Windows Phone 7 has arrived, and Chris Hardwick has a first look at the HTC Surround with Alison Haislip, a smartphone that boasts a 3.8" touch screen, Microsoft's new OS, MS Office, a 5 megapixel camera and even Xbox Live games. Find out what rating they give the phone that sells for $200 with a contract.
What You Need to Know
- The Surround is a little thicker and heavier than we're used to, mainly because of the slide-out Yamaha speakers.
- They are loud and sound better than most phone speakers.
- Pressing the button gives you "Surround" sound, but it's not amazing.
- We would almost rather have a slide-out keyboard.
- The kickstand on the back along with the speakers makes it a little home theater system.
- The screen is also big and bright, but still doesn't have the resolution of the iPhone or the vivid colors of Samsung's Galaxy phones.
- This is the first time we've really gotten to use the latest version of Windows Mobile (Windows Phone 7) at length after Microsoft gave it a complete reboot.
- The menu system is immediately intuitive, well laid out, and has an overall clean look.
- You might have to scroll or swipe a little to get to the item you want, but Microsoft made it so you don't have to keep diving into menus.
- The touch screen keyboard is also just as good as any other phone we've tested.
- You can pin apps, contacts, and other items to your start menu, so that way, when you press the Windows button, it's all at a glance.
- The more items you pin, the less the start menu looks organized, so you have to be careful.
- It also has a 1 GHz processor.
- Launching apps is super quick, and it easily compares to the iPhone and Droid.
- The interface itself just feels fast; the touch screen is as smooth and sensitive as the iPhone, and even more sensitive than Android.
- There's background multi-tasking, but no way to switch between tasks.
- Windows Mobile is completely re-designed, so that means that all the features have been re-designed, like Internet Explorer.
- It's quick to load most pages, supports pinch and zoom, and you can even pin your favorite pages to the start menu; no Flash yet, but we know they're working on it.
- You can also play Xbox Live games right on your phone.
- Playing titles like The Sims 3 and Earthworm Jim is really cool, since you can unlock achievements. Microsoft is also working on directly playing against another player that's on an actual Xbox 360..
- You can also check your friends list or change your avatar.
- Loading times are long, but we think it's worth it.
- The Marketplace is well-populated with a lot of useful apps, but we still want the premiere ones like Angry Birds or Evernote.
- The camera isn't the best, since pictures looked a little dark even with the flash on and recording video also had a little trouble focusing.
- It syncs with Zune software, so you can get all your music and videos from the Zune marketplace.
- The phone has 16 GB of storage, but no Micro SD expansion.
- $200 with a contract
- 4 Seals of Approval Out of 5 (How do we rate gadgets?)
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