Our Friends over at HTC sent us the HTC Inspire to take a look at, and this is what we thought.
As a believer and user of the workhorse of the android phones, the original Droid, looking at the HTC Inspire is very odd.I imagine it’s similar to a carriage driver first seeing the Model T. The QWERTY keyboard is dropped to make the device much slimmer, and the casing feels very smooth. The camera extends a little bit more out of the casing than with the original Droid, but since it’s much more powerful that doesn’t bother me too much. The software seems much snappier, registering my touches more accurately and loading up apps quickly. Surprisingly enough, despite being effectively smaller than the droid, the HTC Inspire is actually heavier, a testimony to the amount of hardware encased inside. Let’s dig into some specifics however.
The Inspire is a fairly powerful little beast, featuring a 1GHz Snapdragon processor. This is complemented by an 8 megapixel camera capable of 720p HD recording, a 4.3 inch capacitive display, and access to AT&T’s 4G network.This give the Inspire an overall feeling of well rounded efficiency, capable of doing a number of things and doing them all fairly well.
On the front of the phone, we have the capacitive display front and center, with a row of four haptic buttons and the HTC logo beneath. The sides have a nicely rounded power button on the top, and the left side has a well-rounded volume button. The buttons feel nice and sturdy, although the fact that the resistance of the volume button gets lower closer to the extremes bothers me for some reason. The back contains the camera and the dual-led flash, and that’s it. In all honesty the camera bothers me a little bit, as it extends a little bit beyond the case and seems like it could get scuffed up fairly easily.*
The case comes apart in two locations to access the data storage cards and the battery. The bottom comes off easily to expose the microSD and SIM cards, but you should apply some care as this portion of the casing is rather more flimsy than the rest of it. The side section takes a little more effort to pop up and away, but it isn’t terribly problematic.
The camera functions well enough, taking pictures quickly and at a fairly high quality. The record quality is good, recording in 720p with pretty decent audio quality. My only real gripe with it is because somehow, for some reason, it decided to delete from memory the photos I took. Perhaps I displeased it somehow and it thought that was fitting revenge.*
The Inspire runs Android 2.2 with Sense UI, and it feels nice. It’s quick and seems light on its feet once it starts up, but it takes a good 35s to boot up. The opening screen is laid out nicely, with the time displayed in large numbers at the top along with the location, weather and temperature. There are three major buttons at the bottom, Menu, Phone, and Personalize, that stay with you on the 7 initial populated screens. Screen transitions are quick, and the touchscreen is very responsive to even light touches.
The phone comes out of the box with the following pieces of software: Adobe Reader, Asphalt 5, Blockbuster, Blocked Callers, Call History, Camcorder, Car Panel, Connected Media, Desk Clock, Facebook, Flashlight, FM Radio, Footprints, Friend Stream, GasBuddy, Gmail, Google Search, HTC Hub, HTC Likes, Internet, Latitude, Live TV, Mail, Maps, Market, Music, Navigation, News, News & Weather, People, Phone, Places, Quick Lookup, Quickoffice, Reader, Search Anywhere, Search People, Settings, Setup, Speed Test, Stocks, Talk, Teeter, Transfer Data, Twitter, Videos, Weather, Wi-Fi Hotspot, YouTube, YPmobile. It also comes with a number of standard pieces, like Clock and Calculator, and comes with a few pieces of AT&T proprietary software.
Overall, I quite like this phone. The weight is comfortable in my hand, and heavy enough that I won’t forget it somewhere. The menus are easy to navigate, and it doesn’t come pre-bloated with multitudes of useless programs. There are a few that are unnecessary, but not like the multiple menu pages of useless apps in the Samsung Captivate. While I am somewhat bothered by the lack of a true QWERTY keyboard due to my wide fingers, the keyboard software isn’t too bad, and assuages my concerns a bit. It comes on AT&T which is a bit of a bummer for me since my accounts are with Verizon, but if AT&T keeps getting phones like these I may switch over. Of course, a price drop certainly wouldn’t hurt either. These things are painful for my wallet. I feel that this phone is an overall 4.5/5 Gears.