OVMumPMekXQW8/uI7JcaqA== A L L 4 M O B I L E: new HTC Surround Review

new HTC Surround Review

HTC Surround Review

The HTC Surround is part of the first batch of Windows Phone 7 devices to arrive on the U.S market. It has been designed to be a great music companion, thanks to its powerful sliding speaker. This seems like a perfect companion for the Zune Pass, the music rental subscription service from Microsoft. I know, building a speaker-smartphone is a bit of a strange idea, but I’ll keep an open mind. Most importantly, I’ll focus on what Windows Phone 7 is capable of and whether or not it stands a chance in this uber-competitive smartphone market. With a fresh and ultra-fast user interface Microsoft’s new entry in a market that it once-dominated might make more waves than many would have thought just a year ago.HTC Surround Review
You can place shortcuts of people that you call often: here Eliane and the Ubergizmo office

Dialing (two taps minimum): by default, the phone app goes to the call history instead of the dialer. I’m not su
re how odd it actually is, but it’s unexpected to say the least. From the phone app, you’re one tap away from the contacts, dialing pad and voice messages. If you really have a few favorites, it’s probably better to pin their contact card to the home page. I found that to be a great way of having my most dialed numbers at hand. There’s no direct dialing shortcut, so it takes at least *two taps* to call someone. Overall, it is very easy to call someone, or a number (there is a dialpad too).

HTC Surround Review
After tapping on the contact, you need a second tap to take action and call

HTC Surround Review
Searching a contact is really simple – and fast!

Searching for a contact: Searching for a contact isn’t hard at all: you just need to go into the People screen, press the Search button and type a name. If you have few contacts, you might get away with going into the People screen and scrolling a little. As I suggested above, you can also add contact shortcuts to the homepage.
HTC Surround Review
Wireless Reception: I always point out that the quality of the network mostly depends on where *you* live/work. It doesn’t matter if a network is “the best” on average if you live in a “dark spot”. Before you choose a network, get some real information by asking your friends and people around you. This time around, I had almost no issues with receiving calls and fetching data over the 3G network. I say almost because there were times when it was hard to get the data to work. Again it depends on where you are, but in downtown San Francisco the AT&T network is known to have a few holes.
HTC Surround Review
The sound quality is good, no problem there

Call audio quality (good): The sound quality of this phone is better than average for this class of smartphones. The sound is clear (not muffled) and loud enough for most usages. I’m not sure how that would work in the very loud restaurant or club, but other than that you should hear things very decently.
HTC Surround Review
Microsoft has the best virtual keyboard – good job on that one!

Virtual Keyboard (excellent): The Windows Phone 7 virtual keyboard looks minimalistic, but it is *excellent*. First of all, it is extremely responsive and that means that you can type faster: the phone will keep up with the pace at which you enter letters (many phones don’t follow if you’re adding spaces or characters very quickly). People don’t typically type very fast on a sustained basis with a virtual keyboard, but it is frustrating when the phone doesn’t react fast enough when do you type very fast, in short bursts.
Secondly, my error rate is lower than with the iPhone 4, which I considered to have the best virtual keyboard until now, for its size (4.3″ displays do help a lot with typing speed). Finally, Microsoft has integrated a good word suggestion feature that doesn’t think that it is smarter than me. I can select a proposed word, or simply continue to type. On the iPhone 4, the phone insists on being smarter than you are, which is very annoying if you use technical words, slang or a foreign language.
Bottom-line: this is the first virtual keyboard that is clearly better than the iPhone 4′s in my opinion. Now don’t get me wrong, I like things like Swype, but I just haven’t got myself used to “swyping” and it is more natural and productive for me to use the traditional “tap”. If you don’t know what swype is, you have to try it at least once.
Windows Live ID: WP7 is a Microsoft product that is connected to many Microsoft web services. Because of that, you will need to create a Windows Live ID. Note that you don’t have to get a new email on live.com or hotmail.com. I’ve created a Live ID using an existing email.

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