HTC has bought into Microsoft’s Windows Phone smartphone operating system in a fairly big way, and now has several handsets in its portfolio. One that rather dropped under the radar (pardon the pun) at its initial launch was the HTC Radar. The mobile phone has now been out for a few weeks, and runs the latest Windows Phone version. Is it a good buy?
Average can be good
There’s certainly nothing on the HTC Radar to blow you away, in terms of outstanding features. This is a fairly average sized phone, compared with what’s around these days, with a 3.8-inch screen and a standard Windows Phone screen resolution of 480×800 pixels.
The handset does feel comfortable to hold in the hand, thanks to a quite solid metal chassis – while at the same time not being overly heavy, at just 137g and it is relatively pocket friendly, at 120.5 x 61.5 x 10.9mm. The chassis has a ‘unibody’ design, with the backplate folding round into the long edges. This all means that the battery is inaccessible, and to get to the SIM card slot you have to remove a small section on the back bottom of the chassis.
Windows Phone characteristics
The HTC Radar has to comply with some standard Windows Phone specifications to meet Microsoft’s approval. One of these is the screen resolution that we’ve already noted; another is that there can be no memory expansion. So, there’s no micro SD card slot, and you’ll have to be content with 8GB of internal storage.
The Microsoft requirements also mean that there are three very familiar under-screen buttons for Back, Search and Home functions. This is accompanied by a look to the software that is very distinctive and cannot be skinned. Windows Phone handsets do tend to look very similar to each other anyway, so this isn’t too much of a drawback.
The general specifications are impressive with a 1GHz processor assisted by 512MB of RAM. There are faster and better supported processors around, but the HTC Radar performed well enough during our tests.
There’s a front facing VGA camera, and the main camera shoots 720p video and stills to the tune of 5 megapixels. This is the standard resolution for a quality smartphone these days, though some stretch to 8 megapixels. There’s an LED flash to help with low light photography, though of course this can only achieve so much. Built into the phone is a camera button on the right edge of the chassis – something you’ll find in all Windows Phone OS driven handsets.
HTC adds some extras in its efforts to make Windows Phone its own and to stand out. The HTC Hub is an important one. This gives you access to weather information and news as well as stocks and shares information. There is also the HTC Locations feature, which allows you to share locations easily with other people, and the HTC Connected Media is a DLNA application for media sharing over WIFI. On the downside there’s no support for Flash, so streaming video from web sites is hampered.
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- Great chassis build; fast responsive processor.
- No memory expansion; can’t access the battery; no Flash support.
The HTC Radar is a solidly made handset, and it’s a good size for the hand and pocket. Although, without memory expansion and Flash support it feels hampered. There’s no particular standout feature to lure us in, while the Windows Phone OS is something of an acquired taste.