windows Phone 7. The HD7S is able to run Windows Phone 7 smoothly, like most other Windows Phone 7 smartphones. There’s really no noticeable lag when moving through the interface, except on some transition screens. From a software perspective, the HD7S is definitely decent.

The call quality, unfortunately is where the HD7S falters a bit. Incoming calls were hard to hear as the earpiece is small and they also came in with a slight robotic echo to the voices. The speakerphone didn’t fare any better, with robotic echoes still blaring through the speakerphone. Outgoing calls also didn’t come out very clear, with background noise easily drowning out voices.

The battery is a smaller sized battery, coming in at 1230 mAh. It offers 5.5 hours of talk time, but in real world, real use situations, the smartphone lasted just slightly over a day. Constant charging was required to ensure that the HD7S didn’t die at some point in the day, which is another slight disappointment.

User Interface (3 out of 5)

The user interface on the HD7S is fairly easy to use, but it’s definitely a different world from iOS and Android powered smartphones. Windows Phone 7 opts to use tiles that update rather than icons and widgets all over your display. It does help in condensing information and slows down the user from experiencing information overload.

The HTC HD7S has a large 4.3 display which really helps to accenutate the operating system. Not only is there less information overload for the user, but also less of a claustrophobic feel due to such a large screen. Typing on the virtual keyboard is also easier due to the larger screen in both portrait and landscape mode, which is actually very refreshing. Overall the HD7S’ larger display really enhances the user experience and though it is large, it’s also slim so it feels very solid in hand.

Features (2 out of 5)

The HTC HD7S comes with the standard 5 megapixel camera found on most other high end smartphones.

HTC HD7S Reviewed - Features

The camera quality is a bit disappointing, with colors coming out darker than usual and the dual LED flash doesn’t seem to help that much. The pictures have that ‘camera phone’ quality to them, making them look a bit cheap, which is definitely disappointing. The video recording doesn’t fare any better sadly. The 720p video recording is actually pretty horrid, especially when compared to other smartphones such as the Samsung Captivate or Focus.

The available applications for Windows Phone 7 is another area of disappointment as it doesn’t compare to the Apple App Store or the Android Market. With the market share of Windows Phone 7 already faltering, it can only be assumed that the applications available won’t be rising at a tremendous pace. The Mango update may change that, but for now the HD7S doesn’t fare too well when it comes to features.

The Final Verdict (2 out of 5)

The HTC HD7S is well designed and the display is crisp and beautiful but it falters in other areas which is extremely unfortunate. Overall the HD7S ranks in ‘Below Average’ when compared to other higher end smartphones, and with a price point of $200 with a contract, there are simply too many other smartphones that are better. For those who truly do want to stick with Windows Phone 7, the Samsung Focus may actually be a better choice. For others, the iPhone or any higher end Android powered smartphone would fare better than the HD7S.