HTC HD7S review: HTC HD7S

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.7
  • Design: 8.0
  • Features: 8.0
  • Performance: 7.0

Average User Rating

4 stars 2 user reviews
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The HTC HD7S offers a sharper Super LCD touch screen with a built-in kickstand. The Windows Phone device ships with the NoDo update, which brings copy-and-paste and performance improvements.

The Bad There was a constant background hiss during phone calls. Camera quality could be better.

The Bottom Line The HTC HD7S offers the benefit of a large touch screen with a sharp picture and fast performance, but it falls short of the smartphone competition in terms of camera and call quality.

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Editors' note: Portions of this review were taken from our evaluation of the HTC HD7.

Introduced at CTIA 2011, the HTC HD7S is AT&T's fourth Windows Phone 7 device, joining the Samsung Focus, HTC Surround, and LG Quantum. Like the rest, the HD7S has a 1GHz Snapdragon processor and a 5-megapixel camera, but it most resembles a smartphone from another carrier: the HTC HD7 for T-Mobile. In fact, the two are exactly the same except that the HD7S features a sharper 4.3-inch Super LCD, which was much needed. It certainly adds to the choice of Windows Phone handsets, but is it the best option out there? That depends on what you're looking for.

Design
When we reviewed the HTC HD7, one of our only complaints about it was the outdated hardware, so it's nice to see that HTC addressed at least one aspect of that problem in the HD7S. Switching out the old TFT screen for a WVGA Super LCD brings a sharper and more vibrant picture. The pixels aren't as visible as before and colors look richer. Plus, the 4.3 inches of screen real estate is great when you're viewing Web sites and video.


The HD7S' Super LCD touch screen provides a sharper picture and richer colors.

The touch screen also felt responsive, as we easily navigated through the various screens and menus. It is a fingerprint magnet though--more than most--and if we're comparing screens, the Samsung Focus' Super AMOLED display is still better, as it offers even more saturated colors, finer detail, and better outdoor visibility. That said, you're not going to have problems seeing what's on the HD7S' screen and we very much appreciate the improved display.

The rest of the smartphone's design is pretty much the same as the HD7's. You still get a built-in kickstand on the back, this time with some metallic gold accents. The handset is on the larger and heavier side, with HTC's solid build quality. One thing we noticed, however, is there is a slim gap between the bottom of the battery door and the rest of the phone, leaving room for dust, dirt, and other debris to get in there. We wouldn't say it's a dealbreaker, but it's definitely not something we were expecting from a company that pays so much attention to detail.


The built-in kickstand is sturdy and comes in quite handy for watching videos on the phone or when using it as a picture viewer.

For more on the smartphone's design, please check out our review of the HTC HD7. AT&T ships the HD7S with an AC adapter, a USB cable, a wired stereo headset, and reference material.

Features
The HTC HD7S ships running the Windows Phone 7 operating system with the latest NoDo update, which includes copy-and-paste support and performance improvements. As a phone, the HD7S offers quad-band world roaming, a speakerphone, call waiting, call forwarding, conference calling, voice dialing, and text and multimedia messaging. The smartphone is 3G-capable and has Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n), Bluetooth 2.1, and GPS, but Windows Phone currently doesn't support tethering capabilities.

Though customization is limited in Windows Phone 7, OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) and carrier partners can still put their own spin on the devices, and AT&T and HTC have done so. HTC has added its own HTC Hub (also available as a live tile) where you will find some old HTC favorites like applications and its animated clock and weather widget.

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Where to Buy See all prices

HTC HD7S (AT&T)

Part Number: HD7SBLKATT Released: Jun. 5, 2011
MSRP: $499.99 Low Price: $139.99 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Jun. 5, 2011
  • Technology GSM / UMTS
  • Combined with With digital camera / digital player / FM radio
  • Service Provider AT&T
  • Weight 5.71 oz
  • Diagonal Size 4.3 in
  • Sensor Resolution 5 pixels