The HTC Amaze 4G is a snappy little device, scoring a 2451 on the Quadrant benchmark test. It’s not the fastest phone I’ve ever used, but I never had to wait too long for an app to start or experienced any major slowdowns. The camera app in particular starts up very quickly, which is a welcome change from what I usually see on some of the phones that I’ve reviewed.
On the other side of the coin, this device gets unusually hot when you’re using it. This is not just when charging, but during use — my ear got very warm when talking on the phone every time I used it.
For those of you who like to know specifications, this handset runs Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) on a 1.5GHz dual-core processor with a generous 1GB of RAM.
I’ve gotten good results on the speed tests I’ve performed on the Amaze, with download speeds ranging from 4.48 to 9.88 Mbps, uploads from 237 to 916 kbps, and pings from 46 to 143 ms. Coverage has been something of a concern, with great service around my home and little to no coverage at work.
Unlike most of the other phones I’ve reviewed, the Amaze is unable to make or receive calls when I’m in my office, which is quite a disappointment. No phone works perfectly inside my building, but most of them work at least some of the time.
The Amaze also caused some weird interference issues with my laptop; put it on the desk too close to my computer and I’ll get some strange clicking noises from the speakers. That has happened with a few other phones, but only rarely; it happens every time with the Amaze and is rather annoying.
Call quality is good, but not spectacular; I could hear and be understood. And although I have no complaints about my side of the conversation, my test callers said that it was obvious that I was on a cell phone. There weren’t any major background noise issues, but they said that I didn’t truly sound like myself — and I’m not coming down with a cold or suffering from any allergy issues at the moment.
The email and web experiences are exactly what you would expect them to be — nothing special here, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Email and web pages load promptly, with no major issues. This is because the default Android browser and email app are also good, but not spectacular.
All of the standard Androind PIM apps are here, including Calendar, Contacts, Calculator, Clock, etc. Polaris Office seems to be the new standard for Microsoft Office-compatible apps, and it’s here to provide compatibility with common office document types like Microsoft Word and Excel. There’s also a handy voice recorder if you like to dictate quick reminders to yourself.
HTC Friend Stream is included, and it’s a great way to keep up with all of your family and friends since it combines all of your social networking info into one consolidated stream of information. The official standalone Facebook app also comes pre-installed if you’d rather use it for your social networking needs.
The Amaze comes with a lot of pre-loaded apps, everything from carrier-specific services like T-Mobile TV HD and T-Mobile Name ID to an FM Radio app, Slacker music, 411 information app, and a marble tilt game called Teeter. There’s a good selection of things here, and of course there’s plenty more on the Android Market so that you can customize your experience.
The camera takes really nice photos, and there are plenty of advanced settings to explore, including ten different scene selections, macro mode, smile capture, blink detection, and the like. Among its more cutting-edge features is SmartShot, which will take 5 photos and compile the best parts to create a single image. Users will also be able to create panoramas, and this phone will even be able to judge the best images in a group and highlight them.
It constantly auto-focuses so that you can capture photos quickly, without shutter lag. The zoom is controlled by the volume buttons, a feature I’m always glad to encounter since I don’t like tapping on the screen to zoom.
I wouldn’t consider the Amaze the only camera you might need, but unless you’re a rabid shutterbug who considers a dSLR a daily necessity, the Amaze comes very close to that ideal. It’s great for everyday use and vacations, and is plenty good for everything except perhaps those once-in-a-lifetime moments like weddings.
I was slightly disappointed in this category; I was never able to get through two full days of using the Amaze, and there were a couple of times when it died on the way home from work. This is a phone you’ll definitely want to charge every night, and you’ll have to bring the charging cable along too since the charging port uses a proprietary connection, not micro-USB.