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HTC Radar review

 Review: November 2011  

Rating: 4 stars

In a nutshell: The HTC Radar is a mid-range smartphone running Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango). Crafted from a single piece of aluminium, the Radar has more of a premium feel about it than most phones, but in most respects it's competent rather than outstanding.

Today's best buy: HTC Radar Sim Free Windows 7 ... from Amazon (£119.99)



If you're looking for a Mango-powered smartphone that doesn't cost too much and isn't too big to fit in your pocket, the HTC Radar could be your phone. If, in addition, you enjoy owning a phone that looks premium and feels like it's been built to last, you'll be a happy bunny.

The Radar doesn't have the headline-grabbing 4.7 inch screen of the HTC Titan. In fact, it has an unexceptional specification when compared with other smartphones. It's competent, but not outstanding when it comes to megahertz, gigabytes and megabitspersecond. But it's most definitely a looker. "Crafted from a single piece of metal", according to HTC, which makes it sound like a precious artefact they discovered deep underground and brought back to the surface for us mortals to enjoy. But whatever the hype, it's a phone that looks and feels the part, and also has enough smartphone functionality to stand its ground against the competition.

Running Windows Phone 7.5, the Radar is distinctly different from common smartphones. Its tile-based user interface with live elements works well, provided you enjoy squares and rectangles a lot. The Mango update has ironed out a lot of the annoyances that were present in the first release of Windows Phone 7, and there's improved Facebook and Twitter integration and better messaging all round. Plenty of useful apps are available, but not the mass of apps-for-everything that you'll find with Apple or Android. But this is a phone for grown-ups. Still missing is Flash support in the web browser, and we suspect that Bluetooth problems still lurk.

The exterior of the Radar may be premium, but we can't say the same for the innards. The 1GHz processor is oh so 2010, and with only 8GB of built-in memory, of which just 6GB is available to the user and no option to add a memory card, some users are going to run out of memory quite quickly. On the other hand, there's a very powerful battery giving excellent battery life by smartphone standards (2 days or more), and plenty of connectivity including Wi-Fi and HSPA for fast data access.

The camera is surprisingly good too. Although it's rated at just 5 megapixels, the BSI sensor and large aperture f2.2 lens combine to great effect for capturing shots even in low light. There's an LED flash of course and autofocus too. The inclusion of a physical camera button is a welcome feature. The video is of high quality too, capturing 720p HD movies with a secondary VGA front camera.

Musically the Radar performs well, like all Windows Phone devices. The Zune software makes a refreshing change from iTunes, and sound quality is excellent. There's even support for 5.1 surround sound. We just wish a microSD card had been included.

Bing Maps works well, which might come as a surprise if you thought only Google knew how to find their way from A to B. And the web browser (Internet Explorer 9) is excellent as well, with full support for JavaScript and HTML 5, but not Flash videos. You can watch youtube videos though, through a special app. Facebook and Twitter work well too.

So, while you won't find the plethora of apps that iPhone owners have become used to, you'll nevertheless find a phone that does everything most people will want to do. Windows Phone 7.5 is different, but not in a bad way. You might even love it. The phone looks good and feels like it will last. Sadly it won't though, and in a year or two you might be wishing you'd opted for something faster with more memory. The Radar is a good phone, but sadly HTC didn't take the time to make it an outstanding one.

HTC Radar features include:

Best buys
HTC Radar Sim Free Windows 7 ...
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HTC Radar, Smartphone metal ...
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HTC Radar user reviews

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Average rating from 12 reviews:

Reviewed by steve from uk on 22nd Apr 2012
Great phone really easy to use, the only thing I would like to see that let's it down for me is no flash player, so the likes of BBC are not available to view. Maybe an app will resolve this in the future,? If anyone knows please shout up :)

Reviewed by rohan from india on 9th Apr 2012
htc radar is mind blowing phone.look of radar makes me crazy.i m going to purchase it. there r some lack of features like 8gb memory,5mp camera. htc can increase memory to 16 gb,and 8 mp camara with 2 led flash light.over all this mobile is fantastic.

Reviewed by Jez from UK on 27th Mar 2012
I previously wrote that I was very pleased with my Radar, however I have come back to advise others not to buy one.

Microsoft do not appear to be supporting this phone as there hasn't been an update in months and currently Bluetooth does not work. I occasionally need to talk while driving using my phone and the BT does not connect for more than 15 seconds. This has become very frustrating, especially as it is not possible to rollback updates.

If I knew this before, I would have avoided this phone.

Reply by peter from london on 5th Apr 2012
if an update caused this then you can click on update in zune and then restore to the previous update, there is an option. But that's the reason my next windows phone will be a nokia, cause they are fully behind the platform, htc efforts are half baked. Mh htc mozart has been excellent though, I love it so no need to update to another windows phone yet.

Reviewed by Bev from UK on 19th Mar 2012
I dislike this phone. The quality of the photographs is variable. There is no memory card. It has so many issues it should be in re-hab. Sync with zune is confusing, it crashes and freezes randomly. The sound quality is poor. It is very quiet and tinny.

Reviewed by chris from uk on 23rd Jan 2012
great phone, well pleased especially at the price

Reviewed by Craig from UK on 18th Jan 2012
Had this phone a little while now. Cannot fault it. It runs quickly, WP7.5 is very smooth and so far, no crashes or freeze issues. Battery life is superb too in my opinion. Much better than my Desire. Sync with Zune is great, easy and quick and the music sound quality is superb although I'm using a good pair of in ear buds not the stock ones. My other half has had a WP7 phone (Trophy) since day one and still has no issues. I've had iOS and just changed to this from Android and I think Microsoft are finally getting it right. I think I will be staying...

Reviewed by fozzy from UK on 13th Jan 2012
Very underrated. Better than my Nokia Lumia (which I've now stopped using due to the terrible battery life). Battery still over half full after a whole days use. Smashing handset and a nice alternative to Apple and Android.

Reviewed by ben wilson from england on 1st Jan 2012
I got this phone 2 days ago. I previously had a galaxy s and love android. But,to my surprise in loving this phone at the min. If like me,rooting phones and adding custom roms,this ain't the phone for U,well not at the minute. The specs of the phone actually go unnoticed as the radars a fast little bugger. The screen doesn't feel any different to a galaxy s1,probably the deep blacks Samsung have is the difference. I would recommend this phone if U are lookin for a total social route,quick nifty phone,it won't let you down.

Reviewed by tesh from uk on 8th Dec 2011
Gotthe radar as part of my upgrade along with galaxy ace, sony tab s and some fhat desktop speakers. Wasnt expecting mad specs but htc seem to have done well with 7.5. the phone is smooth and easy to use. Downsides include no expandable memory and bluetooth issues otherwise this phone is great value

Reviewed by Splatt from UK on 22nd Nov 2011
Have been using HTC Radar for about 3 weeks now. Generally happy with it and WM7.5, but connectivity is a problem - It won't see my Sony in-car units (or anything else) via Bluetooth, Zune on my PC can't see the phone via USB, and Orange Mobile TV is totally non-functional. I am hoping that HTC/Orange/Microsoft can give me a fix.

Reviewed by Chris from UK on 2nd Nov 2011
This phone is brilliant!!! Whilst I take your point about the lack of on-board memory, everything else is just fine. The "low spec" if you like, really isn't a problem as the Windows 7.5 system works a hell of a lot better than android did on my old HTC desire. As for Bluetooth, I have found it to work seamlessly with my Parrot car kit.

Reviewed by Craig from UK on 1st Nov 2011
This is very good phone. Battery life is decent: used 20% in two hours of heavy use. Windows Mango is a nice-looking OS that works well. The amount of apps available impressed me more than I expected. Windows Marketplace is definitely NOT threadbare by any means. I like the live tiles, and the people hub, however, I was disappointed that social notifications have no audio alerts so you don't know if you have an new mention unless you look at your phone. The screen is a good sizeónot too big or too smallóand the device itself feels good in the hand. The screen and camera are good quality and work well. One thing I wasn't impressed with was the quality of the speaker (not while in-call) when playing music or using speaker phone, as to me it sounded a little muffled and of low quality compared to say the Bold 9900. For a 1ghz processor and 512mb of Ram, this device zips along nicely. Certainly worth consideration at the price it costs.

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