Review: HTC 7 Mozart

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It’s the premium Windows Phone 7 phone, but does it deliver the goods? HTC provided many phones for the new OS, and with the HTC 7 Trophy, are the only HTC phones out there with the OS – both ready for our reviews on the phones. But what will let it down, Microsoft or HTC?

Our verdict is after the jump.

  • Score:

    8.0 / 10

  • The Good:

    8-megapixel camera; unibody design; fast processor; call quality

  • The Bad:

    Camera might need some improvements; lack of some expandable memory

  • Bottom Line:

    A great launch phone for Windows Phone 7

Design and Features

The HTC 7 Mozart feels like the better one out of the lot that HTC has released for Windows Phone 7. Unlike the Trophy, it has a metallic casing that also has a unique pattern at the back that mixes a soft-touch layer and the metallic body. All of this is typical HTC – a brilliant body for a phone.

The phone also has a dedicated camera button, a volume rocker and a miniUSB port that acts as a recharger port. At the top, you will notice a huge grill that is to be your headset speaker, while also the place for the indicator, alongside a headphone jack and power button. At the bottom of the screen, you have the usual three buttons mandated by Windows Phone 7, the Search button, back button and Windows button (also known as a home button). However, we do wish there were physical keys.

It as a 3.7-inch display which shows the colours beautifully and had no issues with it in daylight or in artificial lighting indoors. The screen manages to change its brightness depending on its location, and we still could read text or see images really well.

The phone has 8GB of internal storage. And that’s all you’re going to get. It might be a sacrifice for the style factor, but the phone has no expandable slot – not even behind the battery. So you will be limited with 8GB of storage, so don’t expect to use this phone as like your multimedia player as well because you won’t have the room to do so.

Also included is an 8-megapixel camera with 720p HD video recording, and the camera is pretty much a hit-or-miss. In most pictures, they look stunning; but tweaking some of the settings and zooming in a bit, we noticed spots of fuzziness in the photos. Also noticeable is that the shutter sound goes off before the photo has taken, and that could be a problem for some – and there’s no way to change it. Shooting indoors is also a problem, but hopefully rectifiable with a software fix.

Of course, this phone is being touted as a multimedia phone, and features Dolby Mobile and SRS Surround Sound. This helps the music being played, but it’s a shame that you would not be able to push as many music files due to its limited capacity.

Microsoft’s approach of a mandated minimum set of features does have some drawbacks because it rarely distinguishes the phones using the operating system and also a confusing task for the consumer to get a good Windows Phone 7 phone.

HTC Differences

While HTC is not able to produce a skin for the device, it has produced a HTC Hub application. However, unlike the HTC skin, it is sluggish to use and offers limited stuff – such as weather forecasts and links to other applications available on the phone such as a Photo Enhancer, Sound Enhancer and a Stocks application. While these differences extend some of the basic features of Windows Phone 7. However, because they are standalone applications, why is there a need of a Hub. Other than that, HTC haven’t bothered in customising it that much.

If you are wondering about our review of the operating system – we have publish a separate review, because there’s not much of a difference between the phones.

Performance

Thanks to its 1GHz processor, the phone was able to load applications seamlessly and smoothly with no hiccups. Loading times were limited in certain areas, such as games, but most tasks were pretty snappy – such as opening Twitter.

When using the phone, we’ve noticed that the phone averages a battery life of a day or two, and this could be alright for some and not for others. This could be due to the fact that its constantly syncing data such as checking your emails, so pretty much try limit your exposure to data syncing and you would at least pack some more days in your battery life.

Real-world testing, we’ve noticed that data speeds were tremendously better than the HTC 7 Trophy, due in part with its carrier Telstra. We managed to download several news articles – full page not mobile-optimised pages – from the ABC News website and they loaded really quickly. Call quality is good, with voice on both sides clear and understandable.

Overall

HTC has packed a lot of its best components in Windows Phone 7, especially looking at the HTC 7 Mozart. However, while it may be argued that it is a waste of time to develop for a lackluster OS, the phone helps push the idea that Microsoft has started to change. So it is a good introduction phone for the OS, and hopefully the OS continues to change to make this even better.