By Daniel Webster | December 17, 2011 6:26 PM
With an impressive 720p HD Super LCD display, a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, Beats Audio branded headset, and the speed of Verizon’s 4G LTE network the HTC Rezound seems to have it all. The newest Android-powered smartphone to join Verizon’s lineup has some excellent specs, but will they all tie together to provide a suitable mobile experience? Read on for our final review of the HTC Rezound.
The HTC Rezound comes boxed in a black square with the iBeats headset inlayed to the right and left of the smartphone. Surely one of the greatest selling features is the included headset (which retail alone for around $100), but of course, what is a headset without a stellar smartphone?
The HTC Rezound also comes bundled with the other standard items to get started including a microUSB charging/sync cable, USB wall charger, a pre-installed 16GB microSD card, extra earbuds and headset case, quick-start guide, and a 1620mAh li-ion battery.
With the Rezound powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor and 1GB of RAM, the speed is somewhat sluggish in comparison to other Androids of the same caliber. The 4.3-inch Super LCD screen is very clear at 720p HD resolution, and with the included iBeats headset provides a home theater like experience while watching movies on the go.
The dimensions of the HTC Rezound are 66 x 130 x 13.7 millimeters, with a weight of 163 grams (battery included). The internal memory is 16GB and can reach 48GB with a microSD card (a 16GB microSD card is pre-installed). The device has many radios included such as; CDMA 800 /1900, LTE 700, an FM tuner with RDS, Bluetooth 3.0, assisted GPS, and 2.4/5GHz Wi-Fi a/b/g/n. The sensors included are light, proximity, and accelerometer. There are dual microphones for noise cancellation, and a mono speaker for audio playback and speakerphone duties. The ports include a 3.5mm headset jack and a microUSB 2.0 multiport.
The main camera of the Rezound is capable of capturing stills up to eight megapixels resolution and record 1080p HD video at 30fps. The rear camera also has a dual LED flash. The secondary camera is two mega pixels and is able to record video up to 720p HD resolution.
The Rezound comes equipped with a 1620mAh lithium-ion battery, which Verizon states will deliver 404 minutes of talk time and 261 hours of standby time.
In this video we demonstrate the software of the HTC Rezound with Beats Audio running on Verizon’s 4G LTE network. The Rezound ships with Android 2.3 Gingerbread, but will probably get Android 4 Ice Cream Sandwich in an update next year. Alongside Gingerbread, HTC has also integrated the Sense 3.5 user interface. With HTC Sense 3.5 come a few widgets that help to unify status updates to social networks, get important information about finances or news, and change settings from the Rezound’s seven home screens quickly. Some other apps that come standard on Android 2.3 have been re-skinned to form a cohesive look with the other Sense alterations.
Verizon, like other cellular providers, have added their own software to the mix. Naturally there are some good applications that will keep track of usage, allow contacts to be backed up to Verizon’s Backup Assistant server, and display the context of voicemails visually. But with the good must also come the bad, and there is quite a bit of it. Most of the apps that come pre-loaded on the HTC Rezound are trials, which cannot be removed without rooting. They include apps like NFL Mobile, Blockbuster, Videosurf, Lets Golf 2, Scan, Polaris Office, Slacker Radio, and much more. Some users may find these apps/trials desirable but others will deem them bloatware.
The HTC Rezound feels somewhat fast, though not as fast as other Androids being manufactured with Tegra or Exynos processors. The benchmarks are not at all impressive for a 1.5GHz dual core chip.
Smartbench 2011: Productivity 3328, Games 2268
LinPack Pro: 52.27 MFLOPS, 1.6 Seconds (Single Thread)
47.78 MFLOPS, 3.39 Seconds (Multi Thread)
The Rezound can capture still photos up to 8MP and includes some customizable effects to help enhance the image quality. In the past HTC has not had the best reputation with photo quality, specifically with abnormal colors. While the photos captured by Rezound do turn out clear, especially in low light situations, the colors continue to appear unnatural. The main camera is also able to record up to 1080p full HD. The audio and video quality is adequate, but due to some lag, the frame transitions can jump which produces a staggered appearance.
The secondary front facing camera is able to capture still self portraits up to two megapixels and record video at 720p HD resolution.
CALL QUALITY/NETWORK SPEED
The audio quality of the ear speaker was clear with little distortion. The speakerphone, on the other hand, was difficult to hear while on the road. The noise cancellation works well on the highway and in crowed atmospheres. At no time were there any dropped calls in the Seattle metropolitan area, thanks in part to Verizon’s strong network. The 4G LTE signal of the Rezound was more prominent than other 4G LTE Verizons smartphones.
The network speed of the HTC Rezound is quite impressive. The average download speed was around 18.5Mbps and upload was about 3.3Mbps. Network speeds were consistently fast in populated areas but dropped sharply while traveling to the suburbs.
PURCHASING AND AVAILABILITY
The HTC Rezound is available from Verizon for a subsidized price of $299.99 after a qualifying two-year agreement. The non-subsidized price has been set at $649.99, and both purchasing options come with free overnight shipping.
+ Large 4.3-inch 720p screen
+ Solid build quality
+ iBeats headset
+ Dual LED flash on the 8MP camera
+ 2.4 and 5GHz Wi-Fi capable
+ Good modem to access 4G LTE
- Seems slow for dual-core 1.5GHz processor
- Proprietary software
- External speaker audio quality is poor
- Battery life
The HTC Rezound is a solid device for consumers looking for a high-quality screen and expensive headphones. The audio quality of the iBeats headset is good, but for most it will be difficult to distinguish between subtleties. If HTC incorporated the high quality speaker components into the phone itself, they might have sparked more interest between both music and mobile enthusiasts.
We rate the HTC Rezound: 4/5