Previous post:

Next post:

Windows Phone OS 7 and HTC Trophy review

June 1, 2011

in All Articles,Cellphone reviews

Post image for Windows Phone OS 7 and HTC Trophy review

For those with the right needs (or perhaps those with the right sense of adventure) the HTC Trophy brings a double bonus. First, it’s a smartphone with world coverage, and is small, light and fast. Second, it’s Verizon’s first phone running Microsoft’s contribution to the 2011 smartphone OS market – the HTC Trophy runs Windows Phone OS 7.

For those unfamiliar with what this means, consider the Apple iPhone. Clearly a trendsetter and a market creator, it set the standard for what a present-day smartphone should be (completely embarrassing or dethroning BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, PalmOS and many more). Apple’s success bred stronger competition. In particular there is Google, who came out swinging with it’s own smartphones running Google Android OS.

At the time of this writing, most people and companies I work with look for smartphones running either Apple or Google.

Microsoft wants to play, too: Enter Windows Phone OS 7.

For anyone who is familiar with the earlier versions of Windows Mobile (a “smartphone” OS that barely earned the designation – the functionality was there, but the interface, performance and design were horrid) – Windows Phone OS 7 is nothing like Windows Mobile. OS 7 completely embraces what a modern-day smartphone should be.

(See the HTC Trophy in the picture above. It’s posing with a Leatherman Wave for size comparison. It’s sitting on the book “The Art of Intrusion” [1] solely because the book’s color combination with the Trophy was just too perfect.)

What is Windows Phone OS 7 like?

I can best describe Windows Phone OS 7 by comparing it to what’s already available: The interface reminded me most of an iPhone. It’s fast and elegant and simple. It’s an easy-to-learn intuitive interface and it’s not easy to get under the hood and hack around. The hardware is well-suited for the OS and there is no lag. Screen changes, scrolling and updates are responsive and slick.

Navigation is via the widget-based touchscreen, and also three hardware menu buttons along the bottom of the phone – Home, Back and Search. When you move from program to program or change views, the display will “flip”, as if you’re quickly turning a page from right to left. Some navigation (like touch-to-select and swipe-scrolling) will cause the selected item to ripple slightly to let you know what you’ve selected. It’s a really nice-looking interface.

Windows Phone OS 7 versus Apple iPhone versus Google Android – What to pick?

With Windows Phone OS 7, Microsoft is now a legitimate contender in the already-packed smartphone market. The question for the consumer then is, “Which smartphone OS do I pick?

Questions like that used to be so easy just a short time ago.

Keeping things simple, the big players right now are Apple iPhone and Google Android. If you know you want a smartphone, you know about these. Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS 7 gives us another option, yes, but it still has to meet the standards set by the market leaders. Here are some important factors:

Email, contacts and calendaring: Windows Phone OS 7 supports full sync with email from all the usual players, as well as POP/IMAP accounts and Microsoft Exchange servers (for enterprise sync).

Viewing and editing documents in Microsoft Word and Excel. Out of the box, the HTC Trophy can read these documents but can not write them.

Mapping and GPS. Yes, Windows Phone OS 7 does support GPS mapping with turn-by-turn directions.

Ease of use. The ease of use of OS 7 is more like an iPhone. Android is a little more complex (but allows for more hackability – your choice is due in part to the philosophy you prefer – security and stability versus hackability and functionality).

Marketplace. This is the big one. Right now (June 2011), Microsoft’s app store for Windows Phone OS 7 has just over 1,000 apps. This is compared to just under 300,000 apps for Android and just under 400,000 for iPhone! [2] But this is Microsoft, and when they commit to something, they COMMIT. So get ready for the Windows Phone app store to explode in size, but in the meantime they do have a lot of work to pull in developers before they’ll be competitive with the other big players.

The Windows Phone OS 7 also has a few Microsoft-centric features, like integration with Xbox Live, Windows Live and Zune. Apple and Google support these via third party plugins, but not directly.

The HTC Trophy is a great phone. I could only find one problem. Or perhaps not a problem, but something that made me pause. Verizon has preloaded their “My Verizon Mobile” app on the Trophy. When I run it, I get the picture you see on the left.

That’s an error message used to cover for unimplemented functionality. Error messages like that should never occur in a mature product. Hopefully future software updates will resolve limitations like this.

HTC ThunderBolt stats and functionality

CPU: 1GHz Snapdragon
Memory: 8GB internal
Screen size: 3.8″ 480×800 WVGA
Network: 3G (up to 7.2 Mbps download, 2 Mbps upload). GPRS, EDGE. Europe: HSPA/WCDMA: 900/2100 MHz. GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz. Asia Pacific: HSPA/WCDMA: 900/2100 MHz. GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz.
Wireless: Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1.
OS: Windows Phone OS 7
Camera: 5MP
Size: 4.67″ x 2.42″ x 0.47″, 4.94oz
Battery: 1300 mAh. WCDMA: Up to 330 minutes talk time and 435 hours standby. GSM: Up to 405 minutes talk time and 360 hours standby.
Other cool things
: SRS WOW HD: “Virtual Surround Sound”.


Microsoft’s entry into the smartphone arena is very late to the party (I don’t even want to think about Windows Mobile. Windows Mobile did not happen. Windows Mobile does not exist). Windows Phone OS 7, however, is excellent and is what a present-day smartphone OS should be. It’s fast, intuitive, fun to look at, functional and stable.

Given Microsoft’s history with smartphones, I had my reservations about Windows Phone OS 7, but no longer. I’d love to have this phone. With HTC, they built a solid, high-performance phone. With Windows Phone OS 7, Microsoft hit this one out of the park.


[1] Thanks to Joe Bliss for the loan of his copy of “The Art of Intrusion“.


Previous post:

Next post: