Beyond the Windows Phone 7 staples outlined in our review of the operating system here, HTC throws in a couple of its own apps, such as a unit converter, a sound enhancer, and a photo enhancer. Also, though Microsoft has limited customization by OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) and carriers, the Trophy includes HTC Hub in which you will find some old HTC favorites like its animated clock and weather widget, as well as featured apps. You can pin the hub to the Start screen as a live tile, and the company recently updated it so that it will display real-time and location-specific weather information right on the tile.
Verizon also has a hand in some of the content available on the Trophy. The My Verizon Mobile tile on the Start screen takes you to a page where you can view your voice and data usage, as well as pay your bill, view your plan, and get support. The Trophy also ships with Slacker and the Netflix application, so Netflix subscribers can watch TV shows and movies right on the phone or add titles to their queue.
Though the Windows Phone Marketplace may not have the selection of apps that iTunes and the Android Market have, it is growing at a fairly rapid pace and currently has about 18,000 apps in the catalog--more than BlackBerry or WebOS. Apps are saved to the phone's internal memory, and we're happy to see that the Verizon Trophy has double the capacity of the unlocked version (16GB versus 8GB), as there are no expansion capabilities.
Finally, the HTC Trophy comes equipped with a 5-megapixel camera with autofocus and LED flash. There are options to choose the resolution and scene, as well as add effects. Unfortunately, none of this helped improve the bad picture quality. Photos taken indoors had a grainy and soft look to them, and colors looked faded. The quality was a little better on photos taken in natural sunlight, but there was still a bit of a hazy effect to the images. We also found this in our recorded 720p HD video clips.
We tested the dual-mode HTC Trophy in New York City using Verizon service and call quality was OK. Overall, the audio was clear on our end and there wasn't any point during our testing where we couldn't understand our callers. That said, we occasionally heard some hissing during lulls in the conversations, and voice quality was also tinny at times, so the sound wasn't pristine. Friends, meanwhile, were mostly positive in their feedback and didn't report any major problems or annoyances.
HTC Trophy call quality sample
Speakerphone quality was decent. The sound was mostly clear, and at its highest setting, there was plenty of volume to hold a conversation in a noisier environment. We also paired the smartphone with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset and the Motorola S9 Bluetooth Active Headphones and had no issues with making calls or listening to music wirelessly. The Trophy also has a built-in equalizer and SRS surround sound to enhance the audio when listening through headphones.
We didn't experience any dropped calls during our review period, and though 4G is all the rage right now, we still got pretty good data speeds using Verizon's 3G network. CNET's full site loaded in 35 seconds, while the mobile sites for CNN and ESPN loaded in 10 seconds and 5 seconds, respectively. We also tested the Netflix app over a 3G connection. Video took a few seconds to buffer and the quality was a bit murky, but it was good enough to be a source of entertainment while waiting for the bus or during other downtimes.
Armed with a 1GHz Snapdragon processor and 568MB RAM, the Trophy was generally responsive. There was little delay when launching applications and navigating the phone, and we also noticed faster load times for games--something that was addressed by Microsoft in the NoDo update.
The HTC Trophy ships with 1,300mAh lithium ion battery with a rated talk time of 4.9 hours and up to 12 days of standby time. The smartphone met its rated talk time in our battery drain tests, but compared to other smartphones, it's on the short side. Starting with a full battery at the beginning of the day, we typically had to recharge in the early evening after moderate to heavy use. We'll continue to test the battery, however, and update this section as soon as we have final results. According to FCC radiation tests, the Trophy has a digital SAR rating of 1.48W/kg and has a Hearing Aid Compatibility rating of M4/T4.
To quote a popular '70s and '80s TV show theme song, "The world don't move to the beat of just one drum. What might be right for you, may not be right for some." The HTC Trophy isn't going to be right for everybody. Certainly, it's not going to vie for the attention of those seeking 4G and dual-core processors, and we wish certain aspects of the phone were better. However, the Trophy also offers the benefit of Zune and Xbox integration, world roaming capabilities, and a user-friendly interface and compact design, making it a good option for those looking for their first smartphone or for someone who doesn't need all the bells and whistles.
If you've been curious about Windows Phone, the best advice we can give is to go into the Verizon store to play around with the Trophy and the software to see if you like it. We think there's plenty to like, but if you disagree, there are alternatives like the HTC Droid Incredible 2 and the iPhone.