Five touch-sensitive buttons for Call/Home/Start Menu/Back/Call End sit underneath the screen. Although we don’t necessarily see the point in having touch-sensitive buttons and conceptually we think there are too many of them, they’re responsive, easy to operate, and are backlit when in use so we have few practical complaints.
In the box you get a universal modular power supply, a wired headset with in-line mic (with foam earphone covers and a lapel clip) and a USB to micro-USB cable. The power supply can theoretically take a variety of input voltages and socket formats but you only get the UK socket adapter in the box. As for the headset, its earphones provide adequate voice and music delivery in quiet environments but they lack noise isolation for louder ones.
As touched upon earlier, HTC has heavily customised the standard Windows Phone interface with its HTC Sense tweaks. The most obvious change is the homepage layout, which has changed from a simple vertical list of programs to a widget-driven set of slideable screens. The first includes a combined weather/time/date app along with links to the alarm app, call history, and calendar. Flick upwards on the screen and you’re greeted by a grid of shortcuts to your favourite apps.
Sliding the screen to the left moves you onto the next screen, which by default is your list of favourite contacts that are arranged in a grid – a link at the bottom of this page goes to a full list of contacts. Continue to flick pages right and left and you’re greeted by further screens filled with various combinations of widgets and shortcuts including a Twitter feed, a photo and video viewer, a comprehensive weather app, an email viewer, a web browser page that includes a grid of shortcuts to your favourite pages as well as a search bar, a calendar, and a settings list. Tap the menu button that sits in the bottom right corner of the main homescreen and you can customise which screens (or tabs as HTC calls them) you want to appear and in what order.
As well as flicking the screens left and right you can either tap on the icons/tabs that run along the bottom or place your finger on the highlighted tab and drag it left and right to quickly get to the tab you want. All told, it’s a very slick system and some of the tabs are very useful. However, it doesn’t quite live up to the usability of the Android UI that let’s you completely customise widgets and shortcuts to whatever layout you like. Also some of the widgets are too clever for their own good and we’d actually prefer them to be simpler – the picture viewer, for instance, shows a fancy animated flip book where a simple grid of thumbnails would have been preferable.