Recently I had the chance to try out a new phone from HTC for a month-long “test drive”. The phone is the HTC Rhyme and is available on Verizon. HTC provided the phone and 30 days of Verizon service for this review.
There are several things I liked about the HTC Rhyme. The color of the phone they sent me is a beautiful shade of purple. Purple is not usually a color you see on phones so I thought that was unique. (It also happens to be one of my favorite colors, but on with the rest of the review!) The size is comparable to my iPhone 4 and is easy to hold and fits well in most pockets.
The home screen is customizable so you can choose your background and which applications you want to show on it, as well as choose to have a “Friend Stream” which allows you to see all your friends’ Facebook status updates, tweets, and Flikr photos on the same screen. The 3.7 inch touchscreen is easy to use and has pinch-to-zoom capability.
The pictures on the screen are vibrant and beautiful. The Rhyme’s camera is a 5 megapixel 28mm/ f/2.2 camera with auto focus and a power LED flash and features HD 720p video recording capability. The pictures I took turned out well and I liked that the camera was fast and easy to use. I’m an iPhone 4 owner, and while there are many things I love about the iPhone 4, the camera is not as good as the Rhyme’s.
One of the coolest features of the HTC Rhyme is the charm indicator which attaches to the phone using the headphone jack and lights up to alert you when you have a call or message. You can have your phone set to silent, for those times when you can’t have it ringing, and still be alerted to check your phone by the charm. Plus, it also acts as a tether to retrieve your phone from the bottom of your bag. This is a great option for moms who keep their smartphone in a purse or diaperbag because it’s so frustrating searching for a ringing phone and not being able to find it in time. Brilliant idea, HTC!
Some other features include Visual Voice Mail, which enables you to delete, reply, and forward voice mail messages without having to listen to prior messages or voice instructions. It is also GPS navigator capable and can backup your contacts online, in case you lose your phone.
The Rhyme comes with a unique dock for charging the phone and it can be used to hold your phone on your desk or nightstand. When the phone is docked, the display switches to landscape mode and displays the time and weather, or photos, and you can play music through the speakers. For music listening on the go, a set of tangle-free earbuds are included in the box.
Since I’m an iPhone 4 user and am not on the Verizon network, I cannot compare how the Rhyme holds up against other smartphones on their network, but I did find the internet to be fast and easy to use. I’m also not very familiar with the Android marketplace, but did check out some of the apps on the phone. The apps were fast to load. The HTC Rhyme runs the Android 2.3 operating system (dubbed Gingerbread)–the fastest version of Android available for smartphones yet.
My husband is an HTC Tilt 2 owner and he was very impressed with how fast the Rhyme was compared to his phone and how much the features had improved and evolved since he bought his phone a couple of years or so ago.
The cons to the Rhyme are few but may be important to some users. The phone only has 4 GB onboard memory and has an 8 GB microSD card pre-installed. If you are someone who downloads lots of apps, music, etc., you may want to consider whether you need more memory than what is included.
The docking station does not appear to have a way to adjust the volume, so if you are listening to music, it may be too soft or too loud for your preference and seems to only play at one volume no matter what you set the phone’s volume on.
There is no pull-out keyboard. For those of us who are used to an iPhone or any other smartphone without a keyboard attached, this is no big deal, but some (like my husband and kids) prefer to have that feature.
Overall, I really liked the HTC Rhyme and would definitely consider it if I were a Verizon customer and/or if I wanted to switch from an iPhone. My husband is in the market for a new phone and the HTC Rhyme is now on his list to consider, even without a pull-out keyboard.
If you are in the market for a smartphone, either as a last-minute holiday gift, or just because you need one, you might want to check the HTC Rhyme out for yourself.
Thank you, HTC, for the chance to try out the Rhyme!
Disclosure: HTC provided the use of an HTC Rhyme for 30 days, along with 30 days of Verizon service, for the purposes of this review. The phone had to be returned after the 30 day test drive and no compensation of any kind was received. All thoughts and opinions are my own.