The HTC 7 Trophy is an odd sort of phone to review – compared to its Windows Phone 7 brothers and sisters it has practically no defining features, other than the same slick OS that responds stunningly under the finger, screen scrolling around to the merest flick.
What it does bring is a softer hit on the wallet – you can pick one of these WP7 wonders up for just £25 a month. But does that budget tag leave it wanting in areas that the likes of the HTC HD7 and the Samsung Omnia 7 have hit with such aplomb?
Read about Windows Phone 7 in more depth in our LG Optimus 7 review
The same Windows Phone 7 interface might be present on the HTC 7 Trophy, but the 3.8-inch screen, which is more tall and thin than the likes of the iPhone 4, is in the sweet spot in our opinion in terms of portability and viewing.
The chassis is a little plasticky, and for that the Trophy suffers, as it feels like it's living up to its budget moniker.
But the shape of the phone, coupled with that 3.8-inch screen, means it feels really nice to hold in the hand, and the rubbery finish means it's not too likely to slip out either.
There's been a pseudo-push to make the Trophy into a gaming device, as HTC has commented on it having that place in the portfolio on a number of occasions.
To our eyes, there's absolutely nothing that marks it out as a gaming phone when it packs identical internals to its HTC Windows Phone 7 brethren. That's not to say that gaming isn't good - it's top notch in fact, and the combination of dedicated GPU, colourful and pin sharp screen and slick processing power make it a dream to drop into a casual game on.
However, we prefer the large size of the HD7 for gaming on the Xbox Live platform, as it simply offers more space to spin your fingers around the touchscreen.
HTC 7 Trophy: Media
Where the HTC 7 Trophy does do well is pocketablilty, where it sits comfortably and is therefore unobtrusively great for listening to music on.
It's a shame that there are no media controls on the exterior of the phone, meaning it’s hard to control the device when it's in the pocket. However, a tap on the volume key brings up some music selection options for the lock screen, so that's a definite bonus.
Video seems less impressive on the Trophy for two reasons: firstly, the only way to get movies on the phone is through the Zune software from your PC, and that will require you to convert most of them for some reason, which takes an age. The second is that the screen lacks the vibrancy and contrast ratios of the Samsung Omnia 7 - it's not a terrible experience, but if you're after a Windows Phone 7 handset for watching movies, we recommend checking out Sammy's option or the bigger HTC HD7.
HTC 7 Trophy: Verdict
It's tricky to recommend the HTC 7 Trophy over other handsets because there's so little that marks it out. Sure, it has the HTC Hub to download apps like the Flashlight and Notes, and excellent Sound Enhancer (although this is only available through an external app, so you have to drop in and out of the music and video player to change the quality).
But if you're willing to pay a little more for a Windows Phone 7 handset, then the 8GB of internal storage, slightly poorer build of chassis and lack of any real USP over the others in the range mean it might be better if you look at other options for a new Microsoft phone.
HTC 7 Trophy release date: out now
HTC 7 Trophy price: Free on Vodafone £25 plans