UPDATE: This "first thoughts" review was written after a short time with this smartphone. A more complete version based on extensive testing can be found here:
The HTC Arrive is the first Windows Phone 7 device being offered by Sprint. It features a 3.6-inch WVGA touchscreen display, a 1GHz processor, and a five megapixel camera with LED flash and video capture capabilities.
It will be launching on March 20, and is available for preorder now for $200 with a new two-year contract.
I've only had the Arrive for a day or so, not enough time for an in-depth review. But I'm going to go ahead and share my first thoughts on this smartphone.
BUILD & DESIGN
The HTC Arrive is on the blocky side of the device spectrum, due to the physical QWERTY keyboard located on the slider just under the display. It isn't unduly heavy, especially for someone who typically uses an Otterbox for mobile device protection, but it isn't an ultra-thin, waif-like device either.
The 3-6-inch WVGA screen is really sharp, with true blacks and vivid colors. And I really like how the screen flips up slightly at just the right angle when you slide it over to reveal the keyboard.
I can tell that it's going to take a while to get used to the keyboard -- though the keys are quite large, and very well marked/well lit, there isn't much physical definition to help my finger distinquish between nearby keys.
So far, the only true negative relating to build and design is the location of the camera button on the bottom right side of the phone. My finger tends to slip off, making it very hard to hold the device steady when I'm trying to take a photo.
Obviously it's impossible to fully test a device within just a few short hours of hands-on use. But it does seem that the 1 GHz Qualcomm processor is up to the task of running Microsoft's latest mobile operating system because the only time I had to wait for anything was when I had poor network coverage. Watching video over the Sprint network was a bit frustrating at times, but the experience on Wi-Fi was much better.
There are just a few included apps, such as the typical calendar, music player, TeleNav GPS Nav, and calculator. I downloaded a few more necessities from the HTC Hub and the Sprint Zone, most notably a couple of freebies: the HTC YouTube app and the Netflix video player.
I've taken just a few photos so far, but the five megapixel camera looks like it will be a steady performer. The LED flash is a nice addition, and I'll be testing the camera much more thoroughly for the full review.
I've only had a day with the HTC Arrive so far, but my impressions are generally positive at this point. I like the hardware, especially the bright, sharp screen, though the external speaker seems to be a bit underpowered and the camera button is in a really awkward position.
Even though my initial testing period has been brief, I've found that it's a capable device that has been able to handle everything I've thrown at it, including Netflix mobile video. I still have a lot of testing to do at this point, since I haven't finished installing my usual suite of test apps and games. Stay tuned for the full review in a few days here at Brighthand.
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