HTC 7 Pro review

A Windows Phone 7 handset with a slide-out hardware keyboard. Is this smartphone heaven for business users? Chris Finnamore flexes his fingers and finds out.

The keyboard does come in handy when taking advantage of Windows Phone 7's messaging and document-editing features. As discussed in our HD7 review, Windows Phone 7 lets you create Microsoft Word and Excel documents, but not PowerPoint presentations, from scratch.

Documents are organised in the Office Hub, and you can also edit documents emailed to you as attachments. It's also simple to set up Windows Live and Gmail email accounts, and sync your mail, contacts and calendar with either service - although you'll have to delve into the menus to enable Google Calendar sync, which isn't turned on by default.

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Unfortunately, Microsoft still hasn't enabled support for spaces in Exchange user names, so we were unable to set up our corporate email account on the 7 Pro. Our company does have an unusual user name allocation policy, but checking around the web reveals that we're not the only ones.

The slide-out keyboard also draws attention to another of Windows Phone 7's peccadilloes; it's not particularly cut out for prolonged use in landscape mode. As mentioned above, sliding out the keyboard takes a certain knack, so once we were settled using the phone in landscape we wanted to stay that way. Unfortunately, this involves using certain apps, from the main menu to Bing Maps, with sideways icons and text. Messaging and Office switch to landscape automatically, but we would prefer a fully landscape-optimised OS. Admittedly, the iPhone also has inconsistent landscape support, but turning it on its side and back again is easier than flipping a keyboard in and out.

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