Pure and Imagio Review: Part 2 - The Phones

Noah Kravitz
 from  Oakland, CA
| October 7, 2009

Verizon HTC Imagio & AT&T HTC Pure

(Top: Verizon HTC Imagio, Bottom: AT&T HTC Pure)

Now about those phones.

Imagio is by far my favorite of the pair. As mentioned, both Imagio and Pure are built by HTC. While Pure feels like a downscale version of the Touch Diamond2 (which I previously reviewed, and really liked, in its unlocked GSM form), Imagio is a new device that's like a Touch Pro2 with its bottom layer lopped off.

Imagio is solid, responsive, and luxurious where Pure is plasticky, finicky, and budget-feeling. Taken on its own, Pure is a decent device and will be sure to turn some heads with its low price, 5 MP camera, and 3.2" WVGA touchscreen. The phone is pretty responsive, very pocketable and lightweight, and features both 3G and WiFI connectivity, along with quad-band GSM for global roaming. But the build quality is somewhat reminiscent of the LG Incite, and that's not a good thing. Plus, instead of a real headphone jack Pure sticks you with HTC's USB-based audio adapter (which the company is phasing out), which is a drag if you like to use any sort of wired headphones/headset with your phone.

Imagio, on the other hand, is pretty cool. The Verizon device steps up to a huge 3.6" WVGA touchscreen, and while it's resistive touch like Pure, it was noticeably more responsive than Pure (or at least my review units yielded very different results). The phone itself felt much more solidly built than Pure without being overly heavy, and is still reasonably thin despite its overall size; an iPhone-like curved back panel lends to the "illusion of thinness."

Imagio also features a 5 MP camera and both EV-DO 3G and WiFi data connectivity. Imagio also has a SIM card slot and a quad-band GSM radio with 2100Mhz HSPA for global roaming (via Verizon's overseas partners). With Imagio you'll get a standard 3.5mm headphone jack built-in, and you'll also get a FLO TV mobile television tuner coupled with Verizon's VCAST TV, an optional pay service. VCAST TV works pretty well so far as mobile television goes, which is to say that you get a decent number of channels and a cable-tv style program grid accessible via touchscreen, but the actual image quality ranges between somewhat blocky and just a bit pixelated. It's watchable, but I don't that I'd pay $15/month for it.

What's cool, though, is that Imagio's FLO TV antenna is a nifty pop-out kickstand on the back panel of the phone. Pop the kickstand out and you can prop the phone up on a flat surface for viewing. So even if you don't pay for the VCAST TV service you've still got a 3.6", 800 x 480 display for watching videos you sideload via microSD card - and you can do it hands-free thanks to that kickstand.


Both devices have performed pretty well in my admittedly limited testing of both calling and data. Though I gotta say the call quality on Imagio has been pretty amazing. I've read a few other reviews complaining about spotty call quality on the device, so maybe I need to get out of the office and test it in more places around these parts (East Bay part of the San Francisco area), but Imagio seems to like my office just fine. When sitting right here at my desk, voice quality on this phone is as good as any cell phone I've ever tested.

So there you go -- In a nutshell: WinMo 6.5? Meh. AT&T HTC Pure? Decent low-cost WinMo 6.5 smartphone. Verizon HTC Imagio? Nifty 6.5 smartphone with a huge display and a neato kickstand. And, oh yeah, over-priced mobile TV service.

Products mentioned