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Posted on October 11th, 2010 by Nicole Kobie

Windows Phone 7: The UK handset line-up

Microsoft has finally shown off the hardware that will run Windows Phone 7. Six phones are headed to the UK, five of which will show up 21 October (for some unknown reason, Dell’s Venue Pro is delayed until “before the holidays”).

Here they are in all their photographic glory, with some of the key specs.

To start, there’s a trio from HTC:

HTC Windows Phone 7

On the left is the HTC 7 Mozart, in the middle is the HTC HD 7, and on the right is the HTC 7 Trophy. HTC also has two other Windows Phone 7 handsets launching in the US, with no word yet if they’ll come to these shores.

The 130g HTC 7 Mozart features a slim aluminium body and 8MP camera, and, given the name, is unsurprisingly a music-focused phone, with Dolby Mobile and a nice set of built-in speakers. The Mozart is available only on Orange, and is free on contracts starting from £35 a month.

The Trophy focuses on gaming with a 3.8in touchscreen and and 5MP camera, and weighs in at 140g. It’s only available on Vodafone, for free on a £25/month, two-year contract.

The HD7 has the largest screen in the UK lineup, with a 4.3in AMOLED and kick stand to prop it up — handy for watching movies on the go. It weighs in at 162g and is available on O2 for £379 or free with a £40 contract.

All three come with a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, and feature HTC’s Hub software, which will be familiar to anyone who’s used an HTC Android device.

LG Optimus 7

This is LG’s Optimus 7, which features its own specialised software including the ScanSearch augmented reality system, voice-to-text, and Play To for multimedia sharing. The hardware offers a 5MP camera with panoramic system, 3.8in WVGA LCD display and 16GB of internal memory. The Optimus is exclusive to Vodafone, and available free on a £30 contract.

Samsung Omnia 7

Samsung is kicking off its Windows Phone 7 lineup with the Omnia 7, featuring a 4in Super AMOLED screen, 1GHz processor and 5MP HD camera with LED flash. The Samsung will be widely available, including on Three, T-Mobile and Orange.

Dell Venue Pro

The business-friendly Dell Venue Pro is the only UK-bound phone to so far include a QWERTY keyboard, but it won’t arrive in October. A Dell spokesperson assured us it should arrive before Christmas. Its 4.1in, AMOLED screen features scratch and shatter-resistant Gorilla Glass.

Which is the best?

So my very, very early verdict? They’re hard to tell apart. (Some demo staff had even written the model on the back of the phone, so it’s not just me.)

Microsoft has set some pretty strict guidelines about what these phones need to offer, so they’ve ended up looking and feeling very similar. The HTC HD7 has a larger screen, but otherwise using it feels little different than the smaller HTCs. And the Dell has a slide out QWERTY keyboard, but tuck it away and it’s interchangeable with the others.

Likely, one will emerge as a standout once the full reviews come in. However, even if they all are that similar, it may not actually be a bad thing. The phones offer a consistent user experience, while letting customers choose a larger or brighter screen, sharper camera, or QWERTY keyboard.

Imagine if you could pick up an iPhone with a slide out keyboard, or pay out a bit extra for a better camera, rather than only have the device differentiated on storage space alone?

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17 Responses to “ Windows Phone 7: The UK handset line-up ”

  1. steve tea Says:
    October 11th, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    Too little, too late from a tired and jaded Microsoft. Another market they failed to dominate when they had the opportunity.

  2. Muck Says:
    October 12th, 2010 at 7:13 am

    I think that may be your wish rather than true speculation steve. There’s every chance that the people that use Windows will consider this over the iPhone because of tighter integration plus the fact that they won’t have to use the god awful iTunes. It’s definitely far more polished than the Android OS which is just an iOS clone.

  3. Scott Says:
    October 12th, 2010 at 9:49 am

    I have to disagree steve tea – I know plenty of people that are holding off smartphones waiting to see what MS have to offer. Apple is nice, but very expensive. Nothing wrong with more competition is this space – I’m not going to ignore the MS offering just because they arrived late. Why not wait for the full reviews?

  4. Mike Baldwin Says:
    October 12th, 2010 at 9:58 am

    Sync with Outlook & calender.Built in MS Office support.Sync with Xbox.It’s like a Pocket PC (remember them)with a Phone attached.Whats not to like.

  5. AnonnyMuss Says:
    October 12th, 2010 at 10:19 am

    The smartphone market is still growing as a whole. At least a significant minority, if not majority of people still use “featurephones”. Plus, as economic development occurs in Asia and elsewhere, the total number of smartphones is only going to increase.

    Microsoft are not late at all in the global sense, but they do have to catch up from behind in the US and some of Europe (including the UK).

  6. JohnF Says:
    October 12th, 2010 at 10:23 am

    Early reviews are really very positive and microsoft simply has to do well here or pull themselves from this market completely. The whole company is pushing this initiative and I think it will succeed in giving android a good knock. Cheaper and easier than iphone, but apple have the edge in design and a loyal fan base. Overall it can only do the marketspace and consumers a good turn.

  7. Steve Cassidy Says:
    October 12th, 2010 at 10:45 am

    I think there’s loads of people who will think they should avoid this platform, on principle, like Mr Tea here: but those who actually stand in front of it are very likely to dive in. For me, the incremental difference between a £150 Android phone and a £500 iPhone is not worth £400 in my day to day use – I haven’t stretched my original iPhone, never mind the 3G updated one in my pocket now. I have already been tempted by Android, and then put off by the phenomenally idiotic layers of “customisation” imposed by networks – finding an “un-customized” android phone is far harder than it should be. I hope Win mobile 7 really does take off, because it’s been a long time since we have seen MS responding to being an underdog; I suspect that their tight aesthetic control and the oodles of room below iPhone pricing could well work in their favour.

  8. Ed O'Sullivan Says:
    October 12th, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    I don’t see why Microsfot have decided to release the phone exclusive to one operator – surely it’s be better to get them on all networks to allow for greater take up. Are they being released SIM-free at all?

  9. Austin Says:
    October 12th, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    I was a big fan of the iPhone for some while… until I realised what iTunes wouldn’t let me do and the amount of content I can’t access through Apple’s controls. I have been waiting for 8 months since my contract ran out for Windows 7 mobile to come out, and here it is. I can’t wait to see the reviews and get hold of one of these very very soon. Bye bye Apple, I am voting with my feet.

  10. nick allison Says:
    October 12th, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    I have been using a Windows 6.1 phone (Touch HD as it happens) for the last 20mths on Orange. And I have to say it does everything that I want it to do, straight out of the box, and then more with add on programmes from XDA Developers and others. Office Mobile, Outlook synchro, Acrobat Reader, a CAD Veiwer, Programmes that I can write to do tasks that I want to do.
    Ok iOS may do some of these things much better, and Android is open, but neither ticks all the boxes.
    Just hoping that Win’ Phone doesn’t kill all of these in an all out bid to take on Iphone, at which they will fail.

  11. Lee P Says:
    October 12th, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    I’ve played with some of the WP7 models and… they’re fantastic to use. And I daresay they really are among the first truly *smart* smartphones. When the first reviews appear, you will not be disappointed.

  12. Ben Says:
    October 12th, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    The iPhone was amazing when it came out but the OS has never been that clever. It’s just taking the rather tired desktop of icons and putting it on a phone.

    Android was a little more adventurous but still very much the same.

    Windows Phone 7 seems to me to be the first truly innovative interface for a phone. Clearly they threw out the rule book and started from scratch.

    I’ll be very interested to play with one.

  13. Mike Says:
    October 12th, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    Integration is key for me. And as a pc user outlook integration to be more precise. i’ve kept away from iPhone because of this. Blackberry is great as the office machine but not great as an app tool but this looks great for as an all rounder for me.

  14. Mark Says:
    October 12th, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    shame there is nothing on Vodafone’s website yet!! not even on coming soon section…and they’re supposed to be available from 21st???

  15. Richard Perriss Says:
    October 12th, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    It’s great that there will be a choice of handsets, but… the networks have gone and ruined it with their stupid exclusivity deals. I like the look of the HD7 but O2 coverage where I live is poor. The HTC Mozart may turn out to be great, but Orange have done their usual thing and ‘Orangified’ it and filled it with their own software and look. I realy hope they bring out some SIM free versions.
    By the way, any signs of UMA on any of the phones? The network coverage is not good for any of the networks where I live (middle of a city!).

  16. Black Skunk Says:
    October 14th, 2010 at 7:42 am

    Sounds a great idea. I would welcome a W7 phone. Why learn a new OS when you can use a similar one. Also I think there are a lot of people that would buy a W7 phone with a good mp3 player and camera. Why have 3 units when you can have one. I have looked at lots of phone reviews by experts and the public. Cannot find one that is good with everything. It can’t be that difficult to put together a real killer phone surely.

  17. Stokegabriel Says:
    October 15th, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    Will Apple be holding a mock funeral of a Microsoft Phone7 will it commit suicide? or is it already dead in the water?


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