To help celebrate the upcoming launch of Windows Phone 7.5 (which we announced today is rolling out as an update for all current Windows Phone customers), several of our hardware partners around the world – HTC, Samsung and ZTE – unveiled brand new, cutting-edge devices running the latest version of Windows Phone. I was lucky enough to get a chance to play with preview versions of the hardware (well, two out of the three at least!) and I’m pretty impressed with what I saw; these new phones are light, sleek, and fast.
T-Mobile’s upcoming HTC Radar 4G was the first phone I had a chance to use. It’s a joy to work with as HTC did an excellent job of making a medium sized phone (it has a 3.8 LCD display) feel balanced and substantial. I suspect that’s largely due to the really well constructed unibody aluminum chassis, which by definition has more “heft” than polycarbonate. When you hold it in your hand, it feels almost like a polished stone – really good stuff.
Under the hood is a 1Ghz Snapdragon processor that delivers really snappy performance (especially coupled with T-Mobile’s 4G network, which is super-fast), and a 5MP camera with LED flash that performed well for me in office light, daylight, and in low-light conditions.
If you’re a T-Mobile customer, you’ll be able to get your hands on this one in time for the holidays.
Next I got a chance to work with the Samsung Omnia W, which is launches around the world, starting in Italy, later this October. This phone is smaller than the Radar, but just by a hair – it has a 3.7” display vs. the Radar’s 3.8” display. Even though it’s small, the display is beautiful. It’s SuperAMOLED so colors are clear and bright, and there is zero lag when flicking things around the screen even at high speed.
Where the Radar is smooth and rounded, the Omnia W has harder edges and a more squared off corners. It’s a very different feel than the Radar, but it works. I found the Omnia W to fit really well in my hand and my pocket, and I’m absolutely addicted to the screen. The combination of a wicked fast 1.4GHz processor and HSPA+ connectivity makes it speedy, too, and like the Radar the Omnia W sports a 5MP camera.
Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to handle the ZTE Tania, which was unveiled today at a trade show in Asia. The Tania has a 4.3” display, meaning it’s a bit bigger than the Radar and the Omnia W, but has similar specs – 1Ghz processor and 5MP camera. Since I didn’t get my hands on a device in time, you’ll have to make due with ZTE’s house pictures:
The Tania will be sold in several European countries later this year.
This is just a sneak preview of a few of the great new Windows Phone 7.5 devices that will hit the market around the globe in the next few months. Keep an eye on the blog for more first looks!