Exclusive to Orange, the HTC Mozart has a smaller (3.7in) capacitive touchscreen than the HTC HD7, but is no less powerful. In fact, it has a higher-speced 8MP camera, complete with xenon flash, although its respectable 8GB of internal storage is half that of the HD7.

Like the HD7, build quality is exceptional. The Mozart’s sleek bodywork is forged from a one-piece aluminium frame, reminiscent of its Android stablemate the Legend, providing a solid, durable feel.

Makes no Sense

With the exception of HTC’s own app Hub and a smattering of Orange widgets, the WP7 interface remains completely unskinned.

That’s no bad thing, however, with its customisable ‘Live’ tile Start screen arrangement intuitive and finger-friendly. One bugbear is if you ‘pin’ too many tiles on the Start screen you’ll be forever scrolling down to find them. Perhaps multiple sliding homescreen screens, as with iOS4 and Android 2.2, will appear in future software upgrades?

Six ‘hubs’ for People, Gaming, Music and Video, Pictures, Office and Marketplace are at the heart of the OS, handily gathering info in one place and using a slick sliding screen setup for different sections. The endless days of negotiating those convoluted Windows Mobile sub-menus are a thing of the past.

Facebook is neatly integrated into the ‘People’ hub, letting you post comments or ‘Like’ a particular entry. But if you’re looking for more scope in functionality then we recommend downloading the free Facebook app from the sparse MarketPlace. This is designed around the Hub’s sliding screen interface and is great to use.

Easy email

Setting up email, whether Hotmail, Google or Yahoo accounts, requires just a username and password while the text-messaging inbox is conveniently arranged under conversations. The virtual keyboards, both in portrait and landscape, are spacious and great for tapping out quick missives or long emails.

The Mozart’s 8MP snapper is HTC’s best yet, although it’s still not without its niggles. In good light it captures crisp photos and is particularly sharp in Macro mode when moving in for close-ups. The xenon flash is also pretty effective but the delay between the first and second flash is annoyingly protracted.

How Zune is now?

HTC’s Sound Enhancer app really boosts the Zune music player’s audio performance. The SRS WOW HD virtual surround sound mode is impressive but best suited for movie watching, while Dolby Mobile gives your digital tunes a polish.

Like Apple iTunes, Microsoft’s Zune desktop software lets you sync and manage media and apps from the MarketPlace, as well as receive software updates. Unfortunately it isn’t as immediate as iTunes and takes time to master.

Where the Zune software does have an edge over iTunes is streaming. Like Spotify Premium service, you can stream songs from the Zune’s impressively stocked online library via your handset or PC. This service will cost you £8.99 a month.

For our money, the HD7, with its cinema-sized screen, currently remains the WP7 smartphone of choice, despite the Mozart’s superior camera. But those looking to dabble in Microsoft’s new OS and don’t like their handsets too intrusive, the Mozart is a wise choice.


Stuff says... 

HTC Mozart review

Another top-class Windows Phone 7 handset from HTC and a worthy alternative to the big-screened HD7