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Internet, Email, Gaming, Pictures, Music

Even though this is only a 3G phone, surfing was a pleasant experience. We are not necessarily big fans of Internet Explorer (IE) on the computer, but we found that the mobile version does a good job. We were happy to find that it includes tabbed browsing. We had two major complaints about the IE mobile version. First, it does not support Flash. Second, in a manner similar to the desktop version, IE routinely opens a new tab for you, and it is too easy to wind up with multiple open tabs that you really don’t need.

As mentioned earlier, Bing is the default search engine. Unfortunately, it cannot be changed. While we don’t mind using Bing instead of Google, this phone also defaults to Bing Maps, which for us is a drawback since we really prefer Google Maps.

Because of the average hardware specs of this phone, we were amazed to find that it did an excellent job of displaying graphically intense games. WP7 incorporates Xbox Live on this phone, so there is a lot to play with. The Trophy gets a little hot after an extended playing session, but that is not unusual with a phone like this.

Although the battery is good for a full day of normal use, playing games will quickly drain the battery. You may want to purchase an extra battery if you intend to use the Trophy as a gaming device.

Fortunately, the Trophy 1300mAh battery is easy to access. Just put your fingernail into the groove on the top (previously shown in Figure 5), and the back pops off to reveal the battery, shown in Figure 11. Removing the battery gives you access to the SIM slot. This is a dual mode phone so it runs on both CDMA and GSM networks.

HTC Trophy Cell Phone ReviewFigure 11: The Trophy battery

The Microsoft Marketplace cannot yet compete with the Apple App Store or the Android Marketplace, but the current selection gives you a pretty nice diversity. There are plenty of games available, including Live-enabled games, but as you might expect from Microsoft, most of these games are not free.

WP7 gives you a lot of options for handling email. It will allow you to have multiple email accounts and, as you would expect being a Microsoft program, it syncs very well with Microsoft Exchange server. It also allows you to keep your Outlook email separate from other email. It is easy to set up and easy to use. This phone supports cut and paste.

Phones with the Windows Phone 7 operating system also come with a whole suite of Microsoft Office software, making it easy to view and create Excel and Word files and PowerPoint presentations. OneNote, which is a program for taking quick notes, is also included. SharePoint, a cloud service that Microsoft uses for file sharing, can easily be accessed from this phone. Of course, WP7 does a great job of syncing to Outlook for contacts and appointments. If you are already a part of the Microsoft ecosystem, you will find these programs very beneficial.

Just as Apple’s iPhone music and video is tied to iTunes, Microsoft’s WP7 music and video are tied to its Zune music service. You install the free Zune software on your computer to sync with the Trophy. Fortunately, the Zune system is good and fairly easy to navigate.

The Trophy also comes pre-loaded with Slacker Radio and has an FM radio, so you will have access to plenty of music. The stereo speaker on the phone is adequate, but the included ear buds are hard, oversized, and ill-fitting for most users.

The back of the Trophy, shown in Figure 12, displays the 5-megapixel camera along with the LED flash. The Trophy seems to use the same camera that we saw when we reviewed AT&T’s HTC Surround. Pictures are clear with good color representation. It has a good autofocus. You can view the photos immediately or access them through the Picture hub for additional options. Also, pictures can be automatically uploaded to Microsoft’s SkyDrive.

In Figure 12, you can also see the holes for the stereo speakers. Because they are on the back of the phone, the speaker is a little muffled when it is placed with the backside down on a flat surface such as a table top. So you may want to flip it over or prop it up when using the speakerphone or listening to music.

HTC Trophy Cell Phone ReviewFigure 12: The back of the Trophy

The Trophy has 720p video recording capability. Like the Surround, the Trophy took good low light photos and videos. Some detail seems to be lost when transferring the photos and videos to the computer.

The best thing about the camera in this phone, however, is that it has a dedicated camera button on the right side, as shown in Figure 13. Even if the phone is locked in standby, holding down the camera button for about two seconds automatically turns the phone on and puts it into photo mode. This allows you to take a photo more quickly than with phones without a dedicated camera button. Also visible in Figure13 is the up/down volume rocker.

HTC Trophy Cell Phone ReviewFigure 13: The camera button on the side

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Sandy Berger, respected computer authority, journalist, media guest, speaker, and author, has more than three decades of experience as a computer and technology expert. Her eight books include: How to Have a Meaningful Relationship with Your Computer, Your Official Grown-up's Guide to AOL and the Internet, Cyber Savers –Tips & Tricks for Today’s Drowning Computer Users, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Better Living through Technology, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to the Internet, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Gadgets & Gizmos, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Health & Wellness, and Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Travel. Sandy’s newspaper column, magazine articles, feature stories, product reviews, and computer tips can be found at her website, Compu-KISS.