In early September, HTC stopped by the CNET offices to show off its new Windows Phone devices, the HTC Titan and HTC Radar. Though the Titan was the better phone in terms of specs, it was the Radar that grabbed my attention, with its combination of a beautiful design and the slickness of Windows Phone 7.5 Mango. Now, T-Mobile customers get to experience the same thing with the HTC Radar 4G, which is available now for $99.99 with a two-year contract. It's a great price for a great phone that might not attract the early adopters and gadget heads but should please everyone else.
The HTC Radar 4G is one of the more striking smartphones I've seen in a while. The white-and-silver color scheme helps it stand out from the crowd, and its sleek, aluminum unibody design makes for a very high-quality-feeling phone. At 4.74 inches tall by 2.42 inches wide by 0.43 inch thick and 4.83 ounces, it's also nice and compact, and the tapered edges make it even easier to slip the handset into your pocket. The Radar 4G is pretty much everything I'm looking for when it comes to the design, but if there's one downside it's that the smartphone doesn't have a user-replaceable battery.
On front, you get a 3.8-inch WVGA (480x800) touch screen. With more and more smartphones featuring displays that measure 4 inches or larger, the Radar's screen might seem small to some folks, and admittedly, it didn't provide the best video viewing experience. That said, I found it fine for everything else. Reading messages was a breeze. Pictures looked vibrant and clear on screen, and with the built-in accelometer, viewing Web pages was not a problem.
The touch screen is also very responsive. Windows Phone offers a gorgeous and fluid user interface, and the touch screen let me navigate through the various menus and hubs quickly and easily. I think the Windows Phone virtual keyboard is outstanding and one of the best out there, but I would still like to have a choice, and unfortunately, Microsoft doesn't give me that option.
Below the display, you'll find the back, Start, and search buttons, which are required on all Windows Phone devices. Also required is a dedicated camera button, which sits on the right side, along with a volume rocker. Meanwhile, there's a Micro-USB port on the left spine, and a 3.5mm headphone jack and power/lock button on top.
The main 5-megapixel camera is located on back along with an LED flash. There is also a front-facing VGA camera for video calls. As with most Windows Phone devices, the Radar 4G does not offer expandable memory, so you will have to be OK with phone's 8GB of internal memory.
The HTC Radar 4G comes packaged with just the basic accessories: an AC adapter, a USB cable, and reference material.
The HTC Radar 4G ships running Windows Phone 7.5 Mango, which brings such improvements as Twitter integration in the People hub, threaded messaging, multitasking, and a more robust Bing search engine. You can read about all the new features and enhancements in our in-depth review of Windows Phone Mango here.
Though Microsoft restricts much customization from OEMs and carriers, they still have an opportunity to add some flair. For example, the Radar features the HTC hub, where HTC fans can find the company's clock and weather widget, featured apps, and news and stock feeds. The smartphone also comes with several apps preloaded by T-Mobile, such as T-Mobile TV, TeleNav GPS Navigator, and Netflix. By default, some are pinned to the Start screen as live tiles, but you can unpin them or uninstall the apps completely, which is nice.