Review: Verizon HTC Trophy

The HTC Trophy has finally made its way to Verizon. The phone, while not new to the market, is the first Windows Phone device for Verizon and gives consumers another choice on America’s largest CDMA network.

If you are looking for a ground breaking device with top end hardware, you may want to look elsewhere as this phone has been out on the market since late October. But just because it’s a bit dated, does not mean that it is a poor choice for a handset.

The device sports a 1 GHz Snapdragon (QSD8650), a 3.8-inch LCD, 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR, GPS, FM Radio, a 1300mAh battery, 16 GB, 576 MB RAM, 5.0 megapixels camera, LED flash, and finally hits the ruler at 4.67 x 2.42 x 0.47 inches (118.5 x 61.5 x 11.96mm). Overall, it’s a middle of the road in specs but it also comes in priced at $149.99, in short, the price is spot on for the feature set. Is it a good value proposition smartphone? We like to think it is.

The phone in your hand feels like a solid little machine, unlike some HTC devices, there isn’t the standard flex in the casing when squeezed. While far short of feeling like the iPhones, dense as a brick, firmness, it doesn’t feel like a lower end device…primarily because it wasn’t designed that way. The non-slippery back makes it easy to hold and is less prone to scratches than metal or glass backed phones.

When using the phone it is standard affair. It seems like HTC has nailed down consistent call quality as the past several devices from the manufacture have all shown consistent volume and clarity when making a call. Users on the receiving end had no issue hearing our conversation.

The camera is a relative joy to use compared to other devices on the market. The dedicated camera button that has the two stages (light press to focus, full press to take a photo) makes it feel like a standard point and shoot camera. Another well received point is that the lag between pushing the shutter button and the actual picture taking is minimal. Unlike some Android devices from HTC, shutter response time is quick, you will not miss a photo op with this device due to camera lag.

It’s not all roses when shooting with the camera/video camera, low light images tend to suffer. If you have the appropriate amount of light, images are beyond acceptable with minimal noise. Adding in the flash and low light, and the quality degrades rather sharply. As you can see in the image below, the colors on the Trophy do appear more washed out, this is a result of the low lighting issue, if the sun were shining, the issue would go away. 

The device comes loaded with the HTC hub and if you are familiar with Sense, this is the Windows Phone version of that platform. It is a love hate relationship, either you will love the added features or you will consider them bloatware. As for new functionality, the HTC hub adds a bit of flair to the transitions but this also impacts the amount of time it takes to get the relevant data you are looking for. Thankfully, if you do not like it, simply unpin it from the landing screen .

The battery life, despite the 1300mAh battery, handles well in this device. I had no problem getting a day’s use out of it, even when using the web browser well beyond the average user. Like any smartphone, expect to charge the device each evening, but it is possible to get an 8 hour day or more with average use.

The speakerphone on the device is a bit of a mixed bag, at lower volumes it sounds adequate. But turning the device to higher levels it becomes distorted like a pair of cheap headphones and has a bit of the muffled overtones that other devices do not exhibit.

The 1Ghz CPU feels more than adequate. The phone felt smooth and never appeared to struggle when switching tasks. Likewise, the LCD faired well in most conditions but if you are out in direct sunlight, it was a bit hard to use the device. That isn't to say that its rendered useless, but reading text was a bit difficult.

The conclusion? For the price of $149.99, the device falls right into the midrange of products currently on the market and that is exactly where it should be. Using the device on a daily basis will be a pleasant experience for most but far from a perfect one too. The shortcomings on this device are noticeable but are not an inhibitor to using the phone. For the first Windows Phone device on Verizon at the price point given, its a worthy choice for the middle of the road crowd. 

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15 Comments

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Imho, The trophy was a great purchase. While my skinny fingers hate the camera button's rough edges, the phone is an amazing one. However, instead of the Trophy, I wish verizon had the Mozart, I want that 8Mpx (the actual SI abbreveation for Megapixel, 'm' is milli or thousandth) camera. Or the Omnia 7, or here's an idea, make a sequel to the Imagio. Anyhow Ich liebe mein Trophy. Which translates to I love my Trophy, if you don't know Deutsche. Also I bought the 2150mAh battery pack. It actually adds a nice weight to the phone, coming from my LG Quantum.

slayr007 said,
Imho, The trophy was a great purchase. While my skinny fingers hate the camera button's rough edges, the phone is an amazing one. However, instead of the Trophy, I wish verizon had the Mozart, I want that 8Mpx (the actual SI abbreveation for Megapixel, 'm' is milli or thousandth) camera. Or the Omnia 7, or here's an idea, make a sequel to the Imagio. Anyhow Ich liebe mein Trophy. Which translates to I love my Trophy, if you don't know Deutsche. Also I bought the 2150mAh battery pack. It actually adds a nice weight to the phone, coming from my LG Quantum.

I wish that Verizon had gotten the Omnia 7 as well. The Super AMOLED screen would have been nice to have. Given Verizon's longstanding relationship with Samsung, I was surprised they didn't have a Samsung phone... Hopefully it's coming.

Interesting review. I'm still undecided here. I'm honestly disappointed by this as Verizon's first (And currently only) WP7 device... I had hoped for something that would be really nice, possibly with a slide out keyboard and a Super AMOLED screen... I would love to know what else might be coming out soon, as I would love to upgrade to WP7 but find this device very underwhelming...

I agree, I love my Trophy! Zune Pass, MS Office, Synced OneNote, amazing Outlook email client, and great call quality. I switched over from an Android phone, and never going back.

I love my Trophy, actually, a really good phone!! I like the feel of it a lot, feels solid, unlike many phones out there, seems like HTC did good as far as build quality goes.

Ok, question on the photos...

With a single pass automated image calibration, like exposure adjustment, the photos become identical between the two devices. This is even more apparent if you crop the HTC photo to exclude the outer upper and left foggy portions of the image like the iPhone4 photo displays.

Is the HTC not doing any exposure processing on the camera and dumping a more RAW image, expecting users to let their Photo Tool adjust the image without losing data?

The iPhone4 if untouched from the device is doing a software based exposure pass on the image, which is both good and bad, as it does look 'better' but image data is discarded.

Anyone else that is curious - (Crop out the two photos and play with them, the HTC image can look exactly like the iPhone4 image with just automated exposure and color temp/saturation adjustment, down to the pixel level, although the HTC is a bit 'crisper' on detail at the pixel level.)

day2die said,
"The device sports a 1 GHz Snapdragon (QSD8250)"

Actually, the HTC Trophy for Verizon uses the QSD8650 which supports CDMA.

+1

This also means the device has not been on the market since October as the article states. Although the chipset is only slightly different, there are also other small modifications to the device from the original October comparable GSM version.

(Who writes this stuff, maybe you should apply for a writing job, cause fact checking is not like contacting deep throat in a parking garage anymore.)

day2die said,
Why does HTC always include low quality camera with its phones?
My Incredible has an 8 megapixel camera and it takes fantastic pictures and video (at least for a phone)

day2die said,
Why does HTC always include low quality camera with its phones?

It appears that it isn't the camera, but that the iPhone is doing post processing on the image, which makes the image look good if it gets it right. However this also delete/modifies the raw image data, thus losing the actual pixels captured and degrading the photo. A photographer would prefer the HTC and the non-processed image over the iPhone and its software post processing. (With Apple it is about 'looking good' not necessarily being good.)

A good example of companies that have used little tricks like this in the past is the HP, Canon, Epson color ink jet wars of the 90s. The HP would always oversaturate the image, thus looking better at 3ft away, but when looked at up close would have large visible pixels and look like crap. The Epson on the other hand would stick to the image color correction standards and data, thus not being oversaturated, and when looked at up close, pixels were not visible as the quality of the ink jet head technology from Epson was better. The punch line, reviewers would award HP the better looking photo prints in 90% of the technical magazines, even when in the photographer magazines the Epson was winning the competition and awards. Starting with the Epson 1200 generation pixels disappeared completely, and it was the first ink jet that earned several photographic awards, yet in the tech magazines, the HP was still winning the photo quality awards when viewed by average people and computer geeks. Epson finally compromised and in their drivers around 2000 shoved their own color controls to Vivid to over saturate the image like HP was doing, but still let true photographers and people that understood print quality turn it off and have the true color output levels.

So it comes down to quality vs perception...

thenetavenger said,

It appears that it isn't the camera, but that the iPhone is doing post processing on the image, which makes the image look good if it gets it right. However this also delete/modifies the raw image data, thus losing the actual pixels captured and degrading the photo. A photographer would prefer the HTC and the non-processed image over the iPhone and its software post processing. (With Apple it is about 'looking good' not necessarily being good.)

A good example of companies that have used little tricks like this in the past is the HP, Canon, Epson color ink jet wars of the 90s. The HP would always oversaturate the image, thus looking better at 3ft away, but when looked at up close would have large visible pixels and look like crap. The Epson on the other hand would stick to the image color correction standards and data, thus not being oversaturated, and when looked at up close, pixels were not visible as the quality of the ink jet head technology from Epson was better. The punch line, reviewers would award HP the better looking photo prints in 90% of the technical magazines, even when in the photographer magazines the Epson was winning the competition and awards. Starting with the Epson 1200 generation pixels disappeared completely, and it was the first ink jet that earned several photographic awards, yet in the tech magazines, the HP was still winning the photo quality awards when viewed by average people and computer geeks. Epson finally compromised and in their drivers around 2000 shoved their own color controls to Vivid to over saturate the image like HP was doing, but still let true photographers and people that understood print quality turn it off and have the true color output levels.

So it comes down to quality vs perception...

That was a very interesting post. I did not know all of that. I would prefer a raw image myself to one that was edited (For good and possibly bad...)...

The Stark said,
That glossy tile is ugly as hell. It looks cheap. What were they thinking?

The Verizon tile? It really is horrible, huh? I don't know why they would ever change that like that...