HTC 7 Pro vs LG Optimus 7Q vs Dell Venue Pro

The Windows Phone 7 handset manufactures did enough of their homework to make sure that they catered for as many people as possible, and one of those groups that might well have a smile on their faces is those who love a full, hard QWERTY keyboard.

We’ve already done you a round-up of what’s available and we’ve drawn up a fight, pound for pound, of the two most premium screen devices, the HTC HD7 vs the Samsung Omnia 7, so now it’s time to put the the slideout communicators toe to toe. Yes it’s the HTC 7 Pro vs LG Optimus 7Q vs Dell Venue Pro.

Size

Winner: HTC
117.5 x 59 x 15.5mm, 183.5g

Runner-up: LG
119.5 x 59.5 x 15.2 mm, 176g

Loser: Dell
121 x 64.4 x 14.9 mm, ?


Purely speaking as a lump in your pocket, the one that takes the prize here has to be the HTC 7 Pro. Looking at the volume of space it displaces in your trousers, it has the smallest footprint at 107.45. The LG Optimus 7Q or Quantum weighs a little less, but in fact takes up more room at 108.08. From that, we know it’s less dense and what that equals in the brain when you hold it in your hand is thinking it's a less premium product. Just one of those quirks of the mind.

Unsurprisingly, the big bugger is the Dell. The company is obviously too embarrassed to say how far it tips the scales, so until we’re told otherwise, we’ll have to take that to mean a very long way indeed. It’s by far and away the loser in this round, but that size will come into its own later on. For the record, it has a volume of 116.11.

Form Factor

Winner: Dell
Good looks and a smiley face

Runner-up: HTC
Nice angle keyboard

Loser: LG
Bit too normal


We’ll not hide. This category is rather on the subjective side and probably one we’d generally avoid if the slideout keyboards weren’t central to the phone experience. The HTC 7 Pro comes high up in our estimation because the action on the keyboard looks good and the angled screen is always useful when you’re trying to see what your thumbs are doing. What’s more, HTC seems to have done a pretty decent job of the keyboard itself. For us though, it’s the Dell Venue Pro that takes the prize. Not only does the portrait slide add a certain originality to the device, but there’s a couple of useful touches in the shape of the .com key and a key devoted purely to emoticons. The danger is that it’ll be too cramped to operate properly, but if it works for BlackBerry, there’s not many reasons why it can’t work for Dell.

Display

Winner: Dell
4.1”, AMOLED, 480 x 800

Runner-up: HTC
3.6”, TFT, 480 x 800

Loser: LG
3.5”, TFT, 480 x 800


It might be a lot bigger than the others, but then all that extra pocket uptake means that the Dell Venue Pro has a far superior screen. Not only is it a lot bigger, but it’s also more likely to be a better watch with the AMOLED technology behind it. It might not perform quite as well in direct sunlight but then, at the end of the day, neither do the LCD screens on the whole. You could argue that the others have a better pixel density given that they each haves the same Microsoft dictated resolution but when you’re talking mobile screens, it really has to be the size that takes precedent.

Engine Room

Tie: Dell
1GHz CPU, 512MB RAM

Tie: LG
1GHz CPU, 512MB RAM

Loser: HTC
1GHz CPU, 448MB RAM


For just about all of the WP7 handsets, the fix seems to be in. Each of them has the same 1GHz Snapdragon processor and the majority also comes with 512MB of RAM. Strangely though, the HTC 7 Pro comes in a little short at 448MB RAM, according to the product page, and for no apparent reason given that its four Windows Phone 7 siblings all come with the full half gig complement. Whatever the reason, what it does mean is that it loses points in this category and that the Dell Venue Pro and the LG Optimus 7Q should perform a little faster and a little smoother too.

Storage

Tie: Dell
8/16GB

Tie: HTC
16GB

Tie: LG
16GB


Since Microsoft has decided not to support removable storage, the choice for the handset makers has been either 8GB or 16GB with none of them daring to take it to 32GB, strangely, but there you go. We could offer some pedantry about Dell offering the choice for those with a smaller budget but, at the end of the day, it’s another tie. They’ve all got a good chunk of internal memory, but you’ll inevitably find it’s not enough after you’ve shot 8 days of HD footage. The trouble is, there never is enough space. Philosophical point, that one.

Imaging

Tie: Dell
5MP, AF, LED flash

Tie: HTC
5MP, AF, LED flash

Tie: LG
5MP, AF, LED flash


So, we’re starting to notice a pattern here. Microsoft insisted that a 5MP camera was the absolute minimum that any Windows Phone 7 handset should have and all three of these communicator devices have gone in just under the bar. Each has digital zoom - if you really must - auto-focus and an LED flash for snapping in the dark. They’ll also each shoot 720p HD video as well.

Connectivity

Winner: LG
Wi-Fi, BT, 3G, USB, DLNA

Tie: Dell
Wi-Fi, BT, 3G, USB

Tie: HTC
Wi-Fi, BT, 3G, USB


No huge surprises in this category. Each phone comes with b/g/n Wi-Fi to ensure the best level of wireless internet currently available; there’s no Bluetooth 3.0 but the 2.1 plus A2DP will certainly be sufficient and there’s also the standard 3.5mm jack and micro USB combo. The one thing that does stand out is the LG Optimus 7Q’s Play To feature which essentially makes it DLNA compatible with any other DLNA device you have sitting on your network. As a result, it's a very handy winner. Possibly the LG’s best charm.

Conclusions

It’s a very close run contest this time. With each manufacturer toeing the WP7 party line, the workings and the software experience should, on paper, be a very similar affair as Microsoft would have wanted. What really separates them then is the size, the form and the screen. While the LG and HTC phones are neater, for our money, it has to be the Dell Venue Pro that takes the prize as the best QWERTY handset of the three. The screen and therefore functional impact is going to be far better. It’s better for consuming content and better for creating it as well given that you’ll get a bigger view of what you’re trying to type as you do so. The only question marks are over whether the portrait style finger tapper is indeed going to offer as easy an action as the landscape pair.

As for the pecking order among the other two, it’s pretty even stuff. The Play To feature on the LG Optimus 7Q or Quantum is an excellent one, and of that there is no doubt. All the same, it seems to lack a certain extra class that the tilt screen and smooth looks that the HTC 7 Pro seems to provide. All the same, we’ll have to leave the final word, as always, to the PL labs.

So, that's our call on things but which of the three does it for you? All? None? One? Are are you more tempted by a straight candy bar version? Let us know in the comments.