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printed December 19, 2014
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Review: HTC HD7

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The multimedia experience on Windows Phone 7 is mostly great, especially if you stick with the Zune player. I had no trouble synchronizing my music from my iTunes library on my Mac with the HD7, using the beta version of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 connector. The software even did a fine job transferring photos and MP4 videos from my collection. The photo albums from iPhoto did not show up properly, though, leaving photos grouped by date, which wasn’t a big issue. Also, the software had to convert my video to a usable format, which took forever, but after the conversion my video looked fantastic on the HD7’s screen.

The HD7 comes with 16GB of internal memory. There is no memory card expansion available for users, unlike the Samsung Focus which offers a more difficult one-time microSD card update process. I think 16GB will be plenty for most users, and synchronizing media to swap out music and videos was no trouble, just a little time consuming.

I had trouble with the extra multimedia software T-Mobile and HTC bundle with the HD7. The Netflix app is very impressive, with a solid interface an robust features for Netflix subscribers. But playback gave me trouble. First, I had numerous error messages telling me Netflix was being stopped by my network. Then, it would start working again with no change from me. Second, video quality could be very poor, even when I was connected to Wi-Fi. Usually the quality was great, and very watchable. But sometimes videos were so compressed that they looked as if they had been created using Lego bricks and stop motion photography.

T-Mobile has also launched its own streaming video service, similar to the streaming service available from the other 3 big nationwide carriers. These are always a dull mix of short video clips, not worth the time or data wasted on viewing them. Though the service claims to offer full episodes of some shows, the selection was incredibly sparse, and the ‘full episodes’ were nothing more than a group of clips bunched together. So, you have to watch the show in 5 minute blocks. Worst of all, though, is that I couldn’t get the player to actually show me video. I could browse the selection and see the interface, but the player always reported errors and videos would not stream. That’s probably for the best.

 

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