The HTC Trophy is late to the Windows Phone party, but it's the first smartphone on Verizon's network to run Microsoft's slick OS. The 3G device packs a 5-megapixel camera, Xbox Live games, Office and Outlook for productivity, and Netflix support. And, at $99, the Trophy is $100 less expensive than many of Verizon's latest Android phones. Read on to see if the Trophy is a winner.
Small and light, the Trophy measures 4.7 x 2.4 x 0.5 inches and weighs a scant 4.9 ounces, comparable to the Droid Incredible 2 (4.8 x 2.5 x 0.5 inches, 4.8 ounces). While not as diminutive as the HP Pre 3, it is a good deal smaller than such 4.3-inch behemoths as the Samsung Droid Charge. We definitely appreciated this phone's pocketability.
The Trophy has a toned-down look--the phone is all black, save for a small chrome ring around the screen and a little red speaker grille on the back. We especially like the fact that it's coated in a soft-touch rubber, which makes it very comfortable to hold.
On the front, there's three capacative buttons (Back, Home, and Search); a camera button is on the right, volume controls and a microUSB port on the left, and a power button and headphone jack on top.
Display and Audio
The Trophy's 3.8-inch, 800 x 480-pixel display is pleasantly crisp and bright, whether you're flicking through photos or surfing the web. Though the screen is slightly smaller than the Incredible 2's 4-inch screen, it has the same resolution.
We had mixed feelings about the Trophy's speaker. While Miles Davis' "Springsville" was on the quiet side and tinny, tunes from Jay-Z and Bruce Springsteen were loud enough for us to hear from a few feet away.
We like that the Windows Phone 7 UI differentiates itself from Android and iOS (in that it's not merely a grid of icons). We especially like that the lock screen displays not only the time and date, but also shows missed calls as well as upcoming calendar appointments.
Inside, the customizable Live Tiles do a good job of showing information at a glance. Some are more useful than others, though. The Weatherbug tile shows the current conditions, but we wish the Facebook and Twitter app showed friends' updates.
The only other home screen displays all of the apps installed on the Trophy in a single column. Accumulate enough apps, and you'll be doing a lot of scrolling. The good news is that you can make any app a Live Tile.
Typing using the Windows Phone 7 keyboard was very easy. Even though it doesn't extend the length of the screen, punching out short emails felt fast and fluid. While there's no haptic feedback, the phone makes a helpful pop sound every time you press a letter.
The 1-GHz Qualcomm QSD8260 Snapdragon processor inside the Trophy was fairly snappy. Apps opened quickly, pinch-to-zoom worked smoothly, and switching from landscape to portrait modes was fairly fast.
What Windows Phone doesn't offer yet is true multitasking. For example, when we exited Slacker to go back to the main menu, playback halted. Users will have to wait for Microsoft's Mango update for multitasking and other features, such as Twitter integration in the People hub.
Compared to Android and iOS, the market for Windows Phone 7 apps is still playing catch up. Angry Birds only recently made its appearance, and it's an expensive $2.99. However, we were able to find other popular apps, such as ESPN ScoreCenter, Facebook, and Netflix. Slacker is pre-loaded, but Pandora is nowhere to be found.
After clicking on Marketplace, you're bright to a screen with four options: HTC Apps, apps, games, and music. Clicking "apps" brings you to yet another list of app categories including (yet again) HTC Apps, games, entertainment, music & video, photo, and lifestyle. It's far too repetitive; we found it easier to just use the search button from the first screen.
As the Trophy is a 3G device, don't expect the blazing downloads of Verizon's 4G phones such as the LG Revolution or Droid Charge. However, it was fairly speedy for a 3G device. The mobile version of ESPN.com loaded in an average of 6 seconds, the full NYTimes.com site loaded in an average of 14 seconds, and Laptopmag.com loaded in 18 seconds.
Using the BandWidth app, we saw average download throughput of 1.4 Mbps, and average upload speeds of 660 Kbps. It's slightly slower than the Incredible 2 (1.8 Mbps down, 960 Kbps up), but fine for 3G.
As with all other Windows 7 phones, we like that the Trophy has a dedicated camera button, which activates the camera even when the phone is locked. Unfortunately, the time it takes to launch--3 seconds or so--means you won't be able to capture that spur-of-the-moment shot.
Once it did launch, though, the Trophy took excellent photos. Its 5-megapixel camera (with flash) was great at shooting in a variety of conditions. In bright sunlight, the phone captured the dark green of leaves and the bright pink hues of flowers, and was able to pick out the finer details in the leaves, too. It also did a good job of capturing a boat sailing in the New York Harbor at dusk, although we had to hold the phone against a railing to ensure the shot wasn't blurry.
The Trophy is also capable of recording video at 720p (1080 x 720). Video of cars driving by on a Manhattan street were also crisp, bright, and smooth, but the handset's microphone did a poor job of picking up audio.
Sharing your photos isn't as intuitive as on Android or iOS devices. In the Pictures app, there are a number options for stills, such as adding to favorites, upload to SkyDrive, or emailing them, but the only option for videos is to delete them. You can upload photos to Facebook, but only within the Facebook app, and then only when you dig into the photos section. The Mango software update should make sharing easier.
The Trophy does not have a front-facing camera, so video calls are out of the question.
While the standalone Zune may be a thing of the past, the Zune media player lives on in the Trophy. It's an attractive interface, and we liked how our multimedia history--from videos on YouTube to music on Slacker--were displayed as little thumbnails. When you connect a pair of heaphones to the Trophy, it also receives FM radio stations, and it was fairly good at picking up signals.
Calls made with the Trophy were clear and free of static. The speakerphone was plenty loud, and we didn't have to raise our voices to be heard when the phone was sitting a few feet away during a conference call.
We weren't able to run the LAPTOP Battery Test (web surfing via 3G) on the Trophy, but found that the phone could get through a full workday of intermittent web surfing, GPS use, and phone calls.
For a $99 smartphone, the HTC Trophy is a good buy. It's $50 less expensive than the Droid Incredible 2, and we like its 5-MP camera, attractive interface, and solid build. You don't get a dual-core processor or multitasking (yet), but those looking for an inexpensive smartphone that's easier to use Android will be satisfied with the Trophy.