The HTC Radar 4G: A Consolidated Smartphone for Staying Connected
Sometimes trying to balance work, family, and friends becomes a juggling act. I like to remain informed with what people in my social network are up to while focusing on my own activities, too. That way I never miss a beat even when life gets busy.
The HTC Radar 4G smartphone from T-Mobile offers a sleek and compact way to stay in the loop. This phone allows you to see updates straight from Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. With a feature called the People Hub, you can choose the social network personal accounts you want to appear in your contact list and access them directly from the device.
The phone also enables efficient group texting or emailing with an easy, Pinterest-like way of organizing friends in categories and then “pinning” groups to the start screen. For instance, I can send a group text to my women’s tennis team to meet at the courts at five. In addition to texting, the Radar uses Windows Live Messenger for fast communication. With the advanced speech capabilities, you can create a text message with your voice – a handy, safer way to respond in a conversation while on-the-go. You can also use this voice activation to search the web through Bing.
In addition to keeping in touch with others, the Radar offers a few convenient services for organizing your own information. The phone allows you to converge multiple email addresses into one inbox, and the “conversation view” mode can recall and track email exchanges with a particular person. The Radar can also sync calendars so that all of your scheduling information stays with you when you travel.
Also crucial for traveling either with family on vacation or for business, the Local Scout by Bing gives local advice. This feature offers recommendations for activities, restaurants, and shopping places nearby. The HTC Hub gives information on current time and weather forecast.
The Radar can also multitask just like a busy Mom. It allows you to play music in the background while easily opening and using other applications. You can also surf the web with impressive speed using the Internet Explorer Mobile app with hardware acceleration. Additionally, you can download or make your own ringtones. The home screen also includes features for photo enhancing, tracking the places you’ve been, and jotting down notes.
In terms of entertainment, the Radar gives a wide selection. The Marketplace, an online store for the Radar, offers over 35,000 apps and games for the phone or a PC. This online store carries 90% of the most popular apps on other platforms, such as Apple. The preloaded HTC Watch app allows you to rent movies and view them directly on the device. You can also browse and download music from Zune. And, to keep kids entertained, Xbox LIVE is built straight into the phone.
The design of the Radar utilizes a modern, minimalist approach. Crafted from a single piece of aluminum, the phone looks sleek, feels thin and light, and roughly matches the size of an iPhone. The large 3.8 inch screen offers high visual and text quality and, along with the interface design, makes the phone easy to use. The search, back, and home buttons below the screen enable swift navigation. I also like the efficient web and app loading when I surf or open multiple applications.
The downsides include a non-removable and irreplaceable battery and no power to exceed the built-in 8GB of memory storage. The 5 mega pixel camera works well in low lighting and produces surprisingly crisp photos. The camera lens on the front of the phone, however, does not offer the same high quality as the one on the back and really cannot capture images adequately. The back camera can also make fun movies with autofocus.
The Radar was definitely created with PC users in mind, which made the phone somewhat difficult for me to adjust to as an avid Mac user. For instance, I use services traditionally compatible with Macs, such as iTunes, Safari, and Google, which all feature prominently on the iPhone. I have a little more trouble navigating Zune, Internet Explorer, and Bing, the Radar equivalents, because of my lack of familiarity with them. If you are a PC user, however, you might feel like you can jump right in.
Overall, the HTC Radar stands out for its networking capabilities that can keep you connected on a busy schedule. The Radar also offers a vast array of organizational, travel, multitasking, and entertainment tools that place your world in your fingertips.
The HTC Radar 4G is available at T-Mobile stores and online at www.htc.com.
Disclosure: Mom Central received a sample HTC Radar 4G to facilitate this review.