HTC Radar with WP 7.5 Mango Review

The HTC Radar is well put together, with great hand feel and likely to last. It may not have the massive screen of the HTC Titan, but that’s not necessarily all bad.

| Updated on: Jan 05 2012, 14:25 IST

The Radar is HTC's mid-range Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) phone. After a slow start, Windows Phone is maturing, and there are now thousands of apps available in the Marketplace. Compared to the huge flagship HTC Titan, with its 4.7in display, the Radar has a more conservative 3.8in 480x800-pixel S-LCD screen. It's compact and, at 137g, is 3g lighter than its predecessor - 2010's HTC 7 Trophy.

The HTC Radar, like many of HTC's recent handsets, is made almost entirely out of a single sheet of aluminium. There are two contrasting coloured soft touch pads on the back of the device, which aid grip and finish the look of the device off nicely.

The device measures 4.7' (l) x 2.4' (w) x 0.4' (d), and weighs 137 grammes. Its design is minimalistic and complements the software inside. The body is made of quality aluminium with a classy finish. The top and bottom ends on the back have rubberised plastic, which provides a superior grip over the device.

The Radar is powered by a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor, and has 512 MB RAM. Other specs include a 5 MP rear and VGA front camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, A-GPS, and a 3.5 mm jack.

The chipset and processor led to smooth performance, as on all Windows Phone 7 handsets. Scrolling menus and typing is as smooth as it is on the iPhone 4 and multitasking is handled perfectly by the Qualcomm chipset. Multitasking in Mango works like a cross between webOS and iOS. Holding down the back key takes you to a zoomed-out view where running apps are displayed as cards, and you can flick between them to choose the one you want. As on Apple's iOS, apps in the background are frozen, so they don't use processor cycles or battery.

There's no space for a microSD card because HTC has, just like it did for the Titan, decided to stifle this handset, enabling you to only use the onboard memory.

We were thoroughly happy with the Radar's call quality and perceived voices as being clear and distinct -- the same goes for callers on the other end. We were pleasantly surprised with its battery life, which gave us the ability to capture dozens of pictures, do a moderate amount of web browsing and emailing, along with placing a few voice calls throughout the day. After 18 hours, the battery reported 35 percent of charge.

The battery on the HTC Radar is sealed in owing to the unibody construction. Now this might not be a major problem for you, frequent travelers might be put off. Personally, we were easily able to get through a work day with 7 accounts constantly syncing, a few hours of music playback and browsing. Casual users should be able to get about two days of usage. The inbuilt battery saver mode helps to push up battery backup by a few hours by switching off multitasking and background syncing.

The HTC Radar is equipped with a 5 MP autofocus camera with a few tricks under its belt - it utilizes a 28mm wide-angle F2.2 lens and a BSI (back-side illuminated) sensor. The end result is stills of 2560х1920 resolution. It also features a VGA front-facing camera for self-portraits and video calling.

What the fancy camera specs actually mean in real life is that due to the wide-angle lens you'll be able to fit more into the picture than with other phones. The F2.2 aperture number means that the phone's camera can capture images with more light, which coupled with the BSI sensor produces very well-light images even in darker environments.

The Internet Explorer on Widows Phone was updated to the latest version for the 7.5 update and it improves the user interface.

The URL bar is always visible (but the status bar at the top of the screen is auto-hides, so you don't actually lose any screen real estate) and next to it is the refresh button. You can, of course, bring up the extended settings, which offer a great deal of options.

The URL bar also serves as a search bar, which is a handy shortcut for looking things up if you're not sure which site exactly will do the job. The new browser relies on hardware graphics acceleration to provide smoother graphics (and video) and animation and the JavaScript engine has been retooled as well.

The HTC Radar is well put together, with great hand feel and likely to last. It may not have the massive screen of the HTC Titan, but that's not necessarily all bad. For one, it's much easier to squeeze in a pocket and way more comfortable for single-handed use. The WVGA resolution is a better match of the screen size too - low pixel density failed the Titan at times.

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First Published Date: 05 Jan, 13:11 IST