HTC isn’t new at making Windows Phones. When the mobile OS was finally announced, HTC’s Mozart was one of the first smartphones to include the OS. With the Radar, HTC is not only doing a revamp of the Mozart but it is also including Windows Phone 7.5, better known by its codename, Mango.
The Radar is .1” larger than the Mozart at .8”. The 3.8” screen uses Super-LCD capacitive touchscreen at 480×800 resolution. Because of the Metro interface of Windows Phone, the colors look vibrant with the S-LCD screen. As per the specs detailed by Microsoft for all Windows Phones, the Radar uses a 1GHz, single core processor. The processor is provided by Qualcomm. Now some might say that with only a single core processor, Windows would be clunky to work with. This can’t be further from the truth. The UI is silky smooth and the few times there was any hesitation from the phone is when it was loading big apps or games.
With Windows Phone, while you can still have separate apps for your social networks such as Twitter or Facebook, you can manage everything in the People Hub. Every contact you sync with the Radar is automatically added and if it can, merge the same contact from all your social network. From chatting to your Facebook contacts to checking Twitter updates, everything can be done in the People Hub.
Since the Radar is only using a single core, 1GHz processor, the phone tends to heat up especially when watching a lot of videos. It isn’t hot enough as to be uncomfortable to use, but it is noticeable. On the other hand, the phone does hold a lot better in the battery life department, which lasted me more than a day before being charged, with heavier usage with video, music, and 3G surfing.
While the rear-facing camera has a 5MP sensor, it isn’t something to rave about especially other smartphones producing better quality image. However, the camera still takes decent photos and with the Windows Phone’s camera modes such as panorama mode and the photo enhancement app, photos can still produce amazing mementos. The rear-camera also has autofocus and an LED flash and records 720p30 videos. The front-facing camera is standard VGA which is adequate for video calls.
The speaker in the Radar is disappointing at best. The sound is tinny and isn’t loud enough especially when using the Radar in speakerphone mode. Using a pair of headphones is better with the Radar as you can get a better feel if the SRS support both in audio and when watching video. For those that don’t care much for audio enhancements and EQ, you can also turn those off.
Storage size is a make or break decision for most users. The lack of a microSD expansion port certainly limits the storage capacity of the Radar as it only has 8GBs of storage. This will take some decent media management on your part but the downloadable Zune software does take some of the tediousness from that. Speaking of media, as a heavy podcast consumer, I particularly like that you can subscribe to a podcast from the phone itself rather than have to sync the phone to the desktop to get the latest podcast.
One big issue I have with the Radar – and all Windows Phones in general – is support. Not the hardware, support, but Microsoft’s own. As it stands, Microsoft’s gaming console is not officially supported in the Philippines which includes Xbox Live. This also means that parts of the Windows Phone environment (including Xbox Live) are unavailable locally. However, the Windows Phone Marketplace is available and even paid apps are supported.
Another support issue I have is the app support for the Windows Phone. Most of the big apps such as Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Evernote, and high profile games are on Windows Phone, but there is still a lot to be desired. Hopefully with more people adopting the platform, we’ll see more developers developing apps for it.
The HTC Radar is a decent smartphone made better with Windows Phone 7.5. It still has got a few more improvements to make especially on the speaker department but overall, a phone worth recommending.
Plus: Snappy performance; Pleasant and easy to use UI
Minus: 8GB storage; Camera quality is just OK; Lack of apps and local Xbox Live support
Bottomline: The Windows Phone platform is a good entry point for first time Smartphone users and the People Hub is perfect for those who are socially active.