Along with the Samsung Omnia W, Nokia’s landmark Lumia 800 and its larger stablemate the HTC Titan, HTC’s Radar is one of many handset that mark the second coming of Windows Phone.
But after the first batch of Windows Phone 7 kits failed to set the smartphone charts alight, what chance has this new challenger got of making an impact? We put it through its paces to find out…
HTC phones are usually metallic, weighty affairs with a real sense of heft about them. The Radar is no exception and feels solid and substantial in the hand – as well it might, weighing in at 137 grams.
That’s a real plus point for some of you for whom bulk and heavier materials necessarily equates to premium build quality. But we have to say that after making extensive use of the gossamer-light Samsung Galaxy S2 recently, the Radar came over a little brick-like.
Fire it up, though, and the 3.8-inch Super LCD screen impresses instantly, with the Windows Phone’s trademark live tiles icons and text looking uncommonly crisp. The brawny 1GHz processor ensures a feeling of real snap while you’re navigating menus too.
Industrial design is the watchword here, with HTC’s opting for a metal unibody construction, with rubber fixtures and fittings. At the rear, you’re looking at a split material backplate that blends metal and plastic sections together in a patchwork effect. Elsewhere, in keeping with other Mango phones, HTC has dispensed with physical front-facing buttons in favour of on-screen soft-keys.
Overall, the impression is of a nicely designed phone that looks every bit the high-end handset, despite its mid-market price.
The Radar is pretty standard as camera phones go, housing a five-megapixel camera with LED flash, a BSI sensor for low light conditions and 720p HD video recording. The single core 1GHz is not the most impressive aspect of the device, but for most functions it gets the job done and keeps lag to a minimum. There’s also a secondary snapper for video calls, though don't expect to be bowled over by its VGA resolution.
But it more than makes up for those shortcomings in the multi-media stakes. Dolby Mobile and SRS sound enhancement tech offer sound quality far richer and fuller than you might expect on a non-dedicated music player – and really enhances the movie viewing experience too. HTC’s Watch films and video download service is also a nice bonus and comes pre-installed.
Less welcome is the fact that there’s no slot for a microSD card, so you’ll have to make do with the 8GB of on board memory provided. And if you’re the kind of person who likes to remove your battery to pop in a replacement, you’re also out of luck. It’s tightly tucked away in the phone’s innards and can’t be reached without destroying your handset.
The Windows Mango OS is the jewel in the crown of the Radar. For one thing, it’s what allows users to keep apps running while you’ve got another one open – meaning it offers true-multi-tasking that you’d struggle to find on an appreciably priced handset running another operating system.
The now-familiar hub-based UI is much improved from the first Windows Phone iteration, offering better browsing, plus improved management of contacts in the People Hub and Twitter integration. And it’s in this social facet where the Radar excels, handily and smartly aggregating all Twitter, Facebook and Gmail account into a single place so it’s easy to keep up to date with your nearest and dearest.
Ease of use
Because Windows Phone is unlike any other smartphone software you’ll have used, it takes some getting used to. But once you’re up and running, we think you’ll appreciate just how slick and intuitive it is.
If you like an OS that offers ample scope for customisation, you may find this a bit rigid. But we love the slickness and the way that Windows Phone’s live, ever-changing information displaying on the tiles makes for a smartphone experience that’s both alive and like no other.
- 5 megapixel camera
- 3.8-inch Super LCD touchscreen
- 5.1 Surround Sound for video
- Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango)
- 8GB on board storage
- 120.5mm x 61.5mm x 10.9mm
Overall Mark 7/10
Find out more about the HTC Radar here: HTC Radar