The HTC Radar is the younger brother of the HTC Titan, a truly mammoth Windows Phone smart phone that rocks a 4.7-inch display. The Radar isn't quite so gigantic, but it's no less exciting, and could be a good deal cheaper. We've gone hands-on, so read onwards for our first impressions.
Design and feel
The Radar feels quite chunky, and it's definitely substantial too, feeling rather hefty in the hand. That's typical of HTC mobiles, and indeed it's fair to say HTC hasn't strayed from its established design formula -- the rear is a curved patchwork of metallic and rubberised textures, lending the Radar an industrial feel.
We're told the Radar will come in white, or in a more demure black. We were looking at the white version, which has silver trimmings, and we quite like it, though often we reckon the black editions of phones usually look a little classier.
Like all Windows Phone devices, there are three buttons along the bottom -- back, home and search, which you'll use to navigate the phone's interface.
Around the back you'll find a 5-megapixel camera, and there's a front-facing camera too, though it has a considerably lower (VGA) resolution.
Display and processor
The screen measures 3.8 inches on the diagonal, which is a large display by any measure, but is absolutely dwarfed by the vast HTC Titan. Still, we were impressed by the brightness of the Radar's screen, and icons and text looked very crisp.
On the inside, the Radar is powered by a second-generation Snapdragon processor, clocked at 1GHz. That's not as speedy as some other smart phones, but we didn't notice the Radar performing slowly at all. Our hands-on time was brief, so we'll need more time before we can say for sure, but this felt like a perfectly capable little phone.
Finally, there's 8GB of on-board storage, which will probably be enough for your music collection, as long as it's not too massive.
Windows Phone Mango
The Radar will ship running Windows Phone Mango, the very latest version of Microsoft's mobile operating system. It packs some fairly crucial additions, most notably multi-tasking -- the ability to keep apps running in the background and switch between them.
That's achieved by holding down the back button for a moment, which will put all of your running apps in a carousel across the screen. You can then swipe between them, tapping to select the one you want to dive back into.
You can also now sort your contacts into groups, and pin that group to the Windows homescreen. The little widget will then keep track of tweets, texts and Facebook updates from the people in that group. Handy if you want to keep track of a small circle of people, for instance your family, or your absolutely bestest best buddies.
HTC has added some goodies too -- there's a hub mode with attractive weather effects (and the signature HTC clock), something called Connected Media that will output your photos and movies to your telly via a DLNA connection, and HTC Watch, which is HTC's movie service. We're informed that logins for the Android version of HTC Watch will work fine.
There's also a dock mode, for when you're using the Radar as an alarm clock, or for when it's just sat on your desk. Dock mode displays on-screen information in an appealing widget-style display, which looks rather reminiscent of the default Android background on an HTC phone.
We didn't find anything particularly striking about the Radar, either good or bad. We suspect its success will depend on whether Windows Phone Mango can improve the number of apps it offers to compete with its iPhone and Android rivals. If the operating system itself starts to look tempting, the Radar feels like a decent little mobile, which hopefully won't cost you the Earth. Stay tuned for the full review.
Edited by Nick Hide