on November 30, 2011
(Some background: I have had an EVO for more than a year now. I also have an iPad 2 and had spent enough time with an iPhone 4)
:: First things first ::
:: Pros ::
- Timely updates + Good looks + Reliability
All without the ugliness of Blackberry OS. My wife had a Blackberry before and new Blackberry phones are just not on par with others. So, she wanted to get an Android but it was quite impossible to find a good looking one that is smaller than 4" and even when you find some, they were almost always slow as hell thanks to the crapware (I'm looking at you Nascar!) and skins HTC/Motorola/Samsung loves to put on them. Where as this phone provides a fluid vanilla OS experience with a couple of HTC and T-Mobile specific apps that, by design, cannot get in your way.
- The OS is directly supported by Microsoft, not manufacturer.
This means, like iPhone, she doesn't have to wait for update to be released by HTC like I do with my EVO.
- It already has most of the popular apps
And they are considerably high quality. This is mostly due to the Microsoft's involvement with major apps and also because there are no fragmentation issues since WP7 imposes certain hardware specs and the OS is the same regardless of the manufacturer.
- Solid construction and good looks.
With its unibody design, device feels solid in hand and seems like it can take daily physical abuses (dropping, scratching, bending etc.) without a hitch.
- Elegantly beautiful and smooth UI
Whoever designed WP7 interface clearly put a lot of thought into it since it is both modern, simple and easy-to-use. It takes 5 minutes to get a hang of it and my wife hasn't looked at any manuals or anything to use it. The butter smooth animations, quality on-screen keyboard, responsiveness... you get the same feeling of "smoothness" throughout the whole device. Although, keep in mind that the interface is not as customizable as an Android.
- 2-level dedicated camera button!
I don't understand how this is not common practice but having a dedicated button is great. It also has the screen-tap option, if you like it the other way, but it's just disabled by default.
- Bing integration works well
Built-in Bing services allow you to make live translations and product searches from camera snapshots, search local places around you, make voice activated searches, song recognition and possibly more. You want to see reviews of a book? Show it to Bing and it will tell you. You saw a Franch movie poster but don't know French? Take a picture of it and Bing will recognize the words and translate it for you. You can do the same things on other phones as well but it's just too easy and simple on this one. No extra apps needed either.
- (Update 12/13) Battery performance is very good.
This phone can make it through 2 full days with low to moderate usage with default settings, and my wife doesn't even bother to turning Wifi and GPS off. For a long time EVO user like me, this performance is a lot more than good. WP7 also provides some advanced battery saving options but we haven't tried that yet.
:: Cons ::
- App Market is still small
If you can't live without hundreds of different apps with tons of alternatives for each of them, look somewhere else because Market is still in its infancy. There are not a lot of options for everything and apps that already exist are still getting used to concepts of the Metro UI. However, the apps that currently exist would satisfy users for most if not all use cases (twitter, facebook, games, whatsapp etc.)
- Camera is good but not as good as an F2.2 should be
Even though it's better than most and lens being F2.2 (like iPhone 4s or Galaxy Nexus) provides a good low light performance, the quality is not on par with latest Samsung or Apple devices, especially under low light.
- (Update 12/13) Non-expandable memory
Although the 8gb built-in memory should be more than enough for most users, if you want to keep your whole music or movie archive with you, look somewhere else.
:: Wrap up ::
All in all, if you are looking for a solid, beautiful phone that provides a reliable and consistent experience with the most modern interface on the market, you can go with this phone and believe me, you will not regret it.
(Update(12/13): Cleared some things up and added some extra information)
on January 6, 2012
Once Mango came out, I spent a lot of time searching for a 4G Windows Phone that I could use on T-Mobile. When The HTC Radar, Samsung Focus S and HTC Titan all hit the market and I tried to get my hand on the Titan of Focus S. Unfortuantely ATT was stingy and would not let me buy one of the phones without signing up for a contract, even if I was willing to buy it for full price. I gave up and went to T-Mobile and bought the only 4G Windows Phone on the T-Mobile network, the HTC Radar 4G. I was a little dissapointed that I had to go with this lower end model, but I was mistaken. This phone may be cheaper and not necessarily one of HTC's flagship phones but it has still been absoultely amazing to work.
I had an Android before this and abosultely loved the thing, I was a little hesitent to leave Android and go to the newer Windows Phone OS but eventually I jsut got sick of managing my phone and wanted to start using my phone. With Windows Phone 7.5, that is exactly what I got. I no longer spend hours trying to manage, tweak, root, customize and flash the rom on my phone. Now I just spend hours using it.
Email: The email on this is way easier to use and way better looking than it was on my HTC MyTouch 4g that I had before. It used to be that only emails on my GMail account came looking anywhere near what they wouuld look like on the computer. Any emails that came through on my other accounts came through as a jumbled mess of text and were barely legible. Now every single email, regardless of account comes through looking identical to what it would on the computer, just smaller. I never use to actually check my email on my phone, it was just too much of a pain. Now I find myself checking my email on my phone more frequently than on my computer. It is just easier or at the very least, just as easy.
Music: In my humble opinion the music is where Windows Phone stands out. I never listened to music on my android, it was just too difficult. The default player was complicated and third party player apps did little to improve the experience. More than the player though, syncing music was a joke. I would have to manually choose music and move it over to the SD card. When I ran out of space and wantd new music I would have to go manually choose which albums/ songs to remove and then add more. With the Zune software moving, changing and syncing my music is way easier. Granted I have been using Zune since the first Z30 was released. I know for some people being tied to a program is annoying, but for me, having a software that manages the syncing is way easier and prefered. Where the music really shines through though is the live streaming music. This is similair to Spotify or Pandora where as you can stream music live to your phone. The difference in my opinion is that this is on the fly any music I want play live. FOr an example, during December, my wife and I went to the store, on a whim, we decided to start doing our Christmas shopping and purchased a Christmas tree and all our decorations. Being in the festive spirit, on the way home, I wanted to start playing some Christmas muisc. Not knowing before hadnd that we were going to be doing anything Christmas that day, I had no Christmas music on my phone, but that waas okay. I clikced marketplace, did a search for my favorite christmas albums and had the music streaming almost instantly. This is better than iPhone since you can do live streaming, better than Spotify, because you don;t have to create the playlist before hand and better than Pandora or Slacker because you are in control of exactly what songs you want to play. ANd for those who don't want to be in control and just want the device to pick musi for you that it thinks you might like, just hit Smart DJ from your phone and it will start playing any songs, albums, artists that it thinks are similair to the music you started with, including music on your phone and music from the marketplace.
Productivity: Office is one of the major reasons I wanted a Windows Phone, as a college student I use Microsoft OneNote to take notes during class. Sometimes I want to review my notes on the fly or dont want to whip out my computer to take notes in class. With OneNote on Windows Phone I can take and review notes either on my ocmputer or on my phone and they instantly and autonatically sync with one another. That mixed with how all my other documents are always available to me through SkyDrive and office, I have all my documents with me anywhere I go. This makes me happy, makes my boss happy and makes me a better student.
Some other features that I loved getting having come from my Android where I didnt have the features was my calendar sync and to do list sync. Sure the google calendar would sync to my google account online, but there was really no good desktop software that made that easy tos ee. If I wanted to view my calendar, I would have to go open a web page and sign in. Where I already used Outlook/ Windows Live mail to keep track of my calendar, I really just wanted that calendar to be the same as the one on my phone, with Windows Phone, wish granted. Now the calendar I use on Outlook and the calendar I use on my phone are one in the same without any extra setup. Also now my To-DO list is specific to my phone either, the To-Do list syncs to my live account where I can view it anywhere.
Overall my experience with my Phone has been amazing. To be fair though here are some of my complaints.
The lack of SD card support and the limited 8GB internal storage are kind of dissapointing, but since the only reason I use that space is for music and I can stream music live, it ends up not being that big of a deal. Did I mention you can make playlists with music that isn't even on your phone, so your favorite music is always a tap away, even if it's not on the phone.
Something else that should be mentioned is the lack of a digital compass. The Radar is lacking an internal digital compass so it will not be compatible with any compass apps. GPS and all that still works great, you just will never be able to use your phone to know if you are facing directly north. This also makes it so that cool novelty apps like Star Maps, don't work quite how they should.
Now a little about the phone itself. The phone is sexy. It is aluminum and white and has a very ckean look about it. The unibody aluminum design has witheld some nasty falls and only has one very minor microscop ding after all it's gone through with me. The glass appears strong and although I have not seen verification, one or two sites cliam it is forilla glass. The way that even the windows, back and search buttosn are part of the touch screen was very sleek and gives the phone a uniform look about it. The camera takes excellent quality shots and I love the panorama mode that it comes with. The white battery case looks a little weak, and I would not be surprised if it has stress marks in the paint after a year or so. This is one of the few phones that has the ability of looking masculine and refined or feminime and cute. With the white phone and the ability to go from white to black backgrounds on the os as well as change the color scheme, this phone is quite flexible in it's apearance.
on November 26, 2011
I recently bought this Mango phone and switched to T-Mobile after a close friend recommended it. I had an Android phone with the old carrier and hated every second of using it. I was cursing at it even in public, which is not a good thing where I live. Anyway, I've had this phone for a whole week and I whole-heartedly love it and recommend it!
Now, I want to say that the biggest drawback about this phone for some people, but not for me, is the lack of expansion memory. It has 8GB flash memory builtin and 6.9GB of that can be used by the user for storage. I rarely listen to music other than on my car radio and I never watch video on the go, and the only portable media I'm gonna utilize are e-books, for which the Mango has the best mobile version of the Amazon Kindle app, and Amazon lets you store the Kindle books on the cloud. I just plan to use my new Radar for social networking, calendaring, and apping. So 6.9GB should be more than enough for me, at least before my 2-yr contract runs out. I've installed about 30 apps including a couple that take up about 18MB each but altogether they haven't taken up much space at all. And the Kindle app is intelligent in caching my ebooks, so for me storage will not be a concern. But if you want to load loads of music and video, you should consider the HTC Titan, with expansion storage support and a much bigger screen! The Radar's screen is the same size as the iPhone, or so I heard, and it's bright and highly viewable.
I truly like the Mango's smooth, fluid interface! The tiles on the home screen are live, and easy to see, and reflect realtime info. Scrolling through the tiles or the app list, is extremely smooth, unlike on a lot of Android phones and even the latest iPhone (yes, I've tried that, too). The Metro style is simplistic, emphasizing ease on the eye and mind, not showing off eye candy. The tiles are big so easy to tap without worrying tapping the wrong thing, like I often do on my latest iPod touch. This smartphone is fast, no lags like on my previous POS known as android. Everything is intuitive, unlike that old POS or (hohoho) my Windows laptop or definitely my LINUX desktop. I also like the search button at the bottom, it's easy to search on the web, or for shopping or for music (like Shazam) or for local to-dos!
Battery life has been adequate, i charge it once a day after making calls, surfing the web on the Tmo 4G network and also WiFi and playing plenty apps. I'm not thrilled about Tmo's 4g network as a lot of times, even outdoors, I have trouble connecting on 4g. But I love my Radar!! Perfect size and weight and such a pleasure to use on a daily basis. It's a winner!
on December 5, 2011
I highly recommend WP 7.5/Mango. I've used WP 6.5, BB, and iphone extensively, and I finally feel like I have a smartphone that is easy to use, easy on the eyes, and fun. (Well, ok, the iphone is all of those things, of course, but I like Mango even better. A lot better.) The tiles configuration was intuitive to manipulate and set up the the way I wanted it. I appreciate the way the OS allows me to keep classes of things, like gaming apps or people, clumped under a single tile or broken out and pinned individually to the start menu, depending on how I want it. I really like the People function, which did a good job integrating my facebook, linked in and google groups with very little effort or braindamage on my part. Syncing to my gmail was far easier than I expected it to be. I've had no software crashes or other bugs at all in a month of using the phone. I'm also coming to really appreciate the whole "Windows Live"/Skydrive/cloud computing thing because of this phone and OS, and T-Mobile's 4G speeds. I do large construction management, and I've started posting pdfs of important plans and documents to the cloud. Now when I'm confronted with a problem in the field, my phone has enough juice to be able to open a pdf of the plans. Assuming that the plans themselves aren't the source of the problem, we can often settle things right there. I know a tablet might be even better for this, but, hey, my phone is ALWAYS in my pocket. iPhone probably can do that, too, but WP7.5 was so simple that I figured it out while waiting for a meeting.
The HTC Radar is pretty decent, but I wanted a better service provider more than I wanted a better phone. The camera is not very good in low light, and the memory is NOT expandable, contrary to the statements in the Amazon product blurb. I haven't had any issues with the processor feeling underpowered. The battery is good for just one day of moderate usage, which is pretty typical for smartphones, as I understand it. Reception is good. The main issue for me is the memory. I like the OS enough that I think I'd strongly consider ditching the iPod if I could squeeze a decent amount of music and video on this phone. I want about 6 gigs of music and about 4 hours of video on the phone on top of that, and there's no way to make that happen.
While I feel like the hardware constrains the software a bit, this is a great option for T-Mobile customers. I haven't regretted mine for a second.
on December 7, 2011
I used iphone and other smarthphones like google touch but I am not satisfied with these phones.Then I got HTC radar.Actually before I was suspicious about this phone because HTC has a lot of different smartphone (this situation rise quality concerns) and also this phone has new software (windows mango) in it.it is not android phone.it is windows phone but when I get the HTC radar, I really impressed.First of all you can feel the quality when you touch it.Also touch screen works very fast and perfectly.I mean some other smarthphones has some problems with touch screen.I think HTC radar's touch screen is better than Iphone 4.Another important thing is screen resolution.it has super lcd screen and I love it.This phone has 5 megapixel back and 0.3 megapixel front camera.Back camera has led flash.Photo quality is great.if you compare with iphone 4 photo quality.I think they both have almost same quality but front camera is not take good pictures.Especially in dark places.Another good thing is battery life.HTC radar has reall strong battery.There are some cons.For example it has 8gb internal memory and it cannot expandable.it has no memory card slot or somethin like that.if you need more memory,this is gonna be problem.the other thing is HTC radar doesn't support flash.So you cannot watch some videos because you need flash support for watching some videos.So I recommend this phone to everyone.if you don't want to pay a lot of money for a smart phone.HTC radar will be great choice for you.
on November 23, 2011
I have this phone and just love it! The interface is very smooth and have not have any issues of lag. The phone reception and call quality has been perfect. It is a bit light for me in weight, but that is just my personal preference. The front screen has everything you'd want to keep your eye on right there. Your phone, people, messaging, email, etc. There are a few drawbacks like any phone. You cannot create a speed dial list (like to assign a person to a number on the keypad). Creating a custom ringtone is a hassle. Luckily I only change my ringtone up maybe a couple times a year. There is no expanding memory. That could be a big deterant for some. The other bigger issue is that the battery is internal. You cannot just replace the battery. This was something I weighed, but my Ipods are also internal batteries and I love them still :-). So, those are the 'cons'. I love the phone despite the cons.
on January 6, 2012
I picked a bunch of phones this Christmas for family members and I miss say, the WP7 os is a damn fine os. I picked up the Radar for my mom, who is a 56 year old woman, and she loves it. She isn't very tech savy but she picked up wp7 pretty fast because it pretty easy to use. Not only did she like the os but she enjoys the great color, size, weight, and screen. Huge bonus in this phone is that they are near impossible to crash, unlike android. One of the draw backs to the Radar and I think to all wp7 is that there isn't any expandable memory and no LTE support (Yet). No brainer go with a WP7 phone not because they are the under dog, but because they are awesome phones.
on December 18, 2011
Amazing phone with amazing 4G speed. WIFI tethering is fast, reliable and stable. Windows phone mango is excellent. If there is anything I would wish on this phone will be....bigger screen!! Otherwise this is a 5 stars phone! I love it! It has data and carries with me as a hotspot as well.
on March 25, 2012
To my great surprise, when I recently decided to buy a new cell phone, I ended up with a Windows Phone, the HTC Radar. I thought I'd share some thoughts about the current Windows phone OS (Mango), it's user interface (Metro), and a couple of thoughts about my specific phone.
First, I'm a geek. I love playing with new gadgets, and I love reasearching tech stuff. For the past several years, the iPhone has been my favorite phone. I've also played a lot with some Android phones, particularly the Motorola Defy and HTC Droid Incredible (not to mention my Android tablet). While Android is neat, it still seems a bit too fragmented for me to really love, and the iPhone easily remained my top dog. I have not tested Ice Cream Sandwich, but I'm excited about checking it out in the near future. You couldn't pay me to use a RIM device (I have an almost pathological dislike of Blackberry).
But I've now got a new smartphone king of the hill that completely shocked me. After a lot of reading, and a little bit of hands-on playing, I decided to buy a Windows Phone. I have to say, Metro is the best UI I've seen yet for a phone. I absolutely love it. Everything is intuitive. The software is rock-solid, reportedly more stable than Android or IOS. It has a very intelligent and slick interface; in fact, it's actually fun to use. Of course, it natively syncs with Exchange and Office. You can view, edit, and even create Word and Excel documents in real Office formats.
As an aside, the Metro UI on this phone is reportedly coming to computers and tablets when Windows 8 comes out later this year; I predict it will be a huge hit with tablets. It will allow you to use a tablet as a full-featured tablet as well as a full-featured personal computer. That will be a significant breakthrough, if they really pull it off.
Anyway, back to the phone. Mango (Windows Phone OS 7.5) does a beautiful job handling contacts. If someone sends me an email, the header shows their profile picture from any linked account I have for them (like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn). I can then click their picture, and it takes me to their profile. On their profile, I can see a history of all contact with that person (phone, email, text, etc) as well as any social media status or updates. I can click to contact them with any of those. Quick, easy, seemless, and attractively done. If you really don't want that sort of accessibility (no matter how crazy that seems to me), you can avoid it in your phone setup.
Another easy thing is setting up groups among your contacts. Once you set a group (for example, family or your team at work), you can also initiate a group contact via text or email with a simple tap. The setup is amazingly easy. Additionally, you can merge your online chats (like Facebook) into your text stream. Again, just a neat feature to make communication easy.
If you want, Mango also ties into your Microsoft account. I get my xbox profile on the phone and can play xbox games on the phone, as well as chat or send messages to friends on xbox live. That's not a huge point to me, but it has been a neat feature.
It also has a really great interface that is consistent with all programs and apps. I don't know that I can really describe it except to say it's a lot more attractive than how IOS or Android does it, and it's very slick. Apps are more graphical than with IOS or Android, and email and documents have a very neat, clean look.
My particular phone has all the other usual bells and whistles now, video calling, wireless hotspot, 4G speed, voice commands and prompts, etc (the dictation and word recognition is excellent but nothing is as good as Siri for overall function in the voice arena). The camera button on the side makes getting to your camera incredibly quick and easy. It takes pretty good pix and HD video.
The Radar doesn't have the greatest specs in the world (1Gz processor, 8GB internal memory), but the way Mango works, you don't need the top specs to get great performance. You also get 25GB of free cloud storage, which has worked very well so far (I'm still a little skeptical). Even with those specs, the Radar is still faster opening programs and being useful than other phones I've used because of how Mango runs programs. Microsoft got this part right.
As an aside, the best specs don't always make the best user experience. I think phone manufacturers are chasing specs at the expense of the end-user experience. What good is a super-HD giant screen phone with multiple processors if the battery dies every 2 hours? Battery life is another area the Winphones seem to be ahead. I use my phone pretty heavily through the day. I always had to recharge the iPhone by 6-7 pm. I haven't yet had to recharge the Radar before going to bed, and that's with no battery-saving tricks at all - I leave wifi, bluetooth, and everything else running, and I have my timeouts set for the max time.
I'd like my phone to work. Thankfully, the Radar works beautifully. It's also pretty, but that's entirely subjective. I'd still rather have a slot for a micro-SD card, but my understanding is Mango cannot support extra drives or multiple processors (so all current Windows phones are single core and not expandable). Windows 8 will support multi-core processors. I expect a great product will become even stronger.
Anyway, I was VERY skeptical and almost didn't even look at a Windows Phone. When I finally decided to look at them, I really thought I'd rule it out pretty quickly because I've become something of an iPhone fanboy. I figured anything Windows was likely to be poorly done, slow, full of bloatware, and likely to crash. But the more I looked, the more I thought I should at least try it.
Now, I'm like a kid with a new toy. I can't say enough how well this thing works, how easy it is to use, and how seemlessly everything works. It rocks. IMO, it's the best phone OS out there. And I love the native MS Office applications. The fact you get full "normal" views of Word and Excel documents is almost worth it alone if you use your phone for that sort of thing (and I do a lot - this leaves IOS in the dust in that regard).
My one gripe with the Radar so far is that it doesn't seem to natively switch from cellular data to wifi data when you are in range of wifi. You have to manually turn off cellular data to get good speed while in wifi range and then manually turn the cellular data back on to get speed when you have to rely on the carrier's network. I'm a geek, so this seems simple enough, but it might really irritate someone else (it really bugged me that my browser would crawl until I figured out what the problem was by reading the HTC forum).
As a side note, the Windows Marketplace is over 70,000 apps now, which is the fastest any platform has gotten to that many. Most of the usual suspects are there. Some apps that are free elsewhere are pay only here. Microsoft is really pushing developers, so I understand the app marketplace will continue rapid growth.
So, if you're considering a new smartphone, do yourself a favor and give the Windows phones a serious look. They've converted this iPhone fan, and I don't see why I'd ever go back.
on December 15, 2011
I first tried to get my wife a new 9810 as she wanted a larger touch screen BB to
replace her 9780. Well, the Torch 2 failed to impress her. So, I took her to TMO
local shop and let her played with multiple options. I noticed that she spent most
of her time on the Radar 4G and I took a gamble,
Well, she loves it! The build quality is superb. It has a real solid feel, not too
heavy and not too light. Build in speaker quality is not excellent, but very good.
The new Mango 7.5 does a nice job integrating all Window based services all in one
little device, i.e. People, Office Hub, etc. The phone runs surprisingly very smooth and it has yet frozen up and/or
even rebooting itself. Virtual keyboard works really well. The multi-tasking works flawlessly so far.
The touch screen is build with that nice Corning Gorilla glass and its function performs
fluidly and beautifully. Much better than the 9810 and on par with iPhone 4 and 4S
Call quality is good, but the radio reception is not that strong comparing even to
my old Blackberry 9700. I tested this on the exact same SIM card.
WiFi works very well and has really great DL and upload speeds. The drawback is that
you can't pre-adding SSID. The SSID has to be present whether hidden or not
otherwise, there is no way around it...not sure why they built it like that.
Camera quality and pre-installed programs work like a champ regardless of being only
5MP. Front facing 2MP camera works well, but only with sufficient light. Photo
quality is really good and my wife really love that Burst shot as well as Panorama
shot. Video calling via Tango works quite well, but with slight voice delay.
Last but not least, I wish ringer ringtone plays a bit longer. It plays ringtone for
only perhaps 5 secs and then swiftly switches to build-in voice, i.e. "you have a
call from...name or number!!!" So what is the point of having ability to customized
your ringtone? Also, the LED color is limited. I can't find any app to customize it
and so far only have observed a few colors, perhaps just two, i.e orange and green.
Bottom line is that if you are a doubter, give it a try. HTC Radar 4G may surprise
you. Again, keep in mind that battery is not removable and memory is fixed to 8GB
with only about 6.5GB available memory for storage and apps installation. But I give Window a big pat in the back for their OS integration creativity rather than waiting or hoping for developers to build something that add creativity touch to the phone functionality via apps.