Review

Review: HTC Radar

It has been a while since I have properly used a Windows phone, as I use Android as my main daily driver. I first used the OS on the HTC 7 Mozart, and back with the original WP7 it wasn't that good: I found it to be missing critical features, the Mozart itself crashed frequently and the camera on the device was really bad. Needless to say my initial impression was pretty poor.

Today I'm reviewing the HTC Radar, kindly provided by MobiCity, which is the second generation of Windows Phones with upgraded specs, Mango preloaded and with it a whole lot of extra features. I was expecting to think poorly still of another HTC/Microsoft combination, but instead everything I originally thought about the OS and its devices was thrown out the window in a refreshing and surprising way.

Specifications

Essentially the HTC Radar is a step up from the HTC 7 Trophy, with upgraded processor, front-facing camera and a slightly different design. Below are the full specifications.

  HTC Radar
Product Codes C110e
Codenamed "HTC Omega"
GSM Bands 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G Bands HSPA 900 / 2100
HSPA+ 4G (T-Mobile)
Display 3.8-inch 480x800 S-LCD
246 ppi pixel density
5-point capacitive multi-touch
Gorilla Glass
Processor Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon (S2) chipset
1.0 GHz single-core Scorpion CPU
Graphics Adreno 205
RAM 512 MB
Storage 8 GB internal storage
6.5 GB available storage space
Connectivity WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP
A-GPS
DLNA
FM Radio
Camera 5 MP rear camera with autofocus and LED flash
VGA front camera
720p video recording (rear)
Ports MicroUSB (charging, data)
3.5mm audio jack
Sensors Accelerometer
Magnetometer
Gyroscope
Light sensor
Proximity sensor
Battery Li-ion 1,520 mAh non-removable
Launch OS Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango"
Launch Date October 2011
Size & Weight 120.5 x 61.5 x 10.9 mm
137 g

Screaming at me is one fault right here: no microSD expansion and only 8 GB of onboard storage, of which just 6.5 GB is useable. This will be a problem for people like me which enjoy having a lot of music and videos on their device at any one time.

Also, having no removable battery means that if you desire swapping batteries when they get low or using an extended battery, this is simply not possible. This may not be an issue for some people, and the battery life is pretty good (check out more on that in the battery life section), but for extreme power users this could be a disappointment about the Radar.

Review Index

This review is pretty lengthy, so if you only want to find out about certain features skip to the appropriate section below, or simply watch the video overview on the next page.

  1. Introduction and Specifications
  2. Video Overview
  3. Design
  4. Software
  5. Performance
  6. Camera
  7. Media Playback & Call Quality
  8. Battery Life and Conclusion
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62 Comments

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gee, you'd think they were cloning the first iphone. bit behind the times me thinks. non removable battery so is that an $80 send it in switch? as fast as most smart phones eat batteries. thats kills it.. and HTC and Windows Mobile never went well together.

PatrynXX said,
gee, you'd think they were cloning the first iphone. bit behind the times me thinks. non removable battery so is that an $80 send it in switch? as fast as most smart phones eat batteries. thats kills it.. and HTC and Windows Mobile never went well together.

Its Windows Phone and not Windows Mobile. Major difference between the two.

Also, whilst I appreciate the indepth review, I'm not much a fan of paging it out in such short blocks.

I also prefer someone with more intimate knowledge of the OS in question when on a tech blog, but it's not that big of an issue considering we got a nice big review. I'll take what I can get, I'm a sucker for satisfyingly lengthy content.

I truly enjoyed reading your review. You're very detailed and thorough and that's exactly what I look for in phone reviews. Keep on going with these reviews because this was one was just great! No other way to put it!!

jasonon said,
good job neowin, haven't had a quality review in some time, the video walkthroughs are prime

Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it. It's good to know doesn't work but it's even better to know what does

jasonon said,
good job neowin, haven't had a quality review in some time, the video walkthroughs are prime

I have to agree. It's a very good review.

Cash Money Billionaire said,
1GHz single core Snapdragon and Adreno 205? Those specs are from 2 years ago

I don't get the processor argument, are you doing some serious photoshopping on 16mp RAW images?

cleverclogs said,

I don't get the processor argument, are you doing some serious photoshopping on 16mp RAW images?

It doesn't matter what I am doing, whats not to get? The specs of this phone are ancient

Single core 1GHz Snapdragon? Phones now are at least 1.2GHz Dual Core
Adreno 205? Adreno 220 has been out since spring
512MB RAM? Phones now are 1GB
5MP Camera? Phones now are 8MP
720p recording? Phones now do 1080p

3rd party apps/games benefit from more cpu and gpu power...not to mention why on earth do you want to buy last years tech?

Cash Money Billionaire said,

It doesn't matter what I am doing, whats not to get? The specs of this phone are ancient


The phone has a processor that does what it needs to do.... WP7 is designed to run on this kind of hardware and run well it does. Android on the other hand can suck even a dual core dry...

Is it low in comparison? Yes... Is it a performance degrader? No.

brent3000 said,

The phone has a processor that does what it needs to do.... WP7 is designed to run on this kind of hardware and run well it does. Android on the other hand can suck even a dual core dry...

Is it low in comparison? Yes... Is it a performance degrader? No.

How does MS expect to convert iOS or Android users by selling them last years tech? Its not going to happen.

Cash Money Billionaire said,

It doesn't matter what I am doing, whats not to get? The specs of this phone are ancient

Single core 1GHz Snapdragon? Phones now are at least 1.2GHz Dual Core
Adreno 205? Adreno 220 has been out since spring
512MB RAM? Phones now are 1GB
5MP Camera? Phones now are 8MP
720p recording? Phones now do 1080p

3rd party apps/games benefit from more cpu and gpu power...not to mention why on earth do you want to buy last years tech?

Dear god wtf are you smoking? I mean seriously only the top end, THE TOP END phones have those specs. This phone has the same specs of many phones that has been released this year.

Have you got a chip on your shoulder or something?

Cash Money Billionaire said,

How does MS expect to convert iOS or Android users by selling them last years tech? Its not going to happen.


iOS has 1 phone thats better (And alot more expensive) also from memory its dual core 800~mhz? We can start the whole "Single core 1GHz is better than dual core 800mhz" argument again if you want but i dont think we need too..

Android... Have u seen the handsets they have on offer? most which this phones target market (Mid to low range users) are still single 600mhz-1ghz phones. That means this phone is PERFECT in its specs for its market

Cash Money Billionaire said,
1GHz single core Snapdragon and Adreno 205? Those specs are from 2 years ago

It doesn't matter what the specs are, the phone is smooth and very fast to use. You must look at the hardware in context to what it needs to run. If hardware manufacturers didn't do this we would have pointless dual-core microwaves that are more powerful than they need to be

Cash Money Billionaire said,

How does MS expect to convert iOS or Android users by selling them last years tech? Its not going to happen.

It's being sold as a budget phone. How hard is that to understand?????

I can't read the full review.
It doesn't matter if i press next or the pagenumber, I always end up on page 1 of the review.
Any thoughts? I use Win7 x64 with IE9

Stoffel said,
I can't read the full review.
It doesn't matter if i press next or the pagenumber, I always end up on page 1 of the review.
Any thoughts? I use Win7 x64 with IE9

No idea, fine here on ie9 / 64-bit.

Just a note about the 8gb storage, don'T forget that this is not an high-end devices, it is meant to be sold for low budget market.

For higher end devices, there is the HTC Titan(which i own and his a pretty Terrific beast), and the Nokia devices coming soon. Not to forget the Samsung Focus S.

Like Android, Microsoft is making devices for everyone and every budget which is pretty cool.

Enill said,
Just a note about the 8gb storage, don'T forget that this is not an high-end devices, it is meant to be sold for low budget market.

For higher end devices, there is the HTC Titan(which i own and his a pretty Terrific beast), and the Nokia devices coming soon. Not to forget the Samsung Focus S.

Like Android, Microsoft is making devices for everyone and every budget which is pretty cool.


Then why won't they make a high-end version of this beautiful phone?

That's one nice looking phone. 3.8" is a nice size.

The lack of Duel-Core would put me off this though. We are closer to 2012 and dual core is starting to become the norm for all new android (and now ios) handsets.

RobertH said,
That's one nice looking phone. 3.8" is a nice size.

The lack of Duel-Core would put me off this though. We are closer to 2012 and dual core is starting to become the norm for all new android (and now ios) handsets.


Why would you need a dual core on WP? It's completely useless for now ...

Anthonyd said,

Why would you need a dual core on WP? It's completely useless for now ...

Most people will buy these on 18-36 month contracts. They're going to be dying for them by the time their upgrade comes around

Anthonyd said,

Why would you need a dual core on WP? It's completely useless for now ...

Future proofing (if there is such a thing). Why would you buy a phone right now and accept anything less?

I do like the design though. A lot.

RobertH said,

Future proofing (if there is such a thing). Why would you buy a phone right now and accept anything less?

I do like the design though. A lot.

Windows Phone, unlike Android doesn't need dual core. An update isn't going to need dual core (As they're keeping it fast otherwise), so why burn the battery faster than you need to? It's silly to say that you want dual core "just because"...

Need is an interesting word. iOS does not need Dual Core either. There are lots of Android handsets that are single core. Nothing needs dual core, its just faster with it - and who can honestly say they prefer a slower handset?

They can do what everyone else does and disable a core when its in standby, or clock it down when its doing lesser tasks? So battery life isnt a big deal.

Isnt it also silly to assume they will never go dual core because single core is enough and they are tweaking the OS. There is talk of dual core WP handsets coming soon, so wouldnt drop the cash on a *new* single core handset now.

Still only a 1GHZ snapdragon? What a joke! I will wait for the 1.5GHZ dual core and a higher rez. 8GB of storage, HTC has drop the ball on this. It's good for a prepay phone for $150.

ACTIONpack said,
Still only a 1GHZ snapdragon? What a joke! I will wait for the 1.5GHZ dual core and a higher rez. 8GB of storage, HTC has drop the ball on this. It's good for a prepay phone for $150.

Windows Phones don't need more, it's already perfect from what I can heard from WP-users.

Anthonyd said,

Windows Phones don't need more, it's already perfect from what I can heard from WP-users.

You will need to for the apps like games and any new feature that comes out later that needs higher power. The phone is 2010 and not 2011.

ACTIONpack said,

You will need to for the apps like games and any new feature that comes out later that needs higher power. The phone is 2010 and not 2011.


Please give me your cristal ball, it sounds usefull
If you look at the review, you'll see that the GPU performance doubled, but the CPU clock didn't doubled.

This, and the fact that the system is fast enough for now, no need for more power atm.

I can't wait for mine to arrive tomorrow now!

Yes I know the memory is limited, but I couldn't justify paying the £485 for the Titan with 16GB. The £329 for the Radar was far more palletable and I can live with the 8GB it comes with as its the same amount I'm using with my Desire.

As for the non removable battery, I've only had to take it out to switch Sim cards or micro SD cards.

So for users like me this phone is perfect and if you're worried about the other cons, just get the Titan or whatever Nokia will release.

The removable battery is an issue for me e

garychencool said,
wow no expansion for micro SD? not the phone for me right away.
I dont think any/most WP allows for expansion on storage the way the OS configures the storage i beleive

HD7, I've NEVER had to hard reset the device in the year that I have owned it. And YES, having a removable battery IS essential, especially considering I can get 3 brand new batteries AND a charger on EBAY for $10. HD7 has a HORRIBLE camera purple problem, I see they have fixed that, but still second to the IPHONES sensor hardware it seems.

No removable battery and only 6 gigs of storage make it an automatic 0/10 for me. Basically renders it unusable. The battery I could live with, but 6 gigs of storage makes it worthless.

JPXi said,
No removable battery and only 6 gigs of storage make it an automatic 0/10 for me. Basically renders it unusable. The battery I could live with, but 6 gigs of storage makes it worthless.

This might not be for you...but that don't mean it's not good.

JPXi said,
No removable battery and only 6 gigs of storage make it an automatic 0/10 for me. Basically renders it unusable. The battery I could live with, but 6 gigs of storage makes it worthless.

I believe its a Mozart replacement (based on the design) but 6GB is more than enough for an average user these days...
Hell i have 13GB still free on my HD7... Then again if i had a Zune Pass linked to my main account it could be a very different story

brent3000 said,

I believe its a Mozart replacement (based on the design) but 6GB is more than enough for an average user these days...
Hell i have 13GB still free on my HD7... Then again if i had a Zune Pass linked to my main account it could be a very different story

Yeah. And honestly storage I think comes after battery life. Because what's the point in having 40 GB's of music if the battery dies after a couple of hours? The battery tech needs some advancement.

And that's why imo phones are not ready to replace mp3 players.

Maybe one day but for now batteries are not good enough. And even a replacement battery is not an option imo as it's a mobile phone (key word here is mobile). If you need to carry a 2nd battery then it makes the phone less mobile.

For me one battery and 6GB is not a problem as i use my phone as a phone only. I have an Ipod for mobile multimedia duty.

This way i'm sure my bettery is good enough when i need to make or answer a call. Carrying a phone and a mp3 player is not really worse than carrying a phone and a replacement battery.

brent3000 said,

I believe its a Mozart replacement (based on the design) but 6GB is more than enough for an average user these days...
Hell i have 13GB still free on my HD7... Then again if i had a Zune Pass linked to my main account it could be a very different story

And I somehow have 11+ Gbs of just apps. Don't know how they took so much space.

Hm... I've never had my WP7 device crash ever... I'm really quite surprised by that statement to be honest...

As for the device, I love that HTC is now using larger batteries, but non-removable? That seems rather stupid. And the storage space would be a step down from the Trophy, which also makes no sense to me.

I've had my Titan crash twice whilst trying to answer a phone call, and even crashed first time I tried to set it up. It could just be HTC being daft. That being said I never had my Mozart crash at all.

Edited by ~Johnny, Oct 16 2011, 5:35pm :

M_Lyons10 said,
Hm... I've never had my WP7 device crash ever... I'm really quite surprised by that statement to be honest...

As for the device, I love that HTC is now using larger batteries, but non-removable? That seems rather stupid. And the storage space would be a step down from the Trophy, which also makes no sense to me.

Yeah i don't get it either....my HTC7 never had any crash issues...and i have it from launch day.

M_Lyons10 said,
And the storage space would be a step down from the Trophy, which also makes no sense to me.

The GSM HTC 7 Trophy has 8 GB of storage. On the other hand the Verizon HTC Trophy has 16 GB. And I do agree that 8 GB is too low.

Also I'm sure the Mozart's crashing issues I experienced were to do with a horrible baseband that crashed while pulling loads of data. Blame Telstra for a bad phone

Scorpus said,

The GSM HTC 7 Trophy has 8 GB of storage. On the other hand the Verizon HTC Trophy has 16 GB. And I do agree that 8 GB is too low.

Also I'm sure the Mozart's crashing issues I experienced were to do with a horrible baseband that crashed while pulling loads of data. Blame Telstra for a bad phone

Oh, O.K. It seemed odd to me as I've never had a problem with mine.