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HTC Rezound: The good, the bad, the hype

Jack Wallen reviews the HTC Rezound by Verizon. Find out why he thinks it's an amazing mobile experience, minus the sound quality nirvana.

I must preface this review by stating that I am and have been an audiophile for quite some time. And even though I stake that claim, I also must admit that of all the earbuds I have used over the years (and I've used plenty), my Bose TriPort earbuds have been the litmus test I use to compare all others. I know, I know... it's a hard pill to swallow coming from someone who used to claim "No highs, no lows? Must be Bose." But truly, it takes quite a lot to impress my ears.

When I got my hands on the HTC Verizon-branded Rezound, I was really excited -- the Beats headphones and the specially tweaked Android platform were hyped to make the audio experience beyond fantastic. Unfortunately, what I found is that the sound is just about average. I used my precious earbuds to see if there was a difference, but the sound simply couldn't stand up to my inner audiophile. The sound quality of the Rezound even paled in comparison to my less-than-average Samsung Captivate.

However, all is not lost -- not even slightly. While the over-hyped sound from the Rezound won't have you dancing in the streets or tearing down the walls, the special HTC take on Android just might.

Specs

  • Network: 4G LTE
  • Dimensions: 129 mm x 65.5 mm x 13.7 mm
  • Weight: 170.1 g
  • Display: S-LCD capacitive touchscreen 720 x 1280 pixels, 4.3 inches
  • Sound: SRS WOW HD sound enhancement
  • Memory: 16 GB internal storage, 16 GB included microSD card
  • RAM: 1 GB
  • Camera: 8 MP, Geo-tagging, touch-focus, image stabilization, face detection, instant capture
  • OS: Android 2.3.4
  • CPU: Dual core 1.5 GHz
  • Battery: Li-Ion 1620 mAh (up to 261 hours standby, 6 h 24 min talk time)

Pros

Sense UI: I've been a big fan of Sense UI since I had my first HTC phone. With some devices, Sense UI can slow the platform down a bit, but the Rezound laughs at the possibility. In fact, the fluidity with which the Rezound works is quite amazing. I compared the speed of the interface with that of the Verizon-branded Motorola Droid Bionic, and it's certainly equal (if not better). Handset: Of all the Android-based handsets I've used to date, I have to say that the Rezound really has one of the best feels to it. The size is almost perfect. The handset is a bit long, but the width and the grippy back make it quite comfortable to hold without fear of droppage. Display: The Rezound might well have one of the clearest, brightest displays I've seen on any smartphone, including the Droid Bionic, Driod X 2, Droid Incredible II, Droid RAZR, iPhone 4, and many more. Battery life: I've used a lot of Android phones, and I have to say that the Rezound probably has the best battery life of any others in my compliment of test devices. Even with full usage of networking and music, the battery stayed strong all day. If you're looking for a lightning fast Android phone that won't have you scrambling for a charge throughout the day, the Rezound might be the one for you.

Cons

As you might expect, there really was only one glaring issue I had with the Rezound, but many people won't consider it a deal breaker. Even with two different types of sound enhancements (HTC and Beats), the sound of the Rezound was either too tinny or too muddy. It surprised me that a handset marketed for its sound doesn't even have customizable EQ.

Another interesting sound-related issue is the default home screen didn't have a pre-set music widget. HTC's Sense UI has a great sound widget, so why the Rezound opted for a video widget over one that was music-specific is beyond me.

Here's the thing... to find cons, I really had to dig deep. This phone is fantastic. If you're an audiophile, most likely you're not using your phone to listen to music. But anyone short of an audiophile status will not be bothered by the sound quality of the Rezound. So, if you you're looking for an amazing mobile experience, minus sound quality nirvana, you would be remiss in not giving this Verizon champ a go.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

1 comments
wlmeng11
wlmeng11

In the default music app, you can either use HTC or Beats EQ settings, but they can't be disabled. However, you can get straight stereo output in other music apps. I can't seem to find any info on the DAC/amp in the Rezound, so I'm still not sure about it.