A girl’s new best friend?
The 480×800 resolution can be considered standard today but the screen itself is pretty decent. It has great viewing angles; contrast and color barely degrade when viewed from the sides, average sunlight legibility and decent color reproduction. One thing you will notice is that HTC have done away with as much black as they can on this phone. Every dark color on this phone is either a dark brown or dark grey- no black. Downloading a black image on the phone showed why; the screen lacked the deeper black colors you would find on a premium screen such as an AMOLED. The black image felt like it had a hint of white giving it a dark greyish look. Sunlight legibility was okay once you ramp up the brightness but I wouldn’t try reading an article or long email this way.
The bundle of accessories that came with this phone must be HTC’s best to date. Yes they have included Beats audio earphones with the Sensation but the accessories here are as unique as you can get in a phone. You get a leather pouch, a microUSB cable and charger, 8GB microSD card, a music/nightstand dock, a Charm (that’s what HTC call it) and earphones that have a tangle free flat tape wire. This is certainly a change from the usual bunch of things HTC give you and is certainly one of the better bundles I’ve seen of any phone manufacturer. If those accessories aren’t enough, HTC also sell a Bluetooth headset and speaker color coded to your Rhyme.
The Charm and dock are perhaps the two major deviations from the usual accessories included in a phone. The Charm is a cube with a wire and 3.5mm plug attached to it. The Charm plugs into the Rhyme’s audio connector and the cube lights up whenever the phone receives a call or message. You can drop your phone in your bag and dangle the Charm’s cube out or attach it to something with the included clip. When you get a phone call or message, the cube lights up and you can find and pull your phone out with ease. Connecting the Charm to the 3.5mm audio connector does not mute the phone’s speaker so you can still hear the phone as well as see the cube light up. You will receive notification of a call or text message but the Charm will not light up when you get email or any other social updates. The Charm does not work on other phones as it is geared towards the HTC Rhyme only.
The dock is used to charge the phone and has a night mode so it dims the phone’s screen. It’s also a music dock and transmits the phone’s audio via Bluetooth. The audio quality from the dock is excellent even if it lacks any deep bass. It’s loud and clear and can be used as an alarm clock. When docked the phone enters “dock mode” where the screen rotates to landscape and you get easy access to music, clock and weather information. The dock needs to be connected to a power source but even if you connect it to a PC you may be able to charge the phone and play music but the phone will not be detected by the PC. This is quite unfortunate since HTC seemed to have created an almost perfect accessory here. Another thing the dock won’t do is transmit the phone’s ringer when you receive a call, it will let you use the speaker to listen to the caller though. So while neither the Charm nor the dock is perfect, they are very close to it and still a much liked addition to the Rhyme’s theme.
Audio quality is typical of an HTC phone, the speaker at the back lacks bass and sounds rather tinny but loud enough unless it’s muffled by cloth. Call quality is excellent as long as you’re not in a noisy environment but taking it to a bar or club can be challenging- I struggled to hear the person at the other end even with the volume turned up all the way. I did not have this issue when using my BlackBerry 9860. The included earphones help the Rhyme shine with excellent audio reproduction; these are definitely premium buds with an included remote for music controls. The music player has a decent sound equalizer as well as SRS audio enhancements and they really show what this phone is capable of when connected to an external speaker system.