Performance? In a word? Good. The software package is great — hard to beat Opera, TouchFLO, HTC’s YouTube app, photographic GPS tagging, 5 MPx camera, FM radio, etcetera.
It sports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Verizon’s mobile broadband service EV-DO and even has quad-band GSM for world roaming — though just because it’s quad-band, don’t expect to be using it for that in the U.S. It’s still SIM locked to Vodafone overseas.
I could go on. In fact, I’d probably run out of space if I tried to list all the features the HTC Imagio has.
There’s only two things that I would say about performance that are of note. One is that the device bogged down at a few points, particularly when opening the VCast application — which absolutely should not happen on a 528 MHz processor. I suspect either Verizon’s app is substandard, or there’s potential for improved system performance in a future ROM update, probably both.
Second is that while this model comes with a spacious 512 MB of internal flash, the majority of this is eaten up before the user gets there. In fact, out of the box there’s only about 158 MB of memory left to the user. I know that the pre-bundled software needs space to live, but that seems a bit excessive.
Windows Mobile 6.5 Pro
The Imagio is my first crack at a Windows Mobile 6.5 device, so I should have a lot to say about the new OS, right? Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple. Like all new HTC units, this smartphone comes with a thick gloss of HTC customized software and menus, thus making it difficult bordering on impossible to see what a “stock” version of WM6.5 would look and feel like. Those of you who are more curious about the underlying OS will have to skip on over to read Ed’s review of Windows Mobile 6.5 instead.
But what you do get with the Imagio is more or less what you’ve gotten with previous HTC devices. The TouchFLO interface is still there, with a few more tweaks since the last time I saw it. The application launching system has changed a little — surprise! It’s more iPhone like, allowing for more favorited applications and smoother scrolling among them. Personally I think the edits they’ve made are generally for the better, and that they’ve made a much more user-friendly Windows Mobile device for having done so.
One side note: I can’t help but notice that Verizon has started using the “3G” icon in the top bar instead of the old EVDO icon. Presumably this is thanks in large part to the marketing campaigns of Sprint and AT&T, along with the release of the iPhone 3G, driving the idea of “3G” mainstream.
The list of bundled software beyond the interface is pretty extensive. There’s Opera Mobile and YouTube, of course, but there’s a lot more little things that are rarely mentioned — like the two-dimensional spirit level that’s part of the G-sensor application, or the little widget that tells you the city and state of a given area code.
Like all Windows phones, the Imagio comes with Microsoft Office Mobile and Microsoft Outlook Mobile.
It also has Windows Media Player for playing music and video stored on a microSD card. In addition, this is Verizon Wireless’ first smartphone to support V CAST Mobile TV and V CAST Video on Demand, which offer streaming news, sports, and entertainment.
The device also supports the new Windows Marketplace, though this is a bit less polished than the rest of the device. Partly due to the unnecessary presence of scrollbars on the side of the screen taking up valuable space when a more subtle indicator would do just as well. Also because you need to have a Windows Live user sign in to get anything from the Marketplace, even free software. Yes, I know it’s free to register for Windows Live, but to be blunt I shouldn’t have to. Provide premium reasons to sign up, such as bonus points for purchased software, or a roster of applications you’ve previously downloaded, or advance access to new applications. But users should be able to pick up and go with downloading new software without having to jump through hoops, or sign up for Microsoft’s data mining. And, if possible, they should be enabled to pay via premium SMS.