HTC 7 Mozart

While it performs its core smartphone duties reliably, the extras, especially the camera features, could have been better executed.


7.7
CNET Rating
6.9
User Rating

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HTC announced three Windows Phone 7 devices for Australia during Microsoft's launch of its new mobile operating system last month. Of the three, only the HTC 7 Mozart sports a unibody aluminium chassis similar to what's found on the HTC Legend and the latest Desire HD smartphones. It is also the only model among all the launch devices from HTC, LG and Samsung to come with an 8-megapixel camera and Xenon flash (which did not perform to our higher expectations).

Design

With a 3.7-inch WVGA screen, aluminium chassis and curved edges, the Mozart looks a lot like the HTC Desire from the front. Those who love metallic materials will be pleased to see that the aluminium extends all around the back, save for two plastic portions on the top and bottom. We feel the non-symmetrical ridges and cut-outs of the unibody design are quite cool-looking, but admit that not everyone will take a liking to it.

Unlike the Desire, the Mozart has touch-sensitive buttons on the front. These are the Back, Start and Search keys as required by Microsoft. While they work well, and we like the haptic feedback we get when we used them, we would have preferred physical shortcut keys as found on the Desire. This would reduce the occurrence of accidental presses when playing games holding the phone in landscape orientation — when we were playing Rocket Riot, the Search key was unintentionally activated, kicking us out of the game. Since Xbox Live is a big part of what makes WP7 attractive, we feel physical keys will reduce the chance of such occurrences.

The Mozart does have some physical buttons around the edges. These include the power toggle on the top, camera shutter on the bottom right edge, and volume controls on the left.

(Credit: CNET Asia)

The 800x480-pixel LCD display was bright and showed text and images well. We had no issues with it whether indoors or out in bright daylight.

Like the HTC Legend, the plastic cut-out on the base has to be removed to access the removable battery. The Mozart doesn't come with a memory expansion slot, but you do get 8GB of built-in storage.

Because of the commonality of Windows Phone 7 across the various supported devices, we'll refrain from repeating our review. If you want to know more about the Windows Phone 7 platform refer to our full review or to our Guide to Windows Phone 7.

Features

Connectivity-wise, you get the usual crop of options available to a high-end smartphone. These include HSDPA, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and A-GPS for satellite navigation.

At the software end of things, we know Microsoft has dictated how the interface should look, so there's no chance of HTC adding its Sense UI to the Mozart. To differentiate itself from other vendors, the Taiwan manufacturer has included a few proprietary apps.

The starting point of getting a unique HTC experience on the Mozart is through the HTC Hub program. The first thing you'll see upon firing it up is the time and weather — this looks just like the most prominent widget found in every HTC Android phone with Sense. Apart from that, it gives thumbnails of other exclusive HTC apps, which will take you to the Windows Marketplace to download.

Of the available apps, the one we found most useful is called Attentive Phone. This gives the handset extra features for handling phone calls. For example, the "quiet ring on pick-up" option detects when you pick up the Mozart from a table when it's ringing and lowers the ringing volume. The other options include "flip for speaker", which activates the speakerphone during active calls when you turn the phone over; "flip to mute ringer"; and "pocket mode", which detects when your device is in a pocket or bag and increases the ring volume accordingly. These features have all been implemented in the Android-based HTC Sense and we are glad to see them in HTC's Windows Phone handsets.

Other apps include Photo Enhancer for adding effects to images, Sound Enhancer for an audio equaliser, Stocks for checking your quotes, and other extras like a unit converter, notepad and to-do list program. There is also a Flashlight app, but take note that this won't work with the Mozart's Xenon flash as it cannot be turned on persistently like LED lights.

With an 8-megapixel sensor and Xenon flash, the Mozart's camera has the best specifications of all the WP7 launch models. The camera app is pretty responsive and focuses quickly. It also gives options such as portraits, sports and candlelight for different shooting scenarios. Fun filter effects including sepia and negative can also be added.

Taking a photo in auto mode was a bit of a challenge. The Mozart tended to lower shutter speed to compensate for dim lighting. This gave properly exposed shots but also increased the incidences of blurred photos. Typically, it's hard to hold a lightweight camera phone very still, especially when you have to apply pressure to press the shutter button, adding to the difficulty of getting a sharp image without hand-shake blur. We would have preferred it if the camera allowed for a slightly underexposed shot as a compromise for dim lighting.

Of course, using the Xenon flash does go some way to alleviating hand-shake problems. One issue in its implementation is that the shutter sound goes off before the shot is actually taken. A user may instinctively move his hand down before the image is captured, resulting in a missed or blurred shot.

When you do get your shot, images looked decent with accurate colours. Using the sports mode helps to solve the slow shutter speed without flash issue, but image noise becomes more apparent. The HTC 7 Mozart can take 720p HD-quality videos. Click here to see some images and clip.

Overall, we were not impressed with the indoor performance of the Mozart's 8-megapixel shooter. It seems some of these issues could be solved by a software update and we hope HTC releases one soon. It would be good, too, if HTC could add a sweep panorama mode for taking landscape shots, like on the LG Optimus 7.

Performance

With one Live and two Gmail email accounts set to sync every half hour, the occasional phone calls and text messages and social networking, the Mozart battery life lasted slightly over a day of use on a full charge. This is comparable to other smartphones, but given the fact that you can't sync social-networking apps automatically on the Mozart, we expected it to perform a little better.

Call quality was good and we didn't experience any dropped calls during our period of testing. The speakerphone on this handset was good, loud and sufficiently clear. Audio for videos was also decent, though we would suggest using headphones instead of firing up the speakers when in public — it's more civic-minded to do so.

However, on a few occasions, we were not able to connect to the cellular data network in spite of good reception at the location. We tested the network using the same data plan on an iPhone 4 and it worked fine.

Speed-wise, the Mozart performed fine with its 1GHz Snapdragon processor and 576MB RAM. Transitions were smooth and all common tasks such as test messaging and bringing up the address book were done snappily. Loading times were a little long for Xbox Live games, but that slowness has been felt on all the WP7 devices we tried so far.

Conclusion

As mentioned in our Optimus 7 review, the LG has the best set of proprietary apps so far. This opinion has not changed after our evaluation of the Mozart. With better camera specs, this HTC should have rightly aced the imaging aspect but didn't because of some usage abnormalities.



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sibbo
7
Rating
 

sibbo posted a review   
Australia

The Good:structure (hard to break), speed, OS

The Bad:bing search button

Has been working fine so far, real time tiles are useful. Pretty much not all that different from other smart phones. Marketplace could be better, but if you want the phone for practicality rather than gadgets/entertainment there are no real faults.

AndyinOz
7
Rating
 

"Once you get your head round it"

AndyinOz posted a review   
Australia

The Good:size, camera, overall design, slim, apps

The Bad:Marketplace

Takes a while to get used but once you do you appreciate the design. It's just not as user friendly as a BB for example. It took me ages to work out how to copy contacts from a SIM to the actual phone. I had to go to the web site and download the manual where as with my BB I just worked out everything.

The Marketplace is dodgy! When it works it's interesting with heaps of handy apps but too often you hit the icon for it and it just goes back to the main screen, anyone else had that issue?

Plugging into a laptop does nothing special. Overall its a good solid phone.

capital smasher
1
Rating
 

"Very disappointed."

capital smasher posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Worked well for first 11 months

The Bad:.Didn't work so well after 11 months!!!!!!!!!!!!

Where do I start. Went in for repair because it would not boot after software upgrade. Came back 4 weeks later with identical issue, obviously not even looked at. Went in for second repair, waited for another 4 weeks. Came back with a touch screen that wouldn't respond to touch, really usefull!!!. Back now for it's 3rd repair. I'm told that if not fixed this time Telstra obliged to review plan that I'm still locked in to. My suggestion, avoid this phone.

capital smasher
1
Rating
 

"Very disappointed."

capital smasher posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Worked well for first 11 months

The Bad:.Didn't work so well after 11 months!!!!!!!!!!!!

Where do I start. Went in for repair because it would not boot after software upgrade. Came back 4 weeks later with identical issue, obviously not even looked at. Went in for second repair, waited for another 4 weeks. Came back with a touch screen that wouldn't respond to touch, really usefull!!!. Back now for it's 3rd repair. I'm told that if not fixed this time Telstra obliged to review plan that I'm still locked in to. My suggestion, avoid this phone.

chris2991
1
Rating
 

"Avoid this phone, nothing but trouble"

chris2991 posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Sometimes lets me answer calls

The Bad:EVERYTHING

By far the worst phone I have ever had. I am about to get my third one now. None have gone back with any physical damage and have no been dropped at all so havn't even been questioned from telstra as apparently they have had flatout problems with them too. We got four all up for company use and have all had nothing but problems. I think if I had written a review after just a months use like most the positive ones on here I wouldnt of had so many troubles. It frezzes when trying to txt, when it doesnt it lags really bad. I've tryed everything including clearing memory and turning of for half hour. The screen doesnt always respond to you touching it which is frustrating if it hasn't turned its self on silent and you actually hear a call and are pressing answer or slide up but it does not respind. The apps that are actually available rarely work as they are suppose to ones that do dont always fit on screen right as they are designed for other phones. Music player is well set out but not pratical to use. Bing is one of three buttons and is easy to push and will send you on internet. Cameras good but you have to hold really steady and focus in to get a decent shot. Avoid this phone.

Jeff22
10
Rating
 

Jeff22 posted a review   

The Good:OS, email, apps

The Bad:not to much

Have had this pone for about 1 month andhave really enjoyed it. It is fast and respsonsive, has a good camera that takes nice photos and can be used in lock mode which is great. The apps store is good and has most of what people need. The live tile is differnt but great, the facebook intergration is cool. I have had no issues so far.

WP7 fan
10
Rating
 

WP7 fan posted a review   

The Good:all

The Bad:nothing

Really like this phone. It was very easy to set up and has been performing well. I like how you can use the camera while in standby mode and dont have to turn it on. I like the OS it is smooth and responsive. Ther are some usefull apps out there. Can recommend this phone. Battery life is ok it can get through the day with good ussage.

CharlesAU
1
Rating
 

CharlesAU posted a review   

The Good:Not much

The Bad:Everything

I have had nothing but trouble with this phone:
cannot answer because screen will not slide up;
software just scrambles itself;
apps poor qual compared to I Phone;
completely lost all my contacts and could not restore them from laptop;
sent back to HTC for repair and was lost by them;
Telstra's answer was to 'turn it off for 30 minutes' then back on!!

Worst phone I have ever had!

 

hope to change posted a comment   

I have been using so many type of phone that can use my memory card music for the ring tone and sending from phone to phone via bluetooth without any problem,mozart gave me embarassing moment as I told my friends it`s a sleek phone hopefully HTC Will improve as my phone is only 4 days old so disappointed.

 

bill posted a comment   

Not sure how you can say it is hard to download apps to your phone the process could not be easier. Use market place on your phone select app an hit install or connect to your computer use ZUNE find the app get it and it is on the phone now how hard is that. No phone have there speaker for listing to music on the front of it. And it is one of the easiest phone to use simple and quickly to set up. Have you checked the people hib for your live profile


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User Reviews / Comments  HTC 7 Mozart

  • sibbo

    sibbo

    Rating7

    "Has been working fine so far, real time tiles are useful. Pretty much not all that different from other smart phones. Marketplace could be better, but if you want the phone for practicality rather ..."

  • AndyinOz

    AndyinOz

    Rating7

    "Takes a while to get used but once you do you appreciate the design. It's just not as user friendly as a BB for example. It took me ages to work out how to copy contacts from a SIM to the actual ph..."

  • capital smasher

    capital smasher

    Rating1

    "Where do I start. Went in for repair because it would not boot after software upgrade. Came back 4 weeks later with identical issue, obviously not even looked at. Went in for second repair, wait..."

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