Why I Chose an HTC Mozart Windows Phone

Christmas day this year brought an extra present for me, I was due a free upgrade on my phone from my mobile carrier.  I'd spent a long time before weighing up the pros and cons of the various mobile operating systems and handsets but eventually needed to make a choice.  That choice, as you can assume from the title of this article, is the HTC Mozart Windows Phone.  I thought I'd talk you through why I made this choice though as there's a lot gone into it.

The best way to start is to discuss why I went with Windows Phone 7.  I want to be frank here, I both love and hate smartphones with equal measure.  I like being able to do a little light web browsing and check and update Facebook and Twitter, but primarily I want a phone to be a phone.  This is the overriding concern I have about modern smartphones, they're simply not phones first!

So what do I mean by this.  Well I discounted both iOS and Android because the former monopolises your main screen with icons for maps, games, utilities and more while relegating the actual phone features to a couple of small icons on the screen.  The latter is even worse, treating your phone's screen like a desktop with a mouse cursor and widgets.  I have enough trouble sometimes with my desktop on my PC at home.  The last thing I wanted to do was translate those problems onto a tiny 4 inch screen and exacerbate them further.

Windows Phone on the other hand does things differently.  You don't, for example, ever have to go into a Facebook app if you don't want to.  All the information you need about your friends is right there in your contacts lists (we can also look forward to twitter and other services being integrated here in the future).  The OS also prioritises the phone functions of the device.  While any smartphone OS will live or die on the quality and quantity of the apps available for it, Windows Phone shunts these off, by default, to a second screen.  This is where I want them to be.

The other reason for wanting a phone that works in this way is that I use my mobile phone mostly as a clock and calendar.  For the last couple of years I've been struggling along with an HTC Touch HD Windows Mobile handset.  I've upgraded the firmware many times to try and make the thing more usable and some firmware implementations have almost worked in that regard.  The thing I've always liked the most about it though is simply being able to switch it on and see at a glance the time and any forthcoming appointments.  Android can do this, but with widgets, the iPhone won't do this at all, and I believe Windows Phone does this best of all.

Then there were the Symbian handsets from Nokia and Sony Ericsson.  These were all discounted early on because the OS is simply not up to the polish that iOS, Android and Windows Phone have.  Palm's WebOS was also discounted because the OS is in such a dubious place right now that future updates and support are uncertain.

htc mozart phone

The HTC Mozart Windows Phone

So what about the handsets?  Here is where I faced a real problem because without a shadow of a doubt, the iPhone and many of the current Android handsets are much better than the first batch of Windows Phones.  Phones such as the HTC Desire have been picked up by many of my friends because they're just so good.  Indeed I've been very impressed by the build quality of HTC handsets in general.  The iPhone 4 though is also a fantastic piece of design and a wonderful handset I'd be delighted to have in my pocket.  It had to be a Windows Phone though so I had to make a choice.

My own carrier in the UK is Orange which gave me a choice of three.  The HTC Mozart, the Samsung Omnia 7 and the LG Optimus 7.  The LG was out straight away as I feel the plasticky buttons along the bottom of the screen are both cheap (in look and feel) and will eventually break.  Both the Mozart and the Omnia are excellent handsets but I wasn't strictly tied to Orange so I had a look at the other carriers.



The HD 7 I felt had a very poor screen, it felt pale and washed out, so this was discounted early on.  The only other handset available was the HTC Trophy on Vodafone that feels like the poor cousin of the Mozart.  So sticking with Orange it was.

Read also:  Microsoft releases .NET Framework 4.7

This is where the choice became very difficult and let me tell you why.  I had a Mozart for 10 days a couple of months ago when Microsoft sent me a review unit.  It's a lovely phone, the gorgeous metal case and its smallish size make it an absolute pleasure to pick up and hold.  Because it's not too big, with a 3.7 inch screen, it feels like a phone and not a computer too.

There is one major flaw with the Mozart though and it almost became a deal-breaker for me.  Because Windows Phone will let your switch off the phone simply by pressing and holding the power button, with no on-screen prompt to turn it off as well, this is exactly what happened every time I sat down to put my shoes on (I keep my phone in my front trouser pocket).  It is hugely irritating finding out your phone has switched off AGAIN just because you've sat down and leant forward!

This made me seriously consider the Omnia 7, one of only two Windows Phone handsets (and the only one in the UK) to come with an AMOLED screen.

This screen is an absolute joy.  It's incredibly bright and the contrast is clear between blacks and whites.  But even this fantastic AMOLED screen isn't without its problems.  At 4 inches it's a little large for its resolution and a sort of fuzzy pixellation can occur around the edges of icons and the Windows Phone live tiles on the front screen.

It's not noticable at a distance but for close work, which is what you do with a mobile phone most of the time, I knew that looking at these fuzzy edges and knowing that the operating system is really drawing a straight line, would annoy me.

There was also the build quality of the phone.  It's made from solid-feeling metal but has a cheapness to the edging and the back that just could have been done better.  It's just not up to HTC's high standards and the large Samsung logo plastered across the front is too large to have to look at every day for the next couple of years.

Even so it was a close run thing.  The Mozart's power button issue meant I had to consider the Omnia very seriously indeed (the Omnia's power button is on the side), taking friends to my local Orange store to see it for themselves and reading review after review of it online (I'd already had a Mozart so knew what to expect with that handset).

In the end the HTC Mozart simply came out with more pros than the Samsung.  The only other choice was to wait and see what additional handsets came down the line in the next few months.  It was at this point though that I looked back at Windows Mobile 6.5 on my HTC Touch HD and knew I had to run away screaming and embrace a new handset whatever it's foibles.

There can be no doubt that the second generation of Windows Phone handsets will improve on and fix these problems and be far better.  They will probably challenge the current crop of Android handsets, though whether anything will be a serious challenger to the hardware of the iPhone in the next few years is debatable at this point.

So there it is, laid out in bare metal for you why I chose my Mozart.  It can be such a difficult decision these days choosing a handset and the reason I wanted to write this up as an article is two-fold.  Firstly there may be some of you out there about to go through the same agony, but also because it's just supposed to be a phone...  Why should this be a difficult choice?

There is no doubt that smartphones have made choosing handsets increasingly difficult, but I'm happy with mine now and it should be delivered tomorrow  :)  You can read my full in-depth review of the HTC Mozart and the Windows Phone 7 operating system at our sister site Windows7News.

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Responses to Why I Chose an HTC Mozart Windows Phone

  1. Peter Murphy December 28, 2010 at 12:47 pm #

    It's a good choice, I'm loving mine, I find i have more time in general, using this phone/OS

  2. Crodol December 28, 2010 at 1:17 pm #

    Good review. Thanks

  3. Michael Plant December 28, 2010 at 5:25 pm #

    Excellent article. My only choices with my carrier (Telus in Canada) were the HTC 7 Surround and the LG Optimus 7. I went with the Surround and have been very happy - particularly with the build quality. The screen isn't as good as the one on my son's iPod Touch 4 but I really don't care - I only notice that the colours are a bit washed out looking when I hold them side by side and watch the same video on each simultaneously. When I am using it on its own - which is how I'll be using it 99% of the time - the screen looks wonderful. Overall, my thinking is that this is a phone!

  4. Ian December 28, 2010 at 7:41 pm #

    I have an HTC 7 Trophy, and I just must say that the Optimus was the way to go: the HTC phones has 8 Gb but as a microSD, the Optimus 7 has a 16 Gb NAND that is a lot faster; and the HTC phones has very bad cameras (incluiding the Mozart). The Omnia 7 is also better because its 8 Gb NAND and Super AMOLED screen.

  5. berttie December 28, 2010 at 10:59 pm #

    I'm with you on believing mobiles should firstly be phones, Mike. Unfortunately, it seems they are becoming highly mobile computers first, ipods second, cameras third and phones a very distant last.

    Following recent law changes that make it illegal to touch a phone while driving, I'm researching fully voice controllable mobiles. It's proving a frustrating exercise because so many smart phones are actually very poor at being phones.

    • Mike Halsey December 29, 2010 at 11:10 am #

      @berttie - will you email me through my website http://www.thelongclimb.com with your findings on this please and your conclusions? This would make an extremely interesting article for people here :) Good luck with your hunt, I have a gut feeling you'll end up with an Android phone

  6. berttie December 29, 2010 at 11:33 pm #

    "Good luck with your hunt, I have a gut feeling you’ll end up with an Android phone"

    Unfortunately, voice dialing was only added with version 2.2, which means there still isn't a lot of choice with Android phones. ATM, iPhones v3.1+ are the best candidates, though, especially iOS 4 can have bluetooth issues apparently. However, I'm not an iPhone fan. I haven't been able to find much info on the new Windows 7 yet.

    • Mike Halsey December 30, 2010 at 1:28 pm #

      @berttie - Voice calling on Windows Phone is quite good though I've not tested in in a car. I have a feeling it wouldn't work very well with car noise. I also don't have bluetooth headset to test it the voice calling works with that.

      That said I'll request some kit from my mobile provider and see if I can find out for you. Do you want to email me through http://www.thelongclimb.com so I have your email address and I'll keep you informed if I can find anything out :)

      Mike

  7. Jellal January 1, 2011 at 6:43 pm #

    Hi mike, nice review there! I am currently using my HTC Mozart to view this post :D & I really like the phone!
    But it seems to me that my battery runs out fast, do you have the problem?

    • Matthew January 6, 2011 at 12:33 am #

      Hi Jellal,

      I find I can get about 3 days from the battery if I put it in flight mode when its out of signal range (which is usually all evening), but I tend to turn the wifi on and check my mail, read a few webpages - mostly webcomics and a bit of xbox live gaming. I take the handset out of flight mode during the day but keep the data connection off until I need it.

      Hope that helps any.

  8. Matthew January 6, 2011 at 12:31 am #

    Hi,

    I recently got a HTC Mozart and have noticed the power buttton seems a little loose - I don't remember noticing it when I first got it but whenever I get a new toy I tend to treat it with kid gloves.

    The power button works but it seems to rock in its housing and if you depress it from the left hand side of the button it wiggles much more than pressing the right hand side - in fact on the left side goes behind the body so you feel it dig in to your finger.

    Has anyone else had this or should I report it to Orange and see if they'll swap the handset (which is probably unlikely as it does work) as the handset isn't even a month old yet.

    • Jamie January 16, 2011 at 3:53 am #

      I have this too. It functions perfectly though and I think it may even mean to be like that.

  9. Jamie January 16, 2011 at 3:55 am #

    The HTC Mozart is so just about better than the iPhone. All my iPhone friends agree due to the fact that it's actually not a toy like the iPhone. It seems to integrate into the real world more.

  10. Edison May 18, 2011 at 5:08 pm #

    I TOTALLY AGREE! I thought we share some similarities when i was reading your article!

    I've been in agony over choosing the phone of my choice recently. My dad kept hurrying me on picking one of those high-end "SMART" phones on the telco's phones list [because there are only smart phones]. Surprisingly, there aren't any "real phones", as you were saying. I just want one of those phones that can call, message, navigate easily and has a friendly user interface.

    Likewise, i've been reading and watching reviews after reviews for the past 3 days, which i was supposed to be studying. These phones are just so difficult to choose from, when it's meant to be a simple process. I've been comparing the phones with my current one which i'd bought 3 years ago, the Sony Ericsson W910i, and i was shocked that most of the phones, including HTC Mozart, were of lower battery life despite their good quality. How can they not defeat my phone which is of the older generation? It's really ridiculous, might as well i stick to my W910, it's a REAL PHONE though. How i wish Sony Ericsson moves in the direction on developing phones of it's kind.

    But, in the mean time, i'll NEED to choose one of the phones. Some of my choice were : HTC Incredible S, HTC HD7, LG Optimus 2X, Google Nexus S, and Samsung Omnia 7. I have an iPod Touch, so to have an iPhone will be somewhat pointless. On the other hand, I was sick and tired of the Android's User Interface (UI), so i eliminated Incredible S, Nexus S and Optimus 2X. I have to agree that they are phones of good quality though, but i just can't overcome the fact that they are running on Android, a nightmare from my previous phone (imagine the green goblin chasing after you, just kidding). It's just the UI that's bothering me. If they are running on Windows UI, i will definitely choose between them. This part is a double frowning face. :( :(

    Choosing between HD7, Omnia 7 and Mozart was really difficult (before reading your article). The HD7 has got a large display, i really like it as it's a phobia when you have small keyboards to type on. That's the main feature of the phone and ironically, that's why i took it off my mind. This will mean that there's a large LCD panel that drains the battery off quickly and the colours will be washed out. In contrast, Omnia 7 has a fascinating 4 inch Super AMOLED panel that gives vivid and vibrant colours and it also saves battery life in a way. It's neither too big nor too small - just the right size. However, it's points are deducted when 45% of it's body are constructed out of plastic, which makes it toy-like. (35% glass; 20% metal back cover). Furthermore, the recent message on the update issues, of it being unable to update NODO update with copy & paste feature, spreading across the internet made it somewhat worthless to consider.

    It end up that i'm left with HTC Mozart, but i'm quite pleased with the result. Other than the relatively mediocre battery life, i'm quite happy with the overall performance and the sleek aluminum uni body design. What's most importantly, it broke away from Android operating system. It's Windows Phone 7 after all! (:

    *There meant no criticism to Android, just that i'm not used to the UI and i thought it has some room for improvement.

  11. Timothy Sy July 13, 2011 at 4:41 am #

    Why not just put the phone upside down in your pants?

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