A week with the HTC 7 Trophy

htc7trophystockI have been lucky enough to be given a HTC 7 Trophy to trail for HTC, and so far have found it a pretty enjoyable experience.  I though I should share a short write-up of the device with our readers.

In terms of appearance, I really like the styling, and find the small chrome rim around the screen , together with the black plastic used, really accentuates and frames the screen very well, without including that increasingly naff chrome border like on the old iPhone.  I also find the device pretty slim and light.

On the other hand it is clear the device is not made with premium materials, and that is pretty noticeable, for example when showing off your new phone to an iPhone 4 totting friend. This does not bother me, but it might some.  Build quality is good, and the battery cover is solidly attached.  The rubberized plastic on the back of the device also shrugs of fingerprints nicely.

My main problem with the design of the device is in fact the placement of the power button.  This is on the top left, when I feel it would have been much better on the top right.  With the current arrangement, when held in the right hand, one is liable to push the camera button with one’s palm when pressing the power button, and of course the button is completely on the wrong side if held in the left hand.

The other buttons work quite well, even the capacitive buttons in front, which has nice haptic feedback, and the camera button, which is sensitive enough that one does not have to shake the camera to take a picture.

I also found the left side-mounted microUSB port quite tight, and a struggle to unplug at times, and also worry about the arrangement when used with the car charger, where its location is pretty inconvenient.

Read more after the break.

The large earphone speaker grill above the screen promises a front-mounted main speaker, but unfortunately does not deliver, with the speaker as usual around the back.  This results in the sound being muffled when placed flat on a surface, and makes me really miss a kick stand.

Talking about speakers, the volume from the main speaker in the back is pretty loud, and makes the device perfect to use as a small radio.  Sound quality is also great, even as maximum volume.

However when earphones are plugged in the device is let down my low maximum volume, meaning my podcasts are almost inaudible, even when played through my car speakers.  The HTC HD2 had the same problem, which could be remedied with the included Audio booster software.  Unfortunately the software on the 7 Trophy only allows selecting between Dolby Mobile, SRS Enhanced mode and pre-set equalizers, none of which perceptibly increase the maximum volume.

The screen I find perfectly acceptable, with great viewing angles, high pixel density due to the smaller size, reasonable black levels and good brightness.  It does seem a bit on the small size at times (coming from a HD2 of course), with the OS seemingly designed for something a bit bigger. The screen has good sensitivity, with no obvious dead zones.

I found battery life quite acceptable, and certainly better than my HTC HD2.  While the HD2 could not last a full business day without being charged, the HTC 7 Trophy easily lasts 24 hours with WIFI, Bluetooth, and  HSDPA on with moderate use,  but will not actually make it for a second day.

The device holds on to cellphone signals quite well, rarely dropping down to EDGE on Vodafone UK, and the WIFI reception appears to have better range than my HTC HD2.  Call quality is acceptable, with possible a slightly muffled sound at the receiving end. GPS lock is near instant.

Camera quality is very much affected with how dirty the lens is, with quality very disappointing with only a slightly dirty lens, and much improved with a cleaned one.  I hope one day phone companies will once again consider including some kind of lens cap system, as this is a much bigger problem than even the optics of the camera itself.

Video quality is fine, but refocusing is somewhat slow, and the frame rate at 720p resolution makes this feature not really worthwhile.

In terms of HTC’s included apps, and the ones available in Marketplace, the only real one of note is HTC’s flash light app, similar to the one found on the HTC HD2, which works extremely well, and can of course not be replicated with a 3rd party app. For the rest Weather Bug is a much better and more useful weather app, due to the live tiles, and this is true for most other applications which pursue function over style.

I will not spend any time on the OS, except to say that it is great, perfectly smooth and a real pleasure to use.

Of note is that I had one crash (the only time I had to restart the phone in 7 days) when I snoozed the built-in alarm this morning.  This is pretty good stability, and one can of course not say if the problem is the OS, or HTC’s Attentive apps, unless the issue recurs a lot.

In conclusion, overall I am pretty happy with the HTC 7 Trophy, as long as it is not billed as a premium device.  As a midrange handset it can provide the full Windows Phone 7 experience while still not breaking the bank, and I think most users will love the device.

If our reader shave any questions about the device, please leave them in the comments below.

Device specs:

HTC 7 Trophy

Thanks HTC for the loan.

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