HTC announced three Windows Phone 7 devices for Australia during Microsoft's launch of its new mobile operating system last month. Of the three, only the HTC 7 Mozart sports a unibody aluminium chassis similar to what's found on the HTC Legend and the latest Desire HD smartphones. It is also the only model among all the launch devices from HTC, LG and Samsung to come with an 8-megapixel camera and Xenon flash (which did not perform to our higher expectations).
With a 3.7-inch WVGA screen, aluminium chassis and curved edges, the Mozart looks a lot like the HTC Desire from the front. Those who love metallic materials will be pleased to see that the aluminium extends all around the back, save for two plastic portions on the top and bottom. We feel the non-symmetrical ridges and cut-outs of the unibody design are quite cool-looking, but admit that not everyone will take a liking to it.
Unlike the Desire, the Mozart has touch-sensitive buttons on the front. These are the Back, Start and Search keys as required by Microsoft. While they work well, and we like the haptic feedback we get when we used them, we would have preferred physical shortcut keys as found on the Desire. This would reduce the occurrence of accidental presses when playing games holding the phone in landscape orientation — when we were playing Rocket Riot, the Search key was unintentionally activated, kicking us out of the game. Since Xbox Live is a big part of what makes WP7 attractive, we feel physical keys will reduce the chance of such occurrences.
The Mozart does have some physical buttons around the edges. These include the power toggle on the top, camera shutter on the bottom right edge, and volume controls on the left.
(Credit: CNET Asia)
The 800x480-pixel LCD display was bright and showed text and images well. We had no issues with it whether indoors or out in bright daylight.
Like the HTC Legend, the plastic cut-out on the base has to be removed to access the removable battery. The Mozart doesn't come with a memory expansion slot, but you do get 8GB of built-in storage.
Connectivity-wise, you get the usual crop of options available to a high-end smartphone. These include HSDPA, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and A-GPS for satellite navigation.
At the software end of things, we know Microsoft has dictated how the interface should look, so there's no chance of HTC adding its Sense UI to the Mozart. To differentiate itself from other vendors, the Taiwan manufacturer has included a few proprietary apps.
The starting point of getting a unique HTC experience on the Mozart is through the HTC Hub program. The first thing you'll see upon firing it up is the time and weather — this looks just like the most prominent widget found in every HTC Android phone with Sense. Apart from that, it gives thumbnails of other exclusive HTC apps, which will take you to the Windows Marketplace to download.
Of the available apps, the one we found most useful is called Attentive Phone. This gives the handset extra features for handling phone calls. For example, the "quiet ring on pick-up" option detects when you pick up the Mozart from a table when it's ringing and lowers the ringing volume. The other options include "flip for speaker", which activates the speakerphone during active calls when you turn the phone over; "flip to mute ringer"; and "pocket mode", which detects when your device is in a pocket or bag and increases the ring volume accordingly. These features have all been implemented in the Android-based HTC Sense and we are glad to see them in HTC's Windows Phone handsets.