Most helpful positive review
84 of 85 people found the following review helpful
on 2 December 2011
Having had this phone for two weeks now, I thought I'd write a detailed review for anyone thinking of buying this phone, from amazon or otherwise. First off, I upgraded from a HTC Wildfire to this phone, and my word the difference is noticable in everything it does. I struggle to comprehend how I put up with the Wildfire when I look back at it.
Personally, I love the design of the phone. The look of the phone itself is impressive - the all black casing with the chrome and red trimming really makes this phone look sleek and sets it apart, I think, from the normal bland, minimalist designs shown by Apple and others. Also a huge selling point for me is the use of buttons on this phone. For those of you not used to the HTC layout, the phone has the usual home, menu, back and search buttons. I genuinely think this gives it a huge advantage over the iPhone, as without a back and menu button, I find it difficult to navigate and perform tasks on my iPod touch. The use of these buttons is simple but allows you to do what you want to do without having to faff around in a massive labyrinth of choices that can only be accessed from an on screen button. Back to the phone design, the aluminium backing of the phone really gives it a strong feel, unlike some plastic phones which feel like they are going to fall apart in your hand. The backing of the phone also wraps around the main bodywork, giving a nice rounded finish whilst making the case as strong as possible.
The phone has a qHD display, which really is fantastic. The resolution is 540 x 960 pixels, and it is the best reolution you will find on a mobile at the moment apart from the iPhone's retina display. However, the difference is minimal and I haven't experienced any problems with the display so far in terms of brightness or resolution. The high resolution also makes browsing webpages a joy, with even small text able to be read with ease. Not too much else to say about the screen / display, it plays high definition films and trailers brilliantly, and doesn't struggle too much in sunlight. This is, however, on the highest brightness setting. One last point is the contoured screen. The edges of the phones 'gorilla glass' are contoured up at the edges, meaning that if you drop the phone directly on the floor, only the edges, in theory, will be scuffed. Of course I advise a good quality screen protector regardless. The phone has a massive 4.3 inch screen, which enhances video watching and gaming to no end. I think the phone is a perfect size for my hand and pockets - not too big. However, if you do definitely have small hands, pop down to a local phoneshop and look at a dummy version, as I fear you may struggle to move fingers across the whole screen of the phone, especially with only one hand.
This phone houses a whopping 1.5 Gigahertz dual-core processor, the most powerful in a phone yet. To put it into perspective, my laptop has a 1.8 Gigahertz dual core processor. The phone is completely instant with everything, even with multiple applications running at once thanks to the very reasonable 768 Megabytes of RAM. One such example of this is the message interface. My old Wildfire would take up to 10 seconds to refresh the list of text messages due to the large amount of messages and the weak processor, but with this phone, my messages are instantly updated, which makes such a difference. I cannot fault it other than the heat generated, which can be felt on the lower region of the phone where the processor is situated, when you are really putting heavy demands on the phone. However do not be put off by this. If it was abnormal, HTC would be worried about it, and to be honest, with a processor this powerful, it is the least to be expected. There aren't any instances of this phone overheating / burning / exploding, which cannot be said for competitors!
As phones become more powerful, so do the games they play. I play many games on this phone, some of which are extremely detailed and intensive on the processor and phone as a whole. So I cannot fault this. The only exception is Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. game, where extremely mild lag occurs with the huge landscapes. I haven't seen a friend's phone perform any better yet though. Whether you intend to use this phone for gaming or not, you won't have problems.
The phone runs Android's Gingerbread version 2.3.4 operating system, which gives you the benefits of the latest applications and tools. An upgrade has also been announced to the even newer Ice Cream Sandwich operating system. HTC initially said that this would occur in the next three months, but what IS sure is that it will bring even more useful tools and processes. For me though, the standout is HTC's adaption of this OS, HTC sense 3. The user interface is brilliant, with up to seven customisable screens that can be filled with shortcuts, applications and widgets. For more information, I would google it, as I cannot possibly explain all the advantages that this offers the already solid operating system. But I can guarantee that you will not be disappointed, and that you will not experience the same customisation elsewhere.
Another big feature of this phone is the 8 megapixel camera that it comes with. Overall, I am very impressed, especially for a phone. The pictures produced are high resolution and have a great range of colours, as well as built in effects on the camera software. However, I find that the camera struggles in the dark, so bear this in mind if you use the camera a lot. Despite the great quality, you can still fit well over 6000 pictures on the included 16gb memory card. The video camera is by far superior to most, boasting 1080p capture. Again, the colour is brilliant thanks to the high definiton, although beware, the phone does let in a lot of low level background noise for some reason. I won't lie, this is annoying, but I am yet to test the video recording in a loud environment, where I feel it would be better suited. Overall, the camera offered definitely isn't camcorder or SLR quality, but compared to other phones, it isn't a disappointment. The front facing VGA camera also makes video calls on skype possible, but I would only ever advise doing this over a wifi connection! Useful all the same though.
Obviously, being a 'beats' branded upgrade of the original Sensation, a primary selling factor of this phone was always going to be it's sound quality. I have always been impressed with HTC speakers, and I am not let down by this one. Whilst, obviously, the inbuilt speakers are nowhere near as good as purpose built iPod docks etc, the sound quality really is impressive for a phone. On full volume videos and music play well with little distortion, which to be honest is normally the letdown with mobiles. On to the headphones - the phone comes bundled with Dr. Dre Beats in-ear headphones. I wouldn't normally pay ~£80 for these, but given that they are free, you simply cannot complain. The sound quality and clarity is definitely noticeable from cheaper earphones and they look reasonably nice too with the red and black, albeit rather leary as well. The headphones play a wide range of music well, and what's great is that the three button controller that is attached to the headphone leads also works with my Spotify app, allowing you to change tracks without pulling the phone out of your pocket. The 'beats enhancer' is definitely noticeable when you switch it on and off, however you will find this tool almost useless if your music library doesn't contain bass-heavy songs. The tool also only works with the inbuilt music player, which has been given a nice revamp and has a nice, easy to use interface; however I simply cannot go without the brilliance of spotify.
To be honest, this is one of my only moans about the phone. The battery life on this phone is not amazing. But then again, when you consider how much of a beast this phone is, then it is actually rather impressive. The operating system upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich that is supposed to be coming to this phone reportedly has several excellent battery life tools. Also - reasonably cheaply, you can buy a slightly more powerful battery pack off of the internet that fits the phone, which begs the question as to why HTC didn't find it beneficial to supply one with at least 1900 mAh, as opposed to the 1780 mAh battery included. However, given a full charge overnight; I find that if you don't waste battery on ridiculously intensive games, or leaving WiFi turned on when there is no need, then the phone will give you a full day's battery. But let's be honest, ALL smartphones nowadays pretty much have to be recharged daily, so this isn't a massive problem.
Overall, I haven't looked back once at my old phone. My old phone wasn't terrible, but this phone blows others out of the water, and it will do anything you need it to - within reason of course. Highly recommended to anyone looking for a music phone, camera phone, gaming phone, or just a general usage phone! Any questions, feel free to comment and I shall reply as best I can.