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HTC Radar 4G (T-Mobile) review: HTC Radar 4G (T-Mobile)

The smartphone does not support T-Mobile's Wi-Fi calling feature, but with Windows Phone Mango and the front-facing VGA camera, you can make video calls. I didn't see any preloaded video chat clients on my review unit, so I downloaded the Tango app from the Marketplace to make video calls. Calls can be made over 3G, 4G, or Wi-Fi.

With Windows Phone, you'll have no shortage of entertainment options. The Zune integration continues to be top notch, and Mango brings even more features like SmartDJ. Gamers also get access to more tools and information in Xbox Live, with the ability to customize their 3D avatars, track achievements, discover new games, and more.

As I mentioned in the Design section, the Radar 4G has a 5-megapixel camera with an f/2.2 lens, backside-illuminated sensor (BSI) for better low-light performance, and LED flash. With a dedicated camera key, it's easy to start taking photos right away, even if your phone is locked. The camera app provides various editing tools, including white balance controls, saturation settings, effects, and panorama and burst shot modes.

The Radar's camera took sharp photos, but low-light performance could be better.

Picture quality was great. The BSI sensor helped produce bright and sharp photos even when lighting conditions weren't ideal, and there was very little shutter lag. Pictures taken outdoors also looked fabulous. The camera is capable of 720p HD video capture, and video quality was generally good. However, in bright sunshine, the picture could look blown out.

We tested the quad-band HTC Radar 4G in San Francisco and call quality was OK. I could hear my callers just fine, but the audio wasn't pristine. There was some background hissing and static that got to be a bit distracting, and even at the highest level, volume was a bit low. Meanwhile, my friends had no major complaints about the sound quality.

HTC Radar 4G call quality sample Listen now:

The speakerphone doesn't escape the hissing issue, and the calls sounded pretty hollow. On the bright side, there is plenty of volume to carry on conversations even in louder environments. I had no problems pairing the smartphone with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset and the Motorola S9 Bluetooth Active Headphones to make calls and listen to music.

Using T-Mobile's "4G" network, CNET's full site came up in 27 seconds, while the mobile sites for CNN and ESPN loaded in 6 seconds and 11 seconds, respectively. YouTube videos loaded in a couple of seconds and played back without interruption. I also streamed some shows and movies from Netflix, and the viewing experience was OK. There were a few times where the Internet connection was too slow, so the stream would be interrupted, but once going, the quality was good.

Powered by a 1GHz Qualcomm processor and 512MB RAM, the Radar 4G may not be the fastest smartphone on the block, but it is responsive. There were no delays in navigating the phone or launching apps. The new multitasking capabilities of Windows Phone Mango also make it a snap to switch between tasks.

The HTC Radar 4G ships with a 1,520mAh lithium-ion battery with a rated talk time of 7.7 hours and up to 24 days of standby time. We are still conducting our battery drain tests, but so far, I've been able to get through a full day before needing to recharge. We will update this section as soon as we have final results. According to FCC radiation tests, the Radar 4G has a digital SAR rating of 0.476W/kg and a Hearing Aid Compatibility Rating of M3/T3.

The HTC Radar 4G isn't the most advanced smartphone on the market, far from it. However, it shouldn't be dismissed because of it. Sure, some will scoff the lack of a dual-core processor, a bigger screen, and support for faster 4G speeds, but HTC has, once again, churned out a beautifully designed product and the new improvements of Windows Phone Mango bring a great user experience with well-integrated features that should please many users. Plus, at $100, it's a pretty decent value.

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