As of Jun 20th the latest HTC phone Aria has been available from AT&T carrier for $129.99 with a 2-year contract and an online discount. Not to be left alone in the list of monster carriers, AT&T decided to add a smartphone, that will be somehow compatible with such device as EVO 4G and HTC Droid Incredible offered by Sprint and Verizon. We are not talking about iPhone, we are talking about HTC Aria.
“The bigger the better” isn’t always true and Aria is a good example of that – it’s powerful yet tiny and extremely slick. In smartphones‘ weight division it’s a featherweight. HTC Aria is designed to fit your pockets perfectly, while at the same time living up to the latest word in technology.
HTC Aria Specifications
HTC Aria Video Review
Enjoy Iren’s video review of HTC Aria (AT&T)
HTC Aria Hardware Review
HTC Aria with its minimalistic and modern design is only 4.1″ x 2.3″ and 0.46″ thick. The 3.2″ capacitive TFT LCD touchscreen has 320×480 resolution and has barely visible pixelation under certain angles. The biggest problem I experienced was using the phone on the beach on a sunny day – like most LCD screens you can barely figure heads from tails unless you cast a shadow over the screen.
The sensitivity is high so no need to tap your finger twice – just slightly touch it! The screen will rock your world of Internet browsing. Also, you can also use the D-pad for navigation – it might be tiny but it works perfectly and precisely just takes some getting used to. You’ll find the volume rocker situated on the left side really convinient for easily thumbing up and down the volume.
The power button along with a 3.5mm headset jack are up top, the microUSB port, microphone hole and lanyard loop are on the bottom. The back soft-coated panel will make holding the phone pleasant and sturdy. On the back of the phone is the 5 MP camera with the speaker right next to it. It’s a little bit disappointing that there is no flash even though high light-sensitivity settings will make up for it when the light is dim just fine. The 4 tri-wing screws are part of the design as they are not covered by the back panel which gives the phone a little bit more modern-grotesque look than it would be without them exposed.
Taking the back panel off is easy – just hold tightly on the sides and press on the right side of the speaker. But before opening your phone up you better put sunglasses on as the bright yellow inside might blind you a little bit. The fact speaks for itself that HTC cares about its customers and pays attention not only to outside design and functionality but also to such little details as inside design :). The battery is yellow and black as well. The SIM card and the SD card (expandable memory capability is 32MB) are situated right under the battery and can be accessed easily. The two metal contacts situated on bottom left turn the whole back panel into an antenna.
The processor is a Qualcomm MSM 7227 600 MHz but don’t get freaked out by “low” number of Hz – when you use it you think at very least it’s 1 GHz. The phone comes with 512MB of ROM and 384MB of RAM so don’t worry – you won’t have to blink twice before something is loaded. The battery is a standard Li-Ion 1200 mAhThe and will hold up to 6 hours of talk-time. Some will say you’re not likely to play games for hours since the screen is small (comparatively to say Evo) but don’t you believe that! If you find the right game you will lose track of time and keep playing. I played for 2 or 3 hours non-stop and the phone needed to be charged only next morning! Besides, the proximity sensor for auto turn-off will save you lots of power.
Other noteable hardware features include an accelerometer, integrated GPS/AGPS, Bluetooth 2.1, and Wi-Fi support. What else could you have asked for? The accelerometer sensor for UI auto-rotate works well and only certain rare apps will have issues with it. However, that’s more of an app problem.
HTC Aria Accessories
HTC Aria comes with a User Guide (which you might no need – just boot up the phone, you’ll know what to do), standard Li-Ion 1200 mAhThe battery (up to 6 hours of talk time), 2Gb microSD memory card, micro USB cord used for connecting the phone to your computer and also to the charger and a 3.5 mm headset adpator. If needed you can get more HTC Aria Accessories and Aria Apps.
HTC Aria Software Review
Operating system on HTC Aria is Android 2.1. with Sense UI. Aria’s Sense is practically the same as Sense on HTC Legend, Droid Incredible, and HTC EVO 4G. Unlike EVO you don’t have the option of turning Sense off. The homescreen has 7 pannels to help you have the most important things within the reach of fingertips – there is a weather, messages, mail, favorites, and news panel, and 2 more – one empty and one with a desk clock. The panels are customizable with market apps or host HTC Sense ones like Calendar, Time, and so on. Sense has 3 buttons for showing all your programs, easily bringing up dial screen, and adding content to your homescreen.
The first time you boot up it might take a while but it’s worth the wait. The phone lets you connect to Wi-Fi almost immediately making the first setup so much easier. Set up your Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, Flickr, Youtube, IM, and import contacts on the go. What’s neat is that you can link your phone, facebook, and email contacts between each other. So, when you text or call there will be a Facebook or Gmail photo displayed next to the contact by default unless you set a specific photo. Aria allows you to always stay in touch with your friends no matter where you or they are.
The on-screen keyboard is a little bit small and often times you might hit the wrong key especially on vertical view. What makes up for it is an excellent auto-complete feature which will get better and better the more you use it as it saves words that weren’t in the library. Aria also has a voice search and voice dialer. The first one will Google for you anything you say, and the second one will call your contacts, open apps, etc. The on-screen keyboard has a microphone button so you can always say something instead of typing it in. I would say it works pretty well until it comes to people’s names and last names especially if they are foreign. But the results often times are so hilarious (like “Roland’s remains” instead of “Rolen Romanes”) that I still keep using it for a good laugh.
One thing worth warning you about is that AT&T locked down the phone which means you are stuck exclusively with what’s available from the Android market. Though you can still install apps through SDK so if it is a big deal to you there is a work-around. Also, as usual AT&T loads its apps on the phone which you may never use. Those include AT&T FamilyMap, AT&T Hot Spots, AT&T Maps, AT&T Navigation, AT&T Radio. I don’t know why you would use AT&T Navigation instead of Maps (Google) but hey you get options to pick from. Maps is excellent and once you input your destination you can either show it on the map, or you can pick Navigate which will take you to Navigation app which will make sure you never get lost on the road.
The music player and FM radio do everything you’d expect them to do. Because of the phone’s small size you can use it as an MP3 player when you go jogging, biking, or whatever else you do. So the future existence and popularity of MP3 players is questionable now. The antenna for FM radio is placed on the ear-buds of the headphone.
If you like having the world in your pocket this phone is for you. Stay connected to people at all times, dig the web, watch Youtube. This stylish little toy might not have the biggest screen but is light and pocket-sized and with tens of thousands of apps available from the market you will always find something interesting to do. The downsides are lack of a flash for the camera and jumping through hoops for installing third-party app (which is AT&T’s fault). The small size might be regarded as both a plus and a minus depending on what you want – if you like having a bigger screen or have bigger hands then it won’t be the best choice. But I absolutely love it and won’t trade it for anything else. It was a big step for me as I was a loyal Nokia user and fan and was a little bit nervous about switching. But the UI is very intuitive and you get used to your new phone in seconds. The price is very reasonable especially depending on the contract. In fact, HTC Aria was the only thing that made me stay with AT&T instead of switching to Verizon.
In the meantime please enjoy our gallery of photos taken of HTC Aria and with the help of Aria.
You can find more reviews of HTC Aria @ TestFreaks.