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HTC 7 Trophy review

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Summary

Our Score:

8

User Score:

Upholding its tradition of strong support for Windows branded mobile phone software, HTC announced five devices at the launch of Windows Phone 7, three of which are already available. The HTC 7 Trophy is marginally the cheapest of the three due to slightly more modest hardware but thanks to some neat design it's still well worth checking out.

You can pick the phone up SIM free for around £430 but if you want a contract it's exclusively available through Vodafone where it's free on 24 month contracts above £25pm. A £20pm contract will require £199 up front.

What appeals so much about the 7 Trophy is simply that it's so well designed. The button-less glass front and black plastic body, delineated by a silver bevelled edge, gives it a wonderfully simple yet elegant style. In contrast, prize the battery cover off and there's a gloriously vibrant yellow interior that, just as with the HTC HD Mini, is utterly pointless but at least for the first few moments you play with it brings a smile to your face.

Despite using less premium materials – i.e. plastic rather than metal – for construction of most of its body, this phone also feels reassuringly solid, something that's given away by its weight of 140g. While the soft-touch plastic used on the back does tend to rub away to a shine over (a long) time, it makes the phone comfortable and secure to hold while it's still in tip top condition.

The three touch sensitive buttons incorporated into the glass of the front look superb and are nice and responsive. In fact, just as with the Samsung Omnia 7, they're almost too sensitive, making it relatively easy to accidentally press them.

Not suffering from the same problem are the volume and power buttons, which are a tad mushy, though not to any particularly worrying degree. The position of the power button on the top edge combined with the lack of any physical buttons also means you always have to reach up to the top of the phone to unlock the screen – somewhat inconvenient when you've only got one hand free. It's a common mistake made nowadays but it's no less mildly annoying.

Round the sides are the usual selection ports and buttons with a headphone jack joining the power button on the top edge, the volume rocker and a microUSB socket on the left edge and a camera button on the right. We hate to keep banging on about it but it really can't be said enough how useful a button for the camera is – well done Microsoft for making this standard. Meanwhile on the back is the five megapixel camera with its LED flash.

Slightly less well thought out is the fact the power button, if held down, can still turn the phone off even when the screen is locked (there's no confirmation screen). It's unlikely, but not the most practical design decision from Microsoft (again, this is a standard thing with Windows phone 7).

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

Hingy

December 10, 2010, 6:27 pm

Has your photographer been on the juice?

Ed Churchward

December 10, 2010, 7:15 pm

WP7 devices have proximity sensors that detect if the phone is in a bag or pocket and will not take pictures even if the camera button is pressed. Great feature which I have tested on my HD7.

Mattj

December 10, 2010, 7:27 pm

Is it a good idea to have someones phone number on page 2?

Ed

December 10, 2010, 8:01 pm

@Hingy: Nope, that was me not having time to go back and try that shot again. Will fix when I'm back from holiday.





@Ed: My mistake. Thanks for that.





@Mattj: Only that of my test SIM but I shall nonetheless remove it. Thanks for pointing it out.

rav

December 10, 2010, 8:03 pm

These WP7 reviews are all much of a muchness.

wiganite

December 10, 2010, 8:23 pm

You can turn off the option to allow the camera button to wake the phone up. It's hidden in settings/applications/phone and camera.

Trevor Totten

December 10, 2010, 9:42 pm

A little off topic, but will you guys be reviewing the Orange San Francisco at all?

JohnH

December 12, 2010, 11:04 pm

In general all the WP7 reviews here seem a little out of touch. Statements like:





"iOS, Android, or WebOS users will probably find it a bit limiting and too unfamiliar."





are at odds with lots of the positive feedback on the web. Those jumping ship by seem to be very happy. In fact, those that have tried the OS (in general) seem to love it.





Also, anyone thinking about buying a WP7 handset needs to think not just about what they are getting off the shelf today but also what they may get in updates over the lifetime of their contracts.





I'm fed up with reviews putting people off by going on about copy and paste and multitasking. Those are pretty much non-issues. The January and February updates should nail them.





I bought in knowing that within a year my phone would be transformed massively. You might not have noticed but MS are going for this big time. Time will tell if they pull it off but even though we don't know the outcome we know they will be delivering all they can as soon as they can. That's pretty exciting when you consider how long you'll be keeping a new phone for.





I appreciate you can only review what's in front of you but that can't be used as a lazy excuse to ignore the bigger picture. I really hope your next WP7 handset review is more than a rewrite of those that have come so far. There is so much more to say and more important questions to be asked.

Runadumb

December 13, 2010, 2:38 am

@JohnH


"I'm fed up with reviews putting people off by going on about copy and paste and multitasking. Those are pretty much non-issues. The January and February updates should nail them."





I think calling lack of multitasking a non issue is way off. It is a big issue, to me, and the lack of Copy and paste on release just seems weird as you would think that would be something included. Building a new platform from scratch should have things like these very high up on the "important" list. Especially whenever your previous platform had those features.





Arguing that these features are coming is like arguing the next version of Android, ios, or whatever will fix the issues with the phone as is reviewed. Impractical.

JohnH

December 13, 2010, 2:33 pm

@Runadumb - they are non-issues because if you buy a phone today you'll get them within two months.





Most people will keep their phone for 24 months so I don’t see a short wait as the deal breaker it’s written to be.





It's not the same as waiting for Android or ios updates either. MS got the phones out there even with missing features but know they won't get anywhere without an aggressive update schedule.





This is completely different to Android and ios which are already pretty mature. The tinkering of Gingerbread illustrates this and some phones won't even get that.





You'd be a fool to draw conclusions on WP7 as a system at release when there's so much more to come. I'm not saying it's for everyone and a lot of people won't want to roll that dice. It's not right for tech writers to make that conclusion for their readers though.

Ed

December 13, 2010, 3:31 pm

@JohnH: The update in January isn't expected to bring multi-tasking. Besides which, the lack of these features is just the headline stuff for now. Personally I find the interface is lacking in a few more subtle ways and overall feels a little bit like there's more style than substance. The Back button issue is also immensely annoying.

mistrip

December 13, 2010, 5:58 pm

I think people who have had experience with IOS or Android are probably more likely to notice what is missing than someone who is completely new to the Smartphone arena like me. The only thing i've noticed as a problem so far is that you can't find the device's MAC address, without some creative thinking!





In terms of intuitiveness WP7 seems very good, and i'm not sure what the issue with the back button is, but it seems to do what i'm expecting it to do based on the program i'm running.





All in all, i'm quite impressed by WP7 so far, and it should only get better i hope!

JohnH

December 13, 2010, 6:26 pm

@Ed - Hint: there's an update in February too.





Have you actually spent time using it as a phone rather than just something to play around with? I'm still coming across nice touches here and there as I need to do different things.





I got stuck somewhere at the weekend and needed a taxi late at night. Within a few taps I had a list of local taxi companies, a map of where I was and walking directions to a prominent landmark. Making the calls was a tap away (no need to c&p number or retype) and the call screen nicely minimised to prevent obscuring the company details. Then I noticed the full name of the company (not just the dialled telephone number) in my call history list. Nothing revolutionary perhaps but it just works really well.

JohnH

December 13, 2010, 6:29 pm

@ Ed: Also, forgot to say that you're right that there are other issues.





I'd argue these are the real issues you should be talking about. The devil is in the detail and there are far more significant potential dealbreakers than having to wait a couple of months for c&p/multitasking.

Ed

December 13, 2010, 7:37 pm

@JohnH: Some interesting examples you cite there because what you just described is very easily doable on iOS, WebOS, and Android, which is kind of my point. That WP7 is capable should be a given is one thing but the competition has moved on from simply trying to catch up with Apple's finger-friendly interface. All the alternatives are mature platforms and WP7 hasn't really shown me any compelling reason to switch. WebOS, on the other hand, actually has genuinely useful innovations.





@mistrip: Do precisely what I say in the review - browse a few pages on the web, go out to email, then come back to the web browser. Does it not seem counter intuitive that now pressing the Back button takes you back to the homepage then email, rather than back a page in the web browser?

JohnH

December 13, 2010, 9:01 pm

@Ed - I wasn't trying to describe anything unique to WP7 I was just countering your assertion that the interface is lacking. Everything I did in my example was done using the interface with the minimum number of screen taps. Not one app was needed. All catered for in the UI. I call that substance.





If I was making a point about innovations I'd point to the live tiles. I know Android has widgets and shortcuts but the tiles work like a dream on WP7. I can pin a specific song or album on the start page, or a favourite FM radio station or a map complete with directions, or my upcoming calendar appointments, or see the latest weather and any severe weather warnings, or latest facebook updates. Again, this is all in UI, at a glance. No need to run any apps. Brilliant.





There are other areas where WP7 excels too, but, there are also areas where it's woeful. Credit should be given where it's due and the real issues should be exposed. That's fair to the product and to your readership.

rav

December 13, 2010, 10:19 pm

@JohnH


What you've talked about sounds exactly like Android widgets but without the flexibility of having different sizes showing variable amounts of data and not being able to position them exactly where you want.





@Ed


I understand your point about the back button not acting as you were expecting but assuming that it acts consistently surely it can't be that hard to get used to. Inconsistent behaviour would be a far bigger issue.

Ed

December 13, 2010, 10:33 pm

@JohnH: That's precisely what I've said all along: WP7 is very nice but it has these limitations that can't be ignored and that put it behind the competition. That's all.





@rav: Absolutely. And I appreciate that a certain amount of my negative reaction is simply unfamiliarity. That said, I do maintain it's less intuitive.

JohnH

December 13, 2010, 11:16 pm

@rav - I acknowledged Android widgets in my comment. I do think WP7 does it better 'out of the box' and with more simplicity and elegance. It's moving beyond the phone as an app launcher.





Ed is failing to find the insight to cover areas like this. You won't find him berating his preferred ios for its dated looks and rigid inability to move the user experience on. He fails to contemplate what improvements may be delivered to WP7 during the lifespan of a phone contract but he'll happily knock out a whole article speculating on iPhone 5 rumours. There's blatant bias here whether done consciously or not.

Ed

December 14, 2010, 12:01 am

@JohnH: Where'd that come from? I thought we were having a civil conversation. It's you that seems to be denying the well documented limitations of WP7 rather than me lauding iOS. Why you can't accept that we have to review devices as they actually are rather than how they might be, I do not know. Who's to say what the next iOS or Android update might bring.

JohnH

December 14, 2010, 12:40 am

@Ed: We are having a civil conversation but your comments don't explain your stance on the OS so I'm having to read between the lines to make some sense of it.





From my comments you'll see I do acknowledge the limitations. The limitations you choose to highlight though are questionable as I have already explained. I have also explained the difference between taking WP7 updates into account compared to Android and IOS. If you can reason to counter my comments you haven't done so.





In the same way I think you have failed to substantiate why you all but write off the OS in your article summary. That's a pretty daming thing to do without some solid reasoning. It might be Christmas but WP7 is no turkey.

Lantic

December 14, 2010, 10:35 am

@JohnH If we all say we like WP7, will you stop rabbiting on?

JohnH

December 14, 2010, 1:41 pm

@Lantic: Nice try ;). That's not my motivation in these comments. People can come to their own conclusions on WP7. I've never said it's all singing and all dancing and I've never said it's for everyone.





That said, it's plainly wrong to write it off as some of the tech writers have been doing. Reporting should also be accurate and contextualised. Some things are worse than other systems and some things are better. Let people make their own minds up with balanced criticism.





Now, where's the HD7 review Ed?

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