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HTC Mozart (unlocked) review: HTC Mozart (unlocked)

HTC Mozart (unlocked)

Bonnie Cha Former Editor
Bonnie Cha was a former chief correspondent for CNET Crave, covering every kind of tech toy imaginable (with a special obsession for robots and Star Wars-related stuff). When she's not scoping out stories, you can find her checking out live music or surfing in the chilly waters of Northern California.
Bonnie Cha
5 min read

Editors' note: In this review, we'll focus on the HTC Mozart's design and performance. For more on its operating system, please read our full review of Windows Phone 7 and the HTC Trophy, which has a similar feature set.

HTC Mozart (unlocked)

HTC Mozart (unlocked)

The Good

The HTC Mozart boasts a sleek design with a solid, brushed aluminum body. The Windows Phone 7 device has surround-sound technology and an 8-megapixel camera.

The Bad

No option for expanding memory. Camera quality is disappointing.

The Bottom Line

The HTC Mozart is a beautifully designed Windows Phone 7 device that offers good performance, but fails to deliver on one of its hallmark features.

Like the HTC Trophy, the HTC Mozart is a Windows Phone 7 device available in the European and Asian markets. It's another beautifully designed handset from HTC and includes many of the smartphone staples, such as a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, but has more of a multimedia focus with its surround-sound capabilities and an 8-megapixel camera. Unfortunately, the Mozart doesn't fully deliver in that department. Though the audio performance is great, the camera falls short with disappointing picture and video quality, which takes away some of the appeal of the device, especially when unlocked pricing starts at $500. If your priority is a good camera phone, we suggest taking a look at these top picks.

As we've come to expect from HTC, the Mozart, as mentioned above, is a beautifully designed device. From the front it might look like any other touch-screen smartphone, but a closer inspection shows some nice details. For one, there's the phone's compact size. At 4.69 inches tall by 2.37 inches wide by 0.47 inch thick and 4.59 ounces, it's easily transportable and lightweight without feeling cheap or flimsy. The brushed aluminum body gives the handset a solid, premium feel. This is coupled with two triangular sections on the back that feature a soft-touch finish, so you've got a bit of texture to grip.

HTC is known for its high-quality designs, and the Mozart is no exception.

The back of the phone is actually quite interesting. It has a bit of a topographical design, which may or may not be appealing to you, but we found it to be attractive. In the upper left corner, you'll find the camera and flash, while the bottom portion slides off to reveal the battery compartment and SIM card slot. Provided you can remove the battery door (it's a bit difficult), you'll see that as on the HTC Legend, there's a little latch that you need to flip open in order to insert and remove the battery and SIM card. Does it enhance the phone in any way? No. But we still appreciate the thought that went into the design.

Moving on to the HTC Mozart's display, it measures 3.7 inches diagonally and has a WVGA (480x800) resolution. After having just reviewed the Dell Venue Pro, the screen feels a bit small but the pinch-to-zoom support allows you to easily zoom in on pages. Plus, the display is sharp and bright, if not a bit of a fingerprint magnet.

The HTC Mozart is a compact device with a smaller screen than some of its competitors.

The touch screen felt very responsive throughout our review period. Apps and hubs launched as soon as we touched the icons, and scrolling through lists was smooth and fast. The Windows Phone onscreen keyboard, as we've said many times before, is fantastic.

The requisite Back, Start, and Search buttons sit below the display. The left spine of the handset features a volume rocker and a Micro-USB port, while there's a dedicated camera button on the right. The top of the device houses the 3.5-millimeter headphone jack and power button.

Our HTC Mozart came packaged with an AC adapter, a USB cable, and a wired stereo headset.

We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900) HTC Mozart in New York using T-Mobile service, and call quality was mostly good. Though not the richest in sound quality, the audio was clear on our end, with very little background noise or voice distortion. The sound can get a bit shrill if you have the volume set to the highest level. Meanwhile, friends said the audio sounded clear on their side of the conversation and had no major complaints.

HTC Mozart call quality sample Listen now:

Speakerphone quality was decent. The audio was clear but, as on a number of other handsets, a bit hollow-sounding. With audio set at the highest level, there was just enough volume to have a conversation in a noisier environment (a room with the TV on in the background), but our caller's voice was drowned out when we were trying to talk on a busy street. We successfully paired the smartphone with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset and the Motorola S9 Bluetooth Active Headphones.

Like the HTC Trophy, the Mozart was designed for the European and Asian markets and doesn't offer North American 3G support, so whether you pop in an AT&T or T-Mobile SIM, you'll be operating on one of those two EDGE networks. Using T-Mobile's network, CNET's full site loaded in 16 seconds, while the mobile sites for CNN and ESPN came up in 8 seconds and 10 seconds, respectively. YouTube videos took a few seconds to load, and needed to rebuffer a couple of times.

We transferred a couple of MPEG-4 videos from our PC to the Mozart using Zune software, and they played back beautifully. The Mozart includes Dolby Mobile and SRS WOW HD technology to enhance audio and video via the Sound Enhancer app. If you're using headphones or external speakers, there are various equalizer settings you can choose from. The difference between these various effects was minimal over the phone's speakers, but we definitely noticed when we had our headphones plugged in. Without any effects, general audio quality was good but the SRS Enhancement definitely boosts the overall quality and provides a very rich audio experience.

For imaging, the HTC Mozart offers an 8-megapixel camera--the largest on any Windows Phone 7 device currently available. It comes with a Xenon flash, auto focus, and 720p HD video recording. Editing options include various effects, metering mode, flicker adjustment, and different scene modes.

Despite the 8-megapixel camera, we were disappointed with the picture quality.

Despite this better camera, picture quality was disappointing. First, it was difficult to get a sharp image, and second, photos often looked washed out. Video quality is also subpar. Though you can make out the subjects in the video, there's a hazy effect and pinkish hue that make the overall picture look soft and degrade the quality. There's 8MB of onboard storage with no option for memory expansion, which is disappointing for such a multimedia-focused device. Once done with your photos, you can share via e-mail or MMS, or upload them to SkyDrive or Facebook. However, for video your only options are to delete the file or to transfer it to your PC and share it from there.

The Mozart is powered by a 1GHz Snapdragon processor and 512MB ROM/576MB RAM, and the smartphone performed like a well-oiled machine throughout our review period. It handled our demands with no problems. As we noted in our other Windows Phone 7 reviews, we did experience some slow load times while trying to play games, but this is more an issue of the OS than the device itself and will be addressed in the upcoming update.

The HTC Mozart ships with a 1,300mAh lithium ion battery with a rated talk time of 6.75 hours and up to 15 days of standby time. The Mozart achieved 7.5 hours of continuous talk time over EDGE in our battery drain tests. In general, we were able to get about a day and a half of use on a single charge.

HTC Mozart (unlocked)

HTC Mozart (unlocked)

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 7Performance 7