HTC Trophy Windows Phone Review

What struck me immediately about the HTC Trophy is its size. It’s no EVO, certainly, but the Trophy’s 3.8″ screen is quite pleasant. Being that I like me a large-ass phone, the Trophy made an excellent first impression.

And that first impression was important, because otherwise I was going to be dealing with a unfamiliar device. I’ve messed around with a Windows Phone 7 device before, but I’m not nearly as familiar with it as I am Android or iOS. And, as we know, unfamiliarity breeds mistrust. But thanks to its large size I was more willing to give it a chance.

The device itself is a little unwieldy, mostly because the only button you can use to turn on the screen is at the top of the unit. After pressing it, your hand will not be in an ideal position to start using the phone immediately, and so you’ll have to shift your hold on the device after you hit the button or use two hands. This sounds like a small complaint, and it is in spirit, but its actually a pretty annoying, really, especially if you’re used to using a device that has a screen on button that you can press with your thumb.

Other device quirks are related to the WP7′s distaste for landscape mode:you can only use the address bar in the web browser in portrait mode, for example, and the landscape keyboard doesn’t stretch all the way across the bottom of the screen, meaning smaller than optimal buttons for a phone with a screen this large.

It comes with a couple nice perks, though. It’s preloaded with Netflix, which most Android users can’t use right now, and a full suite of Microsoft Office apps, which are quite handy and pretty much unparalleled on either iOS and Android. And it’s got 16gb of storage out of the box, which is great.

But whatever. Let’s talk about gaming.

The big push for the Trophy is in its Xbox Live functionality. Many of the games you play in WP7 have achievements that count toward your existing Xbox Live gamer tag, which is an excellent perk, even if it does leave my games list littered with a bunch of very low gamerscore titles.

The screen is quite brilliant for gaming thanks to its large size and color brightness. The games quite simply pop out of the screen in such a way that I haven’t really seen on midrange Android devices like the Hero and Zio. For what is definitely a midrange phone in terms of price, the Trophy provides a lot of value in the quality and size of its screen.

Performance is something else, though. While the device will generally get the job done and get your games going at a good speed, I found that it would occasionally hang. It doesn’t stutter like you would expect from a slow Android phone, but rather it pauses for a moment or two. I should stress that this doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.

Game selection is surprisingly good, though it’s nowhere near as solid as what you get in the iOS App Store, but then again you don’t expect it to be nearly that flush. Selection, from what I can tell, is about on par with what you would find in the Android Marketplace, although it is a bit buggy. As of this writing I’m unable to browse the games store by genre because every category simply shows up as being empty of games. I don’t expect that to be the norm, however.

Because developers gravitate so heavily toward iOS, it’s really impossible for me to recommend the Trophy over the iPhone, especially considering both phones are available from Verizon. But if I had to choose between the Trophy and an Android phone, the Trophy’s value in terms of price ($49.99 with a new contract from Verizon), its bright, large screen and its Xbox Live functionality push it over the edge.

Pros:

  • Large, color-rich screen
  • Xbox Live integration
  • Preloaded Netflix and Office
  • Good price

Cons:

  • Sometimes hangs during games
  • The button that turns on the screen is awkwardly placed

Final Score: 85/100

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