HTC Radar £340

2nd Nov 2011 | 17:19

HTC Radar

Could the Titan's little brother bring Mango to the masses?

TechRadar rating:

3.5 stars

Like:

Great, quality build; Loud speakerphone; Contacts integration is top-notch; Keyboard is fantastic; Browser is great and text looks clear;

Dislike:

Battery isn't removable and storage isn't expandable; Voice search shown up now we have Siri; Too many quirks with camera options for comfort; Sharing videos is painful; Very little skinning and customisation allowed other than Windows' offerings;

Overview, design and feel

The HTC Radar is the latest smartphone to run Windows Phone 7.5, following on from the HTC Titan. With a smooth unibody design, HD video recording and 5MP camera, will it be enough to make Windows Phone a success?

If HTC was at school right now, you can't help feeling it'd be getting an A for effort. The Taiwanese manufacturer is certainly churning out handsets like nobody's business.

For the last few years, it's been concentrating mainly on Android - but now Windows Phone 7.5 Mango is here, it's going for gold. Probably much to the annoyance of Nokia, which adopted WP as its main operating system months ago, but is still being pipped to the post by HTC when it comes to getting handsets on the shelves.

Little brother of the HTC Titan and the second handset from HTC to run Windows Phone 7.5 (or Mango to its friends), the HTC Radar is a solid little handset. It's crafted from a single piece of metal and has enough weight at 137g to make it feel like it means business without giving your biceps a workout.

HTC radar

To look at it, the dull aluminium fascia, the size (120.5mm x 61.5mm x 10.9mm) and even the slight dip at the bottom immediately puts us in mind of a Google Nexus One (which HTC manufactured almost two years ago). But, obviously, there's no trackball here, with the HTC Radar relying on the compulsory three Windows Phone 7.5 soft keys on the front.

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The back holds that 5MP camera, LED light and speaker, while there's very little around the edges to write home about. There's a power and headphone jack up top, micro USB slot on the left and volume rocker and camera button on the right.

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To open the HTC Radar, you slide the bottom down to reveal a little section that invites you to insert a SIM card. Strangely, the HTC Radar seems to restart if you do this - even though you're not interrupting the power supply.

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There's no space for a microSD card because HTC has, just like it did for the Titan, decided to stifle this handset, enabling you to only use the onboard memory. With 8GB storage (just 6.54GB of which is available to the user, once the operating system has taken its share), it really does beggar belief.

HTC radar review

For those who like their photos, music and videos in one place, it makes the HTC Radar instantly less attractive compared to the various crop of Android devices out there such as the stunning Samsung Galaxy S2 and, of course, the iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S.

HTC radar review

Another handicap is the lack of removable battery. You can't access it at all, and although there always seems to be someone about in the office who you can nick an iPhone charger off, there are likely to be fewer carrying around micro USB cables. So, as an HTC Radar owner, that task may fall at your feet.

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If we were to pit the HTC Radar against other handsets on the market right now, we'd have to say we think it's up there with the BlackBerry Curve 9360 in terms of its professional abilities. The memory is on a par with Apple's most basic offering, the iPhone 3GS, while we can't help thinking that (apart from the colour), the HTC Radar looks identical to the Android-toting HTC Rhyme, which it certainly matches up against for the majority of its internal workings.

You can buy one SIM-free for around £340, which isn't too bad a price - it's certainly much cheaper than its big brother, the Titan, which is nearer the £500 mark. You can pick one up for free on contract, providing you're willing to part with around £25 a month and sign the next two years of your life away.

HTC radar review

It also appears to be available in two colours - all publicity shots show the handset in white. However, our review unit was grey and black, and although sites such as Carphone Warehouse show the white version on their page, they also state that it's only on their systems in grey. It may very well depend on where in the world you purchase it.

Interface

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Windows Phone is definitely gaining traction now that the likes of HTC, Samsung and Nokia are throwing their backing behind it, with the system powering the HTC Radar well. It's been a year since the first handset landed to much acclaim (replacing Windows Mobile at long last) but it still had some gaps that needed filling.

Windows Phone 7.5 Mango brought improvements such as multitasking to the party, but it's been the best part of 12 months before actual punters could get their hands on it, which was a source of major irritation for some. Microsoft has opened up 500 APIs to developers, but there's still a lot that needs doing here.

Remember that the key word when trying to comprehend Windows Phone 7.5 (if you've not used it yet) is "integration." Stick to that and you'll be fine. It really is a unique operating system, in that you have to throw out all previous experience of using apps such as Facebook on, say, an iPhone, and start again.

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The various elements of that service and others are interwoven with the WP7 interface. It all becomes one. And after you get used to it, you realise just how slick and pleasant that feels.

The big thing about the HTC Radar's interface is tiles. The Today screen mantra is gone and replaced with a series of easy-to-press large square/rectangular tiles that display various bits of information. You can reorder them however you see fit or remove/replace them. The beauty is that they're 'live' so, in theory, they update with relevant information continuously, as it comes in.

We're big fans of the tile system. It's unique and different to anything we've seen before. But we do worry about the lack of customisation options. Android devices can be skinned so that you can pick up an HTC, Samsung, LG or other smartphone and they can look completely different. The only limit, really, is the manufacturer's imagination.

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But Windows Phone can't be customised. Its major strength is also, in some ways, a weakness, because aside from changing the background from black to white and choosing one of a handful of preloaded colours for your tiles, there's very little you can do to make one Nokia smartphone look different from an HTC one or a Samsung WP7.5 device. Yes, you can change your tiles around and add shortcuts to this and that, but that's as far as it goes.

To be fair, Apple and BlackBerry are the same, but the main difference is that they have several devices made by the same manufacturer, so you'd expect them to look the same. Windows Phone 7.5 could be available on a multitude of manufacturers' devices, and the software is likely to look almost identical on all of them, which is a shame.

On the Radar, HTC can't skin anything. So the most it can offer is its own flagship wallpaper for the lock screen and an HTC Hub (basically an app), which includes things such as weather, stocks, news and favourites (things Windows manages itself elsewhere in the operating system). Having said that, it's unlikely to be something that irks your average buyer.

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Apps are all stored in a vertical start menu, which is brought up when you click a little arrow on the screen. They're displayed in alphabetical order, and although there's a search function if you have gazillions, there's no way of creating folders, which is a bit of a pain. You can now shortcut directly to system functions via a tile (including turning Wi-Fi on or off without going through the whole menu), which we like.

Multitasking is present (something lacking on the original Windows Phone 7 handsets), but it's flaky, to say the least. You long-press the Back button and it gives you something akin to the cards system from WebOS. But it seems to have a mind of its own.

We fired up a few different apps and toggled between them. But the HTC Radar could never quite work out if it was freezing them in state like iOS does, keeping them going or closing them down completely, and there seemed to be no consistency. This could be because developers need to update their apps, but they've had plenty of time, considering we were reviewing Mango back in July.

Contacts and calling

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Goodbye Contacts, hello People. This new section in the HTC Radar incorporates two sub-sections: What's New? and All.

What's New? is where all of your social feeds are aggregated and fed directly into the phone's operating system (remember how we talked about Facebook being an integral part of the experience). Twitter, LinkedIn and so on are all accounted for, and you scroll through what's happening here.

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Swipe across to All and the address book appears and you can contact your friends through the traditional mobile phone channels or your social network of choice. It's nice, it's intuitive and a lot of thought has obviously gone into this section. We're big fans. And we love the fact that we can choose to display messages from all networks or just one in particular.

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You can now also create not just new contacts but also groups. This works brilliantly if you want to just follow what's happening with a smaller group of friends or colleagues, because it not only aggregates all of their news, photos and feeds in one place, but also enables you to send a group message to them. As with most aspects, you can also create a shortcut tile on the home screen to the group.

It's an almost perfect implementation that other phone manufacturers could learn lessons from.

Being a Microsoft phone, it naturally hooks up to Exchange without issue, and you can therefore browse contacts easily. Other accounts such as Google Contacts play nicely, too.

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Individual contacts show their status updates and various bits of information from their phone number (obviously) to their birthdays and other contact methods. The amount of information really is limitless, and it's presented with a nice big profile picture pulled in, again, from the social networks.

We set up our contacts within seconds. You sign in with your various credentials and create a Windows Live ID if you don't have one (it's not compulsory but it does help) and after that, the HTC Radar just seems to trawl through whatever it needs and brings everything together.

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Making and receiving calls is simple. Unlike the HTC Titan, the speakerphone on the Radar appeared to be reasonably loud during calls, and there wasn't much in the way of distortion. Call quality was good and the HTC Radar managed to hold on to calls well.

Messaging

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The HTC Radar - being a Windows Phone 7.5 smartphone - is a messaging powerhouse. In fact, you're spoilt for choice when it comes to how you want to keep in touch on the HTC Radar, as you can do it in so many ways.

There's the People section we mentioned in the Contacts and Calling part of our review or the dedicated messaging section, which, by default, is separate from the actual email bit of the HTC Radar.

Messaging gives you Online and Threads in terms of different views. Online is what you expect - the ability to chat to your friends who happen to be online at the same time. But HTC is having real problems with this. When we reviewed Mango in the summer, it didn't work. When we reviewed the HTC Titan earlier this month, it still didn't work.

However, when we fired it up on the HTC Radar, it managed to connect, which nearly knocked us off our seat. But then, the HTC Radar told us nobody was online - as we sat on Facebook on a computer, looking at dozens of friends who were online. HTC needs to put real pressure on Microsoft to sort this out, since the buyers will be blaming the handset maker if they can't get it working.

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As mentioned, the likes of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are all absorbed here. Remember, that key word: integration.

Once you swipe across you're in Threads, which are exactly what you expect. SMS and MMS are all together and all stitched seamlessly as conversations.

Email is accessed through a separate tile, and we had no qualms about using our Gmail account here. Messages are listed through conversations, with a nice touch being that replies and so on are indented so you can see which is the most recent message.

Tabs include Unread, Flagged and Urgent, which give you more scope for organising your life. Messages are displayed in HTML format, but you have to unblock each one so that you can view pictures sent in the body of a message, which slows down the process somewhat.

We were extremely disappointed with the search function on Gmail. When you search through Gmail on an Android handset, your entire inbox of thousands of emails is trawled through and results brought back. We had high hopes for a similar experience on the HTC Radar, but all we got when we tried to do a remote search was a message telling us it couldn't connect and to check our connection (which was full 3G and full Wi-Fi).

This would be annoying anyway, but made us really mad because it was a bug that presented itself when we reviewed the Mango update all the way back in July. Then, we put it down to various bits of the operating system not being fully ready, but this bug was also apparent when we reviewed the HTC Titan. There really is no excuse, since this is a final version release of both the handset and Windows Phone 7.5. It shouldn't happen.

Searches seemed to work better through an Exchange account, which is hardly surprising considering that it's a Microsoft phone. As you'd expect, Exchange is a cinch to set up and works as well as it ever has.

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Luckily, the HTC Radar redeems itself when it comes to typing. There's no haptic feedback by default, but the keyboard is one of the best we've used. It's still easy to tap away on and looks nice in its all-black or all-white (theme dependent) colour. It's just as well really, since if you use the HTC Radar the way Microsoft intends, you'll be typing away on social networks to your heart's content.

Internet

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The HTC Radar runs Internet Explorer. Not the yukky old desktop version that was full of rubbish sponsored links and annoying stuff, but a special soupped-up mobile version that is a key part of Windows Phone 7.5 Mango.

And it works really well. Pages load quickly and clearly. It took just a few seconds to bring up the TechRadar home page in full from scratch over Wi-Fi, and although 3G was obviously slower, there wasn't really that much in it.

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Text reflow works a treat, and pages look great either zoomed out or in. Obviously you can't read the text when zoomed out, but you do get a good overview of the page.

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When zoomed right in, you still get a really crisp representation of text, with no jagged lines.

The URL address bar now sits at the bottom of the screen, although we can't see the point to this other than that Microsoft wants to show it's being a bit different. It supports the ability to type in search terms as well as addresses, and uses Bing to search for what exactly you're looking for.

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Bing has been built into the phone from scratch, and it looks beautiful because the results aren't displayed as a Bing web page but as part of the HTC Radar's operating system, offering up web pages, images and local search results.

You can also search from anywhere in the HTC Radar's system by just tapping the search soft key below the screen. In operating systems gone by this would have searched within an application you were running at the time, but now it always defaults to Bing, which streamlines the Windows Phone 7.5 experience even more.

Flash is notable by its absence. Yet again. We're sick of moaning about this but it really is a big gripe considering it works flawlessly on Android smartphones. We didn't see it on the Titan, which we really were upset about, so we would have eaten our hats had we seen it on the HTC Radar. It's a shame really, because this is where Windows Phone could have taken the initiative and come up with a selling point to knock iOS. A wasted opportunity, if ever we saw one.

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Bookmarks are accessed through a menu within the browser, and work as you'd expect. HTC gives you several pre-loaded favourites. You're not able to change the search engine from Bing either, so don't get the HTC Radar if you don't like Microsoft's offering. Not that there's really much in it these days, since Bing is far superior to its predecessor, but it would've been nice to specify otherwise had we so wished.

There's also a voice search facility called Microsoft TellMe, which we tried with mixed results. We'd say it's 90% rubbish and 10% OK. It's obviously given it a go, but Microsoft and others really have their work cut out here. And the fact that Apple has shown what voice search can do with Siri has highlighted this. We like the fact that when you search, you don't just do it by text or voice, but there are also options present to scan QR tags/barcodes or listen to music a'la Shazam. Nice touch, folks.

Camera

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The HTC Radar camera is a 5MP jobby - not the most cutting edge of lenses, but pretty average and acceptable compared to much of what's around at the moment at this level. The HTC Titan, like the iPhone 4S, has an 8MP snapper, but that's obviously aiming for a higher market place.

As if to make up for the lack of megapixels, HTC spouts out specs such as f/2.2 lens and BSI sensor, which sound like a load of marketing guff but do help in the overall picture-taking process and make the end results worthy of a print. HTC has form when it comes to including decent cameras, and that hasn't been forgotten on the HTC Radar.

Firstly, having a camera button helps. You don't have to fiddle around with getting your grip on the phone a certain way or digging through menus that may be hard to see on a bright day. Wherever in the Windows Phone 7.5 Mango operating system you may be, a long press on the camera button will take you into the camera screen.

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It's fairly basic on the surface, with buttons to just switch to front-facing mode or video. But when you get into the menu you're given a plethora of scene modes (providing Auto isn't to your taste, which - for the majority of people - it will be), plus a panoramic mode, options to control ISO levels, face detection and (our favourite), the option to switch to burst photography to take five photos in quick succession.

Ideally, this would be at hand on the main screen, because you may want to take a few bunches of pap-style pictures in one go without having to delve into the menu, but as it is, you can't do it that way.

The HTC Radar's LED can be set to on, off or auto, and thankfully HTC has fixed the bug we encountered on the Titan where the light didn't do as it was told, which we're glad to see. It's a really bright LED light (we're talking temporary blindness territory) and as such, shots taken in the dark come out very well.

Autofocus kicks in with a half press on the camera button, and performs as it should. We're suitably impressed with what we're given here, and, while 5MP may sound fairly pedestrian on paper, it's a good effort by HTC.

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Autofocus is spot on and excels in bright daylight

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Autofocus works just as well in an indoor setting

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Even text can be clearly picked out with the autofocus without pain

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Some close-up subjects can look ever so mildly out of focus when transferred to a computer

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Similarly, some foreground subjects can also look blurred in full-size

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Taking photos in darkness isn't ideal, unless you can keep your hand as still as a corpse

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But that flash is blinding and will illuminate even the darkest subject brilliantly

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The camera copes well in mixed light situations

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Daylight photos look great, albeit a little colder than they perhaps could have done.

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Video

We were pleasantly surprised with the video camera offering on the HTC Radar, which shoots in 720p HD. We'd expected HTC to keep this for just the Titan, since that's the premium offering of the two, so it was nice that we found the same resolution on offer in the Radar.

There's a lot to play with in the menu, from video resolution and effects to continuous focus, metering mode and even flicker adjustment, although the stereo recording option in the Titan has been taken away here.

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But one other thing has been left in the HTC Radar: a rather annoying quirk regarding resolution. By default, the HTC Radar is set up to film in 640 x 480 rather than showing off those HD capabilities. And while you can change this, you have to delve into the menu to do so. Not only that, but it reverts back into SD mode afterwards, so every time you start the camera app, you have to go back to the beginning and go through the whole process again. Annoying? Yup.

We're aware that HTC has probably done this so that you're always set up to shoot MMS-shareable videos by default, but we really wish we were given the option to save our most recent settings like most smartphones do, or choose which resolution we'd prefer as default.

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One other gripe is the HTC Radar's complete inability to resize HD video for MMS. So many smartphones these days are incapable of this most basic task, and it's really starting to peeve us off.

Yes, we know there's a VGA mode for shooting video to share over MMS, but wouldn't it be nice to be able to capture a special event or moment in HD, then just click 'Send by MMS' to have the HTC Radar reduce the frame rate/quality and squeeze it into an MMS-friendly size? It's not impossible (Apple manages it) but manufacturers seem to have this ridiculous mental block.

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It means that you're always forced to trade off between having a copy to send or a high-quality copy to keep, but never both

As it is, you can only send your files by email, Facebook or Microsoft's own Skydrive. There isn't even an option to directly upload to YouTube (despite there being two YouTube apps, which we'll discuss on the Media page).

And getting into the sharing options isn't massively intuitive. You can only seem to share via the actual video in the camera app. If you try to attach the video in messaging, you access the camera roll but the video isn't there (despite being there on the camera roll chapter page). From within the Videos app, you can only choose to 'Delete' or 'Pin to start' but not share. It's all a bit bottom about breast, to put it politely.

Luckily the HTC Radar redeems itself by actually being able to shoot HD video well. Footage comes out clear and looks great even when transferred to a computer. Coping with going from darkness to light is something we noticed it handles well enough.

Media

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Top marks for creating a media phone, HTC. But a massive fail on your head for equipping it with such paltry storage. Seriously, 6.54GB of usable space on the HTC Radar with no option to expand?! What were you thinking? That has to be split between your music, photos, apps and videos. Storing the entire Top 100 albums on this baby plus a thousand photos is something you won't be doing. Thank heavens there's at least an FM radio, which is something HTC rarely lets us down with. Good work, gang.

That aside, we're really happy with media handling on the HTC Titan. It's all packaged with a Zune approach so there's familiarity for Microsoft users, and Windows Phone 7.5 users get the Smart DJ feature that creates playlists from whatever songs it finds on your handset, and even searches through the Zune catalogue (if you have a pass). Think Genius in iTunes repackaged with a Microsoft flavour.

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Music playback was fine and we had no complaints. There was nothing in there particularly memorable for us. It just worked and coped with pretty much all of the obvious formats. We like how you can buy that Zune music pass and go wild. Spotify may need to worry here.

You can also find apps with a media twist in the Media section, such as setting up DLNA and watching videos on YouTube, for which there are two apps available in the Marketplace. One is Microsoft's own, which, although it claims to be an app, is actually only a link to the mobile YouTube site (lazy). The other is HTC's YouTube app that, thankfully, has had a bit of work go into it and looks nice. Getting media on and off the HTC Radar is simple enough using the dedicated PC software, and there's even a Mac version that Microsoft has produced very well - albeit probably through gritted teeth.

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HTC has given us its Watch service on the Radar, which is a pan-OS operation, being available on Android too. First seen on the HTC Sensation, it's not ready for release yet - at least, not on Windows Phone 7.5 devices. As with the Titan, it simply doesn't work.

We fired it up hoping to be able to rent a movie, but all that was on offer were eight trailers for movies that had been out for ages, including Burlesque and Eat, Pray, Love. And that was it. No more trailers and certainly no movies to download.

We tried to upgrade the player and it told us it was checking our region and then just gave us exactly the same offerings. Either something has gone wrong here or HTC really needs to work on the amount of content it can offer. We're willing to wager it was the former rather than the latter, but it shouldn't be releasing handsets with bugs like this. It's one of the issues that can't be blamed on Microsoft but on HTC.

At least the trailers worked, and we were really impressed with the way the screen holds up when videos are being shown. They do look good on the HTC Radar's display, which is easier to hold than the Titan, so although you lose the size in comparison, you do gain something that's more portable.

When it comes to looking at your own pictures on the HTC Radar, the gallery app is a pleasure to use. It links other bits of the operating system in here so you can not only use apps that enhance photos but view Facebook albums (yours and others') and of course, view your own pictures taken on the HTC Radar itself.

This is one area of Windows Phone 7.5 that other operating system makers could learn from.

Battery life and connectivity

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The HTC Radar ships with a respectable 1520mAh battery. Remember this isn't a dual core smartphone, so for a 1GHz processor and average-sized screen, this should see you through a day of use comfortably.

HTC claims you'll get 485 minutes of talktime on WCDMA 3G or 600 minutes on GSM, and 535 hours of standby time on WCDMA or 480 hours on GSM, but this is always dependent on so many factors including where you are, signal strength and so on.

We took the HTC Radar off a charge at 7am and spent about 20 minutes fiddling with various settings and catching up on Twitter. Over the course of the next few hours, we sent more than 30 emails, a couple of texts and made a 21 minute phone call. Mid afternoon, we went running for 90 minutes with the RunKeeper app going, and listened to the FM radio for about half an hour in the early evening.

The HTC Radar kept going, and even by 10pm it still had about a third of its battery left. We didn't use it much the following day and it managed to last until lunchtime before conking out.

Our impression from this is that if you're a power user, you'll probably just make it through the day. But if you're a light user, you'll get so much longer out of it. However, remember that the battery isn't removable, so if you do get caught short, you could be in trouble.

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All of the usual suspects are on board connectivity wise: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth (which we seemed to be unable to use to send or receive files, bizarrely) and GPS. DLNA is catered for, as it is on most handsets these days, but there's no NFC chip. We won't rue that too much, since it's not really caught on yet. Only BlackBerry seems to be religiously pushing this at the moment.

3G works well, and internet pages loaded quickly with no fuss. Wi-Fi boosted those speeds even more. You can also use it to tether to your computer if you wish, but remember that your service provider may see dollar signs in its eyes if you do. GPS was fine, and got a lock reasonably quickly. It wasn't so quick that we were bowled over, nor was it so slow that we noticed.

Maps and apps

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The app offerings on the HTC Radar are what you'd expect from a Windows Phone product, and Microsoft Office forms a key part of that.

Microsoft is cashing in on the brand name that has been a staple of so many lives for years, and there's a huge push to get you sharing your files on SkyDrive. It appears Apple and Google aren't the only two with their sights set on taking over the clouds. On top of that, there's the option to use Office 365, which enables you to remotely share files in a different way.

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Word, Excel and PowerPoint are there, but while you can create documents on the first two, PowerPoint only appears to let you view presentations, rather than making your own. We certainly had no problems with using Word or Excel. They're obviously watered down versions of the full PC software, tweaked to give them a Windows Phone look, but they seemed competent enough to us (although we're not experts on Excel).

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Continuing the Microsoft heritage is Xbox Live, which you can access via the HTC Radar just like you can with any other Windows Phone 7.5 handset. You can send messages, create an avatar and hook up with friends. But Microsoft has taken the Xbox branding and extended it to cover anything games-related, and links it into your Marketplace downloads.

Games and apps are still fairly pricey, but not as much as they were a few months ago, when we initially reviewed Windows Phone 7.5 Mango We'd say Android users are in for a shock, whereas BlackBerry and iPhone users may just think it's a little bit more than they're used to paying. That's not HTC's fault, though, or even Microsoft's, and falls on the shoulders of the developers.

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Obviously you'll only have one choice for mapping, and that's Bing maps, since it's Microsoft's own product. It works as well as rival products and gives you a few added extras, including local searches for things such as eating and drinking or tourist attractions.

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For navigation, there are various options filling in the gaps that Bing has left.

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We're really impressed with the fact that you can try apps before you buy them. We wish iOS offered this, but it doesn't. Android does, but you only have a 15 minute window to claim your refund, so this is something that Windows Phone 7.5 has over its competitors. Well done, Microsoft and HTC!

But, hang on - it's all going too well. Surely there must be something wrong? Yep, ladies and gents - we refer you to the HTC Radar's Calendar app.

Yes, you can have calendars from multiple sources (Exchange, Windows Live, Google, Facebook and so on) and they'll live side-by-side in harmony. But not, it would appear, multiple calendars from the same source. We're big users of Google Calendars, as are millions of potential Windows Phone 7 Mango owners, and one of its great benefits is the fact that you can have multiple calendars.

But you can't if you're rocking Windows Phone 7.5, which only accesses your primary calendar. We searched and searched and couldn't find a decent way to add more calendars. In fact, it appears the only way to do it is through a rather crude method, which involves setting up various Google accounts and accessing them all individually.

We can't imagine what Microsoft is thinking here. It's not the kind of thing it would just forget to include and, considering Apple and RIM manage it, there can't be any issue with it being anAndroid-only perk. Whatever the reason, Microsoft needs to sort it out.

Hands on gallery

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Official gallery

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Verdict

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So HTC has pipped Nokia to the post here with not one, but two Windows Phone 7.5 smartphones up for grabs first. And although Android may have been HTC's bread and butter for the last few years, it's clear that it wants to keep its fingers in both pies.

The HTC Radar certainly looks pretty, and right now it's a straight tie between the Titan and the Radar from HTC's offerings. Which sells best depends on how much you value the camera and/or screen size, because that's all that really separates them. That and the £100+ price difference

We liked

The HTC Radar is a good, solid business handset with media offerings on top. It's more budget than the Titan but the software is 99.9% identical. Great Exchange integration, a not-too-shabby camera and top-notch battery life give it a big thumbs up.

We disliked

But it's also a contradiction in itself. How can you create a phone with great media potential that has such paltry storage space? Why would you make it so that the battery can't be removed and replaced? It's like HTC is deliberately trying to cripple its own product here. And while Exchange and Live users are OK, we find it difficult to excuse the obvious disregard for Google Mail and Calendar users.

Final verdict

We would love it if we could divide this review into two parts: one for the HTC Radar's build and calls and one for the operating system. Unfortunately we can't, so this all has to be mixed in together, which is why we're only able to give the HTC Radar 3.5 stars out of 5.

The build is top notch, and it feels like a good, solid device. But HTC's rubbish memory allowance and lack of battery is just too much for us. And the operating system is full of issues that should have been ironed out yet still rear their heads (Facebook chat still not working properly, Watch not working and so on).

If it's a straight choice between the HTC Titan and the HTC Radar, we'd recommend the HTC Radar every time, because it's so much better in terms of value for money.

But it still feels like a work in progress and, despite the fact we know this will upset Windows fans, we can't help feeling that it'd be better to wait for the next crop of handsets or updates before committing. After all, two years is a long time to be tied into a contract and Windows Phone is not a new platform any more, by any stretch of the imagination.

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