HTC Surround Review
Just like syncing contacts, you can sync your calendar from Gmail and Windows Live – but there is no love for other clients like Yahoo. The “Calendar” app allows you to see you daily agenda which breaks down your schedule to an hour by hour basis. In addition, you can also jump to seeing the month view which will display in text some of your upcoming events, however, it's very tiny and difficult to make out – so clicking the specific date will get you to see it a bit better. When it comes down to adding a new appointment, it offers all the bare essentials like the location, time, and reminder. Plus, your appointments are color coded between your synced calendars to provide a little bit of organization when viewing your entire calendar. Although Windows Phone 7 might be more in line as a consumer end product right now, it still manages to retain some elements geared for business customers with its ability to setup Exchange Server on the device.
Following to the tooth with its overall responsive nature, we are happy to say that the messaging experience on the Surround is a fantastic one – even with its spacious 3.8” display. You won't have to worry about getting confused with lengthy conversations when messaging someone because they are displayed in threaded view. We particularly adore the responsive and accurate feel of the on-screen keyboard – both portrait and landscape. However, buttons are all evenly sized and the landscape options doesn't take advantage of the extra room. Nevertheless, speedy typers will in fact jump for joy with its quick response as you begin typing – which even will present you some word options above the keyboard in its attempt to figure out what you're typing. Auto-correct is on board and we were more than amazed to find it working extremely well as we casually typed something up. As for editing, it's a well known fact that copy & paste is omitted for now, but it's expected to make its debut via an update some time in early 2011. In dealing with the cursor placement, Microsoft implements a simple action by simply performing a long press anywhere within the message – and eventually a cursor pops up which can be moved to a specific location. When you think about some of the best on-screen keyboards out there, the one found with Windows Phone 7 is definitely up there as it'll perfectly adjust to the needs of any heavy users out there.
Email setup is pretty much a simple process nowadays with most modern mobile platforms since you'll only be required to provide an email address and password for it to set up. We were able to get some generic clients to load up without any problems, but others like our PhoneArena email, requires additional information like server addresses to complete. For starters, there is no unified or universal inbox, but all your email accounts are placed in the homescreen with their tiles. If you happen to receive a message, it'll display the amount of unread messages in their respective tiles. Additionally, emails aren't displayed in threaded view, so that means you'll have to look through some long lists for any backtracking of conversations. When clicking to the left of an email, it initiates the process of selecting multiple emails, which can then be moved or deleted. Of course you can do the same thing when you actually click and read it, but this does present a good way of getting rid of multiple ones. Aside from those items, the experience is pretty much what you would expect it to be.
If there is one item that's sorely missing with the platform, it has to be an integrated instant messaging client. In fact, there isn't even one for Windows Live Messenger, which is something that one would expect from a Microsoft built platform. However, it's worth assuming for right now that some kind of third party one will most likely become available in the Windows Marketplace for Mobile. But from a stock experience point of view, it's almost hard to see an always connected platform like Windows Phone 7 to omit one.
Connectivity & Data:
Similar to its brethren of GSM phones, the HTC Surround offers quad-band GSM (850/900/1800/1900MHz) and tri-bands UMTS (850/1900/2100MHz) connectivity which should be an ideal solution for the global trotter. If that isn't enough for you, the HTC Surround also features Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1, and aGPS.
Pocket Internet Explorer was never a major hit in the Windows Mobile scene, and at the same time, its age was exposed thanks to the eclectic mix of feature that competing mobile browsers exhibited. However, this isn't your ordinary Internet Explorer since it offers one of the most satisfying experiences to date that we have witnessed. Although it might not have Flash support from the onset, Internet Explorer blows away most of the competition in terms of responsiveness, fluidity, and rendering. We are just utterly amazed at how quick it's able to load pages and execute kinetic scrolling without any hint of slowdown whatsoever. Multi-touch gestures are naturally in place to cap the experience so that you can zoom in or out via pinching motions. With WVGA resolution on board, the smallest of text is easily legible with the HTC Surround's 3.8” display. At the same time, you can load up to 6 different tabs which will load content in the background in real time. It's hands down one of the most gratifying web experiences we've seen in a phone.