HTC Rhyme

The Rhyme is another excellent release from HTC, and a win for anyone looking to avoid the little black boxes that most other manufacturers are releasing. The bundled speaker dock is definitely worth taking a look at, too.


8.2
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Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies. Twitter: @Joseph_Hanlon


Design

No, it's not a ladies phone, or so the folks at HTC repeatedly told us at the launch event for the Rhyme in Sydney. Sure, it's an adorable shade of Arctic Blue, and sure, it comes with an LED handbag charm, but what fashion-forward man doesn't want a blue phone and doesn't carry a man-bag (this reviewer is guilty on both counts)?

Optus in Australia will range the Rhyme in only the aforementioned blue, although there are other colours available overseas, and we find it to be quite a fetching hue. The battery cover is segmented into a trio of complementary shades, with the central colour wrapping around to the front of the phone and around its 3.7-inch Super-LCD display.

Weighing in at 130 grams, the Rhyme doesn't feel overly heavy (though it is a tad heavier than the Samsung Galaxy S II), and its 10.1mm thickness feels great in our hands — this is assisted by the materials used in the phone's construction.

The Rhyme supports micro-USB connections for charging and data transfers from a PC or a Mac, and comes with HTC Sync software for transferring music and videos from your computer — including iTunes playlists. HTC slips a microSD card slot in under the battery cover, and includes an 8GB memory card, giving you a total of 12GB of storage, including the phone's 4GB internal memory.

Dressed to impress

The Rhyme docked beside its handbag charm and protective pouch.
(Credit: CBSi)

No outfit is complete without the perfect accessories, and, along the same train of thought, HTC has bundled the Rhyme with possibly the best array of accessories we've seen. As part of the standard sales kit, the Rhyme ships with a bedside speaker dock, a protective pouch and a very handy handbag charm. This charm connects to your phone using the 3.5mm headphone socket. Once connected, the charm will light up whenever you receive a call or a new SMS message, so that even if your phone is buried at the bottom of your bag, you'll still know as soon as calls come in. The long cable on the charm also acts as a smartphone fishing line, doing away with the need to hunt around for your handset in your dark bag — you can just tug on the cable until your phone pops up.

The speaker dock is the big win for HTC customers here, though, and this is a really great inclusion. On the back of the handset is a small three-pin connector (just below the camera lens), which makes a connection once the phone is inserted into the dock. This automatically activates Dock Mode on the phone, giving you quick access to your phone's alarms and music player. The sound from the dock is decent for the purpose, making a great alarm clock or a decent personal speaker to listen to while working or studying.

Camera

HTC is claiming that the camera in the Rhyme is the best camera in an HTC phone to date, and this is saying a lot, considering the excellent photo quality that we've seen this year in the HTC Incredible S and the HTC Evo 3D, to name a few.

Don't be fooled by the fact that the Rhyme only shoots at a maximum resolution of 5 megapixels; focus instead on the backside illuminated image sensor, which should help snap pics under less-than-perfect lighting conditions. This is something we definitely noticed during our review period; the Rhyme does take decent photos in darker rooms, though it was the photos taken under natural light that really caught our eye.

Under natural light, the Rhyme takes outstanding photos.
(Credit: CBSi)

We did notice that the post-processing of the camera's software after a photo is taken can be a little heavy handed. Many of our pics showed fantastic, natural-looking colour, but others tended towards a sickly over-saturated appearance, especially shades of red and orange.

The post-processing software can be a little heavy handed when it comes to certain colours.
(Credit: CBSi)

We also didn't think much the of the Rhyme's 720p HD video recording. Our test videos looked rather choppy, with a consistently pixellated image and a slower-than-average frame rate. If you're hoping to make short films with your smartphone, you'll probably still want to check out the iPhone 4S or the Samsung Galaxy S II.

Performance

As with all of all HTC's latest releases, the Rhyme benefits from the ongoing work that HTC puts into its Sense User Experience, which is up to version 3.5 in this handset. Sense 3.5 includes some nice new usability tweaks and refined design in a few key areas, but it also worked flawlessly during our time with the Rhyme. Unlike the HTC Sensation, which we felt could be sluggish, the Rhyme zips through everyday tasks.

Call quality during our review was fine, though unremarkable, and text messaging and email composition is fine with the HTC-designed virtual keyboard, although we will admit to missing the Swype software that you usually find on Samsung and Motorola handsets. Battery life was also fine, with the Rhyme managing a full day of use on its 1500mAh battery, but this is only standard for the phones that we've seen this year — no better, no worse. We did notice that the battery tends to get hot after extended use (30 minutes or more), and while most phones will do so to some degree, the Rhyme did get a little warmer than is comfortable to hold.

All in all, the Rhyme does little to break away from the pack when it comes to power and performance, relying more on its good looks and bundled accessories to gain a foothold in the market.

Overall

In many ways, the HTC Rhyme is a repackaged Desire S, with a new coat of paint and an updated Sense experience, but, then, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Especially when you consider the extra value added with the included speaker dock and handbag charm accessories. No one part of the Rhyme's design or performance stands out as being particularly powerful or unique, but it will make an excellent everyday smartphone for anyone looking for a smartphone that doesn't look like just another glossy black box.

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TracyC1 posted a comment   
Australia

Hey Joe...this is the most exciting phone I've seen plus all the goodies you get. My friend has got the new Velocity and after seeing your review think I will give it a miss. Not keen on Telstra and waiting in line for 20 mins and then another further 20mins to complete my task. What ever! Anticipation of new phone within my grasp in mid June. Yes I'm techno lovin' geek. And outwardly saying that I don't like iphones..yep.
Whats new..love Optus plans..more bang for your buck. Any thoughts?
Nice work!

 

Lynda posted a comment   
Australia

Next G is just Telstra marketing jargon for 3G, so yes it is compatible. However Rhyme is only available from Optus so will be locked to Optus/Virgin network, unless you source an unlocked one from overseas.

 

davidhk100 posted a comment   
Australia

Is the Rhyme Next G compatible? What does 3G HSDPA GSM 850 mean in relation to Telstra NextG compatibility?

 

Lynda posted a comment   
Australia

Such a shame Optus has opted to limit colour choice to the "clearwater" blue, when the "plum" purple is the most attractive of the 4 colours released. Despite the reviewers comment this phone is targetted at women, and us girls would love the plum charm over the white charm as its prettier. The biggest thing going for this phone (over the incredible S) is the styling and accessorie so choosing an uglier option is going to limit sales.

Im now leaning towards a change of carrier and the HTC Sensation XE because of the fact that its has the faster processor and black (or any dark colour) is much more practical than a light colour handset.

Colour choice aside my main concern is that with this handset HTC have moved to iPhone stype of inbuilt battery . Given the poor battery life of all android smart phones and constant charging, its doubtful whetehr the battery will last a fll 2 years of mobile contract, and therefore not being able to get a new battery will shorten the useful lifespan of the device.

Really hoping Optus decide to get some Plum handsets in next two weeks or they will lose a customer.

 

DominicC posted a comment   
Australia

I think HTC is falling a little behind in the smartphone competition. It is simply releasing reharshed version of each phone, with very little difference, great if you want the same set of customers, not if you want to increase customer pool.

How times have you seen in a HTC phone review with a sentence like this:
"In many ways, the *HTC product* is a repackaged *previous HTC product*, with a new coat of paint and an updated Sense experience, but, then, this isn't necessarily a bad thing."

Desire, Desire HD, Desire Z, Desire S
Sensation, Sensation XL
HD2, HD7, Trophy

They all have similar features and product design. It almost like release 5 iPhone in the same year.........

 

Yoda7 posted a reply   
Australia

iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS
iPhone 4, iPhone 4S




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User Reviews / Comments  HTC Rhyme

  • TracyC1

    TracyC1

    "Hey Joe...this is the most exciting phone I've seen plus all the goodies you get. My friend has got the new Velocity and after seeing your review think I will give it a miss. Not keen on Telstra an..."

  • Lynda

    Lynda

    "Next G is just Telstra marketing jargon for 3G, so yes it is compatible. However Rhyme is only available from Optus so will be locked to Optus/Virgin network, unless you source an unlocked one from..."

  • davidhk100

    davidhk100

    "Is the Rhyme Next G compatible? What does 3G HSDPA GSM 850 mean in relation to Telstra NextG compatibility?"

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