One thing we noted while we were trying out the WP7 phones at the launch event was that the interface runs very fluidly - and this smooth experience continues in our in-depth testing of the LG Optimus 7, and likewise, the HTC HD7. We spotted no lags between screen transitions and loading graphics as apps loaded extremely snappy. The screen reacted to our touch responsively too and we found that the smooth-sailing messaging experience was similar to the LG Optimus 7 and perhaps even more so, due to the HD7's larger screen and bigger virtual keys.
The multimedia experience is definitely enhanced by the huge 4.3-inch, 480 x 800 pixels resolution screen. We sampled HD movie trailers on the phone and were generally pleased with the colors and clarity of the video playback. While its S-LCD screen pales in comparison to an OLED screen, for us, viewing videos on the HD7 was overall an above average experience. It also helped that we could flip out the kickstand and place it on the table to watch content at leisure. Like the Desire HD, the HD7 has been pumped with audio options like Dolby Mobile, SRS enhancement and a large selection of equalizer modes, allowing for better music playback.
Perhaps because of the recent Desire HD (and the fact that both share similar specs), we expected a 8-megapixel camera with on the HD7. Instead, the latter has been fitted with a 5-megapixel camera, and with dual flash capabilities. As per usual, we put the smartphone to a series of resolution and color chart tests, with a mock display image shot to test its actual performance.
The overall performance is average but shows improvements over other HTC smartphones, with more details shown prominently. Colors however, appear washed out and with a tinge of blue.
Last but not least, we compare the HTC HD7's battery performance with a selected group of devices chosen based on their similarities across battery capacities, display sizes, resolution and processing power. We have adopted the same complusory video looping test that we use on other platforms, but like the Optimus 7, the HD7 does not support multitasking, so do take the battery results as a rough gauge of its battery mileage against the other multitasking-capable mobile phones. The standard battery test consists of looping a 240 x 320 pixels resolution video clip at 100% volume and screen brightness, with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth switched on. For the HD7, we compared it against the LG Optimus 7, HTC Desire HD, and the Apple iPhone 4.
The HTC HD7 fared worse than the LG Optimus 7, unsurprisingly due to a bigger screen and a smaller 1230mAh battery. However, sharing the same battery capacity, screen capacity and resolution on top of a similar processor and portability, the HTC HD7 fared pretty badly compared to the HTC Desire HD. The only glaring difference here is the OS. Compared to the iPhone, the HTC HD7 trails far behind, lasting almost 3 hours and 30 minutes less. However, as we mentioned earlier in the Optimus 7 review, we'll only be able to give a better idea of how these devices or the Microsoft mobile OS fares against its competing platforms. Still, it's something we hope Microsoft or some vendor can address to get the power consumption figures down.
In addition to this strict lab test and comparisons, we've also used the Desire HD7 as our main phone to test out how its battery would fare on an average day-to-day usage scenario. This included 3G connectivity while partaking in heavy mobile usage throughout the day (e.g. occasional browsing on the web, internet messaging, and taking photos). On a single charge, the phone managed to last about 5+ hours, less than Optimus 7's six hours. This is a bit of a concern for heavy mobile phone users.