HTC 7 Mozart review: Eine kleine Nachtmusik

GSMArena team, 08 December 2010.

HTC 7 Mozart unboxing

The HTC 7 Mozart has a standard set of accessories in the box: a USB charger and a microUSB cable. There’s a one-piece headset with music controls and a manual on both mini-CD and in paper-copy. If you don’t like the supplied headphones you’re free to plug any set in the 3.5mm audio jack.

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The HTC 7 Mozart unboxed

HTC 7 Mozart 360-degree spin

The HTC 7 Mozart is about the same size as the Trophy. At 119 x 60.2 x11.9 mm, it weighs 130 grams – interestingly, the aluminum unibody Mozart is some 10g lighter than the plastic Trophy. Thanks to its rounded sides and minimal waste of space, the HTC 7 Mozart looks and feels quite compact despite the 3.7-inch screen.

Design and construction

It’s phones like the Mozart that have helped cement HTC’s reputation for build quality. The unibody design and a mix of high quality plastic and aluminum make the handset a pleasure to handle and look at.

The front panel is taken up by the screen, leaving little room for design experiments. Fortunately, HTC’s decision to break the typical rear design have resulted in something new and unique.

A central piece of metal divides the rear panel asymmetrically – the top and bottom parts are made of the familiar matte plastic. The aluminum plate extends to the front and wraps around the display to complete the unibody construction of the phone. The only movable part is the bottom piece of plastic – it serves as the battery cover.

Both the plastic and metal parts are quite fingerprint resistive, but the front glass would require regular cleaning.

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HTC 7 Mozart

The 3.7-inch S-LCD screen is on the small side in Windows Phone 7 terms. We guess this fact may as well be doing the Mozart a favor. Some people may have second thoughts about screens 4” wide or bigger – like the Samsung Omnia7 or the HTC HD7.

We have no issues with screen sensitivity – the capacitive unit has great response and silky smooth, precise performance. The image quality is very good, the viewing angles and sunlight legibility are above average too.

Overall, the HTC 7 Mozart seems to have one of the better screens among WP7 phones. Maybe it just looks better in the light of the HD7 failure or maybe it really is a good screen – for both size and image quality. It pales in comparison to Super AMOLED (this is actually no metaphor when it comes to screens) but does well against the rest of the WP7 competition.

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The Mozart has a very god screen: for both size and image quality

Above the display you will only find the earpiece and two embedded sensors (proximity and ambient light). There is also a hidden status LED under the earpiece grill.

Underneath the screen we find the typical Windows Phone 7 controls – Back, Start and Search. They’re all capacitive keys with excellent sensitivity and haptic feedback. Pressing and holding the middle Start key will activate Voice Commands.

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The earpiece on top • the Windows controls at the bottom of the screen

The left side of the HTC 7 Mozart features a long and thin volume rocker next to a microUSB port.

On the right-hand side there is only the dedicated camera key. It falls right where your fore-finger is most likely to rest when holding the handset landscape. The Mozart gives us no reason to complain – unlike the HD7.

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The volume rocker and the microUSB port are on the left • the right side hosts only the camera key

At the top, we find the 3.5mm audio jack and the Power/Lock key. At the bottom of the phone, you will see the mouthpiece.

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Power/Lock key plus the 3.5mm audio jack on top • the mouthpiece at the bottom

At the rear, we come to the most intriguing part of the hardware check. The phone’s key selling points are both there – in the shape of an 8-megapixel camera lens and xenon flash. The loudspeaker grill is also nearby.

Both the 8 megapixel camera and the xenon flash make their debut on a Windows Phone 7 handset. Unfortunately the flash did seriously underperform, but more on that later in our review. We suppose we just had higher expectations a of that tiny xenon unit.

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The camera lens, the xenon flash and the loudspeaker grill

The small battery cover at the bottom is similar to the Desire HD’s, never mind the irregular shape. Sliding the cover open grants you access to the SIM compartment and the battery. The 1300 mAh unit is quoted at 435 hours of standby and five and a half hours of talk on a 3G network.

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The 1300 mAh Li-Ion battery

The HTC 7 Mozart is a solid and well-built phone, but that’s what we’ve come to expect from HTC. The plastic-metal mix works fine giving the Mozart exceptional personality. Pocket-friendly, comfortable to operate and quite fingerprint-resistive, the HTC 7 Mozart is definitely a winner in the design stakes. You may find yourself buying it even without looking at Windows Phone 7 inside.

But in case you wonder what’s new in Mozart’s software package, meet us after the jump as we explore the Metro interface and apps.

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The HTC 7 Mozart held in hand

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