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Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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Windows Phone 7 Hardware First Impressions

Microsoft and its hardware partners announced five new handsets intended to distribution by U.S. carriers. InformationWeek takes a look at each of the five new smartphones.

Three new Windows Phone 7 devices are headed to AT&T and two are headed to T-Mobile. Others were announced for carriers in Europe and Canada. InformationWeek went hands-on with the five devices headed for U.S. shores. In all, they are very similar to what we've come to expect from Android handsets, through each has its own unique design queues.

Microsoft's Windows 7 Revealed
(click image for larger view)
Microsoft's Windows 7 Phone Revealed

Common specs include bright displays, 1GHz processors, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, 3.5mm headset jacks, and generous internal memory (16GB).

Dell Venue Pro

This one was a bit of a shocker to see. I don't think anyone expected Dell to come out of the gate swinging with a WP7 device. The Venue Pro is the only vertical slider in the bunch. It offers a similar screen size and resolution to the competition, but pops up to reveal a compact QWERTY keyboard underneath.

The overal fit and feel of the Dell Venue Pro is pretty good, though the form factor increases the thickness of it somewhat. The materials felt good, and the rounded edges make it feel good in the hand.

All WP7 devices have the same three buttons on the front: Back, Home and Search. Each does what it says, and mimics the buttons' behavior on Android devices. The controls on the outer edge all felt good, though they are a little bit on the small side.

As for the keyboard, the buttons were a wee bit cramped, but typing on it didn't feel bad at all. I would have preferred to see some more specialized keys, such as "www" and ".com" but it wasn't difficult to interact with the function keys or shift keys, which are key.

The display looked great. Dell didn't spell out too many details about the display's specs, but in person is dazzles.

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