Interface and Functionality:

We won't spend much time discussing the merits of the minimalistic Metro UI and the simple, unobtrusive ways of WP7, as we've done those in detail before. Suffice it to say that this mobile OS has one of the best Facebook contact integrations on a smartphone we've seen to this end, managing to rival Android overlays of Samsung and HTC. And, if you happen to use Hotmail (still the most popular web email service), Windows Live, SkyDrive or other parts of the Microsoft cloud ecosystem, you are in for an even greater treat.

It's not all rosy with the WP7 interface as found in the HTC 7 Pro, though, for the simple fact that the UI has obviously never been meant for having a physical keyboard present. It doesn't rotate in landscape mode when you open the keyboard. Heck, it doesn't even go into landscape in the menus, and not even when you choose the OneNote app, for example. Only when you select new note, then the thing appears in landscape form, exactly as it would if you only had a virtual keyboard, so Microsoft needs to work on that.

Messaging, Browser, Connectivity and Software:

It is still perplexing that the only things you can attach to your email in Windows Phone 7 are found in the Pictures hub. To send a Microsoft Word document, for example, you have to go into the Office hub,  and email it from the document itself, so tough luck if you need to send both an Excel and a Word file in one and the same email. We know WP7 is geared mainly for consumer devices but, come on, Microsoft has to step up its Office integration game as this is one of its main points to differentiate. Hopefully the Nokia collaboration will prod Redmond to do so.

The WP7 browser is a speedy machine with minimalistic interface, but the lack of Adobe Flash support cripples it a bit, hopefully time will be spent on that front as well, when IE9 comes with the “Mango” update in the fall. Until then, you will have a Flashless experience in the browser.

The HTC 7 Pro is offered both in GSM and CDMA flavors, and the GSM version we had goes up to the traditional 7.2Mbps data download speeds in 3G mode. The handset also has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and A-GPS radios. The GPS location lock is quick, but the software used is Bing Maps, which doesn't offer free turn-by-turn navigation or map coverage anywhere near Nokia's Ovi Maps, or even Google Maps Still, it is based on NAVTEQ cartography as is Ovi Maps, that is why the Nokia-Microsoft deal will be so valuable in that department for... Microsoft.

HTC has customized the default WP7 homescreen adding its own tiles like the HTC Hub, which takes you to the familiar HTC animated weather screen, a YouTube client which is way better than the default WP7 one, as well as the Sound Enhancementapp which allows you to turn on or off the surround sound mode and equalizer presets.

There are also a few more tiles that add value to HTC's handsets WP7 homescreen - Photo Enhancer, Stocks, Converter and Connection Setup, which offer additional functionalities that Windows Phone doesn't have out of the box. This proves that Microsoft's mobile OS can be customized by manufacturers in one way or another, to achieve differentitation.

There are 448MB RAM/512 MB ROM on the HTC 7 Pro, as well as your choice of 8GB or 16GB of internal memory. You can install additional applications from the Marketplace, which now has more than 8000 apps, covering most of the basics.

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