HTC Surround Review
HTC Surround can sway to either side of the court. On one hand, its earpiece is utterly deafening when it's set to the loudest setting – making voices sound substantially pronounced, but voices still have a hissy sound to them. On the flip side, there is just so much noise that can be heard throughout conversations – and it's even present when the volume is placed on the middle setting. Fortunately though, our callers didn't come across any situations when they couldn't clearly hear our voices, but we were told by our callers that we sound mute in volume. Naturally, its well endowed speakerphone will also make voices easily heard thanks to its above average tones.
Signal strength with the handset remains to be intact as we did not experience any dropped calls or major shifts in the amount of bars it displays while using it in the greater Philadelphia region.
Heavy users will want to constantly have a charger close by since the Surround does eat up a fair amount of battery. We managed to edge out over 12 hours of normal usage with it – so it should get most people a solid working shift without any recharge. Comparing it to the Samsung Focus, it clearly does not provide the ample battery life that the Super AMOLED display on that handset is able to exude. We had the Surround set to automatic brightness, but of course, manually adjusting certain settings will enable you to extend its battery life a bit more. The manufacturer has it rated for 4 hours of talk and 275 hours of standby time.
Based on our initial experience with Windows Phone 7, it's clear to say that Microsoft placed a lot of emphasis on its presentation – which is evident with its heavy usage of transition effects and dynamic tiles. Although it showcases plenty if stunning visuals throughout the platform, the constant theme of responsiveness reverberates throughout every aspect of the platform; from the smooth kinetic scrolling to the lightning quick pinch gestures. Sure it's still in its infancy and doesn't quite pack a deep experience that some of the other mature mobile platforms bring to the table. Nevertheless, it's a fantastic starting point for the platform as it'll easily attract those who are hungry for something new and stable. As much as some people might adore the various customizations found with other mobile operating system, the Metro UI in use with Windows Phone 7 is a healthy attraction for those who want a unique look.
When looking closely at the HTC 7 Surround, which is billed as one of the first launch devices for the new platform, it manages to differentiate itself from the other offerings solely because of its semi-sliding speaker and kickstand. Its design isn't anything we've seen before, as we should expect from a company known for their intricate industrial designs, but the HTC Surround's design doesn't blatantly take away the focus from the real star of the show; Windows Phone 7. Still, it's nice to see a wonderfully crafted device radiate a stunning and quality design that will easily attract some people to its uniqueness. And since Windows Phone 7 is a platform rich with media features, it's more than acceptable in accommodating the needs of users in a wide array of multimedia aspects.
Software version of the reviewed unit: 7.0.7004.0
HTC Surround Video Review: