on November 7, 2011
Back in August during the BlogHer conference in San Diego, I attended a HTC Insight Meetup were women bloggers met with HTC managers to talk about what we love and hate about our smartphones. HTC wanted to know our thoughts on how women use smartphones and I was very happy to give my perceptive because smartphones are really becoming a staple in the lives of busy women. So when HTC asked me to review their newest smartphone marketed toward women, I jumped at the chance.
For the past two weeks, I have been reviewing the newest smartphone from HTC on the Verizon network - The HTC Rhyme. This is the first smartphone that I know of that is squarely marketed at women. When I first saw the TV advertisement for the HTC Rhyme, I was spellbound in front of my TV. The ad shows a woman with 6 arms which is suppose to visualize how the HTC Rhyme's many features work together to make life easy for busy women.
I have found the HTC Rhyme to be a very "smart" smartphone that is stylish and comes with lots of useful accessories. It runs Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) on a powerful 1GZ processor and comes with a 5mp rear facing camera and a VGA front facing camera for making video calls. The phone can also be used as a Mobile Hotspot for up to 5 devices. I have always loved the HTC Sense experience and I particularly loved the interface of the HTC Rhyme where the phone figures out and displays a tab of apps that you use the most. The phone also makes scrolling through the list of apps easier by scrolling a page at a time instead of a row at a time.
5 Cool Features...
This smartphone has a lot of great features, but there are 5 things in particular about the HTC Rhyme that I think women will really love:
1. The Color - I was wondering when a manufacturer was going to make a smartphone that is not basic black. The HTC Rhyme comes in a pretty shade of purple that is very stylish. Plus all the accessories that come with the phone match in color.
2. The Purse Charm - This is a simple idea that is a blessing for those of us who carry our smartphones in our purses. The purse charm is a tether that plugs into the headphone jack. When the phone rings or you get an alert, the charm on the other end of the tether lights up to let you know you have a call or message. Then you can fish the phone out of your purse using the tether. Simple, but genius!
3. The Desk Dock - This is my favorite feature since I use my smartphone as my alarm clock. The Rhyme come with a docking station that charges the phone and automatically puts the Rhyme display into landscape mode and shows the time and weather. The dock can also display photos and play music through the bluetooth speakers. And you will not be annoyed while sleeping by an overly bright display at night since the dock automatically dims the brightness after a few minutes or you can dim it manually with the press of a virtual button in the right lower corner of the touchscreen.
4. The Size - The HTC Rhyme is a very slender phone that weights under 5 oz. I use both a Verizon HTC Thunderbolt (I call it "the beast" with its 4.3" screen) and a Virgin Mobile LG Optimus V (3.2" screen) and the HTC Rhyme is sized in between the two phones with its 3.7" WVGA Display. It fits nicely into most women's hands while being not too big nor too small.
5. The No-Tangle Headphones - I carry a set of small in-ear headphones in my purse and they are always tangled in knots when I need to use them. The HTC Rhyme comes with a pair of in-ear headphones that match the color of the phone and are very hard to get tangled because the cords are flat like a pancake.
3 Needed Improvements...
I really enjoyed using the HTC Rhyme, but there are 3 improvements that would make this smartphone even more attractive to women:
1. More Internal Storage - The HTC Rhyme is marketed at the woman who uses her smartphone for everything, which means she downloads tons of apps to turn her smartphone into all kinds of devices. But the Rhyme only has 4GB of internal storage and an 8GB SD card. I am always in the Android marketplace downloading more apps and some of my apps, like Google Music, takes up tons of storage. It took me close to an hour to load all my apps on the Rhyme and I filled up the entire 4GB of internal space. Most woman are going to load as many apps as possible. The reason I love my HTC Thunderbolt is because it comes with 8GB of internal space and an 32GB SD card. I think women would flock to the HTC Rhyme if it also came with 8GB of internal space.
2. Verizon 4G LTE -I was quite surprised to find out that the Rhyme is not on the Verizon 4G LTE network. Although Verizon 3G is still fast, Verizon 4G is lightening fast and what women would not want her data to load as quickly as possible using the newest Verizon technology.
3. A Docking Station with adjustable volume - It also would be nice if the HTC Rhyme docking station had speakers with adjustable volume. It appeared to have one volume level no matter if I had the phone's volume up high or down low.
The HTC Rhyme is a very nice smartphone that I think will appeal to women who want their phones to be an extension of their personal style and those looking for smartphones that will double as mini home entertainment centers. It has smart accessories that really should be included with all smartphones.
It will be interesting to see if other manufacturers also market phones targeted to women. I guess time will tell based on how well the HTC Rhyme does in the marketplace.
The HTC Rhyme is priced at $199 with a two year contract on the Verizon network.
on October 29, 2011
Got the phone for my wife who was very hesitant to move from her Samsung Instinct feature phone on Sprint, but when she saw the charm thing she said that would help her find the phone in her purse and was enough of a reason to switch. The phone feels great, looks sharp, and the battery seems to last all day at least. However, there are two things that I am concerned about. First of all a little background, I have an HTC Thunderbold, so I am not a novice with Android, but on the Rhyme whenever my wife misses a phone call that goes to VM, she gets a message for the missed call and then a message for the VM indicator (which seems appropriate). When she hits the message to check the VM, she get ANOTHER message indicating a new VM message just for checking her VM. This is extremely annoying and I cannot find a way to stop her getting a new message just for checking VM. The number of messages for each phone call is driving her nuts and she is at the point of wanting to return the phone if we cannot figure this out. Secondly, the signal strength does not seem to be as strong as on my Thunderbolt, we are still trying to determine if this is a real issue as she only had two dropped calls, but they were in challenging areas anyways (although my Thunderbolt does not drop calls in the same areas).
Hopefully we can figure out this VM message issue, if not, we will have to try a different phone and I have to now figure out what the Amazon return options are just in case.
11-4-2011 Update: Spent a long time on Verizon tech support, level 2 even, and it seems the problem of the notifications is with the account setup, so not a phone issue. It has been a couple days and they are still working on it, but hopefully this will get resolved.
Regarding the signal strength, the phone has dropped several calls and the signal strength jumps all over the place even when standing still, so this might be a deal breaker. I did try holding the phone differently, and it DID seem to effect the signal strength. When I experimented with the holding issue (another antennagate possibly) the signal was consistent around -80dBm when I barely held the phone with two fingers and keeping my grip below (when phone was held vertically) the phone and not blocking the back at all, but when I held the phone like "normal" (so almost the entire back of the phone is covered by my hand) the signal strength goes to -101 immediately and zero bars, and definitely NO 3G. I can then remove my hand and hold the phone the other way, and the strength goes back to around -80. I hate to say it, but this phone might have a serious antenna problem. I have NOT flushed out this problem with Verizon yet, but I am highly concerned.
1-6-2012 Update: after 2 weeks of efforts the final result was that Verizon could not resolve the issue and said to get a different model phone. We went with the Incredible 2 as it was the closest option in size and wieght and everything works like normal now. Verizon said it must have been a bad batch of phones, but who really knows, this was really wacky.
on October 21, 2011
This is my first smartphone, my plan was ending with another local company and I wanted to switch to a national company instead.. No complaints with Verzion, they may be a bit more expensive than AT&T and T-Mobile, but I think they provide better service. Regarding this HTC Rhyme, I got it FREE on Amazon ($199 through Verizon!) during their Verzion phone sale. This is perfect for me (yes, I am a female). It is sleek and not overbearing (I had been hesitating to buy a smartphone because they seem so bulky--but the HTC Rhyme fits perfectly in my hands). The color is a deep plum which I love, and it is very feminine. I don't like the earphones that come with, they match well but seem cheap and don't stay in my ears. I thought I would hate the charm but I actually kind of like it (the phone has an LED light that flashes with missed calls/texts, but I kind of like plugging this in when I'm in class and letting it dangle out of my backpack). I love the docking station, it makes it easy to charge the phone at night and turns this baby into an alarm clock- WHICH I LOVE. Moving to a smartphone I thought it the transition would be more difficult, but I had no trouble at all. I was able to navigate through my phone VERY easily within the first few minutes of opening it up. This phone is very customizable, which I also love, and seems incredibly fast. It is only 3G, but like I said, this being my first smart phone I don't really have anything to compare to. This phone is perfect for a casual user who likes to look sleek and fabulous. I highly recommend.
on November 8, 2011
The Rhyme is my first Android smart phone. I have had it for two weeks now and love it. The battery is awesome, but as a side note I do not spend a lot of time on the phone. I was drawn to the Rhyme for a couple of reasons. I'll admit that the color of the phone (purple) is my favorite, and I also liked the fact that it came with the docking station. No more searching for the charger!
I also liked the concept of the charm, but have not yet had a reason to use it.
I looked at the Rhyme at Verizon, both in the store and on their website. The price through Verizon was $199. I actually bought the phone through Radio Shack's website for $49.99!!! Yes, $49.99. I did pay $10 in shipping, but at that price it was a no brainer!
The Rhyme is very lightweight, is easy to set up and to use, and I have had no issues with any calls being dropped or low signal strength. I'm not a technical type person, so when I say it's easy to use I mean it is!! The number of ringtones to choose from is amazing. I would recommend the Rhyme to anyone!
on November 9, 2011
I am absolutely thrilled with this phone, which is my first smartphone.
I found the controls quite intuitive right from the start.
I'm a professional photographer and I'm BLOWN AWAY by the camera on this phone. In fact, I'm not carrying my DSLR pro camera around as often these days because of the fantastic pics this phone is able to take.
I've been teasing iphone users, saying I don't care if their phone has an 8MP camera--My 5MP mops the floor with their 8MP! Seriously, amount of MPs in any camera is not the main thing.
The earphones are fantastic, almost as good as the Bose earpods I had a few years ago, and yes, the cord doesn't tangle, ever.
The phone itself is gorgeous and lightweight and feels durable.
I was concerned initially about the touch screen for typing, since I send a lot of texts, but it's working out well, especially since the screen vibrates a bit when touching each key. This is another reason I chose it over the iphone.
The phone has a fantastic selection of ring tones, very sweet, many of them bird or bell-like.
The battery seems pretty good, but I take so many photos that it's hard to really judge the battery, especially since this is my first smartphone.
I haven't ended up using the charm, but it's a cool accessory for sure, original and fun!
I really love this phone and I'm so glad I chose it!
For the past three years I've been using a Blackberry, mostly for its email capabilities and its keyboard, but my Blackberry just wasn't very "cool." I was afraid to get rid of the Blackberry for two main reasons 1) I'm not a big fan of touch screen electronics (which is the way most smartphones are going right now) 2) Every time I engaged in conversations with a rep about a new cell phone they were like, "Well, if you're emailing a lot, Blackberry is what you need." So, I waited until my Blackberry was about ready to bite it before I really got serious about looking.
So, for anyone thinking about going from a Blackberry to this (or another Android). How much do you really email? I'm a grad student who has to keep up with my website, professors, and students. I email quite a bit, but I'm not a corporate mogul. It took me a little longer to set up my email accounts on the Rhyme (a couple drinks and a little patience), but I figured it out and haven't had one problem since. Virtually, no lag time between mail being sent and received (I tested it). The only minor stink point is when you delete it on your phone it doesn't get deleted from your email account (which means once a week I have to clean out my mailboxes manually on the computer). This may be a deal breaker for some, but I don't think it's a big deal.
On Touch Screens. Eh. Time to face facts. Touch screens and virtual keyboards are in and it's most likely going to become increasingly difficult to get the "real" thing. I figured I might as well get used to it now. I actually don't mind it. Two things help with the Rhyme 1)When I hit a letter on the virtual keyboard the letter you hit flashes in a bigger box in front of your eyes (so you immediately know if you hit the wrong letter). 2)The whole speech to text. There is a little microphone that you can hit and say what you want to text and it will turn it into text. You can do this multiple times so you can add in periods (it doesn't do grammar for you, like capitalization and etc, but that's probably okay for text messages). So far, speech to text has never gotten it wrong.
There's been a lot of talk about how this phone has been dummed down technology wise (doesn't have more storage, doesn't have a dual core processor...etc). When I decided to ditch the Blackberry (after hours of agonizing research) it came down to the Bionic or the Rhyme (my brother and male friends were really pulling for the Bionic), but the fact was - the Bionic was just too much phone for me. I know, such a girl. But I don't need to be able to stream videos on my cell phone; what I need is a cell phone that's not going to die in the middle of the day. Talk time and stand by time was way higher than on the Bionic as well as most of the other top techno loaded phones. I can squeeze three days out of the Rhyme if I'm sticking with talking and emailing (minimal use of the internet or other phone functions...like picture or video).
The camera is way better than the Blackberry one and I love the front facing camera. I tested out the video and that seems pretty good too. I love how you can actually have multiple main screens and slide through them (makes it much easier to access the main things and also favorite apps). I have had no problems with the phone freezing, but I only have a handful of apps installed and don't plan on installing anymore. The battery is not removable (some people don't like that). The view on the phone also changes (portrait or landscape), and I like that, especially when I'm texting or emailing. I love the look of the phone (definitely feminine) even though I'm not too crazy about purple. I call it eggplant. The docking station is amazing. I actually use my phone as my alarm clock so it works for me. I haven't used the headphones (and probably won't cause I don't clutter my phone up with music) nor have I used the purse charm (I discovered that the Rhyme fits perfectly into my old Blackberry case which has a clip so I can wear it on my pocket).
So, basically, I love the new phone. I don't regret turning in my Blackberry one bit. I don't mind the supposed technological shortcomings because this phone is all the phone I need. The look is great, the docking station is awesome, and I DO feel like this phone was designed for females (with our needs in mind) and I'm totally fine with that.
on February 17, 2012
I received the HTC Rhyme two weeks ago. It's my first smartphone and I love it!
I had been researching what type of phone to get, and I saw the ad for the Rhyme in Real Simple magazine. I admit, what first got my attention was the purple color and the charm!
As I read reviews of the phone, both on Amazon and Verizon's website, I decided this would be a good choice for me.
Because it is my first smartphone, I was a little anxious, but it was easy to use right out of the box. I pretty much figured out all of the features within the first hour. It's just very easy to use, and seems like it was designed "intuitively," if that makes sense. It definitely seems geared to women (well especially with the color!) But I like that. I think it is very user-friendly...and pretty!
I have used the charm on several occasions. I find it works well for places like church or during a movie. I haven't had the occasion to use the speakers on the charging dock yet.
I find the phone really easy to use and get around. It's like my little buddy now that I could never be without. I will say that the battery life is shorter than my previous phone, but it depends on how much I am on the internet or looking at my email or sending texts. I would say I fully charge the battery ever other day.
I haven't had any experiences with service or dropped calls. I have found Verizon to be the best as far as coverage anyway.
It was really easy to sync my email account. I haven't had any trouble with email or texts or accessing the web.
I HIGHLY recommend this phone. I guess the final recommendation would be this: my mom, who does not have a smartphone and shies away from them, took it from me one day, and in a few minutes she was even able to get the hang of the phone. That's how easy and user-friendly it is.
on October 18, 2011
I was hesitating to buy this phone through Amazon Wireless because I've never done it before. Just got the phone in today and it seems pretty darn awesome. Bought this phone for my sister and so glad I didn't have to pay the $200 from Verizon when I can just pay $100 here. Definitely going to buy from Amazon Wireless when I get an upgrade.
on December 7, 2011
I was thrilled to get my new phone. I have had it 3 weeks now and have run into problem after problem. Also, it isn't 4G, but I figured that was something I could live with because I was looking for a small phone (all the ones now are giant). #1. It leaves duplicate notifications when you have a voicemail and also notifies you after you check your voicemail. After calls with Verizon, HTC and much research on the internet this is something that can't be changed. I got around it by using Google Voice for my voicemail instead of Verizon's service. #2. It comes with the old Android Market app so you don't have access to specials, etc. Luckily my boyfriend found how to install the newest version. #3. It doesn't recognize area code vs. no area code as the same person. #4. (my current issue) The battery cannot be removed. My screen locked up and turned off just now. I cannot get it to turn back on. I called the phone and the screen did not come on, but the LED is blinking that I have a missed call. I tried to turn it on again and now the bottom screen menu items are lit up, but I still can't access the screen. Most forums recommend taking out the battery, but I can't with this phone. If these things weren't issues I would be very happy, but as it is I am not and am going to look into returning it and finding something else. If it is even possible with Verizon since it is beyond the 2 weeks.
on May 5, 2012
I've had my Rhyme for about six months now, and I love it. It's my first smart phone, and while I can't really compare it to other phones on the market, I don't understand why it's not more popular. It's the perfect size in a market filled with phones that seem designed to fit in in a giant's hands, and is one of the best android phones Verizon has. I love the docking station in particular. There was a software update recently that corrected the problem another user mentioned which was about there not being an easy way to adjust the volume on the speakers when the phone was in the docking station, so this is no longer an issue. I couldn't speak more highly of this phone, and would definitely recommend it.