The Inspire 4G is an important phone for AT&T: it ushers in the era of HSPA+ data speeds, which, in some cases, can match the speeds of Verizon and Sprint’s current 4G networks. AT&T’s strategy with 4G is smart: while they build up their LTE network for arrival in late 2011 and 2012, they’re bolstering their 3G network with HSPA+, so subscribers can see immediate gains in data speeds as long as they have a capable phone. What’s more, when LTE phones start to ship, they’ll also be HSPA+ capable, so instead of falling back to slower 3G speeds as Verizon and Sprint customers would experience if they lose the 4G signal, AT&T users will drop down to HSPA+.
Back to the Inspire 4G. If it looks familiar, it’s because it’s based closely off of the Desire HD. In fact, it’s pretty much the same phone. It has a Qualcomm 1GHz Snapdragon CPU, 768MB of RAM, and 1G of ROM with 8GB of microSD storage included. All this is happening on Android 2.2.1 with Sense UI. This phone ships February 13 for a reasonable $99. Not a bad price for a high-end smartphone!
In the video we showed a speed test giving us some pretty paltry results on the SpeedTest.net application. After taking the phone to another location, we were able to clock a remarkable 7mbps down and 5mbps up over HSPA+. We’ll talk more about data speeds in a future post after we test the Inspire all around town.
Other first impressions:
– We were hugely impressed to see a quadrant score of 1800, beating the Nexus S. The phone feels very snappy.
– The screen looks higher quality than other recent 4.3″ HTC phones like the HD7. It’s using a Super LCD panel.
– HTC gives you three keyboard choices: T9 pad, full QWERTY, and SureType QWERTY. As far as we can tell, this is new. Older HTC devices had these keyboard choices, then recently they took them away. Looks like they are back!
– The phone is heavy, but high-quality feeling. It’s thick, but not more so than an EVO, etc.