Now, onto the less happy things. What we're most annoyed with is the positioning of the volume rocker -- it's OK for right-handed holding, but it's definitely too low for our left hand. Since the rocker isn't where we expect it to be, a lot of the times we found ourselves close to slipping our thumb on the metal instead, therefore also risking dropping the phone. Another problem stems from the camera -- HTC's cunningly sunk the lens glass below the ring to reduce the chances of the glass being scratched, but we have a feeling that due to the ring's sharp inner side, the lens has been trapping a lot of lint that way. And finally, we'd like to make a little complaint about the screen's two side edges: they're kinda sharp. Not the knife kind of sharp, but sharp enough to cause discomfort. This is particularly noticeable when we brush our thumbs across either edge, which almost feels and sounds like rubbing the edge of some paper card.
Just a quick note on the accessories: the handsfree kit is the same as the ones bundled with the latest Android handsets from HTC, i.e. over-sized and no noise isolation. Nice remote, but it's just too bad that the phone doesn't support double-tap to skip songs.
Unless you've been hiding in a cave over the last few months, you should be well aware that Microsoft's been laying some serious ground rules for strictly no skinning on WP7, which means companies like HTC can't port a similar experience from their Android or even Windows Mobile 6 offerings. To get around this, HTC came up with the HTC Hub app. Now, to be brutally honest, this is hardly a replacement for Sense; rather than a skin or even a widget, the Hub's more like a weather app stuffed with a portal to a handful of HTC apps.
Let's run through the apps quickly. Photo Enhancer is rather simple and self-explanatory -- you just load up a picture, apply one of the 14 filters (auto enhance, cinnamon, vintage, sepia, etc.), and then save the result as a new file. We'd love to see this built into the camera app, but we have a feeling that Redmond's already said no. Next we have Sound Enhancer, which offers a set of audio effects: Dolby Mobile, SRS Enhancement, and headphone equalizer. We weren't convinced by Dolby Mobile -- the resultant audio had a wider soundstage, but it also sounded very bland to us; SRS Enhancement, however, provided some interesting bass extension. The remaining HTC apps shouldn't need much explaining: Stocks, Notes, Converter, and Connection Setup (for carrier networks). They all worked flawlessly for us as well.
On our particular review unit, Orange has also thrown in a couple of apps: Orange Daily is essentially a news reader with Twitter and weather add-ons, but neither of those two features worked for us; the second app Orange Wednesday lets you check out new film releases and find nearby cinemas, but it was slow and buggy for us. Sounds like a premature app to us -- let's hope Orange can patch things up real soon.
Finally, we're now touching the last of the 7 Mozart's two selling points -- its 8 megapixel autofocus camera. The number sure sounds impressive compared to the other 5 megapixel WP7 phones, but as we all know, quality comes before quantity. Sure enough, our photos weren't as spectacular as we had hoped -- the one post above is the best of the bunch, while most of the rest are a too soft and appear washed out. Sadly, there's not much you can do about this in the camera app's settings, as it appears that HTC's chosen to keep things simple and have hidden all the various options -- ISO, EV, sharpness, metering, wide dynamic range, etc. -- that the Samsung Omnia 7 features.