Top positive review
251 people found this helpful
State of the art
on November 23, 2011
I don't know which is more impressive, the hTC Rezound or Verizon's 4G LTE network. I switched from the hTC EVO 4G on Sprint to this phone and the difference couldn't possibly be more dramatic.
Physically, the phones are a similar size. These large format smartphones take some getting used to, from carrying them in your pocket to the fine art of one-handed touchscreen action where you stretch your thumb across the screen. The Rezound actually sits well in my pocket and once you get spoiled with the larger display, it is nearly impossible to use any other phone without squinting and thinking "this thing is too small!".
The pixel density is outstanding and colors are good. Not quite SAMOLED but still very good. With this resolution, I was worried about the lag I had been reading about, particularly with the latest hTC Sense. I did notice the occasional short lag when you inundate the GPU with a lot of actions like swiping several screens and then hitting the home button. But it was surprisingly good. I loaded GO Launcher and it eliminated all lag (and gave me the 5x5 icon layout with no labels that I prefer).
In direct sunlight, the screen has a bright enough setting to be functional, but you'll always struggle in direct sunlight with a glass screen.
Since Amazon/Verizon is enticing new contracts with aggressive pricing, it bears mentioning that Verizon's 4G LTE network is second to none. They've invested in this network heavily this year, and it shows. If I drive out of town and into the country, I might lose LTE signal briefly, but coverage is astounding. Great work, Verizon.
Speed is even more astounding. Even in the metal building I work in (that would drain the hTC EVO battery dry when desperately reaching out for a Sprint signal), I generally achieve 10,000 - 13,000 kbps. The highest download rate I've experienced is 32,000kbps! My local cable High Speed Internet doesn't even touch this. Again, great work, Verizon! They've raised the bar and I hope they can keep it there.
That said, the tiered data plans take careful considering. I went through 2GB in my first week, enjoying the fast network speeds perhaps a little too much! Ironic that I reluctantly connect to a WiFi network to reduce my data usage and the relative speed differential becomes even more evident.
I can't move on to review any other aspect of phone without raising the subject of battery life. I tried to manage my expectations for battery life with this phone. With what was sure to be a gas-guzzling dual barrel 1.5GHz processor on the LTE network and the highest pixel density in the industry, I couldn't bring myself to hope that the battery would take me through a typical 10 hour workday. The Rezound again delivers. Even with the excitement of a slick new phone on the best network in the business, I still managed to make it through a 10 hour day on a battery charge. As the excitement wears down, I can even make it through 16 hours of awake time without charging. But I've already picked up a spare battery, as it seems to defeat the purpose of a wireless device to be tethered to a charger all the time. This is a powerful mobile device, much like a laptop. You wouldn't expect your laptop to run all day on a charge so just get used to the idea that this is no ordinary phone.
This was a huge consideration, for me. I'm an amateur photographer, and don't always have my DSLR handy, and so I end up taking a great deal of photos using the phone's camera. In broad daylight, some pictures have come out good enough to be published. The key advantage is always having a competent camera handy when an incredible opportunity arises with perfect lighting, autumn scenery and that amazing backdrop that makes you wish the DSLR was in the back seat. The impressive f2.2 aperture and competent 8 megapixel sensor in the Rezound does a really great job at capturing light, even when it is limited. In optimal lighting situations, coupled with the "Backlight HDR" setting (which seems to do some post processing tone mapping to improve visible dynamic range), the results are downright stunning. There is still some noise in low-light situations, but I'm happy to see just black in dark shadows rather than noise.
Oh yeah, this thing has a phone? I didn't make a phone call until I'd already had the phone for four days and was very impressed with the call quality. I don't ask for much, but my last phone didn't quite have enough volume and I was happy to find that the Rezound has plenty enough volume to spare. I actually had to turn down the call volume a bit, which a nice luxury.
There has been a lot of hype about the beats headphones included with this phone, and the "beats profile" that tweaks sound settings for optimal sound reproduction. I have to admit to being a little bit of a sound quality snob. Not the kind that spends $300 on speaker wire and snake oil. But I've spent many hours utilizing measuring equipment in the automotive environment in pursuit of sound quality and even more hours of critical listening and believe I can recognize good sound. Having made an attempt at qualifying my opinion of the Rezounds ability in the sound department: I think they sound great. Really. I mean, they're not going to replace a good set of cans and simply can't approach the dynamics and spatial imaging achieveable in a car or home. But they sound good. I already had a set of decent entry level earbuds (V-Moda Vibe Duo) and I'd say the Beats by Dr Dre buds by Monster are in the same neighborhood, but not quite as good. With the beats profile enabled, music seems louder and more crisp, but not necessarily better. I was able to replicate the effect in PowerAmp with equalization pretty closely. The Beats earbuds might be a little boomy, with not enough extension in the first octave. They are detailed, but midrange is a little more muddy than the V-Modas. I'll keep them as very competent spares, but continue to enjoy the V-Modas for now.
After a week of ownership, I should be able to think of a few criticisms for this phone. I do wish that we were given the option of an AOSP interface, why not Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0)? But that is indeed wishful thinking. This phone is sure to be popular with developers, though, and it won't be long before they tap into the true power in this very capable phone. It is a bit annoying to see Verizon bloat the phone with nonsense like V-Cast, that seem more suited for feature phones rather than a powerful Android phone. Would it be a valid complaint that I'm eating through a lot of data? That would be like saying I'm enjoying it too much. Maybe I am.