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[nextpage title=”Introduction”]

The HTC Trophy is one of Verizon’s new Window’s phones. It sports a 5-megapixel camera, Xbox Live games, Office and Outlook for productivity, and has Netflix support – all in a compact design. At USD 100, the Trophy is also budget priced. We took a look to see if it can compare to higher priced phones as well as those with other operating systems.

The HTC Trophy comes in a small, unassuming, cardboard box, as shown in Figure 1. The contents of the box are shown in Figure 2. They include the phone; a USB charging cable; a wall plug with retractable prongs that is used with the USB cable for charging from a wall outlet; a set of hard ear buds; two thin, soft covers and a clip for the ear buds; a variety of Consumer Information and Product Safety brochures; and a small “Master Your Device” pamphlet.

HTC Trophy Cell Phone ReviewFigure 1: The box

HTC Trophy Cell Phone ReviewFigure 2: The contents of the box

The phone itself, as shown in Figure 3, is all black with a small silver ring around the screen. Measuring 4.67 x 2.42 x 0.47 inches (118.5 x 61.5 x 11.96 mm) and weighing 4.9 ounces (140 grams), it is small and light and fits easily into a hand or pocket. HTC has added a soft-touch finish to the entire back and sides of the phone, making it slip-resistant and easy to handle. The Trophy is a well-built phone with a solid look and feel.

HTC Trophy Cell Phone ReviewFigure 3: The HTC Trophy

[nextpage title=”The Basic Hardware”]

The Trophy is immediately recognizable as a Windows Phone 7 (WP7) by the three capacitive buttons on the bottom of the face of the phone. These buttons are the standard Window Phone 7 buttons, which are: Back, Windows Home, and Search, as shown in Figure 4.

HTC Trophy Cell Phone ReviewFigure 4: The Windows Phone 7 buttons

On the left side of the phone, shown in Figure 5, are a volume control switch and a micro USB port, for charging and connecting to a computer.

A power/standby button and a 3.5 mm headphone jack can be found on the top of the phone, as shown in Figure 5. Just above the power button is a small notch that is used to remove the back of the phone.

HTC Trophy Cell Phone ReviewFigure 5: The top of the phone

The Trophy sports a 3.8-inch WVGA (800 x 480) capacitive touchscreen. In a side-by-side comparison, this screen is not as detailed as the screens on the iPhone 4 or Samsung Galaxy phones. Yet, colors are bright, text is readable, and the screen is responsive to the touch. So we found the screen quite acceptable.

All phones that run the Windows Phone 7 operating system are required to meet certain minimum criteria. The Trophy meets those criteria with its 1 GHz Qualcomm processor and 576 MB of RAM. Many of today’s new phones have dual-core processors, which make the Trophy less powerful than many of its competitors.

The Trophy also has 16 GB of storage space. That is enough memory for an average amount of data, but heavy users will bemoan the fact that, as in other Windows phones, there is no memory expansion slot.

The usual array of sensors like a compass, proximity sensor, and ambient light sensor are included along with 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth 2.1.

[nextpage title=”General Use”]

In spite of its only average hardware specs, the performance of the Trophy is quite respectable. Both incoming and outgoing calls were clear. The speakerphone was adequate. We never experienced any dropped calls, static, or echoing.

Data transfer speeds were good for a 3G phone. However, if you expect to surf the Web or access a lot of data on your cell phone, and if you live in an area where Verizon’s 4G service is available, we would highly recommend a Verizon phone which can accommodate 4G. Their 4G service is much faster.

In contrast to the rows of small icons found in the Apple and Android operating systems, the Windows Phone 7 operating system works with a system of tiles and hubs. Figure 6 shows these tiles and hubs on the Trophy home page. You scroll vertically to see more. Tiles are equivalent to the App icons found in other operating systems. As you can see, some tiles are double-wide. Hubs are special areas in Windows Phone 7. There are six standard Microsoft hubs: People, Pictures, Games, Music & Videos, Marketplace, and Office. On this phone, there is also an HTC hub. Hubs are areas where you find more information.

HTC Trophy Cell Phone ReviewFigure 6: The Trophy home page

The home page shown in Figure 6 has the tiles in Verizon red. There are many other colors from which to choose. Changing these colors makes a big difference, as you can see in Figure 7, where we changed the color to lime green.

HTC Trophy Cell Phone ReviewFigure 7: The tiles in green

You can also choose to display the tiles and hubs on a dark or light background. While Figures 6 and 7 had a dark background, Figure 8 shows the light background.

HTC Trophy Cell Phone ReviewFigure 8: The light background

Although the background under the tiles changes from dark to light, email is always displayed with dark letters on a white background, as shown in Figure 9.

HTC Trophy Cell Phone ReviewFigure 9: The email area

One of our biggest complaints about Windows Phone 7 is that not all screens can be viewed in landscape mode. This is very obvious when you go to a hub like the People hub. The main screen can be viewed only in portrait mode. Once you get into the individual people’s information, you can also view it in landscape mode. This had us turning the phone back and forth
between landscape and portrait much more than is normally necessary.

Text entry is done via the virtual screen keyboard. Even in landscape mode, shown in Figure 9, we found the keyboard a bit cramped. Luckily, WP7’s excellent auto-correct mode takes a little of the pain out of typing on such a small keyboard. We found this auto-correct to be one of the best we have encountered. Although the Trophy has no haptic feedback, it makes a slight popping sound every time you press a letter, which we also found helpful.

HTC Trophy Cell Phone ReviewFigure 10: The on-screen keyboard in landscape mode

In Figure 10, you can also see the microphone icon in the Bing search bar. Bing is the default search engine of WP7. The microphone icon means that voice search is available. Unfortunately, voice search is not available in some other areas of the operating system. If you want to perform voice commands and searching across the board, the Android operating system is much better than Windows Phone 7.

This phone, however, does include voice recognition for making calls. To use it, you have to unlock the screen and press and hold the call/pause button.

[nextpage title=”Internet, Email, Gaming, Pictures, Music”]

Even though this is only a 3G phone, surfing was a pleasant experience. We are not necessarily big fans of Internet Explorer (IE) on the computer, but we found that the mobile version does a good job. We were happy to find that it includes tabbed browsing. We had two major complaints about the IE mobile version. First, it does not support Flash. Second, in a manner similar to the desktop version, IE routinely opens a new tab for you, and it is too easy to wind up with multiple open tabs that you really don’t need.

As mentioned earlier, Bing is the default search engine. Unfortunately, it cannot be changed. While we don’t mind using Bing instead of Google, this phone also defaults to Bing Maps, which for us is a drawback since we really prefer Google Maps.

Because of the average hardware specs of this phone, we were amazed to find that it did an excellent job of displaying graphically intense games. WP7 incorporates Xbox Live on this phone, so there is a lot to play with. The Trophy gets a little hot after an extended playing session, but that is not unusual with a phone like this.

Although the battery is good for a full day of normal use, playing games will quickly drain the battery. You may want to purchase an extra battery if you intend to use the Trophy as a gaming device.

Fortunately, the Trophy 1300mAh battery is easy to access. Just put your fingernail into the groove on the top (previously shown in Figure 5), and the back pops off to reveal the battery, shown in Figure 11. Removing the battery gives you access to the SIM slot. This is a dual mode phone so it runs on both CDMA and GSM networks.

HTC Trophy Cell Phone ReviewFigure 11: The Trophy battery

The Microsoft Marketplace cannot yet compete with the Apple App Store or the Android Marketplace, but the current selection gives you a pretty nice diversity. There are plenty of games available, including Live-enabled games, but as you might expect from Microsoft, most of these games are not free.

WP7 gives you a lot of options for handling email. It will allow you to have multiple email accounts and, as you would expect being a Microsoft program, it syncs very well with Microsoft Exchange server. It also allows you to keep your Outlook email separate from other email. It is easy to set up and easy to use. This phone supports cut and paste.

Phones with the Windows Phone 7 operating system also come with a whole suite of Microsoft Office software, making it easy to view and create Excel and Word files and PowerPoint presentations. OneNote, which is a program for taking quick notes, is also included. SharePoint, a cloud service that Microsoft uses for file sharing, can easily be accessed from this phone. Of course, WP7 does a great job of syncing to Outlook for contacts and appointments. If you are already a part of the Microsoft ecosystem, you will find these programs very beneficial.

Just as Apple’s iPhone music and video is tied to iTunes, Microsoft’s WP7 music and video are tied to its Zune music service. You install the free Zune software on your computer to sync with the Trophy. Fortunately, the Zune system is good and fairly easy to navigate.

The Trophy also comes pre-loaded with Slacker Radio and has an FM radio, so you will have access to plenty of music. The stereo speaker on the phone is adequate, but the included ear buds are hard, oversized, and ill-fitting for most users.

The back of the Trophy, shown in Figure 12, displays the 5-megapixel camera along with the LED flash. The Trophy seems to use the same camera that we saw when we reviewed AT&T’s HTC Surround. Pictures are clear with good color representation. It has a good autofocus. You can view the photos immediately or access them through the Picture hub for additional options. Also, pictures can be automatically uploaded to Microsoft’s SkyDrive.

In Figure 12, you can also see the holes for the stereo speakers. Because they are on the back of the phone, the speaker is a little muffled when it is placed with the backside down on a flat surface such as a table top. So you may want to flip it over or prop it up when using the speakerphone or listening to music.

HTC Trophy Cell Phone ReviewFigure 12: The back of the Trophy

The Trophy has 720p video recording capability. Like the Surround, the Trophy took good low light photos and videos. Some detail seems to be lost when transferring the photos and videos to the computer.

The best thing about the camera in this phone, however, is that it has a dedicated camera button on the right side, as shown in Figure 13. Even if the phone is locked in standby, holding down the camera button for about two seconds automatically turns the phone on and puts it into photo mode. This allows you to take a photo more quickly than with phones without a dedicated camera button. Also visible in Figure13 is the up/down volume rocker.

HTC Trophy Cell Phone ReviewFigure 13: The camera button on the side

[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]

The main specifications for the HTC Trophy cell phone include:

  • Dimensions: 4.67 x 2.42 x 0.47 inches (118.5 x 61.5 x 11.96 mm)
  • Weight: 4.9 ounces (140 grams)
  • Display: 3.8-inch WVGA TFT LCD with capacitive touch screen
  • Camera : 5 MP camera with 720p HD video recording (with autofocus and LED flash)
  • Internal Memory: 16 GB eMMC, 576 MB RAM
  • Processor: Qualcomm MSM8650 1 GHz
  • Operating System: Windows Phone 7
  • Network: CDMA 800/1900 MHz, HSPA/WCDMA 2100 MHz, and GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
  • Connectivity: IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
  • Battery: Lithium-ion, 1300mAh
  • Sound: Stereo speaker with SRS WOW HD surround sound
  • Talk
    time: Up to 294 minutes
  • Standby time: Up to 286 hours
  • Carrier in the US: Verizon
  • More Information: https://www.htc.com
  • MSRP in the US: USD 100.00, with a two-year contract (minimum voice service of USD 40/month, minimum data service of USD 30/month, early termination fee of USD 350)

[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]

The Trophy is not the fastest or the most powerful phone in today’s market. It doesn’t have 4G support or a dual processor, but it is a solidly built phone that offers good all-around performance. Being smaller in size will be a plus to many users. Other pluses include the soft-touch finish and dedicated photo button which is useful for taking a quick picture.

This phone uses Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 operating system, which is intuitive and easy to use. It is lacking in certain areas like full landscape support and flash support, but for the average user, these will not be vital. While we feel that Apple’s iOS is slightly easier to use, and the Android operating system is more customizable, we think that most users will find Windows Phone 7 a good solid operating system.

As a Microsoft phone, the Trophy runs Office programs, integrates with Microsoft Live, and runs Xbox games. It uses the Microsoft Zune software for music and video. If you are already using Microsoft’s software and services, it will be a good fit for you.

At USD 100 with a two-year contract, this is a good solid phone at an excellent price.

Strong Points

  • Solid and sturdy design
  • Camera excellent in low light
  • The ability to take a picture without unlocking the phone
  • 16 GB built-in memory
  • Office integration
  • Xbox Live games
  • Dual band
  • Soft-touch finish

Weak Points

  • Limited support for landscape mode
  • Does not support Flash
  • No 4G
  • No expansion slot