The HTC surround is a unique smart phone with a slide-out surround speaker system. The speaker system makes the phone a little heavy, but to some, that extra weight adds to the sturdiness of an already solidly built phone. For music lovers, the sound is good and the kickstand is useable.
If you are in an area where AT&T service is good, you will find this phone performs well and has everything you need to make calls, get email, send texts, surf the web, take photos, take movies, play music, play videos, etc. However, if you are a Twitter user, you will find better integration with other operating systems. If you are a casual gamer you will find more games available from the iTunes App Store or the Android Marketplace, as Microsoft’s app store is still very limited.
The HTC Surround runs Microsoft’s new operating system: Windows Phone 7. Microsoft put a lot of thought into the Window 7 Phone operating system: the interface is fluid and intuitive. Although this new OS is very useable, we were aggravated by the lack of landscape mode usability, which was especially detrimental when trying to listen to music using the kickstand. We also missed flash and cut and paste. While Apple could get away with omissions like this because they were the first out of the smart phone gate, at this point in time, these omissions cannot be so easily overlooked.
If you are already vested in the Microsoft environment, a Windows 7 Phone will be easy to integrate with your Microsoft Live, Zune, and Office programs. Although we didn’t test it, the Surround will also integrate with Microsoft’s XBox LIVE gaming device.
If you have to learn the Microsoft eco-system and phone operating system, it will not be terribly difficult, but we feel that Apple’s iOS is slightly easier and Google’s Android OS is more customizable.
- Solid and sturdy design
- Very good surround speakers
- Camera excellent in low light
- The ability to take a picture without unlocking the phone
- Fluid interface
- Kickstand for hands free viewing and listening
- 16 GB built-in memory
- Office integration
- Limited support for landscape mode
- Speakers add to weight of the camera
- No cut and paste
- No flash