Since the HTC Trophy runs the Windows Phone 7 operating system, it is obligated to meet a certain set of minimum specs. As such, it is powered by a 1GHz Qualcomm processor and sports 576 MB of RAM. As mentioned, it also has 16 GB of storage space, but it’s not expandable.
It should also be noted that WP7 currently does not support Flash, which tends to hinder the web browsing experience, and since the platform is still a little young, the Marketplace selection is small when compared to the App Store and Android Market.
The performance of the Trophy is actually very respectable considering its good-but-not-amazing hardware (more and more phones these days are packing dual-core processors, and the Trophy is not one of them). It really shines when playing some of the more graphically intense games — as the WP7 platform is all about incorporating Xbox Live into the experience — which are handled surprisingly well; the Harvest, a top-down RPG/shooter is exceptionally pretty and still runs smoothly. Granted, the phone tends to get a little hot after playing games for an extended period of time, but I rarely play for more than 15 minutes at a time anyway, for the sake of the battery.
Unfortunately, given the limited Marketplace selection, I could not find a version of the Quadrant benchmark for the Trophy. While I was unable to use our standard benchmark software, I was able to get some hard numbers using an app called WP Bench.
The benchmarks turned in some pretty standard numbers, for the most part. WP Bench ran both CPU sequential and parallel tests, which turned in a total time of 21413 ms, with the breakdown being 10882 ms for sequential and 10531 ms for parallel. For data memory and storage, the total time was 15725 ms, with the memory benchmark turning in a write speed of 13.07 MB/s and storage clocking in at 3.27 MB/s. Perhaps the most impressive performance from the Trophy was during the GPU benchmark, which scrolled an increasing number of colored rectangles across the screen. The final numbers came in at 686 frames at an average framerate of 22 frames per second.
Call quality is just fine on the Trophy and in my nearly three weeks with the phone, I’ve never experienced any static, dropped calls, or echoes. Connecting to 3G and Wi-Fi is a snap (you can set the Trophy to automatically detect networks), and the data network is speedy and great for web browsing.
Having to use Internet Explorer for web browsing is not as miserable as I thought it was going to be (I’m really not a fan of it on desktops), as it was easy to navigate and made good use of tabs. The only quirk about it that kind of drives me crazy is that whenever you open a new instance of IE, it automatically makes a new tab and the page you were surfing last time gets saved and tucked back under a different tab. As such, before you know it, you’ve got seven or eight tabs open and you didn’t even mean to do it. I would prefer if it would just start out on a clean slate every time I closed and then opened IE; even the alternative of at least asking me whether or not I wanted to save the tabs would be preferable to this setup.
Email is handled exceptionally, as WP7, like Android, allows you to connect to as many different email accounts as you would like. More importantly, especially for professionals, is that it also allows you to sync up with the Microsoft Exchange server should your place of employment use Outlook to handle email. Better yet is that you can keep your Outlook inbox separate from your other email, letting you have a nice, organized set-up in which you have your everyday, all-purpose email on one tile and your work email on another. It’s easy to set up and it’s a great way to keep connected — even when you aren’t at work — without your professional life taking over the setup of your phone.
In addition to Microsoft Exchange support, the Trophy comes with a whole suite of Microsoft Office software (as do all WP7 phones) to keep you productive on the go. This gives you the ability to view and create Excel and Word files, or view PowerPoint presentations. Also included in the Office suite is access to SharePoint, a cloud service that Microsoft uses for sharing files. Then there is OneNote, which is basically quick note software that allows you to jot things down quickly if you don’t feel the need to do so in Word.
When you sync to Outlook, you can also choose to sync your Outlook calendar to have all of your appointments transferred to your phone. The live tile for your calendar will automatically display any upcoming appointments, and email reminders about them can be sent to your connected email account, should you so choose.
Your contacts and address book are handled in a funny way that I think some people will like, but most won’t be crazy about. As you connect the Trophy to your various accounts (Google, Facebook, Windows Live, etc.), your contact list is automatically populated with all of the people associated with those different accounts. That means my phone is filled with hundreds of people, most of whom I don’t talk to; they’re only on there because we were in the third grade together and they friended me on Facebook. And now they’re on my phone.
Granted, your “People” tile (your phonebook, basically) can be modified to only add Facebook info and pages to your existing contacts rather than just filling your phonebook with a bunch of random peoples’ Facebook pages — in other words, you manually put in your contacts and the phone links only to those entries and their respective Facebook accounts — but that doesn’t ameliorate the issue of my phone and update feeds being filled with information about people I hardly know. It’s a quirk with the WP7 platform and not so much the Trophy itself, but it’s still part of the experience and therefore worth warning you about.
Like Bing search being forced upon you (it’s automatically tied to the search button and cannot be switched), the included map software is also Bing-branded. Bing Maps is very much like the Bing search engine in that it’s a decent piece of software and gets the job done, but there are preferable alternatives like, say, Google and Google Maps.
The Trophy comes pre-loaded with the HTC Hub software, which is basically a portal to a bunch of HTC-branded apps, like Photo Enhancer and a compass app. But it also serves as a sort of secondary home screen, sporting an interface basically identical to that of the HTC home screens found on Android devices: the giant flip clock, location settings, weather widget/data, etc. It’s actually very polished and aesthetically pleasing (with sustained weather and cloud animations), but I rarely find myself using it, since the standard WP7 home screen is capable of doing the same stuff.
Between the games, music, video, and other media, the HTC Trophy has entertainment in spades thanks to the features of Windows Phone 7. Since the platform is connected to Xbox Live, big time gamers and Live enthusiasts will be happy to find that there are a litany of features available, including avatar customization, the ability to send and view messages over Live, check out friends’ profiles, and, of course, play Live enabled games (and subsequently earn achievements).
My only issue is that the Live software that comes pre-loaded on the phone doesn’t do much other than list your games, a news page, and your game requests; for all of the other aforementioned functions, you have to download the Xbox Live Extras app, which in turn needs to be accessed through the regular Live software. It’s a minor complaint, but it just seems like an odd oversight and I can’t help but wonder why Microsoft didn’t have all of the Live features packed into one app, rather than into two separate ones.
There are plenty of games available on the Marketplace, but not all of them are Live-enabled. And while there are some titles that are available for free, the only Live-enabled one that is gratis is Flowerz (which actually isn’t half bad, despite its ridiculous name).
Since the Trophy is tied into Microsoft’s ecosystem, music and video are handled through its Zune music service. However, it also comes pre-loaded with Slacker Radio which, along with YouTube if you install the app, gets tucked under the music and video tab so you have access to all of your media in one place.
The Trophy is equipped with a 5-megapixel camera, so in the scope of smartphone cameras it’s not the best you can have. But on the other hand, smartphone cameras aren’t meant for professional grade pictures, they’re meant for capturing photos when you don’t have a real camera on hand, and in this sense the Trophy’s camera suffices.
Aside from the decent quality pictures, the Trophy’s dedicated camera button has a two-stage press, with the lighter, half-press for focusing, and the full press to take the picture. Probably my favorite feature of it, however, is that the camera button is used to accommodate spontaneous photos; even if the phone is in locked and in standby mode, holding down the camera button for roughly 2 seconds automatically turns the phone back on and switches it to photo mode.
While a single charge won’t last you as long as a feature phone or anything like that, the battery life of the HTC Trophy is quite respectable. For some perspective, I could usually squeeze 48 hours out of the phone with regular (but not excessive) texting and calls, occasional web browsing, and short stints of gaming or music during brief train rides. Mind you, this feat was achieved with responsible battery “hygiene,” if you will; for instance, I kept many background settings like email push and location tracking switched off.
On the occasions that I did have my email updating instantaneously or I had my GPS turned on while trying to find my way somewhere, I could definitely see a hit in battery life, but it still wasn’t terrible. Even with heavier usage and many of these extra features being used regularly, I was still able to get roughly 24 hours out of a single charge. Again, I’m sure there are other smartphones out there that are known for their longevity and the Trophy may not stack up against those, but I was more than happy with its battery life, as it was enough to get me through the day while still being able to use the wide array of features that it possesses.