The HTC 7 Mozart sits next to the HTC HD7 and HTC 7 Trophy as one of the Taiwanese phone peddler’s Windows Phone 7 launch handsets. Confusing, we know, but this one is not the gigantic or economy model – the HTC 7 Mozart has a dual focus on photography and music. Hence, you know, Mozart. Is this blower blasting out more hot air than fab features? Find out in our full HTC 7 Mozart review.
Every Windows Phone 7 handset offers a 1GHz processor, at least 8GB of internal memory and a 5-megapixel camera as standard. The question is what they offer above and beyond these minimum specs, and whether the cash-to-capability equation makes sense. The HTC 7 Mozart offers additional audio processing, in the form of SRS Enhancement and Dolby Mobile, and an 8-megapixel camera with Xenon flash.
Using the Zune software, or Windows Phone 7 Connector software with a Mac, pumping your music collection into your HTC 7 Mozart is a doodle. The phone’s built-in Zune media player is imbued with that characteristic Apple simplicity too, underneath an extra layer of Windows Phone 7 gloss.
Once our tunes had made the jump, we switched between SRS, Dolby Mobile and vanilla playback to see if these playback processing types were music to ours. Here’s what we found.
SRS Enhancement is an aural exciter, boosting the low-end and adding some zing to the treble, but it’s a clumsy effect that’s much like hitting the bass boost button on an old personal stereo. It lessens audio fidelity, but may please unrelenting bassheads.
Dolby Mobile compresses sound, bringing out the bass more subtly than SRS, but lessening the power of the stereo image in the process. We’d pick Dolby Mobile over SRS any day, but we’d ideally rather switch both off and listen to our tunes without any of this processing. When using earphones, there are also some standard EQ settings you can use if you’re just after some simple EQ tweaking.
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A more serious drawback for the HTC 7 Mozart’s musical supremacy is the internal memory. We’d much rather ditch the Dolby and have 16GB of memory to pack with tunes rather than the 8GB the HTC 7 Mozart offers. With Windows Phone 7, there’s no opportunity to expand this memory either, so you’re left with 8GB forever. As an MP3 player replacement, the HTC 7 Mozart doesn’t excel beyond the cheaper HTC 7 Trophy.
The camera’s specs sound more promising – eight megapixels is the most you’ll get from any Windows Phone 7 right now, and Xenon flashes are very rare these days, having last appeared in the megapixel-tastic Nokia N8. The Xenon flash will taint the colouring of your photos less than an LED alternative, but the camera’s held back by an autofocus that doesn’t better its lesser-specc’d HTC brothers. Get up close to an object and the Mozart will simply refuse to focus properly – you need to be further away than most top-end camera phones, and that’s disappointing.
We’d also like the option to touch focus and touch-shoot too as using the Mozart’s physical shutter button can result in some sharpness-destroying camera shake. Even with the perfect pic captured, the HTC’s Mozart’s colour reproduction doesn’t impress, lacking warmth. The HTC 7 Mozart’s camera isn’t terrible, but it’s not the powerhouse we’d hoped for when we spied that Xenon flash. Check out some sample snaps below.
The HTC 7 Mozart’s final stand-out feature is the aluminium unibody design. This removes all the seams where your fingers naturally stray when holding the phone, making it feel great in your mitts, but the curvy lines of its back, bordering the plastic bits that make up the battery cover and camera lens housing, don’t make the prettiest package. The HD7 played the same trick, but used straighter, simpler lines, resulting in a classier look. The HTC 7 Mozart looks a little overdesigned in contrast.
It’s starting to sound like the HTC 7 Mozart has hit too many duff notes to be a winner, but it’s not all bad. The great capacitive touchscreen makes flicking around Windows Phone 7′s menus a breeze and the OS is just as slick as it always is – very slick, save for when you reopen an app after locking the screen.
Windows Phone 7′s Marketplace is tiny in comparison to the Android Market and App Store, only having recently leaped over the 2000 apps mark, but it already has some crackers. Microsoft has encouraged developers to use the Windows Phone 7 look in their apps, giving you a consistent look throughout the OS and top apps like Facebook and Twitter. You just have to hope that you don’t get sick of that look.
The 3.7-inch S-LCD screen is bright and sharp, virtually assured by that 480×800 resolution display, but contrast isn’t a patch on the Super AMOLED displays of Samsung Windows Phone 7 handsets. The HTC 7 Mozart’s display has a slight blue tint to it that’s a little disappointing at this top-end level, especially when we’ve seen much better S-LCD screens doing the rounds recently – the HTC Desire HD being the top example.
The HTC 7 Mozart is a quality phone, but upon closer inspection, the things that are meant to make it stick out aren’t quite as special as you might hope, making this phone a bit of a tough sell up against the cheaper HTC 7 Trophy and the giant HTC HD7.