HTC seems to be releasing a lot of phones lately in the hopes of trying to please everone. Earlier in the year they received feedback from bloggers at BlogHer which eventually led to the Rhyme, formally known as the Bliss. The Rhyme is geared towards the female audience, but aside from the charm indicator, it’s a solid mid-level phone that can satisfy both genders.
The Rhyme’s design is classic HTC. The finish is solid and refined. The choice of purple is to appeal to females, but it’s dark enough that I didn’t find it a big deal. It’s not a color I would want, but if a flagship phone like the Galaxy Nexus only came in dark purple, than I wouldn’t have a problem with it.
The screen size is a little small for me at 3.7-inches, but the females I spoke with didn’t have a problem with it. It’s compact and fits nicely in your hands. With all of the 4.3 and 4.5-inch screened phones out there, I forgot what it was like to hold a smaller phone. I actually found it to be more comfortable, but I still wouldn’t give up my larger screen. The Super LCD (800 x 480) screen is certainly not as vibrant as the Galaxy S II, but again the average consumer won’t complain.
I personally prefer a physical camera button, but you won’t find one on the Rhyme. The only buttons, other than the capacitive menu buttons, is for power and volume. The microUSB port has a cover on it that I found to be in the way. Interesting enough, HTC is not expecting you to use it much because it has dock connectors on the back side so that you can just place your phone (wire-free) in the included dock (pictured below) for easy charging along with multimedia capabilities, but when I was in my car or somewhere else, I did find the cover cumbersome to deal with.
The charm indicator (pictured below) seems like a great idea, but I have yet to find someone (male or female) who actually sees it as worthwhile. The theory is that when a woman puts their phone in their purse, how will they know when their phone rings? The charm indicator is on the end of about two feet of wire and it plugs into the microphone jack. It is supposed to hang outside the purse so when the phone rings (or receives a notification), it will glow a purplish light. They even added a little clip to make it easier for you to place it exactly where you want. The indicator will continue to flash if you missed the call, but the problem is that with purses going around the shoulder, it’s hard to place the charm indicator in a such a way that it’s easily seen. You have to constantly look down or hope for a friend to tell you its flashing. In addition to letting you know you are getting a call, it’s supposed to assist you in finding your phone in your purse by pulling on the wire (that is connected to the phone). To me the charm indicator is not a reason to buy this phone, nor is it a reason not to.
The Rhyme comes with a 1600mAh battery that is non-removable, which performed very good. You shouldn’t have any issues getting through a productive day. If we were talking 4G LTE, there would be a lot of issues, but with only 3G connectivity, I had nothing to complain about.
The Rhyme has a Qualcomm 1GHz single-core processor. This might have wowed me about a year ago, but one thing HTC did right is throw in 768MB of RAM. I think this helps in the overall performance as I found very little lag. It’s not going to perform like a dual-core, but again the average consumer will be more than pleased.
You will find the newest version of Sense, which is 3.5. Sense has always been overpowering to me, but this version actually seems less intrusive. You will find some new widgets including a new quick launch widget that shows you the time and weather, but lets you customize it with up to four apps. Out of the box, HTC already set it up for Mail, Messages, Calendar, and the Camera based on feedback from the female focus groups. These icons update in real-time and aren’t static. You will also find scenes and skins that appeal to females.
I personally don’t like the Sense keyboard, and I don’t see an improvement with 3.5, but it wouldn’t be enough to stop me from buying a phone that I really wanted.
The rear camera has a 28mm f/2.2 lens that shoots at 5MP and can record video up to 720p. They also threw in a VGA (640 x 480) front camera. There are better cameras, but this one should handle most needs. The pictures come out similar to the HTC Amaze 4G in that there is a lot of contrast which some may find to be too much. The auto focus and shutter lag are quick enough to get the job done. Here are some examples:
Forgetting that the Rhyme is supposed to interest females, it’s basically a mid-level phone that will satisfy most consumers, and as a bonus it comes with at least one nice accessory. Multimedia docks are always an option (usually priced $30 – $50), but it’s nice to see it included in the box, not to mention it’s wireless. It’s nice that HTC threw in the charm indicator as well, but I don’t see a lot of people using it.
The real question is if the price is good? At $199.99, it seems a little high. I would rather buy something like an EVO Design for $99.99 which comes with a little better processor and a bigger 4-inch (960 x 540) display. This would leave you $100 for accessories.
I personally like the package that HTC has put together with the multimedia dock, but I can’t recommend it at $199.99.Verizon will eventually drop the price, but for now, you can grab it at Amazon Wireless for $99.99 if you are upgrading your account. If you are starting a new line, it’s even better at $49.99. At those prices, I would recommend it for those that want a really nice phone without all the bells and whistles.