Of the three Windows Phone 7 phones coming from HTC this year, the HTC Trophy is the one that’s being pitched Xbox gamers the most. We took the HTC 7 Trophy to town to see what it has to offer to gamers and non-gamers alike.
What we like
The Xbox LIVE panel on the 7 Trophy’s homescreen allows you to create, edit and change your avatar and check for game invites from your phone. While we found that on phones like the HTC HD7 you could see your avatar when you synced an Xbox LIVE account, we weren’t able to customise it like you can on the 7 Trophy.
Playing mini games like Flowerz allows you to bulk up your Xbox LIVE Gamerscore on the go, and you can check for game invites and other notifications from the 7 Trophy. While you won’t be able to play Halo: Reach on the HTC 7 Trophy (were you seriously expecting that you would?) we think gamers will appreciate this remote link to their home console.
We really like that you can try out most games for free before you buy them. You can’t do this with iPhone games and while you sort of do this with Android games (you have a 24-hour period to claim a refund on an app or game) with Windows Phone 7 games you really can try before you buy.
Of course you can try before you buy on all Windows Phone 7 phones as well; we thought it worth mentioning here given the gaming angle of the HTC 7 Trophy.
As the minimum specifications for phones running Windows Phone 7 are pretty high, this guarantees that the camera and the touchscreen will be of a certain quality. There isn’t a lot we can say here that we’ve not already covered in other reviews and write ups of Windows Phone 7 devices so we’ll keep these next bits short.
The 5-megapixel camera is pretty solid; there’s virtually no lag between pressing the shutter key and the 7 Trophy taking the shot. It’s not the most impressive camera we’ve seen on a phone but it does the job, processes pictures quickly and gives you a range of fun effects like sepia and negative.
The screen is a 3.8-inch capacitive touchscreen which is as responsive as you’d like and really easy to use. Music sounds great through the supplied headphones, although you’ll probably want to use your own. Through the Sound Enhancer control panel on the homescreen you can apply various settings such as Dolby Mobile sound, SRS Enhancement and choose from a number of presets (bass booster, classical, jazz etc).
What we don’t like
Despite all of the rumours and hype the HTC 7 Trophy is not ‘The Xbox Phone’ some people were hoping it to be. If you were honestly expecting that the HTC 7 Trophy was going to be like an Xbox equivalent of a PSP that can make calls then you’re going to be dissapointed. Rather it gives you streamlined access to your Xbox LIVE profile as detailed above.
While we’ll agree that this will be of interest to Xbox gamers we felt that there was little difference between the performance of titles like Star Wars: Battle for Hoth on the 7 Trophy compared to how the game fared on the HD7. If anything we found the HD7, with its bigger 4.3-inch screen, more suitable for mobile gaming.
Though the design of the HTC 7 Trophy isn’t much different from the other phones in HTC’s Windows Phone 7 range, it doesn’t quite have the air of cool exuded by the HD7 and the 7 Mozart. It’s not a bad looking phone but it is a little bit boring when compared to its siblings – the Percy Weasley of the Windows Phone 7 family, if you will.
As we’ve found with the other Windows Phone 7 phone the layout of the main menu can feel restrictive. There’s not much in the way of customising the appearance of the menu beyond choosing a white or black back ground and the colour of the main icons.
Though the sound quality is good we found that you can’t set EQ levels yourself, only choose from the presets. While you should be able to pick one that suits best some people will find not being able to create your own presets frustrating.
We feel that interest in the HTC 7 Trophy will mainly hinge on whether or not you have an Xbox and play online regularly. If not then you might want to check out one of the other HTC Windows Phone 7 phones instead. That said the HTC 7 Trophy is a decent phone. It’s got a big 3.8-inch touchscreen, a solid 5-megapixel camera and 8GB of internal storage.