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Amaze-ing T-Mobile Subscribers
Oddly enough, T-Mobile has been pumping out some impressive smartphones, from the original myTouch 4G to the Samsung Galaxy S2, and now the HTC Amaze 4G is yet another addition to this strong line up. The Amaze is hoping to do exactly as its name suggests, amaze customers and possible new subscribers for T-Mobile. As the smartphone competition heats up in the U.S., every smartphone manufacturer is trying to create faster, sleeker and more feature-packed phones. Does the Amaze 4G measure up or does it get lost in the shuffle?
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Design and DisplayRating
The Amaze has a familiar candy bar design with a 4.3 inch qHD LCD display dominating the front of phone. Below the display are the all too familiar shortcut keys for home, menu, back and search. Also on the front is where an LED notification light and 2 megapixel front facing camera are located. At the top resides the power / lock button and 3.5 mm headphone jack. The right edge has camera buttons for taking pictures and video. The microUSB resides on the left edge and the 8 megapixel camera with dual LEDs rounds out the back. The Amaze is actually a fairly hefty phone and weighs a bit more than other smartphones.
The design itself is actually similar to previous HTC smartphones, yet altered to look more modern and sleek. The black (or white) backing with silver is actually very nicely done and gives the Amaze a touch of class. The display is also slightly elevated for some reason, which some people will find nice while others may feel it doesn't add anything, or rather, it might look like a design flaw. Also, regarding the display, the colors don't seem all that vibrant and look rather dull. There's also slight pixelation which is surprising as it is qHD.
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The 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S3 CPU processor runs Android 2.3 with Sense UI extremely smoothly. There was no real lag to speak of while using the Amaze, even with more processor intensive applications. The call quality on the Amaze was also crystal clear for both incoming and outgoing calls. The big difference with the Amaze is the fact that it can utilize T-Mobile's updated 4G HSPA+ network, which allows up to 42+ mbps. While previous HSPA+ smartphones were capable of utilizing the 21+ mbps speeds, the Amaze is among the first with the ability to connect to the more updated version of the technology. Speeds were very fast, blazingly fast actually, and it was comparable to Verizon's 4G LTE network.
One area where the Amaze underperforms is battery life. While the 1730 mAh battery is large, the Amaze seems to drain the battery quicker than most other smartphones. This could be due partly to the new 42+ mbps 4G network access. Like the HTC Thunderbolt, Verizon's first ever 4G LTE smartphone, the Amaze seems to suck up battery life a bit too fast.
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HTC has done a fantastic job with Sense UI, really creating an overlay that differentiates its smartphones from others. Rather than trying to mimic iOS or remove aspects of Android, Sense UI works to enhance the Android experience. The carousel like home screen that spins limitlessly as the user pushes through, the various widgets and the immediate access lock screen are all little touches that really help to promote Sense UI as a good overlay for Android. To coincide with the little touches, the Amaze also has an LED notification light, which is always a welcome addition for former BlackBerry users.
The only major downside to Sense UI being installed is the fact that updates to Android do come out slower, and at times, never at all. This is due to the fact that the third-party overlay needs to be modified along with the update. One of the reasons Android smartphones installed with stock Android are more popular is due to the fact that they have immediate access to updates. The Amaze will not. However, the Sense user interface is easy to learn and understand and once users start getting a feel for it, transitioning from screen to screen is quick and easy.
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The Amaze does come with the same 8 megapixel camera found on the myTouch 4G Slide. The camera is no doubt a great replacement for point and click cameras, especially with the easy to use software and plethora of options available in the camera application. Photos come out sharp and clear, except in lower light conditions. If there's a lot of light, however, the pictures come out very nice with lush colors and brightness. The 1080p HD video recording also comes out clean and crisp and can easily replace most digital cameras. The dedicated camera buttons are also a great addition to help in taking pictures and video.
The front facing camera is also a great addition and with the newer 4G speeds, video chatting feels smoother than ever before. It may be slightly confusing for most consumers as the 4G speeds that the Amaze has are faster than the previous generation of 4G enabled smartphones from T-Mobile. The enhanced HSPA+ network allowed previous 3G customers to access faster speeds and the first generation of 4G smartphones were able to utilize up to 21+ mbps, and now the Amaze has access to an even more enhanced version of the same network.
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The Final VerdictRating
Overall the Amaze ranks in as a 'Good' smartphone. While the smartphone does live up to its name, it still doesn't seem to have everything to really push it to the next level. The phone is a little bit on the hefty side, the display does look like a design flaw rather than a design addition, and the battery performance doesn't exactly meet expectations, but overall it's still a powerful smartphone.
For customers looking for a new 4G enabled device, the Amaze will offer better speeds and a near LTE experience, along with a camera that can replace digital cameras. However, the price is a bit on the steep side and it may be a good idea to wait until the upcoming sales season.
- Source: Author's experience
- Image Credit: T-Mobile, http://htc.t-mobile.com/amaze-camera-phone?cm_mmc_o=Vzbp+mwzygt*VAygtzlw*VyBpAgf+mA55Byf*VyBpAgf+mA55Byf#/Gallery