The HTC Amaze 4G takes one of the best cameras in a phone ever--from the myTouch 4G Slide--and puts it inside an exquisitely designed device with a larger 4.3-inch screen and a faster 1.5-GHz dual-core processor. It's like the Sensation 4G, but with a lot more speed and class. But that's not all this premium T-Mobile handset has going for it. It's one of the first phones to ride on the carrier's 42-Mbps 4G network, promising downloads speeds in excess of what many home Internet connections provide.
Simply put, the Amaze 4G is the most beautiful Android phone we've ever laid eyes on. A smooth and curved metal finish surrounds the edge of the device, which continues as a band on the back that's flanked by two black soft-touch panels. (You can get the Amaze 4G in white, too.) We also like how the display is slightly elevated from the front of the device, which creates the illusion that the screen is floating above the rest of the design.
The Amaze 4G feels rock solid, but it's a little slippery in the hand. The main trade-off for this unparalleled sturdiness is that it weighs a hefty 6.1 ounces and measures a somewhat beefy 0.46 inches thick. By contrast, T-Mobile's Samsung Galaxy S II weighs 4.7 ounces and has a thinner 0.37-inch profile. The Sensation 4G (5.2 ounces, 0.44 inches thick) was also lighter and thinner. The Amaze 4G definitely weighed down our pocket more. We barely noticed the Galaxy S II, although it's slightly wider because of its larger 4.5-inch screen.
The top of the Amaze 4G houses the power button and headphone jack. A narrow but tactile volume bar along with two camera buttons--one for taking photos and one for video--line the right side. You can use these buttons to fire up the camera. That just leaves the microUSB port on the left side. You won't find an HDMI port here, but an adapter is available. The 8-megapixel camera with dual-LED flash and speaker sit on the back of the phone.
Display and Audio
Sporting a super LCD qHD (960 x 540 pixels) resolution, the Amaze 4G's 4.3-inch screen is bright and delivered vibrant colors when we streamed a high-quality Three Musketeers trailer on YouTube. Reds in particular really popped. However, this handset's display doesn't offer as much contrast as the Super AMOLED Plus panel on the Galaxy S II. More details got lost in darker scenes. The S II also has wider viewing angles. Nevertheless, viewing photos and captured videos with this device's camera was a pleasure. We also appreciated the crisp text and bright whites on web pages.
The Amaze 4G's speaker got pretty loud when playing music. Although the speaker is on the back, the sound got amplified when we placed the phone on a desk (muffled on a bed). We could easily hear Arcade Fire's "We Used to Wait" across a hotel room, and there was only minimal distortion at the max volume setting.
The more we use Android keyboards, the more we like HTC's the best. Not only was the layout on the Amaze 4G highly accurate in portrait mode--we hate having to turn the phone sideways to get better results--it provides reassuring but light haptic feedback. We also like that HTC continues to include lots of keyboard shortcuts; you can long-press to enter everything from numbers and other special characters. You'll also find dedicated @ and .com keys appear when entering e-mail addresses and websites, respectively.
Not a fan of hunting and pecking? Try out Trace, HTC's Swype alternative that lets you type words by tracing a line from one letter to the next. It worked well in our tests, but we got tripped up when having to switch between one- or two-letter words and longer words.
Software and Interface
If you're not familiar with HTC Sense, it's one of the reasons why you should get the Amaze 4G over a Samsung or Motorola Android phone. And it starts with the lock screen, which includes quick shortcuts for launching right to your favorite apps. For instance, you can pull the Email icon right into a ring and dive right into your inbox.
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