HTC 7 Pro review:

HTC 7 Pro

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Typical Price: £360.00
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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Slide-out, tilting keyboard; Windows Phone 7 is slick; 720p video-recording capability.

The Bad Sliding mechanism takes some getting used to; outclassed by similarly priced handsets; browser lacks Flash support.

The Bottom Line With a clever tilting keyboard and robust design, the HTC 7 Pro is a mobile typist's dream. The other specifications of this Windows Phone 7 handset are less striking, though.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.5 Overall

The HTC 7 Pro is the most significant launch for the Windows Phone 7 platform so far in 2011. Packing a slide-out Qwerty keyboard and innovative screen-tilting mechanism, this smart phone aims to win the hearts and minds of text-happy business types.

The Pro is available for around £430 SIM-free, or comes entirely free on a £30-per-month contract.

Professional styling

Compared to its siblings, the HD7 and Mozart, the Pro feels like a rather unwieldy beast. The scales strain under its 185g weight, and it's hardly a slim handset, at 16mm thick. It's all down to the slide-out Qwerty keyboard.

Whether you're updating your Twitter feed, composing a text message or tapping out an important email, you'll find typing on the Pro's keyboard to be a super-fast experience. It might not be quite as quick as using a touchscreen phone with Swype installed, but it's certainly much faster than using a standard virtual keyboard.

The screen can be placed at an angle to the keyboard when it's deployed. This makes the phone more comfortable to use when typing out wordy missives.

Unfortunately, the inclusion of a fancy, tilting keyboard has necessitated a rather unorthodox hinge design. Sliding the keyboard out is initially quite awkward, and you have to use a fair degree of force to snap it into place.

Windows Phone 7 doesn't always adopt the correct screen orientation when the keyboard is deployed.

Retracting the keyboard is even less intuitive, as you have to press down on the screen to put it parallel to the keyboard, and then slide it back over the keys. The fact that the hinge is spring-loaded means the slightest slip of your fingers causes the screen to snap abruptly back into position.

Elsewhere, the Pro shows the kind of workmanship that's made HTC's handsets so popular. There's a satisfying abundance of chrome and the metal battery cover feels incredibly reassuring, although we don't like the way you have to slide open the keyboard to remove the back of the phone itself.

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