HTC Surround 7: Initial Impressions

I finally got rid of the BlackBerry Torch today.  Although I enjoyed it the first couple of days, after using it for more than a month, it felt like more of a chore to use rather than an enjoyable experience…especially when RIM’s slogan is “LOVE what you do” (barf).

The BlackBerry Torch is a fitting name, considering how fast the battery life diminished on medium use (10% battery by 4pm – let’s see how well the Surround does).  BlackBerry Messenger (the only reason why I got the Torch), because extremely annoying extremely fast, and quite frankly, is a useless feature.  I rarely used it (even though I had almost 65 contacts), and the whole thing about messages being ‘delivered’ and ‘read’ was more of a hindrance rather than a benefit.  If I read a message and didn’t respond right away, the other person thought something was wrong or I was just ignoring them.  How about “I was busy.”  Can’t people wait 10-15 minutes to receive a message?  Yeesh.

And don’t even get me started on the battery pulls.  My God.

Enough of that.  After getting the bad taste of RIM out of my mouth, I perused Best Buy Mobile in search of my next phone.  Windows Phone 7 was getting a lot of media attention among the tech junkie bloggers, and I could now see why.  It’s a fresh and totally revamped platform (similar to Palm’s brilliant webOS) that ditched almost everything about the terrible Windows Mobile 6.5, and it’s actually usable.  And it works pretty darn well too.

The model I got the was the HTC Surround 7, and it’s probably one of the better Windows Phones that were recently launched.  The screen is a solid 3.8-inch LCD with a 480 X 800 resolution, a 1GHZ Snapdragon processor, and 16 GB of internal memory.  But the real selling point of the phone is the slider-esque speaker bar, which is touted as having ‘SRS WOW Surround Sound’.  Let me tell you one thing: it is LOUD.  And not the shitty kind of loud; it’s actually surprisingly decent once you compare it to the Torch or iPhone 4.

The Apps and the ‘Live’ Tiles are brilliant.  Everything is rendered beautifully and take advantage of the gorgeous 3.8″ display; everything pops to life.  For instance, take the Facebook app.  It has everything that you would get if you use the actual website, sans the Chat, and it looks wonderful, and is really fun and enjoyable to do (compared to the ancient and troublesome BlackBerry Facebook app).

There are just so many other things that I’ve yet to discover with Windows Phone 7.  One other awesome feature is the Zune integration and how tight of a media player it is.  Very intuitive to use.  More pluses and minuses to come once I discover them!

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