HTC 7 trophy

If this review has perhaps seemed a little all over the place in terms of swinging between praise and frustration, then it's done its job. The HTC 7 Trophy – and Windows Phone 7, by extension – is a bumpy ride, but one that has totally captivated us anyway.

We had our problems, and we're not going to gloss over them, because when the opposition is as mature as iOS on the iPhone and as feature-rich as Android, it's a cut-throat world.

That said, we don't think it would be spoiling the next few paragraphs too much too say that we really, really liked the HTC 7 Trophy.

We liked

Oh, Windows Phone 7, you are so beautiful. The giant typography and tiles can look a little awkward in pictures, but are just stunning in motion. Do yourself a favour and go to see it running in a shop, with all the little animations and the changing screens.

The thing is, even that won't do it justice. The People tile won't flash with amusing images of your friends, and your favourite band won't adorn the Zune tile. There'll be no unread messages, causing the Messaging emoticon to wink at you.

Windows Phone 7 is style over substance in the best way possible, but it's also fast with it. Scrolling is brilliantly smooth, zooming is quick and responsive, and UI gives you lots of visual feedback as you use it, all thanks to a great capactitive touchscreen.

The 3.8-inch screen really shows off Windows Phone 7 well, too. As we said before, it has disappointing viewing angles, but looks glorious straight-on.

We really like the design of the Trophy. It's sturdy as you like, and is the sort of thing that hits the ground with a 'thud' rather than a 'crash'.

And, you know, we like that the Trophy worked really well as a phone. It can be forgotten, but smartphone can be a bit weak in the signal and calling department, but HTC got both right here.
Finally, there's the price – or lack thereof. Free on contract? At £25 per month? For this size screen, processor power and interface? Oh my.

We disliked

Starting with the design, we think the sleep/wake button needs to be a bit further back, or be a bit larger. It's just slightly too difficult to hit with one hand, and it doesn't have to be.

The battery life was a little disappointing, but not a massive let-down.

The camera is, frankly, not very good. It's the worst we've ever seen for still, but the 720p video recording is a waste of the 8GB memory (which is also a bit small, though inevitable at the price).

Really, the gripes for the HTC 7 Trophy come in what's missing from Windows Phone 7's feature list. We don't want to flog the same old horses… but we're going to.

No multitasking? Okay, it took Apple long enough, but it's there now, leaving Microsoft looking a little out of date.

No copy and paste? You know, we don't mind this mostly, but it's criminal to leave it out of an OS that features OneNote so prominently.

The basic email inbox is also bordering on inexcusable. We understand that Microsoft's going for a totally different market than it used to aim for with Windows Mobile, but this leaves it well behind its rivals for email power users.

There are other bits and pieces that need fixing in the OS (such as the inconsistent use of the Search key), but we're sure Microsoft will fix soon – lest WP7 be left playing catch up to Apple and Google forever.

Verdict

The Windows Phone 7 experience can basically be summed with: "…but it's so nice".

You can use that phrase after any criticisms or daggers, and it won't ring hollow. Windows Phone 7 is just lovely to use. It feels personal and responsive.

But the it's the implementation of WP7 on the Trophy that makes the phone so good.

There's nothing lost feature-wise in the OS coming down from its more expensive cousins, and not much on the hardware side, but this one is free from just £25 per month. The ease of use factor alone makes it worth considering at that price.

And if Microsoft was to give it an update with some of the missing features, this phone could be mid-range smartphone heaven.