With the HTC Trophy, HTC has the very unenviable task of introducing the world to Windows Phone 7 while staying true to Microsoft's very rigid mobile vision. In a WP7 world filled with black slate phones, we've already seen HTC try to mix things up with the huge-screened HTC HD7 and the speaker-iffic HTC Surround. Without any of those bells and whistles, does the HTC Trophy measure up? Let's find out.
Photos: HTC Trophy Unboxing
When you first lay eyes on the HTC Trophy, two thoughts pop into your mind. The first is "hey, it's sexy," and the second is "it's an iPhone clone!" And really you wouldn't be wrong about either of those thoughts. The Trophy is a very simple, understated black slate device whose design will immediately bring up thoughts of iPhones.
Physically, there isn't much on the phone. Windows Phone 7's three capitative buttons (back, start, and search) sit under the phone's 3.8 inch screen. A volume rocker and microUSB slot are on the left side of the device, a dedicated camera button sits on the right side, a 3.5 mm headphone jack sits on the top right side and the power button rests on the top left corner. The phone has a five megapixel camera with single LED flash and speaker on the back.
Internally, the Trophy's hardware is standard 2010 smartphone fare: 1 GHz CPU, 576 MB RAM, G-Sensor, digital compass, proximity and ambient light sensors, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluethooth 2.1 and so-on and so-forth.
The phone's lack of extravagant design is a blessing and a curse: we found ourselves a little (just a little!) bored with the design, but at the same time, we were happy with the build quality: the lack of moving parts means that this is a solid phone that shouldn't break on you.
We were a little disappointed to see that the Trophy came with only 8GB of internal storage. Of course, we know that the Trophy phone does have a microSD card inside of it, but seeing as how it's locked away from the users we would have preferred more storage space. For a phone that's being billed as a gaming machine (HTC's got a little video game controller scribbled on the box), the Trophy's diminutive storage space was disheartening.
The Trophy's display was quite the pleasant surprise. Colors absolutely pop on the screen, we were able to use the phone from a variety of viewing angles. Videos looked excellent on the Trophy. Add to that very solid touch response times, and we found ourselves very happy with the device's screen: an important thing, considering it's virtually the only way to interact with the phone.
Unlike their previous Windows Mobile and Android offerings, there is very little HTC enhancement to the WP7 core. The Trophy runs as close to stock Windows Phone 7 as Microsoft allows. We say "as close to" because HTC has made a few tweaks: most notably the installation of the HTC Hub, which contains the HTC animated weather that we've all come to know and love. Also installed is HTC Photo Enhancer (which works like a lite version of Photoshop Express and lets users apply filters to their photos), Stocks (which is your basic stocks app) and Notes.
What's striking about these apps isn't their inclusion, however, but rather how out of place they feel on Windows Phone 7. With Sense or TouchFlo 3D, HTC was allowed to spruce up the entire OS and make everything feel more uniform. With Windows Phone 7, however, HTC's apps don't mesh with the design sensibilities of Microsoft's core OS. It's a bit jarring to go from WP7's understated Metro UI, with its white on black and primary colors, to the HTC Hub, where users find themselves flying through the clouds. We hope that Microsoft and HTC will find a middle ground in future version of the software, because right now the HTC Hub feels very un-Windows Phone 7.
As we mentioned in our initial impressions of Windows Phone 7on the Trophy, the phone operates blazingly fast. We're not sure whether it's because of 1 GHz processor, the lack of multitasking or some HTC tweaks, but the Trophy absolutely sang: scrolling through lists with the greatest of ease, opening up the camera app quickly, and rotating web pages from portrait to landscape instantly. Perhaps we're just jaded after using Android for so long, but we actually found the performance of the HTC Trophy to be refreshing.
Unfortunately, the Trophy's camera was not nearly as impressive. The phone took very cell phone-like pictures, with noticeable noise. While it's certainly not the worst phone we've come across, this certainly will not be your main shooter.
The HTC Trophy is perhaps the personification of Windows Phone 7 right now: it's a solid, unspectacular phone that has a few issues holding it back from greatness. Perhaps we've been spoiled by HTC, because we know they can do amazing things, or perhaps Microsoft is limiting HTC is more ways that we first figured, but there's nothing about the Trophy that screams "must buy."
Is it a bad phone? By no means. It runs a solid mobile OS very, very well, it has a great screen, and is built very well. However, the small, un-upgradeable storage space and mediocre camera keep it from reaching the upper echelon of today's smartphone offerings.
So should you buy the HTC Trophy? Well, really that depends on if you're dead set on getting a Windows Phone 7 device. If you're up for any smartphone, the HTC Desire HD is perhaps the pinnacle of HTC's hardware at the moment, and Android as it currently stands is far more powerful than Windows Phone 7. However, if you seriously must have a Windows Phone 7 device, then the HTC Trophy will be a decent, and perhaps only decent, choice.
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