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First impressions: HTC HD7, Dell Venue Pro

T-Mobile won't launch as many Windows Phone 7 devices as AT&T, but in our opinion, it offers the more exciting smartphones of the bunch. Read on for a hands-on look at the HTC HD7 and Dell Venue Pro.

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When it comes to Windows Phone 7 devices, AT&T might win in quantity, but we think T-Mobile wins in quality.

Both the HTC HD7 and Dell Venue Pro will be headed to T-Mobile shelves this holiday season, and frankly, we can't wait to get our hands on these phones, as they both offer enticing designs.

For now, we'll have to settle for the brief memories we had with the HD7 and Venue Pro at Microsoft's launch event. Read on for our first impressions and be sure to check out our photo galleries and First Look video for a closer look at the smartphones.

HTC HD7: The HD7 is very much like the HTC HD2 and HTC Evo 4G in design. It's large and in charge and features an eye-grabbing 4.3-inch WVGA capacitive touch screen. It's the largest display to grace a Windows Phone 7 device and as such, it also has the largest onscreen keyboard. Despite its cramped looks, the Windows Phone 7 software keyboard is surprisingly easy to use, but the extra screen real estate certainly helps.

The built-in accelerometer was quick to change screen orientation, and the screen is clear and bright for viewing text and multimedia. It's not quite as vibrant or as sharp, however, compared with, say, the Super AMOLED screens on the Samsung Galaxy S series. The touch screen was responsive and registered our taps immediately and easily scrolled through lists.

In hand, the HD7 feels solid and slightly slimmer than the Evo 4G and HD7, but still bulky overall. The phone felt fast and comes with a 1GHz Snapdragon processor and 16GB of onboard memory. Of course, we'll really put it through its paces when we get a final unit, but so far we're liking what we see.

The HD7 is expected to ship sometime in mid-November. As T-Mobile has been known to do, the carrier will bundle several extra services with the HD7, including Netflix and T-Mobile TV, as well as its new T-Mobile Family Room app, which will allow you to share calendars, notes, and photos with family members.

Dell Venue Pro: Dell's entry into the smartphone world didn't particularly impress us. The lackluster Dell Aero left a bad taste in our mouth, but the Venue Pro has almost made us forget about that.

The Venue Pro is unique in that it offers a portrait slider design. The screen slides up to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard, allowing for easier one-handed navigation. Though smaller, the keyboard was easy to use. The buttons are slightly raised with a nonslippery texture and provide a nice, tactile feedback when pressed. There was also enough room around the keyboard that our thumbs weren't bumping up against the edge of the phone.

The smartphone's Gorilla Glass AMOLED display measures 4.1 inches diagonally and is sharp and vibrant. There's actually a slight curve to screen when viewed from the side. We thought this might interfere with the touch screen's responsive, but we were wrong. It was very responsive and immediately responded to taps, and easily handled scrolling and pinch-to-zoom.

The Venue Pro is slightly on the bigger side but it has a solid construction. The slider mechanism also feels strong. The smartphone's specs are comparable with the rest of the pack, featuring a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 16GB of internal memory, and a 5-megapixel camera. We were limited in what we could test on the Venue Pro, as well as all these devices, but we didn't notice any major delays or hiccups during our demo. Hopefully this is still the case when the final product is launched later this year.