HTC Rhyme review
Android 2.3.5 (Gingerbread), 3.7in 480x800 display
Colour is a rarity when it comes to HTC handsets, but there's always an exception to every rule. In HTC's case, the black sheep of its smartphone family is the HTC Rhyme, a metallic handset in a plum colour that's definitely not on our Pantone chart. It's also available in grey should you be feeling more staid.
It's also rather small if you compare it to HTC handsets like the HTC Sensation XL or the HTC Desire HD, but that's part of the thinking behind it. The phone comes complete with a cream case and matching accessories like a dock and earphones and is available on sub-£20 contracts, so is clearly intended for the fashion-conscious on a budget.
The 3.7-inch 480x800-pixel display bucks the current trend of bigger is better and for the sake of portability, it's welcome. The screen's still not small, though, and is perfectly fine for browsing the web or checking email.
As with most HTC handsets, the Rhyme feels well made, but the quality of materials doesn't blow you away as it does on phones such as the Motorola RAZR or Apple iPhone 4S. The supplied accessories do make it feel like a premium product, though - docks and leather cases are luxuries you would usually need to buy yourself. The supplied headphones don't sound spectacular but are certainly better than the kind usually bundled with handsets.
The HTC Rhyme is powered by a single-core 1GHz processor, and Android 2.3 Gingerbread can feel sluggish from time to time. Android runs much better on dual-core handsets, but the Rhyme is still a very usable inexpensive handset. The phone has the latest version of HTC's Sense user interface, so it's easy to use the phone to email and keep your various social networks updated.
The phone's photo and video quality is reasonable. The 5-megapixel camera takes clear photos and the 720p video is above average, especially for an inexpensive phone. Image quality isn't up there with the iPhone 4S or the Galaxy S II but still good enough for snaps, short video clips and uploading to Twitter or Facebook. The camera has a number of effects to help improve your shots, including a neat depth of field tweak.
Besides the colour and accessories, there's really not a lot of difference between the Rhyme and other HTC offerings. The battery gave us nine and a half hours in our video playback test, which is about average, and will give you two days of use if you aren't constantly watching movies or playing games. Unlike with most HTC phones, the battery can't be replaced, unfortunately.
When you consider the HTC Rhyme comes with Android 2.3 and a selection of accessories, you realise the slightly underpowered smartphone is reasonable value. Unless you absolutely want the extra accessories or the purple casing, there are more exciting Android phones available for around this price, such as the Motorola Defy+.