Verizon’s 4G LTE network is starting to grow up. The HTC Rezound is the third dual-core device on the new network and HTC’s second. The High Tech Company ushered in the high-speed network earlier this year with the HTC ThunderBolt, which definitely had speed, but lacked a dual-core processor, acceptable battery life, and a competitively thin profile. With the Rezound, HTC corrects most of these problems, but introduces a new one: gimmicky Beats Audio integration that doesn’t really work.
Design and Feel
The Rezound is a bit of a revival for HTC. Design-wise, it’s basically a sequel to the Incredible, right down to the red interior. Much like the Incredible, the Rezound has a rubberized black finish with bright red accents all over the phone. The rear also has that oddly shaped top to it with the right corner missing.
There are some differences, starting with the dimensions. With a 4.3-inch screen, this is a larger phone than the Incredible and it’s a bit fatter too, most likely so it can fit in Verizon’s LTE technology and a big enough battery to manage it. It has a shiny faux-metal front exterior and the back rubber backing has texturized ridges in it, making it easier to keep hold of. It also has even more red on it. The navigation buttons—Home, Menu, Back, Search—are now completely red as well, as is the speaker grating up top.
From a usability standpoint, the Rezound is thin enough to hold and operate at 4.3 inches, but it definitely feels a bit thicker than some of the dual-core phones on the market. On one note of annoyance, the power and volume buttons are a bit difficult to press. They are sized appropriately, but they don’t stick out of the phone far enough to easily find them when you aren’t looking. The power button, as the one you’ll press more than any other, is suspiciously uncomfortable to press sometimes.
Like the Amaze 4G on T-Mobile, the Rezound has a Micro USB port that doubles as a fast-charging port, if you use your HTC charger. Unlike the Amaze, however, there is no camera button on the phone, which is a bit of a shame.
Finally, if looking at the inside of your phone is something you like to do, the Rezound will provide hours of staring. The inside of the phone is colored red, much like the Incredible, as is the battery.
Specs and Screen
The Rezound has most everything we look for in a top-notch smartphone this year. It has a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm MSM8660 processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, comes with a 16GB microSD card, an 8MP rear camera with dual-LED flash and a 2MP front camera. Bluetooth 3.0, Wi-Fi, accelerometer, and a digital compass are all, of course, present. We ran a Quadrant benchmark test and the unit came out at about what we expected, scoring between 2400 and 2500, or about in line with what we achieved on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 and a few hundred higher than the Amaze 4G, which is a helluva phone itself. For reference, a Motorola Droid would score about 400 on this processing test and a Droid X or HTC Evo would score a bit over 1000.
The screen is high resolution and nice, but I am hoping HTC invests in AMOLED technology, moving forward. Though Motorola and Samsung have now put their weight behind Super AMOLED, HTC is sticking with LCD displays. The 4.3-inch screen of the Rezound has a 720×1280 pixel resolution, but it doesn’t have the brightness and contrast you get from Super AMOLED. Still, S-LCD isn’t bad and our complaints (if you want to call them complaints) about the display are superficial, at best. Overall, it’s a great, high-resolution display.
Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) is HTC’s OS of choice for the Rezound. The manufacturer has promised an upgrade to Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) by early 2012, but there’s no saying when it will actually arrive. Google has released the code for the OS, so hopefully HTC is hard at work on upgrades for most of its devices.
As it stands, the Rezound is a solid Gingerbread phone. It comes loaded with HTC Sense 4.0, a modified user interface for Android that loads the OS up with a bunch of fancy widgets and themes. Though Sense is still one of the better custom UIs, it is starting to show a little wear around the edges. Hopefully with the transition to Android 4.0, HTC will re-evaluate what it really wants to change about Android and figure out how it can better serve users.
Like all Verizon Android devices, the Rezound is preloaded with a fair amount of bloatware that’s unremovable. Expect to stare at icons for BlockBuster, NFL Mobile, Let’s Golf 2, Hot Pursuit, V Cast Videos, and some other apps for the next two years.