We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Windows phones Reviews
15,670 Reviews

HTC HD7 review

Price TBC

Manufacturer: HTC

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

The HTC HD7 is a highly accomplished Windows Phone 7 smartphone. Updated 31 March 2011

The HTC HD7 is a highly accomplished Windows Phone 7 smartphone (updated 31 March 2011). 

The HD7 combines the excellent audio credentials of the Mozart and the vast screen found on the Desire HD. This 4.3in display sports the same 480x800-pixel resolution as the other 3.7in-plus-screen handsets we looked at in our recent smartphones group test, but detail levels are sufficiently high that there’s no obvious loss of sharpness caused by the fractional scaling up of pixel size. 

The Omnia 7 has a more impressive display, but the HD7 has more than enough colour depth to pack a visual punch. We were pleased to find support for HD recording and playback (at 720p). If you’re in the mood for some mobile entertainment, there’s even a kickstand on the HD7’s rear so you can catch up on your favourite shows in comfort. 

With a 1GHz Qualcomm processor powering things along, onscreen navigation is pretty snappy. We didn’t experience a single crash or lock-up. It has to be said, though, that the stripped-back interface and paucity of apps to self-install may soon leave you wondering what else there is to explore here. 

For practical purposes, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, 3G, HSDPA and Bluetooth are all covered. As with all Windows handsets, Internet Explorer is the default browser, with Microsoft Bing springing into action to hunt down whatever you need to know online. We hope tabbed browsing comes to the platform soon, though. 

Putting Microsoft back on the smartphone map

Windows Phone 7 is putting Microsoft back on the smartphone map, but swish software can go only so far in convincing customers to snap up a new handset. Third-party hardware needs to live up to the promise of the operating system, and HTC's HD7 certainly fulfils its part of the bargain.

As its name suggested, the HD7 touts the ability to record high-definition video as one of its main selling points, but the most striking feature upon unpacking the handset is the screen. HTC has built a 4.3in, 800x480 capacitive touchscreen into the device - that's about as large as phone screens get before they move into the mini tablet territory currently occupied by Dell's 5in Streak.

Display quality is up there with competing handsets on the market, but it's not the best we've seen. Samsung's Windows Phone 7-based Omnia 7 makes use of a Super Amoled that produces incredibly vibrant colours to put this and many other phones to shame.

But the HD7's large viewing area makes Windows Phone 7 applications a joy to use. Emails are displayed clearly, and other Office apps, such as Word and Excel, are presented in an accessible way.

HTC HDy review

And while the 4.3in screen means the HD7 is among the largest, and least-pocketable, smartphones on the market, HTC has done a good job in keeping bulk to a minimum. It's the same depth as the 3.5in iPhone 3GS, and only 25g heavier.

In portrait mode, above the screen is an 8mm strip that includes a small speaker, and the 15mm bezel below houses another speaker and the three buttons common on Windows Phone 7 handsets - back, home and search. These touch-sensitive buttons are highly responsive, although arguably too much so given that we regularly fired up the built-in Bing search tool by accidently brushing the appropriate button. The back button is likely to be the most used; it's necessary to navigate back through Windows Phone 7 menus, as well as in applications such as Internet Explorer, which doesn't have traditional back button built in. Internet Explorer's forward button is accessible via a menu at the bottom-right of the screen.

Aided by the sensitive screen, browsing the web is straightforward, although you'll need to use multitouch zoom to expand web pages that aren’t optimised for mobile in order to click links with precision.

To the rear of the HD7 is a retractable kickstand allowing you to securely balance the device when in landscape mode - handy for watching videos - as well as the 5Mp camera that's capable of 720p HD recording. We weren't overly impressed with the photo and video quality, given the handset's HD credentials, but both were comparable with competing smartphones.

Running on a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, the HD7 is a speedy performer, gliding quickly through Windows Phone 7 menus and tasks with no lag. HTC claims the HD7’s battery lasts for over five hours of talk time, but we found it barely lasted a day with moderate web use.

Compare mobile phone deals
More smartphone reviews
Mobile Advisor
Group test: What's the best smartphone?

HTC HD7 Expert Verdict »
HTC HD7 Scores 8.0 out of 10 based on 58 reviews
Windows Phone 7 smartphone
HSPA/WCDMA/900/2,100MHz
GSM 850/900/1,800/1,900MHz
1GHz processor
8GB internal storage
512MB ROM
576MB RAM
4.3in (480x800 WVGA) touchscreen with pinch-to-zoom capability
3G/GPRS/Edge/802.11b/g/n internet
Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
3.5mm audio jack
micro-USB
G-Sensor
Digital compass
internal GPS
Bing Maps
proximity sensor
ambient light sensor
HTC Hub
5Mp camera with autofocus and dual-LED flash
720p HD video recording with built-in scene modes
Facebook and Windows Live applications
supports .m4a/.m4b/.mp3/.wma (audio), .3gp/.3g2/.mp4/.m4v/.mbr/.wmv (video)
kickstand
integrated Zune and Xbox Live functionality
1,230mAh rechargeable lithium-ion battery
talk time: 320 mins WCDMA/380 mins GSM
standby time: 320 hours WCDMA/310 hours GSM
68x11x122m
162g
  • Build Quality: We give this item 9 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 8 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 8 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

With a spacious screen and a smart design, the HTC HD7 is a contender for those looking for a Windows handset capable of strong multimedia performance.

Price comparison powered by Reevoo

£170
  • HTC Desire HD review

    HTC Desire HD

    A souped-up version of the HTC Desire that wowed us last year, the Google Android 2.2 'Froyo'-based HTC Desire HD is one of the most popular smartphones on the market. Updated 22 March 2011

  • HTC 7 Trophy

    The HTC 7 Trophy is a smartphone loaded with Windows Phone 7 and fitted with a 3.8in touchscreen. Updated, 1 April 2011

  • New HTC One M8 vs HTC One mini vs HTC One M7 2014 smartphone comparison review - why you should upgrade to the new HTC One

    New HTC One M8 vs HTC One mini vs HTC One M7 2014 smartphone comparison - why you should upgrade to the new HTC One

    We compare the new HTC One M8 with the HTC One mini and the original HTC One M7's specs, price, features and software. Read our new HTC One M8 vs HTC One mini vs HTC One smartphone comparison review to find out more.

  • HTC Touch HD review

    HTC Touch HD

    The HTC Touch HD more closely matches up to the iPhone 3G than other HTC smartphones because of its huge 3.8in screen, one of the biggest available on a smartphone.

  • HTC One vs iPhone 5 comparison review

    HTC One vs iPhone 5 comparison

    Here's where we compare the high-end HTC Android smartphone the current flagship Apple smartphone in what we call a HTC One vs iPhone 5 comparison review.


IDG UK Sites

Exclusive: Samsung exits laptop market including Chromebooks

IDG UK Sites

Is Apple losing confidence in itself?

IDG UK Sites

How a London VFX studio is ditching desktop workstations for cloud-based creative power

IDG UK Sites

iOS 8 tips & tricks: Get to know iOS 8's handy new features