Are you female and do you like purple? Well, HTC is hoping that you do, as they have created a cell phone that is targeted at the female population. With its purple housing, its charm addition and attractive UI on top of Android, did they get it right, or miss the mark?
The device packs the following specs: 4.69” x 2.39” x .43”, Qualcomm MSM 8655 running at 1 GHz, 3.7” WVGA (480x800), runs Android 2.3, 5 MP rear–facing camera with autofocus & F2.2, 28mm lens, VGA front–facing camera, charm indicator attachment, 1600 mAH battery. Unfortunately, this device does not have 4G support. The entire spec list can be found here. The HTC Rhyme rings up the cash register at $439.99 outright or $199 on a two year contract.
On paper, the Rhyme is a middle of the road device. The specs are a safe bet for a modest experience but is not a flagship list by any means. But this device does offer a unique addition: the charm indicator (more on that later).
The overall feel of the device is rather familiar if you have played with any other HTC phone. The housing is purple and covered mostly with material that is soft to the touch and feels a bit leathery, but there is also a ribbon around the middle of the device that is plastic.
There is a volume rocker on the right side of the device, a power button up top and a USB charging port on the side. In your hand the device feels solid and doesn’t creek or flex if you torque it on its corners. Overall the build quality is top notch.
The screen on the Rhyme is accurate and responsive to the touch. Direct sunlight does represent an issue which renders the screen hard to use; others in this segment do perform better in this area. Off angle viewing is acceptable with both horizontal and vertical providing a pleasant viewing experience.
Even with a 1 GHz processor, which is hard to imagine that a 1 GHz processor isn’t cutting edge, the device feels confident while doing daily tasks. Pulling up the camera is a fluid action as well as opening the application drawer. Browsing the web over WiFi and 3G was a punctual experience and YouTube played as one would expect on a device of this class.
This device is also running HTC’s latest Sense skin which is possibly the best OEM skin on the market today. It's user preference if you prefer Sense to stock Android, but the latest updates does provide for an attractive UI. More can be seen in the video above.
The Rhyme’s cameras are better than average when compared to some of the other devices we have recently reviewed. The camera application loads quickly and can take images at a reasonable speed. The lag between pressing the snap button and the image being taken is quick enough that most users should be appeased by the process.
The rear-facing camera produces images that are accurate with color reproduction but are slightly warm in nature. Low light photography is assisted with the built in LED flash and surprisingly, even with the flash turned off, low light images turned out better than most. But, as you can see in the image below, colors are a bit oversaturated.
The front facing camera fits in with the rest in the industry. It gets the job done and is a bit cool in color reproduction, but does provide a reasonable experience.
A unique feature to this phone is the charm attachments that can be hung outside of a purse to indicate calls or messages. This feature is actually quite clever and something we really liked about this device, but it is mostly personal preference if you will ever make use of it.
If you place the phone into your bag, you can hang the charm on the outside and it will indicate if you have received a call or a message. It’s a simple little device but for those who carry their phone in a bag, it’s a nice feature to see and definitely sets this device apart from others in this category.
One gripe about the attachment is that it only currently works with HTC applications, something we find a bit disappointing.
Other items that ship with the phone:
The Rhyme also ships with a matching pair of headphones and a dock. Both additional extras are color matched to the Phones purple exterior.
The headphones are better than those that ship with the iPhone but are not as good as the Beats that ship with some other HTC devices. They sounded a bit tinny with lows being more muffled than we would prefer.
The dock will charge your device and considering that it comes with the phone, is a welcomed included addition. While we would be hesitant to say that would purchase the dock separately if it didn’t come included, it is an added bonus. The dock is relatively light but to simply use it as a nighttime charge by your bedside it works well in that area.
The Rhyme comes with a 1600 mAh battery that packs enough juice to easily make it through the day. HTC did a good job of including a battery that finally doesn’t make you feel the need to always be looking for the next time to charge. We had little issue getting a day’s use out of the device with moderate usage.
Much like the other HTC devices we have used, call quality hits the mark. Calls were consistently clear and the receiving end had no issues hearing us talk. Speakerphone was adequate and works well at volume. Turning the volume up to max on speakerphone will result in some distortion but not enough to impact the conversation.
But do women like it?
Considering that this is a phone designed for women, we passed this device around to get a feel for if women actually liked a device that was tailored to them. Overall, the thoughts were positive about the color but the charm got a mixed review.
Some enjoyed the fact that the charm would allow them to keep their phone in their bag, others were a bit annoyed that you had to plug it in for it to be activated. One individual asked why it wasn’t Bluetooth activated as plugging it in each time you put your phone into a bag is one more step and that could have been avoided.
Generally, the thoughts were positive about the Rhyme being a phone designed for women, with most saying they would at least consider it.
The HTC Rhyme is a device that hits its target market and packs a few additional extras that make for a good out of the box experience. While it’s up to you if the higher price is justified by the additional extras, being priced at $439.99 or $199 (on a two year contract) without 4G does make a it a borderline decision if the dock, headphone and charm outweigh the lucrative 4G options.
But, if you do not mind the lack of 4G or the price point, the phone is a solid contender for performance and appeal. The phone that was designed for women hits the mark and provides a few extras that make the phone a little bit sweeter than the competition.