Review of my Windows Phone 7 (HTC HD7)

November 14, 2010
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I am pretty invested in the Windows Phone 7 and in that light I went ahead and got a phone at launch. I had a LG developer device that Microsoft got me to help me work on the book. While having an early device is really helpful, I was ready for an up-to-spec device. To get a device early, I left Verizon and moved to T-Mobile (for what its worth, AT&T is just more evil than the rest so I my hand was forced to T-Mobile). I went with the HTC HD7.  I took a leap of faith and actually pre-ordered the phone without getting my hands on it. But because this phone hardware was used for the Sprint Android Phone and the HD2 WinMo phone, I’d had a chance to see the other devices and liked the overall size and heft of the device.

The Phone

The phone is a 1GHz processor with 16GB of memory. Its big, but not too big for me.  Here are some pictures:

Start Screen

Start Screen

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Movie Viewing

Viewing a Movie

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Kick Stand

The Kick Stand

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Top of Device

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Bottom of Device

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Side of Device

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What I Love

Its a big screen (4.3") which I had to get used to.  I had a Motorola Droid as my main phone for a couple of years now and the on-screen keyboard on the Droid works but the screen is much smaller.  I had to get used to the fact that the keyboard on the HD7 was big enough for my “Shrek-sized” hands.  Its a joy to type on. The screen response is exceptional (in contrast to the Droid and the LG dev device). It follows my fingers with a lot of precision and gives me the instant tracking of what I am doing. It just works the way it should.

I love the Music hub and syncing my playlists onto the device make it really easy to have my music with me.  I still haven’t given up my Zune but its close.

HTC has some tricks up its sleeve that I like.  They allow you to make it so when a phone call comes in that the ringer lowers when the device is moved and my favorite feature is that when you turn the phone over when a call comes in, it goes into speaker phone mode (yes, these can be disabled).

Lastly, the way it handles Wi-Fi is pretty sweet.  It does not just leave it on.  As applications need it when its not in constant use, it will reconnect.  I assume this is to help with battery life but it seems to work without much interruption.

What Needs Work

I miss real Turn-by-turn directions.  The device came with an app that promised turn-by-turn but wanted $9.99/month for it and that’s pretty silly. The directions app on the device is good enough for now but I would guess that Bing team is actively working on bringing better turn-by-turn.

Voice commanding works (hold start button if you didn’t discover it yet) as expected but is pretty limited.  It seems to do web search really well, but does not do search on the phone. I can’t seem to say “Call Chris Sells” and have it call Chris. I’d also like to see voice recognition in the email and SMS apps so I can voice reply when I need to.  (Not that I’d ever do that while driving ;).

The virtual buttons on the device (instead of hardware buttons) work well enough but they are a little too sensitive.  I’ve found myself at the search screen way too often while in the middle of an app (which causes tombstoning).

Zune Client

In this first iteration of the integration with the phone, the Zune client works admirably.  I’ve used it as my music player for a while so I am used to the app but some people might be a bit irritated by it.  My big complaint about it currently is that searching on the App Marketplace page does a search through the entire Marketplace and your local music and could be a lot better.  Even better would be a web-based app search tool.  I know they’ve got App searching in Bing working, but we need something better.  But its early so I am going to give them some slack.


The overall quality of apps out there are a bit mixed.  Some apps are pretty polished but others are just dreadful. The Facebook app (not the People integration but the App) is incredibly slow. The website is faster in fact and they don’t seem to do any caching of data so they are pulling down data on every launch.  But there are some real gems:


  • Bejeweled: Does what I wanted…plus achievements.
  • The Harvest: Great top-down RPG-like game.  Slow load times do make it a little painful (don’t touch the search button please.)
  • Unite: Fun take on the marble maze games.
  • Text Text Revolution: Fun way to get comfortable with the soft keyboard.
  • Yahpips: Yahtzee clone.


  • Calorie Counter: Great to track your food intake.  Syncs with their badly named site.
  • GoVoice: Google Voice calls/sms.  Good integration.
  • IMDB: For those bar bets.
  • Pictures Lab: Nice Photo manipulation app. Integrates with Photo hub.
  • Seesmic: Good twitter client (though should be faster and use caching).
  • AP Mobile: Get your news on.

Location Apps

  • Open Table: Making reservations for mid to high-end restaurants. Trustworthy reviews too.
  • Flixster: My favorite movie finder app.  Shows User and Rotten Tomatoes reviews which help a lot.
  • Yelp: For finding that local place with decent (though not always accurate) reviews.


  • Netflix: Need I say more? Streaming over 3G or Wi-Fi.  Awesome.
  • Good Internet radio though I use Music Hub more often.
  • YouTube: Makes any YouTube content viewable on the phone.  Still wish sites like FunnyOrDie would work on the phone though…its not a YouTube-only world any longer.


  • Alarm Clock Pro: Best $2 I spent. Shows an alarm clock.  Great travel clock replacement.  (Alarm Clock Pro + Kick Stand + Music Hub == Shawn sleeps well ;)
  • HTC’s Flashlight: Uses the Camera Flash for a flash light.  Exceptionally bright but HTC only.


As the device was just released there aren’t a lot of accessories.  Since its the same hardware as the HD2 and the Sprint EVO 4G I had hoped it would work but after a trip to the store to try them out the ports are different so cases and car docks don’t work.  I picked up a cheap universal car dock to get me through until the real accessories ship.  Chargers aren’t necessary since it uses Micro-USB like 1/2 the devices I own so I have a drawer full of chargers that work with the phone.


Its a new phone so I am expectedly in love.  We will see over time as the platform matures.