HTC Inspire 4G First Impressions by AaronAaron Baker - Director, Content and Partnerships
After days and days of waiting (thanks, snow), the HTC Inspire 4G finally landed at my doorstep today. I've been a huge fan of the HTC Desire HD - the Inspire's cousin - since its European launch, so it's nice to see a similar device come to the States. The design is gorgeous, the phone is powerful, and I was impressed with the customization and speed improvements as a result of HTC Sense 2.0. At $99.99 with a two-year agreement, it's the best bang for the buck, and gives other sub-$100 smartphones like the CLIQ 2 and Samsung Focus a run for their money. Granted, AT&T's sudden Android push is based in part on the iPhone going to Verizon, but it's nice to see a high-end device land on the carrier.
I've been working with it today, and here's what I've found thus far:
- It offers a metal unibody construction with slots for the battery, SIM card, and microSD card. Like the HD7, the headphone jack joins the microUSB charging port at the bottom of the device. The phone ships with an AC adapter module, USB cable, 8 GB microSD card, and the usual instruction manuals.
- The combination of a 1 GHz processor and Android 2.2 means that the device is fast. Throughout the day, I've experienced no lag whatsoever. In addition to Android 2.2, the Inspire is the first US device to offer HTC's Sense 2.0 user interface. With HTCSense.com and the ability to download wallpapers, themes, and other things for the phone, HTC is creating a mini-ecosystem. It's very easy to use, and offers cool features like the ability to remote lock your phone and locate it via a ring.
- I'm digging the 8-megapixel camera. In early testing, it works just like the EVO's camera, though I hate that it doesn't have a physical camera button. Video quality is decent as well - look for a 720p video recording test next week.
- So far, voice quality has been great. The earpiece is very loud, and my callers have told me that I sound clear. I drove through an AT&T dead zone earlier, and maintained a call without any choppiness. While driving, I had my Plantronics headset paired to it, and had no issues with sound quality.
- As you would expect from the name, the Inspire 4G supports AT&T's HSPA+ network. Charlotte is an HSPA+ market, and while I haven't done any formal speed tests on the network, every data related thing I've done today has been very quick. Apps have downloaded with ease, browsing the web has been painless, and the widgets have refreshed quickly.
- I'm concerned about the 1,230 mAh battery that comes in the device. The HTC EVO 4G offers a 1,500 mAh battery, and it's still poor. I can't imagine how the Inspire 4G will hold up with moderate use. I'll let you know in the full review. It's the one downside of the unibody construction - unless HTC (or a third party) can manufacture a high capacity battery that's the same size, you're stuck with the original battery, as there's no room to expand.
More to come in the full review!