Product Type: HTC Smartphone
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A practical phone without confusing features
Member Name: spirit19
Date: 14/08/12, updated on 14/08/12 (25 review reads)
Advantages: cheap, camera, battery
Disadvantages: not current, small screen
It is highly understandable that many phones nowadays seem complicated to many people. The solution to this is to buy a high quality, but lower end phone such as this one. There are a reduced amount of features making for a more straightforward user interface while sill having enough to make life simple.
The build quality is, in classic HTC style, very good. The aluminum finish on the side combined with the rubbery feel of the back make the phone feel comfortable in your hand. This particular model even manages to avoid common HTC problems such as a creak near the battery and rattling when the camera autofocus displaces. It is a very well built phone and is far better than many others in its range. I have never dropped the phone, but by the looks of it, it could take a fair beating. It is a unibody construction, apart from the back cover to insert the battery, sim card and SD card meaning there is very little there to break. Battery life is impressive, this phone lasted days on end without needing to be charged and when it did, it fully charged in under 4 hours (based on average use with auto brightness).
Although the phone runs android version 2.2.1 (upgradable from 2.1), HTC have skinned android with Sense 1.0 (this will most likely be upgraded to sense 2.0 when the phone is upgraded to android v 2.2.1), which give you a very different experience to other phones. Sense 1.0 had major developments at the time but have fallen behind, even sense 2.0 is starting to fade. One common feature feature of all versions of HTC Sense is the 'widgets' you can place on the home screens. These are large previews of apps, which allow you to use many of their features without opening them, such as the weather widget which constantly displays the weather. These are much improved from the stock android widgets and deliver a much more user friendly experience. HTC Sense offers a very clean and easy to use interface, with one simple button to show a menu of all available apps. It is possible to put shortcuts on all your homescreens as well simplifying the process of opening you favorite applications.
The phone has a 3.2" TFT LCD QVGA glass screen with a screen resolution of 240x320 giving you only 125 pixels per inch. The screen is not Gorilla Glass meaning it is not as durable as many other phones and is more prone to scratch so needs a bit more looking after. The screen is not amazing so watching videos or doing anything that requires decent graphics does not look great on this phone. Only videos up to 320p can be played and even then there are times when individual pixels become visible and if you press hard enough the screen area around your finger will discolour. The capacitive touchscreen is not the best, it registers most touches and gestures, but it does miss some crucial ones, however these mostly occur after long periods of use, mainly gaming. At this point there is also often the problem of the phone getting very hot, it is not too uncomfortable but seems to be slightly hotter than is acceptable and makes your hands clammy especially in hot weather.
The phones Qualcomm MSM7225 528MHz processor can handle web browsing and the odd game, but do much more than that and it will struggle. It has kept up with all the day to day tasks and the 384MB of RAM mean it can handle a few applications running at once, but not much more than that. I have found it difficult to go from web browsing, to a phone call, and then back to the web and as a result have had to download a task manager. This helps the problem, but does not solve it because although it frees up more RAM, there is still only a limited amount available. The built in storage is less than exciting coming in at a low 512MB which in current times will be filled up almost immediately, especially since half the storage is used up by pre-installed apps. However you can expand the storage up to 16GB via a micro SD card. I have got an 8GB micro SD card which has stored all my ap downloads, pictures and videos so far, so this is a problem that is easily solved.
The camera is 5MP with autofocus so the camera at least is punching well above its weight even now. Photography is not my area of expertise, but from an amateur point of view the pictures seem to have decent saturation and the contrast is impressive considering the age of the camera, but again, the picture quality will not impress amateurs let alone professionals.
Now onto what a phone is actually meant to be used for, calls and texts. The call quality is good at all times. At most times the line is very clear, and when its not.. its crystal clear. Calls have never dropped and I have never had a warbly tone as has happened to me on other phones. Another feature available through HTC Sense is predictive calling. You simply start typing the phone number as you remember, as an example say John's phone number is 07912345678; you start typing the numbers ie 07912... and it will predict the number. In what should be a phones principle function, this phone works very well and is easy to use. Texting is good due to the messaging interface of HTC Sense, however the small screen size limits the ease of use. Individual characters are very small and often results in misclicks and typing errors so the texting experience is tarnished by the sub-standard keyboard and touchscreen available. This is improved in android 2.1.1, but even then it is not great.
I got this phone for free on a £10/month contract three years ago, but the price will have dropped drastically by now, what with the vast array of new technology available. This makes it a great buy as it has all the essential features of a phone, doing whatever it does very well. It is by no means a top end phone and is not keeping pace with current technology, but if you want a simpler phone with many of the most useful features other phones have and access to the thousands of apps, this phone would be a good fit.
Summary: A good budget buy for a clean, simple phone.