By March 21, 2011

HTC 7 Pro Review

HTC 7 Pro

I have been using Windows Phone 7 for some months now but here in the UK we have only had one method of text input and that is with a touch screen. Not anymore though. The HTC 7 Pro has arrived and brings us an alternative, a slide out QWERTY keyboard.

Now, although I am a BlackBerry user I did use the HTC Touch Pro 2 for a year so I am no stranger to a horizontal keyboard. So I set myself a challenge. To write all the text for this review on the 7 Pro.

How did I get on and how impressed am I with the HTC 7 Pro?

You will need to read on to find out.


What’s in the box:

  • Device
  • Battery
  • Wall Plug
  • Sync charge cable
  • Headphones
  • Manual/Starter guides



The Ten second Review:

  • Device: HTC 7 Pro
  • Price: £424.80 (inc VAT)
  • Summary: As good as you can currently get on Windows Phone 7 with the added bonus of a hardware keyboard.
  • Best of: Great keyboard and mechanism, super web browser, easy to use.
  • Worst of: Camera, lack of multi tasking, lack of copy/paste.
  • Buy it now from: Clove


HTC 7 Pro specification:

  • Operating System: Windows Phone 7
  • Processor: Speed 1GHz
  • RAM: 576 MB
  • ROM: 512 MB
  • Internal Storage: 8 GB
  • Display/Screen: Touchscreen 3.6″ WVGA, 480 x 800
  • GSM/GPRS: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
  • 3G/HSPA: 900/2100 MHz
  • Bluetooth: 2.1 with Enhanced Data Rate
  • WiFi: IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
  • Facebook: Yes
  • Device Controls: Keyboard 5 row slide-out QWERTY
  • GPS: A-GPS
  • Camera: 5 Megapixels autofocus with LED flash
  • Sensors: G-Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Light Sensor
  • Battery: Capacity 1500 mAh
  • Dimensions: 15.5 x 59 x 117.5 (mm)
  • Weight: 185g with battery



On the top of the HTC 7 Pro is the power button as well as the headset socket.

HTC 7 Pro-left-open

HTC 7 Pro Top

The bottom (which is also the right when the keyboard open) houses just the microphone hole. Thanks for the confusing photos Matt!

HTC 7 Pro-right-open

HTC 7 Pro Bottom

Over on the back of the 7 Pro we have the camera lens, flash and a speaker grill. Note the nice metal battery cover.


HTC 7 Pro Back


The left side of the phone (when closed) houses the up/down volume controls as well as the MicroUSB port.


HTC 7 Pro Left Side

And then finally we have the right side which is totally bare with no ports or buttons.


HTC 7 Pro Right Side



So, lets start with the hardware. Straight out of the box my first thoughts were that this is a chunky phone but then i realised that it would be, it has a full QWERTY keyboard of course.  And to go with its thickness you clearly get some extra weight which personally I don’t mind. I prefer a slightly heavier phone. It is normally a sign of a better build quality. And with the HTC 7 Pro this is true. It feels pretty rock solid. This is partly due to the battery cover on the back which is metal. Opening the battery cover for the first time was a little challenging. I couldn’t see a way to do it. So much so that I actually got the quick start guide out. Turns out that there is a wee notch that is only visible with the keyboard open. Silly me!


While we are mentioning the keyboard I may as well give you my thoughts on it as it is certainly a key feature with the 7 Pro.
To be honest, I found it a real dream to use and this is why I decided to write the review on the device itself. HTC are no strangers to sliding QWERTY keyboards. I have two in my collection, the Touch Pro 2 and the Desire Z so I will use these to compare. The mechanics on all three devices are slightly different.





HTC TP2, HTC 7 Pro and HTC Desire Z

HTC 7 Pro HTC 7 Pro

HTC 7 Pro vs HTC Desire Z            HTC 7 Pro vs HTC TP2


HTC 7 Pro

HTC 7 Pro vs HRC Desire Z battery covers

HTC 7 Pro

HTC 7 Pro keyboard from the side


The amount of force required to open the device is the greatest out of the three, although it is not a huge amount so don’t be concerned. Once fully open the screen automatically flicks up to a suitable angle for viewing the screen if laid on a flat surface or for typing. However when it comes to typing I would actually prefer the screen to be flat with the keyboard. I suppose this will come down to personal preference and how you position your hands when typing. On both the Touch Pro 2 and the Desire Z this is not an issue. The Desire’s screen remains level with the keyboard and on the Touch Pro 2 you have the option to tilt the screen to the angle of your choice.
Onto the important part, the keyboard. As I said earlier it is a real joy to use. Compared to the Desire Z it is way better in my opinion. Not only are the keys bigger but you get an extra row on the 7 Pro which includes dedicated number buttons.

I do have a build quality issue with the sliding screen I am afraid to say. When you slide it open the screen is a bit wobbly. Imagine that you use slightly more force with your left thumb than the right. As you slide one side can be a few mm’s higher than the other. Lets hope it stands the test of time.



HTC 7 Pro Keyboard

Its closest match is with the Touch Pro 2 which until now has not been beaten in terms of horizontal keyboards. The size of the buttons and the layout are extremely similar. Where they differ though is the material used. On the Pro 7 the keys  have a softer feel to them. You still get a proper click when a button is pressed which always helps. Which do I prefer? Good question. I’m undecided. They both rock!
One button I really liked on the Touch Pro 2 was the dedicated messaging key on the bottom left hand side of the keyboard. This has been replaced on the 7 Pro with a smiley’s button 🙂
Once pressed, 27 smiley’s pop onto the screen and you touch the one you wish to use. You can also scroll to a second page containing another 27.
I suppose in this day and age where we are using social media sites more and and expressing our feelings this is a natural progression so losing the messaging button is no big deal. After all, getting to the messaging app couldn’t be easier with WP7 due to the live tile.
One last comment on the keyboard and it is another positive one. When you start tying the keys light up. I suppose you would expect this but I thought I would mention it as they look really pretty. About five seconds after you stop tying the lights switch off which I presume is to save battery life. A nice touch.
With the HTC 7 Pro having this glorious keyboard you do still get the option to use an on screen keyboard if you want to. I found myself using this for quick messages or when using Twitter. It also works in landscape mode and will automatically appear on screen if the hardware keyboard is closed. I love the onscreen keyboard on WP7. It feels great to use and makes a super popping sound each time you press a key. The HTC 7 Pro screen is not the biggest and so using the on screen keyboard is easier on some other devices but it doesn’t really matter as you have the proper keyboard.


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HTC Desire Z vs HTC 7 Pro               HTC TP2 vs HTC 7 Pro


Now because we have already reviewed a few Windows Phone 7 devices and the operating system is the same I am not going to go into massive detail with every feature. Chances are that if you are reading this you have more than likely read our HTC 7 Mozart, LG Optimus 7 or HTC HD7 reviews.
What I will do though is show you the best features with the device and give a brief summary.
Once again you will have to forgive my screen shots. There is no way of capturing screens with WP7 yet so I have relied on my camera.


Starting with the home screen and this is made up of live tiles. The screen scrolls vertically to allow you to view all the tiles. The tiles can be moved around and more added so you can sort of customise it to make it how you need it. The colours can be changed too. The background colour can be either black of white but the tiles can be one of eleven colours.


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Notifications will be shown at the top of the home screen as well as the lock screen. When on the home screen they will not always be present but a press of the screen at the top will show you any messages that have come in as well as your signal strength and Wi-Fi connection.


You will notice that under the screen we have three touch sensitive keys. These are a requirement of WP7 and consist of a back, a home and a search key.

At the top right hand side of the home screen is a white arrow. You can either touch this or just swipe the home screen to the left to enter the main menu. Here all the the applications are listed vertically and the more apps you download the longer the list will be. They are in alphabetical order so finding the app you are looking for is pretty simple.

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The calendar on WP7 is pretty sweet. Like all things on Windows Phone 7 it looks good and is easy to use. You can view the calendar by day, agenda and month. Entering an appointment or reminder is as easy as tapping the time you want on screen and filling in the boxes. You can add an attendee if you desire and the calendar entry will be emailed to them. I love that!


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I cant complete a review without mentioning a social networking app as most of us use them now. The WP7 Facebook app is very user friendly and a real joy to use. Like most things on this OS you have various tabs at the top of the app that a swipe will take you to. Keeping an eye on what your friends are up to is a piece of cake.


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I think the Facebook feature that really excels on WP7 is the photo section. Viewing photos and commenting is made easy and when it comes to your own photos you can change your profile picture, tag, comment or delete all from within the app. Sweet.

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Email is generally more important to people on a Smartphone and there are various options available. Within the settings menu is the set up accounts option. Here you can set up your Outlook, Hotmail, Yahoo, Google or any other email accounts. The process is quick and once done you will get a live tile on your home screen.

Slightly deeper within the email settings you can tweak the settings and here is where you set your refresh times to receive email. With Outlook you obviously have the option for mail to be pushed instantly but with the others the quickest sync I could find was every 15 minutes which I thought sucked a bit.


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The web browser on the HTC 7 Pro is is quite a beauty in my opinion. Scrolling and page rendering is smooth. Zooming is achieved by either a double tap of pinching like on most other Smartphones these days. At the base of the screen you will see three icons. These let you quickly access your bookmarks, add a bookmark and tabbed browsing. Along the bottom right side of the screen just under the displayed web page you will see a series of three dots. A press here will take you deeper into the settings where you can make a few tweaks such as whether you view the mobile or desktop versions. Over all browsing is great on any WP7 device.


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Mapping is a pleasant experience on the HTC 7 Pro. There is no voice guided navigation but if you need to find things nearby then the Bing integration is perfect.

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I am not overly keen on the WP7 Marketplace I am afraid to say. Although it is dead easy to use and i believe there are now 10,000 apps I just find that I don’t seem to want many of the apps. I love playing games on my iPhone 4 and I suppose I am comparing the WP7 marketplace with Apples App Store. With my iPhone I can look at the ‘top’ games and I normally want to download most of them. I cant say the same for WP7 yet, but I suppose it is still early days.

On the few games I did download that I liked I found that game play was superb. The screen responded well and I would say that gaming is on par with the other platforms.

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The Zune integration however is fantastic. If you like to listen to new music then getting a Zune Pass is money well spent. A $14.99/month Zune Pass subscription gives you unlimited access to millions of songs you can stream on your PC, Xbox 360, Windows Phone 7, or Zune HD.

As you can see in the photos below the user interface is quite beautiful and it really is a joy to use.



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When it comes to actually playing music I had both good and bad results. Using just the external speaker was pretty awful to be honest. Extremely tinny. With the supplied earphones was a different matter all together. With the SRS surround sound option turned on the 7 Pro delivers a fantastic quality of music much like on the HTC 7 Mozart I reviewed last year. The supplied headphones are not the most comfortable but with the handset having a 3.5mm jack you can always use your own.


The video camera on the HTC 7 Pro is capable of recording in 720P HD which is pretty much standard these days on high end Smartphones. The quality was ok but certainly not as good as some others I have tried. See a sample below:

HTC 7 Pro sample video

I found both good points and bad with the still camera on the 7 Pro. At 5 megapixels you would expect really good results but I got mixed ones. I found that in good sunlight the camera performed well, but when it was overcast, as it is so often here in the UK, the quality really took a nose dive and I struggled to capture good photographs. Is the lens a bit too small? Maybe.

2 HTC 7 Pro 1HTC 7 Pro T7576_000025

One of the hardware requirements of Windows Phones is having the dedicated camera key and although I have always been a fan of these I have really gone of them now. I find using a touch screen button produces better images and I think this is because you are not putting pressure on the top of the handset therefore keeping it more stable. Just saying.


Tweaking the settings in Windows Phone 7 is a piece of cake. As you can see there is nothing complicated about changing the settings. Everything is laid out in a nice straight forward and easy to understand user interface.


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We mustn’t forget that the HTC 7 Pro is a phone and it makes phone calls! Clarity was on par with the other high end devices on the market at the moment. Once you launch the phone you are presented with three icons at the base of the screen. Phone, history and people. The people icon will launch into your contacts where you can either scroll through them or search by pressing the magnify glass icon on the screen.

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If you are the type of person that likes to create Office documents on the go then you wont find a better experience than on the HTC 7 Pro if you ask me. I mentioned earlier, I decided I was going to write the text for this review on the device and I have. Well, most of it. I did about 80% and then went off the idea!

Creating, writing and exporting was as simple as can be. By using the hardware keyboard it frees up the whole of the screen for the document and once you get into it you kind of forget you are writing on the phone and just get on with it. Where Windows Phone 7 is let down in a big way at the moment is with the lack of copy/paste. It will be with us soon, in an update, but if you rely on it heavily then you will struggle until Microsoft pull their finger out!

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Last but not least we have battery life and on the 7 Pro it was pretty impressive and you shouldn’t have an issue with it getting you through the day. With most Smartphone’s now I am afraid that the days where batteries lasted for days are now gone so you had better be prepared to charge every night.



The big factor when considering a Windows Phone 7 device is that do you need a hardware keyboard. If the answer is yes than the HTC 7 Pro will be the obvious choice. If you are not digging the keyboard then you have lots of other touch screen WP7 devices to choose from, the HTC Mozart being my favorite.

If you are currently a Smartphone user I wouldn’t recommend switching to WP7 just yet. I seriously think you will miss many features of your current platform whether it be Android, Symbian, webOS, iOS or BlackBerry. The lack of proper multi tasking is the platforms major fault.

My biggest issue with the HTC 7 Pro is a software one and has no reflection on HTC. With a horizontal slider you would expect all the apps to work in landscape as well as portrait. Well they don’t! There is nothing more frustrating than to keep rotating the phone and opening and shutting the keyboard just because loads of the applications do not support landscape mode. How freaking stupid is that! It really got on my nerves.

However, that is not to say that things may be different in the future. I think Microsoft will continue to update WP7 and bring more features over time.


Posted by: James

Posted in: Phones, Reviews
Tags: ,

About the Author:

Five year veteran of the site. BlackBerry specialist, but experienced in most operating systems. Enjoys flower arranging and cross stitch.
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