My HTC Inspire Review

I recently upgraded from my Google Nexus One to a HTC Inspire.  Below are a few observations that you may find useful if you are considering this phone.  My choices for a new phone were restricted to AT&T, so I compared it to the Samsung Captivate and the recently released Motorola Atrix (all of these are excellent phones).

  • The Inspire feels solid and very high quality.
  • The Inspire features HTC Sense which, to my surprise, I really like. I’ve heard others complain about older versions of it, but I personally think it is a fantastic UI and gives the phone a more refined look and feel.  This is the primary reason I chose a HTC phone.
  • The Inspire has the best Exchange email support that I’ve seen:
    • Great search support, including server-side search.
    • View emails as linear emails or as conversations.
    • View emails only from your favorites list.
    • Set email priority.
    • Flag/Unflag emails.
    • Good folder support (save emails in specific folders).
  • The Inspire includes some really good widgets.
    • HTC Calendar widget — displays a near-full-screen view of the current month.  Tap any date to get the day’s agenda.
    • HTC Email widget — allows you to thumb through emails viewing the first few sentences.  I have found this to be a great way to do a quick scan.  Emails are not marked as read by this widget.  If you tap on any of the emails, you go into the full email client.
    • HTC Contact Favorites – a vertical bar with scrollable icon-size photos of contacts in my favorites list.  A very efficient speed-dial feature.
  • You can link contacts across Exchange, Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.  When I pull up someone’s contact, it shows their Exchange information as well as their latest Facebook status, picture from Facebook, birthday, Twitter id, etc.   It also shows your recent emails, text msgs, etc. with that contact (one click away). You can quickly link and unlink with other data sources for the contact.
  • The calendar is integrated with Facebook – so you see people’s birthdays and Facebook events in the calendar view (you can turn this off).
  • The Inspire has some clever innovations:
    • If you put the phone face down on a table, it automatically puts it in silent mode.
    • If your phone is in your pocket or purse, it will ring louder (it detects this with proximity sensors).  Once you start moving the phone, the ring gets much quieter.
    • When someone calls, you can instantly silence the ring by laying the phone face down.
  • http://htcsense.com – see screenshot below — allows you to locate your phone, make it ring (even if silent), forward text messages and calls, etc.  It’s a little buggy, but it’s still in beta.  See the screenshot below.
  • I found that the out-of-the-box settings with the Inspire were a bit battery intensive – for example, there is a widget installed called “Friend Feed” that shows your Twitter feed combined with Facebook feed and others, all in one “stream”.  It’s set to refresh all sources very often.  I ended up removing the widget because I prefer my own Twitter and Facebook clients.  Once I removed this, the battery life improved dramatically.  It’s hard to completely judge the battery life yet because I spend more time playing with it than I did my Nexus One.  Once the honeymoon period is over, I’ll post a quick update.
  • I did quickly discover that the Inspire charges faster than my Google Nexus One and faster than my previous iPhones
  • The default keyboard is very good, better than the stock Android keyboard.
  • The camera takes very good pictures compared to any previous phone.  Video is not bad.
  • The screen color, contrast and brightness are very good. The Samsung Captivate’s AMOLED screen is a bit too blue for me. I guess the photographer side in me instantly wants to color balance it. The Inspire seems perfectly balanced.
  • What I don’t like about the Inspire
    • It’s slightly larger than I would prefer (Evo-size), but I’m getting used to it.
    • The speaker phone is usable, but not outstanding.
    • The battery is a huge pain to remove/replace!
    • You can’t install non-marketplace apps without using the SDK (or other tool) to “side load” it.  This is an AT&T thing and is also true for the Atrix and other models.  I hate it when carriers try to protect me from myself!
  • The Inspire does not ship with Skype, but you can install it.  It’s a little tricky since the Skype installer downloads an app from their beta site and then fails to install it due to the non-marketplace limitation.  You have to do some command-line trickery to get it on.  I used this procedure and got it installed.
  • Android Central did a very detailed review today – check it out.
htcsense.com screenshots

http://htcsense.com screenshot

HTC Inspire Screenshots

 

I started to put together a video, but then I found the one that Android Central did –

Now my Nexus One can become my dedicated development phone!

 

OH – one more thing – Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR run FANTASTIC on this phone!

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