HTC 7 Trophy

To many the HTC 7 Trophy, made by HTC and exclusively available in the UK on Vodafone, is the runt of the Windows Phone 7 litter. But is that really the case, and should you avoid it? Read on to find out.

Sporting a 3.8-inch screen (480 x 800 resolution) complete with three haptic feedback buttons (Back, Start, and Search), the design of the HTC 7 Trophy is plain and simple. It’s black and only black, with the only other detailing on the front being a silver bead that runs around that screen. The sides sport the usual power, volume, dedicated camera buttons, a 3.5mm headphone jack on the top and mini USB charging and connecting socket, while the back gives you a digital camera top and centre. The camera is flanked by the LED flash on one side and a speaker on the other. 

Slip the plastic backing plate off and you reveal a bright yellow interior and battery staring back at you. It’s something that you might be keen to show off, but that’s the only reason. With no swappable microSD card there is little to the design inside that you’ll be needing. Pulling the cover off won’t show you, for example, the 1GHz processor, the 576MB of RAM, the 512MB of ROM or the 8GB of storage.

Fire up your new Windows Phone 7 handset from Vodafone and it’s business as usual, and if you’ve played with any of the other Windows Phone 7 handsets you’ll know that Microsoft has been incredibly stringent in what operators and manufacturers have been able to do. Here it is no different from the other handsets and you’ll be swiping, sliding and fingering your way through those panoramic tiles in seconds - it really is very easy to use.

Vodafone hasn’t gone to town with apps in the same way Orange has with the HTC 7 Mozart, but does offer a “360 My Web” app that in reality is just a link to the operator's website - pretty lame.

Luckily, to get you started, HTC has included a bevy of its own apps like Flashlight, Love, or more useful apps like Stocks, Photo Enhancer, and Notes. Love, a strange one we have to admit, is an incredibly simple app that sees you picking petals off a range of different flowers, he loves me, he loves me not style. While that might help you pass a few moments on a packed train, apps included that are likely to feature more prominently in your life are the Photo Enhancer and the Attentive Phone app, that lets you control how your phone rings. It’s very clever. You can, for example, set the phone to automatically quieten the volume when you pick it up if it's ringing, or automatically switch to speaker phone when you flip the phone on its screen on a desk.

With the HTC HD7 boasting a big screen for movie playback, and the HTC 7 Mozart playing the 8-megapixel camera card, the HTC 7 Trophy doesn’t really have anything special to boast about.

Take the 5-megapixel camera for example. It’s there, gets the job done, but it's nothing to write home about. The images we took look good, while the video doesn’t allow for any controls once you press record, but does offer continuous autofocus, something of a double edged sword. You can capture at 720p resolution, but you’ll have to remember to select that setting. Like the HTC HD7 and the HTC 7 Mozart, the camcorder resets back to 640 x 480 (VGA) every time you exit, which is frustrating. The camera's constant attempts to autofocus can lead to your video being jerky especially on a moving subject, something you need to watch out for.  

While there are some post-production options via the Photo Enhancer you also get some “arty” features in-camera as well like the chance to shoot greyscale, Sepia, Solarize, and Negative.

Other media features include an FM radio (which needs attached headphones), Dolby Mobile and SRS support. When you've got your headphones or external speakers plugged in you can opt to turn an equaliser on which does help to boost the sound quality. However, you can't do this with the phone's internal speaker. 

Call quality is good overall, although when we were using the phone's mic for speaker calls we were told that we sounded "tinny", but the good news is that if you are using this phone as a phone, then you'll be happy with the performance. No-one complained about voice quality in our tests. 

Battery life comes down to how you use it, but we were able to get a full day of use on it before we had to look for the charger. Sitting on the desk without using it the phone lasted a whole weekend before we started getting “Battery critically low”, after which it still sat there for a further 12 hours at least.

As for the Windows Phone 7 interface, we aren’t going to cover that here. If you want to know more about the ins and outs of Windows Phone 7 we would recommend you read our dedicated Windows Phone 7 review on the mobile operating system.

Verdict

It’s not the prettiest, nor is it the most feature-packed Windows Phone 7 handset out there, but what the HTC 7 Trophy offers is a cheap entry point into the new Microsoft eco-system. In the UK, the HTC 7 Trophy is free with a £25-a-month contract. That’s HTC Legend territory, making this an affordable smartphone without you having to break the bank either in the initial purchase or the on-going monthly costs.

That said, you might find if your friends have gone for other models within the Windows Phone 7 family, you may quickly become rather envious of what they can do and you can’t.