HTC HD7 vs HTC Surround vs Samsung Focus

Introduction and Design

Microsoft's brand spanking new mobile platform has launched globally with much adulation from critics and owners all around to place it in the limelight, but with a wide array of offerings from the onset, it's natural to find some people at a standstill in contemplating which one to side with. Here in the US, AT&T and T-Mobile are the first two carriers to make the jump with the new platform – while the other two players wait in the shadows. Commonly available through a variety of retail and carrier stores, the HTC HD7, Surround, and Samsung Focus are three Windows Phone 7 smartphones that'll get the job done for the fledgling new platform. From the exterior they might exude some similarities, but nonetheless, they have their strengths and weaknesses to capture the attention of consumers. We're pitting up the trio to find out exactly which one consumers will probably gravitate more to in order to receive the most optimal experience of Windows Phone 7 goodness.


Without even getting a chance to hold any of them, it's clear that all exhibit a similar design approach with their clean slate form factor. However, the cursory initial opinion quickly melts away as each one sports its own unique spin. In fact, it'll ultimately come down to personal preference to gauge which handset employs the best design. HTC's expertise in crafting industrial designed smartphones is evident with both the HTC HD7 and Surround, but it's obvious that the HD7 is the larger of the two when held in the hand while the Surround packs the most weight. Conversely, the Samsung Focus carefully finds itself squarely in the middle since it feels the most lightweight and offers the most natural feel in the hand between the bunch. However, we can't say that we're too fond of its all plastic construction versus the durable feeling metallic exterior of the Surround – but then again, it makes for one streamlined and sleek construction. We're pretty confident that all three are manufactured with the utmost priority, but the HD7 doesn't feel like an evolutionary improvement over previous iterations with the HD2 or EVO 4G – still, it radiates the predictable design cues we'd expect to see. As for the Surround, it takes a new spin as it offers a minimal slide design that tucks away a well endowed speaker to itself. All in all, they all have the charm and looks to capture the gaze of people, but there isn't one we find that is necessarily leaps and bounds beyond the others in terms of design.

There's just something about Samsung's Super AMOLED display that manages to captivate and mesmerize us – that's because there's no arguing that it's by far the most superior between the three. Sure you've got the massive 4.3” TFT display of the HTC HD7 which makes the 3.8” one utilized by the Surround to be quaint in stature, but it doesn't appear as impressive alongside the 4” super AMOLED display of the Focus. Perhaps, it's the level of color production that enables the Focus to excel as it exudes some rich and saturated colors over the competition. In fact, blacks on the HD7 and Surround appear to have a smokey look to them as opposed to the pure black offered by the Focus. And it's that simple reason why the Focus packs the most appealing display – even when they all offer the same WVGA (480 x 800) resolution. Furthermore, it boasts the best viewing angles which still enables colors to look magnificent from every angle you look at it. Granted, you'll have to deal with seeing it in direct sunlight – which isn't a widespread issue with the LCD displays of the Surround and HD7. Regardless, the Focus is perfectly balanced as it employs a manageable size, perfect viewing angles, and lush looking colors – something in which that the other two pale in comparison. To see its superior performance, you can check out the comparison shots we took of the three handsets.

The placement of the touch sensitive buttons is identical between the three as they offer a decent amount of space between one another – thus almost eliminating any accidental presses. Between the three, we prefer the physical buttons in use with the HTC HD7 seeing that they're prominently raised and offer a distinguishable feel. It's extremely conspicuous with the volume rocker, two-level shutter key, and dedicated power button – although lacking in tactility. Even though its buttons might seem more recessed than the others, the Samsung Focus provides a suitable tactile response to its buttons all around – even with its completely flush power button. Typical, we find all three boasting 3.5mm headset jacks, but the HD7's placement is rather awkward since it's placed at the bottom edge alongside the microUSB port. Conversely, the slot cover for the microUSB port with the Samsung Focus is surely appreciated as it'll reduce the amount of dirt and debris from getting inside.

All three smartphones pack 5-megapixel auto-focus cameras, but it's only the HD7 that complements it with a dual-LED flash as opposed to the single LED one with the other two. Moreover, both HTC smartphones offer the distinct feature of a kickstand which may or may not be too appealing for some people – but nonetheless, it makes for an easy hands-free option when it comes to watching videos. Removing the plastic rear covers of the three won't require much effort, but it'll offer access to the battery and SIM card slot. Meanwhile, it's only the Focus that manages to offer an accessible microSD card slot to help supplement its internal storage.

HTC HD7 360-degree View:

HTC Surround 360-degree View:

Samsung Focus 360-degree View:

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