The front of the HTC Surround is pretty standard fare. There’s the ambient light sensor and proximity up at the top just to the right of the HTC logo, and the three required WP7 capacitive buttons at the bottom. Thank goodness that the order of buttons is standardized, from left to right: back, windows, and search. The capacitive buttons on the Surround actually work extremely well and have proved much more responsive than I’m used to them working on other devices. Perhaps because they’re spaced out and have a much larger active area. Capacitive touch on the display itself is also thankfully responsive and accurate. The entire surface is unbroken glass.

Though the Surround does not have an AMOLED display, rather just a normal TFT LCD, I found it decently contrasty in normal use on auto brightness. Unfortunately, at maximum brightness, the black levels on the Surround aren’t quite as good as other devices we’ve looked at. 

Brightness Comparison (White Point)
Phone Low Medium High
HTC Surround 10.4 nits 183.1 nits 405.7 nits
LG Optimus 7 130.4 nits 259.1 nits 381.2 nits
Samsung Focus 61.9 nits 143.1 nits 234.3 nits


Brightness Comparison (Black Point)
Phone Low Medium High
HTC Surround 0.03 nits 0.39 nits 0.88 nits
LG Optimus 7 0.28 nits 0.56 nits 0.82 nits
Samsung Focus 0 0 0

Display Brightness Display Brightness Display Contrast

The Surround looks slightly warm next to the Fascinate, Nexus One, and iPhone 4. It's very subtle, but still detectable with the eye. 

Click to enlarge (huge version)

Again, all WP7 devices are the relatively standard 800x480 WVGA resolution - the Surround’s 3.8” size gives it a fairly decent 246 pixels per inch. WP7 actually has very good subpixel font smoothing on normal LCD displays - I’m very interested in seeing if or how subpixel font smoothing is implemented on the AMOLED devices PenTile pixel matrix. 

Viewing angles on the Surround are very good. Outdoor visibility is decent as well, but the Surround is noticeably more reflective than other phones. That said, it’s still more readable than the non-super AMOLED display on the Nexus One. Part of what makes the outdoor readability story on WP7 a bit different is that (unless you've changed it) most of the time you're looking at white text on black. As you've no doubt noticed in my photos so far, that makes reflection and fingerprints on the screen surface even more visible.

Auto brightness on the Surround seems to work well, however the dynamic range of brightness never seems to extend to the maximum and minimum brightnesses you can set manually. The result is that in complete darkness, the Surround isn’t dim enough. Interestingly enough, I haven’t really found myself wishing for more brightness in the converse situation.

Physical Appearance Camera - Stills
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  • leomax999 - Sunday, November 14, 2010 - link

    Why dont i find a Nokia/SE phone review here in AT?
  • strikeback03 - Monday, November 15, 2010 - link

    There is an N900 review, that said as most are not available on US carriers, it seems unlikely the companies are going to send out review units to the press in countries where the phone won't be officially carried that often.
  • craig0ry - Monday, November 15, 2010 - link

    I'm sorry to post this here, but I have been trying to make my mind up about my next phone and I keep checking this website for the G2 review. I've read the preview... but I want the review before I jump ship to WinPhone7. Did I miss it somehow?
  • Brian Klug - Monday, November 15, 2010 - link

    Hey Craig0ry,

    I'm still waiting on T-Mobile to send a G2 my way. We definitely haven't forgotten and plan to do the full review as always when it gets here.

  • banvetor - Monday, November 15, 2010 - link

    Hi Brian,

    Thanks for the feedback. I understand that it is tougher for you to get international devices, but since more often than not they are not THAT different from the US ones, it is not such a big deal.

    Anyway, for me a smartphone without a data plan is still very useful: it serves as my mp3 player, as my camera and as my portable gaming machine... in the case of my nokia, also as my gps! Do you need more than that? ;)

    Looking forward for your next smartphone review!
  • amdisbetter - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    Is there going to be a review from AnandTech for the other WP7 phones as well? I'm looking to get the LG Optimus 7 this December since it seems the Samsung Omnia 7 isn't going to be offered in Canada :(
  • teohhanhui - Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - link

    I always find myself wishing I have a smartphone when I'm without a PC and need to check on something, or just do some quick browsing. In most of those times, there are actually free WiFi hotspots around. Unless data charges get much much lower (a.k.a. reasonable), I can't justify spending that much on unnecessary activities while on the go.
  • Torgrimson - Saturday, January 15, 2011 - link

    Try out this program ... this program was the only way to format and use a different SD micro that I had with my wii for hacking.

    Let me know if it works!
  • dravidkotak - Tuesday, December 20, 2016 - link

    htc phones are great . Better are slide ones

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