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Phones.com » Cell Phones » Review of the HTC Imagio

The new release from the stables of HTC is the Imagio. Billed as their multimedia phone, Imagio comes with a few new features that we haven't seen elsewhere. It will be interesting to see the kind of features it has managed to add on, along with evaluating the others. 

Look, Design, Feel (/10)

Continuing the true tradition of HTC, the phone is like a flattish pebble in appearance. The edges are rounded, and there is a mix of glossy black and soft-coated plastic finishes. 

The front has a 3.6 inch display, a touch-sensitive zoom bar just under it, and of course the controls. The buttons are hardware, one call, one disconnect, a media key, Windows key and a cancel key. The front is edged by a ridge of perforated plastic, a lot like the stuff that covers laptop speakers. The right side has the volume rocker switch, while the left is free of embellishment. The bottom has the microUSB port, and the headphone jack. 

The interesting part of the design is the back panel: it has a narrow strip of glossy black on the left, while the rest is soft-coated. There is a camera minus the flash, and the external speaker. The phone has a kickstand on the bottom, which also doubles up as an antenna. This is especially significant because of the multimedia nature of the phone.

The design is nice, without being out of the ordinary. 

Features (/10)

 

Starting off with the touchscreen; it works fairly well, except in direct sunlight. The display measures 3.6 inch, and has a resolution of 480x800 WVGA. It is a resistive touchscreen and the phone has an accompanying stylus.

Although the phone runs Windows Mobile 6.5, HTC has skinned the phone with TouchFLO. The skin hides the native look of the operating system exceptionally well. On the home screen, there are buttons along the bottom edge to select various panes. These shortcuts are My Favourites, Messaging, Email, Calendar, Browser, Stocks, Photos and Videos, Music, Weather and Settings. My Favourites allows the user to set picture links to their most frequently accessed contacts. Messaging shows all recent communcation that has been received, and so on.

The onscreen keyboards for messaging can be comfortably used by the fingers or with the stylus. There is a portrait alphanumeric one, and a landscape full QWERTY. The keyboards have haptic feedback which is quite handy. 

Web browsing is good on Internet Explorer, but unsurprisingly much better on the Opera mobile browser. The webpages open up at full-screen mode automatically, after which it is possible to reduce the size or zoom in. Opera does not support embedded videos, and can only play videos that open in a separate player. 

One of the special features of the phone is the support for VCast applications. One of these is Mobile TV. Mobile TV has a certain number of channels available to the viewer to watch on their Imagio. The TV is not streamed through the Internet coonection; it has a totally distinct subscription plan. The antenna is meant for this application.

Mobile TV is launched either by clicking on the TV icon on top taskbar, or the hardware multimedia button between the call and start buttons. On starting up for the first time, there is a gesture tutorial. The left hand side has a volume control bar which is adjusted using the stylus. Tapping on the screen will reduce the screen setting from the default fullscreen mode, so as to display various settings.

There is also an onscreen guide button, with standard channel listings with the time slots on the y-axis. It is possible to flick through previous and later programming easily. Another button allows the user to stretch the video to fullscreen, but the aspect ratio is lost if the video was not meant for widescreen viewing. Lastly, there is an info button which displays information about the program in progress.

The Imagio is one of the first phones to carry the Microsoft Bing application. It is mainly a resource, with maps and related information. 

 

Connectivity (/10)

All the standard connectivity options are present in the Imagio, including 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS and quadband GSM.

 

Performance (/10)

 

The internal specifications have been upgraded a trifle, with 512 rom and 288 ram. The processor remains the same as earlier models, though. The applications do not load smoothly, and there is somewhat of a lag. The accelerometer could be more responsive as well, although it is not exactly slow.

Phone quality is not very good at all, as there was a little background noise. The audio quality was quite bad, and considering this is multimedia phone, this situation is far from ideal.

 

Value for Money (/10)

Although the Imagio is available at a reasonable price from Verizon, there are much better phones for a significantly smaller fee. The audio quality is abysmal, dropping the value of the device much further.

Pros

+ New features - VCast Mobile TV

+ Updated user interface with TouchFLO 3D

+ Comes with a number of pre-loaded applications, like Bing, Opera Mobile, etc. 

+ Device looks pretty good, and it is a slim phone.

+ Choice between using the stylus of fingers for manipulation

Cons

- No LED flash

- Audio quality very poor

- Expensive for the type of device

Price

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Rating

Style: 8.2
163
Technology: 8.3
165
Efficiency: 8.4
167

Total votes: 320 | Hits: 9492

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