How many rumored release dates for the Windows Phone 7 debut on Verizon have come and gone since the platform was launched? Well, Microsoft's smartphone OS is finally here from Big Red in the form of the HTC Trophy, and while there are some odd oversights and design flaws with WP7, the phone itself is a solid piece of hardware that provides a generally enjoyable user experience.
The HTC Trophy is available now at a price of $150 with a two-year contract. The phone goes for $450 unsubsidized.
BUILD & DESIGN
The Trophy has a nice solid build to it, though I can see some people not being crazy about the rounded, tapered edges of the bezel, especially with the boxy sort of the look the popular Apple iPhone 4 takes on. HTC's offering, on the other ahnd, this takes on a sort of oval shape when viewed from the side. Despite the fact that it feels solid, it's not a particularly hefty or clunky phone, it just has a shape that isn't the edgiest thing in the world. Still, it's not too thick or bulky - measuring 4.7 x 2.4 x 0.5 inches - and it fits comfortably in my pocket.
One of my favorite parts about this smartphone's design is that it has a rubberized finish, giving it a nice texture and a slight amount of grip to minimize drops. It's a little thing, but I wish every phone had a rubberized finish, yet so few do.
As is standard with Windows Phone 7 models, the Trophy has three capacitive buttons on the bottom of the face: Back, Windows (home button), and Search. They're responsive and work well for their intended purposes, but I constantly found myself in search of the option/menu button that is found on Android handsets. I'm not a longtime smartphone user, yet I wanted that button so badly -- and it makes so much sense as a means to quickly access a list of options for any given app or the browser -- that I often found myself instinctively reaching for it even though it wasn't there.
Without a physical keyboard, text input on the Trophy is limited to a virtual keyboard, which isn't all that bad. I've never been a fan of virtual keyboards, and I'm still not, but when typing on the Trophy, some of the pain is eased thanks to the auto-correct performed by the WP7 OS. It's some of the most intelligent and user-friendly auto-correct I have ever experienced; it allows me to type rapidly and make as many screw ups as I want (which are plenty, I assure you) while correcting nearly all of them to spell out the words that I actually meant to type. The only things that tend to get by the auto-correct are when I use colloquialisms or slang, but other than that, it makes using the virtual keyboard bearable.
Sporting a 3.8-inch WVGA (800 x 480) capacitive touchscreen, the Trophy has a roomy display, but not excessively so. The same can be said about the quality as well, in that it's a step above average, but definitely not the best in its class. Colors are bright and comfortable to look at; you can change the color scheme of your phone to any number of choices, and in the small time that I've had the Trophy, I've switched it four times just because I like seeing what the menus look like in all the different colors.
But at the end of the day, while it looks just fine, the screen on the Trophy isn't about to blow anyone away. This is not one of those gorgeous super AMOLED screens that are found on a handful of today's smartphones.
Other Buttons & Controls
Aside from the capacitive WP7 buttons, the Trophy takes the minimalist approach to design, and I like that. The only other buttons are the volume rocker and USB/charging port on the left side, power/standby button on the top, and a dedicated camera button on the right side -- which I think is a great feature, one that is obvious and yet, gets glossed over occasionally in modern phones like the Samsung Droid Charge.
Unfortunately, per Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 standards, the Trophy does not have any sort of expandable memory slot. With a respectable storage capacity of 16 GB, you're given a decent amount to work with, but it would still be nice for Microsoft to maybe broaden its horizons a bit and give users the option to add more storage space if they want.
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