If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Apple had better be blushing at the sight of the HTC Imagio. Running Windows Mobile 6.5, this Verizon Wireless mobile handset not only looks like an iPhone on the outside, but feels like one too thanks to the new icon-based version of the Windows Mobile operating system. But is it a business class touchscreen smartphone or should it be relegated to coach instead? Read on to find out.
Features and Design
Curiously, the minimalistic HTC Imagio looks and feels more like an iPhone than any of the other iClones we’ve tested. Smooth, rounded edges, with only two buttons on the right side for volume adjustment are the name of the game with the latest HTC handset, with the bottom of the phone home to a 3.5 mm headphone jack and miniUSB port. Three-quarters of the back of the device are covered in grippy rubber, while the leftmost quarter is glossy black with HTC and Verizon branding. Also located on the phone’s back is the slightly recessed lens for the 5 megapixel auto-focus camera, and a kickstand for viewing videos or mobile TV on Verizon’s service. The lower left corner of the gizmo houses its stylus, while the face of the phone is a 3.6-inch resistive touchscreen running at 480×800 resolution, making for crystal clear images and text. Below the display is a slide area to zoom in and out on the screen and Call, Media, Start, Back, and End buttons, all with a solid press depth and feel to them.
Ports and Connectors
The only ways in and out of the device are the standard miniUSB port and microSD slots. We love that HTC went the standard route, right down to the 3.5mm headphone jack for ports. Getting your microSD card in and out of the device is harder than it should be, though. To do so, you have to remove the battery cover (not an easy task in and of itself) and then slide the miniscule piece of plastic and silicon into a recessed slot. We couldn’t do it with our fingers alone, and like with other operations on the handset, ultimately had to enlish the help of the stylus.
Audio and Video Performance
The Imagio has a heavy focus on multimedia experiences, and was designed to make video viewing easier with the kickstand. The device comes with a YouTube app and V CAST Mobile TV preinstalled. The mobile TV service has about 16 channels available currently, and connecting to our WiFi network gave us better video quality than with Verizon’s 3G service. Sadly, programming is presented in the 4:3 aspect ratio, not the phone’s native 16:9 widescreen resolution. Flicking through your music and videos is much simpler than expected with Windows Mobile 6.5 and the TouchFLO 3D technology though. Simply drag your finger up, down, right or left to browse your library with ease.
Phone calls were crystal clear on both ends, with none of the echoing or dropped connections we’ve experienced on other phones recently.
Internet and Web Browsing Features
Opera is the default Internet browser, and a Web tab on the dashboard allows for access to all your favorite sites as well as a search bar before opening a browser window, which is beyond convenient. Loading the DigitalTrends homepage on the Verizon 3G network took roughly 40 seconds to complete before the status bar disappeared, however, while the page was navigable, albeit without images, within ten seconds. The Flash-based navigation bar loaded and displayed correctly too.
Digital Camera Functions
The 5 megapixel autofocus camera, capable of video capture, takes pictures that look fine on the phone’s display. Do note though, that at full resolution, image details become blurry and pixilated.
The Imagio is a step in the right direction for both Verizon and HTC. We love how easy it is to navigate and access everything on the handset, as Windows Mobile 6.5 proves highly intuitive, and for that, we’re grateful. To fully compete with the iPhone though, the Imagio would auto-correction technology other than antiqued XT9 predictive text options and a better stocked App store among other requirements. Still, from an overall perspective, it remains a solid purchase.
- Windows Mobile 6.5
- Battery life (13 hours with moderate use, WiFi disabled)
- Hard to insert microSD card, and remove battery cover
- Text input slow without using stylus