The HTC Rezound is Verizon's second high-profile end-of-year Android launch, succeeding the Motorola DROID RAZR (by three days) and preceding the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.  On top of being the first HTC smartphone in the US to offer Beats by Dr. Dre, it has a fine feature set that should make any power user salivate: 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, 4.3-inch 720p true HD display, 8-megapixel camera with 1080p HD recording, and Android 2.3.5 with HTC Sense 3.5.  Prospective buyers are covered for updates, as HTC promises that the device will get Google's forthcoming Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) update in early 2012.

With two high-end Android phones debuting within days of each other on Verizon - and another one on the way - is the Rezound a device worth looking at?  I've spent the weekend with the HTC Rezound, and while it can be sluggish at times, it's a nice handset that will appeal to certain users.  Plus it's the first Beats by Dr. Dre handset in the US and comes with a pair of iBeats headphones in the box.  Overall, it's a nice little device:

  • The build quality is - well, distinctively HTC.  You'll notice the Rezound has design cues from previous devices like the DROID Incredible, Incredible 2, and has the same plastic battery door, chrome sides, and red accents as its predecessors.  The phone is noticeably thick in comparison to the DROID RAZR, but it fits more naturally in the hand.  I'm struggling with the power button on my review unit, though - like my HD7 unit, it's a bit too recessed into the device, making it incredibly hard to press.

  • The 4.3-inch 720p HD display is absolutely astounding; it's easily the best Android display out there.  In fact, I'd go as far as to say that it's the best display on any mobile phone at the moment (yep, even better than the iPhone).  Picture quality is fantastic and text is incredibly clear.  It definitely sets the bar for mobile displays.
  • For a device that packs a dual-core 1.5 GHz Snapdragon processor, Rezound lags more than it should.  It's completely inconsistent and it totally depends on what you're doing.  When scrolling through the homescreens, I see no lag, but open the app drawer or browse the web, and the phone gets too choppy for my liking.  It's noticeably slower than the DROID RAZR (whose processor is clocked lower), and part of that can be attributed to the fact that HTC's Sense user interface is incredibly resource-heavy.  It's most noticeable in the browser, but I see it when opening the app drawer and doing certain graphics-heavy tasks.  If speed is a priority, the Motorola DROID RAZR is much faster in day-to-day tasks.

  • The star feature here is obviously the Beats technology, and in my limited testing, it works really well.  The kicker is that Beats technology only works in the Music app, so if you use any other app for your tunes - Google Music, Pandora, and the like - you won't be able to take advantage of the tech.
  • Rezound offers HTC Sense 3.5 atop Android 2.3.5.  As you would expect, Sense 3.5 is a minor upgrade from 3.0, but I'm impressed with some of the subtle graphics improvements.  Those familiar with the interface will notice that menu structures have been reorganized, and there's text underneath a lot of the icons (i.e. "All apps" and "Personalize" are now under their respective icons in the dock).  As I said above, HTC made it clear at the Rezound press event that it was "Ice Cream Sandwich ready," and it's currently slated to get it in early 2012.  No word yet on how Sense (presumably version 4.0) will play into the new OS.
  • You get the usual pre-installed Verizon apps here, and I'm surprised that (a) the apps can't be uninstalled (especially the games) and (b) Verizon opted yet again to remove HTC Hub and HTC Likes, the app duo that allowed for free theme, wallpaper, ringtone, and widget downloads.  If I'm paying $300 for a cell phone, I'd like to be able to customize it and remove Hot Pursuit.
  • Like other high-end devices, it's packing an 8-megapixel camera with 1080p HD video recording capabilities.  So far, the camera takes decent shots with the right amount of light, though the few I've taken in direct sunlight appear to be a bit noisy.  The camcorder takes a decent 1080p video, with audio quality that's better than previous HTC devices.

  • Rezound has a 1,620 mAh battery, which is borderline small for a power-hungry Android device.  I walked into it pretty apprehensively, considering my past criticism for the EVO 3D and Sensation 4G's 1,730 mAh pack.  As I suspected, It has a lot of things going for it, but battery life isn't one of the specialties.  With moderate use including calling, text messaging, emailing, downloading some apps, and browsing the web, I was able to make it into the evening.  I've seen worse, but if you're a heavy user or spend most of your day away from a charger, you're going to need a spare battery.
  • For those that still make calls, quality has been decent so far.  Signal strength seems to be relatively strong, and I haven't had the reception issues that I've had with some of the past high-end HTC handsets.  My callers have reported good sound on their ends, and I haven't had any issues on mine either.  Earpiece volume has been loud enough for my less-than-stellar ears, and the speakerphone worked well enough for me to call up American Express and use their automated prompts.

Despite some minor flaws, it's great to see a Beats-capable handset in the United States, and it's a good addition to Verizon's ever-growing 4G LTE lineup.  Check out the unboxing, and stay tuned for the full review!

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74 Reactions to this post

"Which do you prefer, HTC Rezound or Motorola DROID RAZR?"

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Alexander Smith Droid Razr all the way. the phones so thin I barley notice it in my pocket. Smart actions for when I'm at home and work. Battery life is amazing. Rezound is cool but I can't really notice the 720p display and I don't use my phone for music I have a iPod. HTC just seems like another EVO or Thuderbolt.
jackwalsho_0 GALAXY NEXUS (on AT&T :))
Gregory Ochiagha Why do people hate on the iPhone so much. They are good phones, there is nothing wrong with a simplistic OS. The media Apple provides is near limitless. And the hardware is gorgeous. To each their own but come on...leave the iPhones to those who love them.
Erick F. Macri I was looking at the big 3 phones and after hesitating for a few months and finally getting my actual hands on the Razr and Rezound in stores.. i went with the Rezound. I think it has a much nicer display. And another interesting thing.. everyone made such a big deal about "how fat" the Rezound was.. but interestingly.. the Razr is so wide to the point where it is just awkward and uncomfortable in the hand, whereas the "fat" Rezound is ergonomically fit to the shape of the hand and just feels nice and sleek in your hand. Another HUGE thing for me is the camera. BSI sensor with a f2.2 lens... on top of that its 28mm wideangle.. has all sorts of effects, shoot modes.. and if you go to the settings and turn off the picture review function which holds the picture u take on the screen 3 seconds by default.. it takes photos as fast as the Nexus or iPhone (it really is ridiculously fast). Another random thing.. the dual LED is so friggin legit. I turned off the lights in my room.. and took a photo of my bookshelf. Somehow the camera was able to focus perfectly in the dark to the point where I could read the book titles and the photo looks like the lights were on in my room. It is a VERY bright flash. I took photos in the car today as I was riding past signs and buildings and i was able to capture everything as I was passing it without any blurring or anything. I'm talking this cam is just ridiculous. Then u've got beats and all that junk. Really the 2 down sides are Sense.. if you are not a fan of Sense.. and the battery size. I'm a pretty heavy phone user and so far it has lasted me well through the days.. but I'm not a using my phone heavily from 6am away from the house till 10pm person.. but if ur a student and go to school for like 6-8 hours or something.. using it heavily, it will definitely make it that long. I considered the 2750 battery.. but one of the things I like is the shape of the phone in my hand with the existing back.. and the extended battery back just looks uncomfortable. Gonna rough it out. I ended up eliminating the nexus cause I was tired of waiting and couldn't justify dealing with the 5mpx camera
Lauren Robbins Droid razr
Prince Nyaga Rezound for shure.
Jeremy Gross i playe dwith it, its thick it feels good in hand but the screen didnt feel goo din swiping an didk how long the battery will last
Jeff Hammond If you want a pretty phone with a small screen get an iPhone 4s.
Jeff Hammond Sense is a ram hog. The new "motorola UI" is much more lightweight. Plus dual core omap spanks snapdragon even when it's clocked less. If you are on Verizon get the Galaxy Nexus, duh.
Paul Alexandru I prefer my iPhone 4s from where i am posting now..
Ed Plnia I don't like the razr design the front part look ugly as hell, I will stay with HTC Rezound
Brian H Foote I've always been a Motorola DROID user, though the specs on the new HTC Rezound blows the razr out if the water as well as the others(Galaxy S2 & Nexus)!!!
Jon Strong I prefer Galaxy Nexus
Jared Prado Samsung Glaxaxy S2
Martin Strutzel I have Droid razor and loving it
Richard Cruz Rezound..pending upgrade soon!
Emmanuel Ramos Htc with beats audio
KoDy Designed ByCrime RAZR ALL DAY!!!
Arturo Cifuentes HTC rezound all the way
Ryan Mcglynn I loved my android.. But I found that no matter what my signal was or what app I was using .. Facebook was always slow till I got my iPhone 4
Fonzy Paniagua Just because a phone sells good doesn't mean it's the best or doesn't sucks. Apple just does a good job @ advertising their products. People just follow the bandwagon. The iPhone does suck with their old os. That really hasn't evolved for shit !
Adam Sawyer Just because the iPhone sells products to more to ignorant people doesn't make it better than a true open source platform that's far more flexible than apple will ever be
Adam Sawyer Once these two phones get ICS the Galaxy Nexus isnt going to look any better
Zach Cline Lol the iphone already raped android in sales it's first weekend , And most stores run out of stock weekly. Yeah it really sucks. Idiots.
Abdiel Fernandez @Nolan Wong...I agree wit you!! HTC FTW!!!
Norleena Davies RAZR FOR SURE!
Byktor Urvaes I love HTC phones but in this case I go with the RAZR..
Kong Yang Lol. Iphones sucks.
Sonny Lion If only the razr had the rezounds bad ass screen
Jordan Brown iPhone 4S is my favorite, but the RAZR looks totally bad ass!
Michael A. Foster Waiting for FedEx to deliver Rezound today, anxious ...
Nolan Wong Anything HTC! They have the best phone software.
Shaun Rounds You have pressed an incorrect key! Can anyone deciver the choice. They are so different, I think the world would love a combo. Small, good battery, great screen, big brain, no vzw layer.
Cody Ramsey Resound is better by far better screen resolution better audio technology better front camera. And better proccessor
Susie Tracey HTC any day of the week over Motorola!
Steven Jaycoxe Motorola Droid Razr
Sean Martin Main disappointments with Rezound: From 1 sample I listened to and 2 reviews, the audio quality of calls sucks. Very robot-like. Also, the battery is disappointing. If they are going to make it bulky and heavy, why could they not put a bigger battery in there? The super thin RAZR has a bigger battery. I also hate that they don't allow downloading new themes. That is a complaint about my Incredible 2 and I have a feeling Verizon is the reason. I want to check out the Galaxy Nexus as well. This is all for my wife: iPhone 4S, Galaxy Nexus, RAZR, Rezound. They all have drawbacks.
Eric Luna Picked up the rezound yesterday and the 720p display is great.
Marcus Frederick Niether. I hate Android. I hate my HTC EVO. I hate Google. So neither. I miss my iPhone.
Ricardo Lopez cant say i dont have either but i would go for the rezound cause of the 720p display and the beats audio intergration
Adrian Anguiano Droid sucks
Saad Khan Undoubtedly Rezound,it is the new ppi king 341 compared to previous king iphone 4 and 4s 326!!!!
Quinton Mitchell People saying the Galaxy Nexus and its not even an option but the HTC Rezound
Cory Wilson Just a phone
Anonymous Resound I am sick of moto
Joel Ramos I got my Rezound yesterday. I frekin love it! :D
Aj Green Razr
Jenny Viergutz Droid Razor!
Steve Jones Galaxy nexus.
Ernest Marvin Esteban Razr. I've seen the Rezound and its looks like just another HTC phone
Brandon Schmidt Rezound by far - the display is the best out there.
Robert Skeen I would pick the Razr but the unremovable battery gets me worried.
Mark Fisher Jr. The droid razr.
Kenny Kemp I like the styling of the Razr better
Steven Quintal Neither. Team iPhone!
Srikanth Reddy Somereddy None. I prefer Galaxy Nexus
Delon Kueh Chun Kuan HTC Rezound because of the overall performance~
David Harness Not sure. I like performance and Motorola's Applications Platform but I prefer high resolution displays, less width and height, and yeah. I have no idea
Chris Montana Rezound the best of 2011 hopefully (:
Fong Chee Kin Galaxy Nexus
Adam Khana Charsi galaxy nexus
Daniel Quintero Galaxy nexus
Chris Luna Neither but may be the Rezound if the Galaxy Nexus gets pushed back anymore : (

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