Windows Phone Thoughts: Give up! We have you (HTC) Surrounded!

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Give up! We have you (HTC) Surrounded!

Posted by Don Tolson in "HTC Windows Phones" @ 08:00 AM

Exterior Shots

Figure 2: As is befitting a typical WP7 phone, the front is rather simple and 'quiet'. At the top is the input for the earpiece. At the bottom are the three 'hardware' buttons for (left to right) previous screen, home, and search, as defined by Microsoft.

It's a shame that Microsoft (or HTC) didn't think about making these three buttons more 'active'. Although the icons are etched on the screen glass, they don't become active until the unit is powered on out of sleep mode. One of my peeves with the Surround is that the only way to 'wake up' the unit is via the Power button on the top of the unit. It would be a real bonus to be able to also press one of these icons as well to wake the unit up.

Figure 3: Absolutely nothing here on the left side. I wonder if Microsoft and HTC thought about our left-handed users out there???

Figure 4: On the bottom you find the microphone hole (just at the right side of the slot on the left of the picture) and the microUSB port for power and synchronization with the PC.

Just in case you were wondering, that slot on the left side of the picture is mostly for inserting your fingernail to remove the back of the unit. According to some of the forums, you have to be really careful doing this, since even though it's the way the instructions tell you to do it, you can damage the back panel so it won't fit back on 'tight'. That's what's happened to mine, I think.

Figure 5: On the right side of the phone, there's the camera button on the left side of the picture (near the bottom of the unit), and the up/down volume controls to the right (near the top).

The camera button is the only other button which can wake up the unit from its sleep mode, but you have to press and hold the button until the unit vibrates to get things going. After that, it starts up the Camera application. All told, the process only takes about 5 seconds, which isn't too bad, compared to other point-and-shoot cameras.

Figure 6: The top of the phone is probably the busiest as far as buttons, etc. goes with the power/sleep button on the far left, followed by a small hole (ambient light sensor?) and the headphone jack on the right. Thank goodness everyone has settled on microUSB for interface/power and 3.5mm for headphone/microphone sets!

Figure 7: The back of the unit is pretty minimalist as well, with the speaker on the left, the 5mp camera lens in the middle, and the LED flash beside it.

Figure 8: With the back off, you can see the battery in the middle (with the HTC logo), then the SIM card slot just beneath it. My suspicion is that there is a microSD card and slot hidden below that metal shield, but I didn't want to invalidate my warranty just yet. Besides, the Surround comes with 16G of storage which more than enough for me right now.

If you were wondering where the once-ubiquitous soft-reset button has gone, you missed it. It's been replaced by a power cycling (power off, power on) of the device. On the HTC 7 Surround (and I suspect many others in the future), you do this by a long press of the power button, waiting until the screen goes completely blank, then another long press of the power button until the unit vibrates, to turn it back on.

Figure 9: And voila! Look, you can slide out a pair of extra speakers with 'Surround Sound' capability from Dolby (TM). Personally, I would have preferred a keyboard in the extra bulk, but you takes what you gets....

Figure 10: When you slide out the speakers, it reveals a kickstand which you can use to stand the unit up for sharing movies, music, etc. with a (small) crowd of friends.:-)

Figure 11: The kickstand seems fairly stable, but I can't really see using it all that much.


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