Review: HTC HD7
The camera button is one of my favorite features on the new Windows Phones. It's unusual to find a dedicated camera button on touchscreen phones, so I'm glad Microsoft mandated it. Whenever you want to take a picture, no matter what you're doing, you just press the button and the camera app fires up. If the screen is off, the camera will still wake up the phone. If you're browsing the Web or editing a spreadsheet, the button will still open the camera. No other smartphone platform treats the camera like a first class citizen, and WP7 makes for much faster shooting if you see a subject you want to snap in a hurry.
Unlike the Samsung Focus, which offers more advanced controls that experienced photographers might appreciate, the HTC HD7 offers options to help automate the shooting process. The camera app includes scene modes, which will tweak the settings for sports shots, backlit photos and macros, among other scenes. You can adjust the light metering mode, but that's it for camera controls. There is no white balance or other exposure controls in the camera app.
The camera app can also be set to automatically upload pictures. You can upload either to Microsoft's SkyDrive site, or upload to Facebook.
Advertisements article continues below...
The HD7 uses two LED lamps for an incredibly bright flash. I mean painfully bright. Your subjects will be seeing spots for a few minutes after, but at least you'll have a well-lit shot. HTC also offers a flashlight app with three brightness levels so you can use the LEDs as a torch.
The HTC HD7 offers three different ways to view your pictures, but the process is very intuitive so this wasn't too confusing. First, when you take a picture, instead of making you review it for a few seconds, your shot moves to the left of the screen and overhangs a bit onto the viewfinder display. If you swipe left to right, you can see the photo you just took, then swipe back to keep shooting. From this view, you can also upload your pics to Facebook or SkyDrive, or you can send them as email or MMS messages.
Then there is the Photo Enhancer, which is an HTC app from the HTC Hub. The Photo Enhancer offers automatic image enhancement, which brings out more of the dynamic range in your pictures and tweaks the color a bit. My photos did look a little better after some enhancement, especially if colors were weak or details lost in shadow. The Photo Enhancer also offers Vignette and Antique filter, among others, and these create the sort of polaroid or old school look that has become popular among the hipster set.
Finally, there is the Pictures Hub. The Hub lets you view your photos as a thumbnail set or individually. In addition to the photos you've taken with the camera and photos that you've sideloaded from your PC, you can also browse galleries that you've uploaded to Facebook or SkyDrive. Strangely, there is no slideshow option. With its kickstand and huge screen, the HD7 would make an excellent digital photo frame, so hopefully third party developers will fill in this gap.
Hands-on with the full range of Microsoft Windows Phone 7 devices announced this week, including the HTC HD7 and Surround, LG Quantum, Samsung Focus, and Dell Venue Pro.
Mar 21, 2011
AT&T today announced two new high-end smartphones. The LG Thrill 4G is AT&T's version of the LG Optimus 3D announced last month.
Sep 12, 2011
AT&T today announced that it will sell the HTC Titan, and the Samsung Focus S and Focus Flash later this fall. All three devices will run Windows Phone 7.5 Mango.
Mar 30, 2011
Dell has indicated via one of its Twitter accounts that it will start pushing out the NoDo update to the Venue Pro WP7 smartphone starting today. Dell will also be pushing a Dell-specific update to fix bugs at a later date.
Mar 24, 2011
Microsoft has published a web site to provide Windows Phone 7 users with a general idea of when they might expect their devices to receive the NoDo update. According to the site, Microsoft is scheduling the update for the Dell Venue Pro and HD7 (both on T-Mobile), which means it should be available in the next 10 days or so.