At the end of September, HTC made ladies worldwide happy by revealing one of its “special” smartphones – the HTC Rhyme via Verizon. The phone is all in purple, and because of it all the world is now engaged in nothing less than speculating who this phone is made for. The obvious answer is it is indeed intended for women by its color, design and performance. But surprisingly, HTC says it is not. No great secret here as well, HTC made this device for its middle-ranged assortment. This is one of those phones, which gets into your eyes right from the shop stand and stays there until you find yourself buying it even without going deeper into its more technical characteristics. In this review we’ll give an objective analysis of its technical features and asses its performance levels.
HTC Rhyme Design
It’s a pretty phone and the design is number one strong side of this phone. It is built from a single piece of aluminum (called unibody design). As for the appearance, it looks to me like a calculator actually (some say it resembles the Nexus One), and boasts of beveled top and bottom. With dimensions like 119x61x11 mm it weighs rather heavy – 135 gr. On the front there is the 3.7-inch screen with four capacitive standard buttons located below it (home, menu, back and search). On the top there is the power button, the noise canceling hole and the charm jack. The left side houses only the microUSB port, which has a plastic cover to protect from dust and also to test your patience, since it is rather difficult to open, and once opened the cover makes an impression it is not going to stay there for very long.
Anyway, it should be noted anything on this phone, which needs opening, is made in a way as to be hard to open, probably meaning the process will be trusted to a male friend. The right side offers volume control button and on the beveled bottom there is only the microphone pinhole. The back side is tri-colored, hosting the 5 MP (why not 8 MP?) auto-focus camera, two Led flash holes, the external speaker and three metallic contacts for the dock charger. The bottom portion can be opened with some pressure to reveal the microSD card, but the Rhyme does not let you change your battery.
HTC Rhyme Display
The HTC Rhyme sports a 3.7-inch S-LCD capacitive touchscreen with touch-sensitive controls and 16 M colors with a 480×800 pixel resolution. The WVGA colors are bright and sharp; the text is clearly visible with highly responsive screen. The viewing angles are also good, but lose quality a bit if viewing in direct sunlight. The clarity is average with 252 ppi density (compared for example to the iPhone 4, 325 ppi), but being such it lets take very good photos. Though the screen is not so big as other recent smartphones on the market, typing is decently comfortable, plus the sensor for automatic UI rotation, light and proximity sensors. You will be amazed at the quality when watching YouTube videos, though the audio could be better especially at high volumes.
HTC Rhyme Cameras
The HTC Rhyme is packed with a 5MP with autofocus, a LED flash, a 720 p video recording functionality at 2592×1944 pixels, plus a front side standard VGA camera for web chat. We have said the color is number one on this phone, but what the camera does on the Rhyme is really fantastic. The secret here is to use the right settings in the camera application, which lets you even preview how the picture will look before actually shooting it. The camera menu has features both for general users (action, portrait burst, HDR and panorama, vignette and distortion) and for photographers (white balance, ISO and setting resolution).
The camera app also lets you upload your pictures automatically on your Facebook page, just like the HTC ChaCha and the HTC Salsa phones did. The only backdrop here is shooting in low light conditions (stabilizers work good though) and with settings not appropriately adjusted, the pictures can look rather blurry and fuzzy. Overall, with only 5MP this camera will give you an amazing photo and video quality, you just have to master the menu and settings.
HTC Rhyme sample photos
HTC Rhyme sample video
The HTC Rhyme runs on a 1GHz Scorpion single core processor (Adreno 205 GPU, Qualcomm MSM8255 chipset) with 768 MP RAM. The phone handles Sense 3.5 smoothly and for daily simple operations, the RAM will be ok, but in today’s crazy multi-tasking world, the running of several applications can create occasional lags in operation, and though we are speaking about several seconds, this can become an annoying issue with time. On a more technical basis, the Rhyme scored 2,220 points on CPU performance, while the average for Android is 931. One significant peculiarity is the Rhyme does not support 4G LTE, but the views on this are divided. Some consider this even an advantage in terms of battery life economy (it’s packed with a standard 1600mAh Li-Ionbattery) and say 3G (HSDPA, 14.4Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76Mbps) is fairly enough for smooth connectivity.
The HTC Rhyme is the first smartphone operating HTC’s new HTC Sync application, which will synchronize your phone with MAC PC, letting you transfer your contacts, calendar, photos, documents, videos and browser bookmarks. The HTC Rhyme runs Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread with HTC Sense 3.5, which now has an updated clock on the home screen, a preview letting you view your most recent messages, emails, photos, and applications. In addition, there are twelve new wallpapers. During launching the device in Australia, HTC announced it wanted to “de-clutter” the phone, so now you can remove the traditional home screen with two static launcher buttons (phone dialer and application tray), and put there whatever application you are using frequently. Since the phone is at Verizon there are naturally some apps from the latter like VZ Navigator (works on Bing), VCAST Music and VCAST videos. Polaris Office helps view Word documents and spreadsheets. HTC Watch is a movie renting application.
A particular widget, which I myself find very useful, is Endomondo, with which you can track how many km you ran and how many calories you burnt. There is a personal coach, which can advise and highly motivate you. In addition there is the FriendStream to collect updates from Facebook, Twitter and Scan, which can read QR codes, plus YouTube, Google Talk and Picasa integration tool.
The accessories HTC has added to the Rhyme are each impressive enough to make you buy this phone. In regards to this, three things are in focus. The most interesting is the purple charm, which is a purple plastic cube. It flashes when you receive an incoming call, message, email or Facebook update. It can be handy if you keep your phone in a bag or purse, or if you keep it on vibration mode. If you happen not seeing the flashing moment, you can rest calm for it keeps flashing for about five minutes after activation. Another useful addition to the box is the charging dock. It has a very comfortable clothed design, and works not only as a charging station but also as an alarm clock and a speaker. And finally there are the purple earphones, which are Togliatti-shaped and let you have a smooth listening experience.
HTC Rhyme’s charming accessory video
Obviously, the HTC Rhyme is a smartphone for a specific taste. If we can say so, this phone is expressly feminine: it is more focused on young or middle aged girls and women, who are not spending their free time reading tech reviews and benchmarking their devices. Also, we just can’t persuade ourselves to state the phone is in the high-end category, but in this case there is just no need for that, as there would not be for a beautiful purple toy shining from the Christmas tree. With its modest features the Rhyme can give excellent qualities as to the image and video quality and music. It is a prefect Christmas gift. True it has no 4G, but who cares when it has such a beautiful design and color, an attraction-generating charm cube or such a dock? It is surely for those users, who like when their phone smoothly transfers the attention of onlookers to the user itself. Beyond doubt at the same price ($199) there can be other, stronger candidates to buy, but the HTC Rhyme did not enter the market to be strong, to compete or to “quarrel.” Whether you like it or no — it is there to attract. So in this sense, it fully deserves a place among other smartphones.