It truly is a catchy name, but the Trophy is – so to speak – the consolation prize in the HTC Windows Phone 7 lineup. It’s not the big guy in the family nor is it the smartest. The Trophy is a middle-of-the-roader, the mass market choice. It’s the first HTC-made Windows Phone 7 device we’re reviewing and we guess it’s up to them to prove there’s no such thing as an ex PocketPC maker.

Windows Phone 7 is about sky-high hardware standards and Microsoft is not really encouraging out-of-the-box thinking. What does this mean for the HTC 7 Trophy? Well, believe it or not, this here Trophy has come onto the scene to bring the one thing that Windows Phone 7 is obviously short of – device personality.

HTC 7 Trophy
HTC 7 Trophy
HTC 7 Trophy

HTC 7 Trophy official photos

Don’t get us wrong, WP7 is a great looking OS – and one that will only be getting better in terms of usability – but Microsoft-imposed uniformity is making it hard for manufacturers to set their products apart. They are trying to make up for that with better screens or free apps, but they still haven’t hit on a winning formula yet.

The HTC 7 Trophy will do its best to be the WP7 phone that stands out from the crowd. Since Microsoft forbids any customization, HTC took a different approach to giving the OS some individuality. Instead of offering free apps from the Marketplace, HTC have built their own – available to download for free off the HTC Hub. And the hub itself is a pinch of Sense UI sprinkled on Windows Phone 7, with some awesome exclusive apps.

Key features:

  • 3.8″ 16M-color capacitive LCD touchscreen of WVGA resolution (480 x 800 pixels)
  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support
  • Dual-band 3G with HSDPA (7.2 Mbps) and HSUPA (2Mbps)
  • Windows Phone 7 operating system
  • 1GHz Snapdragon CPU, 576MB RAM, 512MB ROM
  • 5 megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash, geotagging
  • 720p video recording @ 25fps
  • 8GB of built-in storage
  • Standard 3.5mm audio jack
  • Standard microUSB port (charging)
  • Dolby Mobile and SRS sound enhancement
  • Wi-Fi b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP
  • Accelerometer for screen auto rotation
  • Office document editor
  • Facebook integration and cloud services
  • Built-in A-GPS receiver
  • Stereo FM Radio with RDS
  • Comes with HTC Hub and exclusive HTC apps
  • Voice-to-text functionality

Main disadvantages:

  • Non-expandable storage
  • Average display
  • No lens protection
  • Disappointing audio quality

WP7-specific limitations

  • No system-wide file manager
  • No Bluetooth file transfers
  • No USB mass storage mode
  • Limited third-party apps availability
  • No Flash (nor Silverlight) support in the browser
  • Too dependent on Zune software for file management and syncing
  • No video calls
  • New ringtones available only through the Marketplace (fixed in Mango)
  • Music player lacks equalizer presets
  • No multitasking (fixed in Mango)
  • No copy/paste (fixed in NoDo)
  • No DivX/XviD video support (automatic transcoding provided by Zune software)
  • No sign of free Bing maps Navigation so far (fixed in Mango)
  • No internet tethering support (fixed in Mango)
  • No handwriting recognition support

Windows Phone 7 doesn’t have the luxury to break itself in gently to the smartphone arena like the iOS did. Microsoft’s new platform has been released into fierce OS competition with Google and Apple leading the way. Microsoft knows that best and will spare no effort to promote their Windows Phone 7. From funny TV ads and massive billboards, exclusive operator deals and even Xbox Live Arcade, they’re trying to make the biggest marketing impact in as short a time as possible. Not to mention product placement: WP7 phones are displacing iPhones in some of the highly-rated TV shows and recent blockbusters.

Alright, that’s a new platform that users need to hear about. As for individual devices, it will be up to the manufacturers to tout their strengths. In the case of the Trophy, you just can’t go around promoting a brand new Windows device from the makers of some the best Android phones. Nor can you refer to HTC’s record with Microsoft powered devices. Comparing Windows Phone 7 to PocketPC won’t make sense really.

HTC 7 Trophy
HTC 7 Trophy
HTC 7 Trophy
HTC 7 Trophy

HTC 7 Trophy live pictures

Anyway, whether it’s the Trophy – or any other Windows Phone 7 handset – you may as well take the premium hardware for granted. It’s Microsoft’s way or the highway and it’s a deal that users are not likely to mind. HTC have kindly added an exclusive software package and stylish looks. Build and finish have always been an HTC forte and that’s where we start, right after the jump.

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