The HTC Inspire 4G is the latest Android phone offered by AT&T. It has an impressive list of features, with a large 4.3-inch super LCD touchscreen display, a 1GHz processor, 4GB of memory and a microSD card slot, an 8 megapixel camera with 720p HD video capture, and a personal hotspot feature.
It's aggressively priced at just $100 with a new two-year service contract, but how does it measure up? Read on to find out.
BUILD & DESIGN
HTC always makes good hardware, and the Inspire 4G certainly continues that trend. HTC's website uses the word "sleek" to describe the phone, and the term fits. The design is one of the most minimal I've yet encountered, to the point that the buttons can be a little hard to find and use until you get accustomed to the device.
The large display dominates the front of the device, as it should. When you're looking at the front of the phone, the only other obvious feature is the silver speaker above the screen. The buttons on the top and side are barely noticeable.
Since the screen is so large, the Inspire 4G is a big device. It just barely fits in my hand due to its width, but it isn't hard to hold. The back is rather smooth, but not slippery, and it doesn't feel cold like the exterior of my MacBook Air.
It isn't too heavy, but this is a substantial device. Ladies will probably feel more comfortable carrying the Inspire in a purse instead of a pocket. It isn't too thick by any means, and the bottom is slightly curved to fit nicely in the hand. But it is rather long and wide, and won't fit comfortably in most women's pockets, especially if they're wearing business attire as opposed to more casual everyday pants which tend to have larger pockets.
The 4.3-inch display is big, bright, and beautiful. Photos and video look super sharp and clear. The display doesn't wash out too badly when you're outside in bright sunlight either -- colors lose some of their saturation, but the phone is still entirely usable.
Viewing angles are very good too -- this is the sort of phone that several people can cluster around to share photos or a funny video and everyone will be able to see the display clearly, even if they aren't looking at it head on.
There is no physical keyboard here, so you'll be relying on the virtual onscreen keyboard. Since the display is extremely large, the virtual keyboard experience is a good one. The "keys" are large enough to hit without having to worry too much about exact finger placement, and of course the auto-correction feature helps prevent common typing mistakes.
A single touch adds new words to the autocorrect dictionary, but the implementation on Android isn't quite as nice as what you'll find in Apple's iOS -- if autocorrect fixes something for you and you back up and re-enter the original text, the Inspire 4G will autocorrect again (and again!) until you add that new word to the dictionary.
Other Buttons & Controls
The buttons on the Inspire 4G are almost flush with the casing of the device. and can be hard to activate if you don't press in exactly the right place. The power button on the top left corner is extremely sensitive; the barest touch will wake the display or put the device to sleep.
The volume rocker button on the left side, right next to the battery compartment, is very long and narrow (which is to be expected since the device is so thin.) You may notice that the battery cover is a bit "chewed up" -- that was due to a problem opening the battery compartment on the loaner unit that was provided for this review, and shouldn't be an issue with new retail devices.
The SIM card and microSD card slot are located in a separate compartment that is accessed by pulling off the lower portion of the back cover. I really like this design because it keeps everything protected while still making the microSD card and battery easily accessible. The battery just slides in and out, so it's easy to replace it with a spare charged battery if necessary, or if you want to take out the microSD card and stick it into your computer to transfer music and photos.
The HTC Inspire 4G comes with a very small AC adapter and a USB cable.
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