Right now, Beats Audio is just a gimmick in the HTC RezoundEvan Selleck - Contributing Editor
We all know what a gimmick is. As consumers, we can see a gimmick from a mile away, and depending on that particular gimmick, we can start to make a decision on whether or not we want to buy something. Interestingly enough, while we’ve talked about trends in the past, there seems to be a pretty faint line between a gimmick and a trend. Sometimes a gimmick can give way to a trend that is picked up by an entire industry. When HTC announced that they would be implanting Beats Audio technology into their phones, I got excited. Why? Because I love listening to music and having something that actually makes that experience better seemed like a dream come true. Unfortunately, Beats is just a gimmick, and one that falls way short.
When it comes to a gimmick or anything really, all we can hope for is that it works. We expect it to work, because the company that’s selling that particular gimmick is usually selling it pretty hard. For HTC, marketing Beats in their phones is a pretty high priority (just as HP does for their computers), and that’s why I haven’t been all that surprised to see HTC Rezound commercials on the TV. Actually, the Rezound commercials aren’t bad at all – especially not compared to some of the commercials out there. But, while the Rezound commercials do indeed show off the phone and their inherent Beats-fused features, they do it well enough that actually using the Rezound is frustrating.
Why? Because after watching a commercial for the Rezound, or reading up on the specifications list for the high-end device, you’d expect Beats Audio to work on the phone, without having any kind of, “But only” situation. But that’s what we get with the Rezound. Want Beats to work? Great, just use the HTC Music Player and you’ll be good to go. No, you can’t experience Beats audio through YouTube, or through any other media player available in the Market. Just doesn’t work.
That even includes Google Music, which was just announced out of beta. It seems pretty obvious to me that Google wants to make Music a pretty important part of the whole Android experience, and it’s pretty obvious that (right now at least) HTC doesn’t want to make the Beats Audio experience part of anything. What’s worse is that I don’t even necessarily have a problem with the HTC Music Player, because it does what it’s supposed to do – it plays music, and that’s great. But then I noticed something else.
I noticed that the already weak battery was actually worse when I was using Beats Audio. Yep, that’s right. I never would have assumed that having that ingrained feature turned on would actually make my battery worse, but it does. If I turn off Beats, listening to music doesn’t sound as great, but the battery will last me a respectable amount of time. Not great, but just enough. Turn Beats on, and it’s only a matter of time, a short amount of time, before that battery turns red and I’m forced to plug in. I’ve spoken with a couple of people who picked up the Rezound, and one of them has reaffirmed this suspicion of mine, while the other doesn’t go anywhere without a charger handy, so they didn’t notice.
So, the end results? The Rezound is a great high-end device that features plenty of specifications that will speak to the consumer out there. It really is the high-end of high-end phones right now, especially available on Verizon’s 4G LTE network. And yes, the display is something to actually witness and drool over. But, the big “unfortunately” comes in the fact that Beats Audio is nothing more than a gimmick and one that’s not as versatile as it should be. The headphones are great, though – can’t count those out.
The Rezound is a phone that by no stretch of the imagination should be talked about for months, but like we’ve seen with plenty of other HTC high-end devices, it won’t be. We’re already looking forward to the Edge, and even the Ville. Maybe by the time those phones launch, HTC will have figured out a way to make Beats Audio work with all of the phone, and not just the HTC media player. We can hope, anyway. And hey, at least you can pull the battery, right?