Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/02/03/review_smartphone_htc_7_mozart/

HTC Mozart WinPho 7 smartphone

Fugal offering

By Dave Oliver

Posted in Phones, 3rd February 2011 07:00 GMT

Review Of the three models from HTC for the launch of Windows Phone 7, the Mozart is the one with the 8Mp camera – a step up from the 5Mp snappers embedded in its brethren.

HTC 7 Mozart

Smartphone sonata: HTC's Mozart

The casing is largely aluminium, with a couple of matt plastic sections on the back for receivers/transmitters, so you don’t get those pesky Apple iPhone 4 reception issues. It feels solid and well built though perhaps not as warm as the HTC Trophy, which has a plastic casing, but feels no less robust because of it.

At first glance its dimensions look much the same as the Trophy too, but it’s actually a sliver narrower and lighter at 119 x 60 x 12mm and 130g and has a slightly smaller 3.7in multi-touch screen.

The usual WinPho 7 factors are on board: 1GHz processor, GPS, accelerometer, Wi-Fi, 8GB memory (but no memory expansion) and as we’ve come to expect, there’s little difference in the user interface, with Microsoft tightly controlling any changes manufacturers might care to make to the operating system.

HTC 7 Mozart

Slim with minimal controls

The HTC Hub offers a few apps you won’t find on other handsets, notably the Sound Enhancer equaliser, which also offers audio enhancements such as Dolby Mobile and SRS surround sound (as it does on the Trophy) but it’s an area that needs to grow if it’s to become distinctive.

The sound remains the same

Incidentally, HTC is pushing the Mozart as a music phone (clue’s in the name) but it doesn’t actually offer anything that you won’t find on the company’s other WinPho 7 handsets – same equalizer, same audio enhancements, and same syncing system.

HTC 7 Mozart

Rather than the audio, it's really the camera that makes the difference

The headphones are so-so and you’ll benefit from upgrading them, but the sound is reasonably punchy, and the SRS function really does stretch out the soundstage, though it’s not really surround sound. It’s all good stuff, but you don’t need to buy a Mozart to get it.

The HTC 7 Mozart is an Orange exclusive though, so you get a few extras like the Orange Wednesdays cinema app, Orange Maps with turn-by-turn navigation and the Orange Daily news, sport and weather round-up. There’s also the Orange Selects section of the Windows Marketplace for more Orange-centric apps. From next year buying apps from the Marketplace will be chargeable to your Orange bill, with no need to register your credit card details.

Besides network, the main thing that differentiates the Mozart from the similar HTC Trophy is the 8Mp camera (the same as on the Desire HD; the Trophy has a 5Mp version). It’s not just the pixel count though, since the Mozart also has a xenon, rather than an LED flash, which is brighter, and provides better quality light. Otherwise, the feature count is the same, with autofocus, 6x digital zoom, a variety of scene modes, including macro, a few colour effects, flicker adjustment and metering mode.

HTC 7 Mozart

Delayed gratification

Pictures are noticeably sharper than you get with the Trophy, and colours tend to be a bit richer, if occasionally a little over saturated. Distressingly, there seems to be a bit of a delay issue with the camera taking the picture a second or so after the shutter sounds – you think you’ve taken the pic, your subject begins to move, and you end up with a blurred shot.

Sample Shots

HTC 7 Mozart

Macro
Click for a full-resolution crop

HTC 7 Mozart

Click for a full-resolution crop

HTC 7 Mozart

Click for a full-resolution crop

HTC 7 Mozart

Click for a full-resolution crop

HTC 7 Mozart

No zoom
Click for a full-resolution crop

HTC 7 Mozart

Digital zoom
Click for a full-resolution crop

Photo finish

Like the Trophy it also offers 720p HD video but unlike the Trophy, there’s a much bigger jump in quality between the HD and standard VGA resolution – though why the camera automatically defaults to VGA, I’ve no idea.

HTC 7 Mozart

Sound option for the image conscious?

It’s the best camera I’ve seen on an HTC handset so far, but there are models from Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Samsung and LG which beat it for quality and range of features. Battery life didn’t appear to be any better than the Trophy, delivering a little under a day of prolonged use.

Verdict

Similar in many ways to the Trophy, the HTC 7 Mozart offers one of HTC’s better cameras and comes in a classy if cold aluminium body. It’s up there with the rest of the uniformly fine WinPho 7 handsets, but with little else to distinguish it, chances are your decision to go with it will depend on whether or not you’re an Orange customer. ®

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