HTC Dream Review: Design and User Interface

HTC Dream Review: Design and User Interface
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The HTC Dream or T-Mobile G1 was the first Android smartphone to hit the market. It proved to be the first of many excellent Android devices from HTC. Find out if it is still worth getting in this HTC Dream review.

Design (5 out of 5)

The HTC Dream measures 117.7 by 55.7 by 17.1 millimetres in length, width and depth, respectively and weighs a total of 158 grams. In comparison with similar smartphones the HTC Dream may seem on the heavy side but that is due to its slide out keyboard. The overall aesthetic of the HTC Dream is sleek and modern. It features a matte black or charcoal finish and slightly rounded edges. In the U.S market it is available in bronze and white. It is obvious that the Dream was made with function in mind, although its styling is attractive. However, similar devices may seem more design oriented.

The HTC Dream features a 3.2 inch display that has a 320 by 480 pixel resolution touchscreen. This is the perfect size for portability and daily usage without being overly clunky. Below the touchscreen is a slightly upturned panel which houses several hardware buttons and a trackball in the centre for navigation. The buttons include Call Answer, Home, Back and Call End keys.

The QWERTY keyboard slides out effortlessly from the side of the HTC Dream and flips the screen’s orientation horizontally. Each button is adequately spaced in 5 rows and slightly raised above the surface for easy typing. The top row features dedicated number keys, something you will rarely see on smartphone QWERTY keyboards. Above the screen is the earpiece and T-Mobile logo. On the sides of the HTC Dream you’ll find a mini-USB port, 3.5 audio jack, microSD slot and volume rocker.

User Interface (4 out of 5)

HTC Dream user interface

Google’s Android Operating System is a great addition to the HTC Dream. The home screen is populated with a notification bar, shortcuts and a main applications tab. The home screen can be alternated between three screens by swiping a finger to the left or right. There is additional space available to add applications and shortcuts on these screens. The applications tab can be viewed by tapping the icon near the bottom of the home screen. Every time a third party application had been installed the applications tab will show the icon. The menu will show for each application that is selected. The notifications tab once pressed will drop down showing the call history and new messages.

Features (3 out of 5)

HTC Dream keyboard

The HTC Dream is a business type mobile device which features connectivity to the Internet and many pre-installed applications like Google Maps, GMail and YouTube. The Dream’s web browser is Webkit which is very similar to the Safari web browser. It supports HTML and Java. Flash websites, as a result, cannot be viewed on the device. Users are able to pan the screen by dragging it with their fingers and zoom in and out by pinching. For people who are not familiar with pinching the screen, they will be able to bring up a list of zoom controls housed on the bottom of the screen. Users can also tap twice on the screen to zoom-in on a desired area.

The HTC Dream features a music player that resembles the music player used on the iPod. Sound quality is great considering the device is more geared towards casual and professional usage. Tracks are organized by album, song title, artist and can be grouped in playlists as well. Users are also able to use their music tracks as ringtones. The music player supports MIDI, WAV, MP3, M4A, WMA, AMR and Ogg Vorgis formats. A 1 gigabyte microSD card is available when the device is purchased and comes preloaded with up to 100 songs. The microSD expansion port can hold up to 8 gigabytes.

The 3.2 megapixel camera takes great photographs and video. Unfortunately, no camera settings were included so finding the perfect settings for a great photo may be a challenge. Some pictures may also develop rather blurry due to the camera’s lack of preferences.

Performance (3 out of 5)

HTC Dream bottom

HTC Dream side

The HTC Dream features a 528MHz processor, 192 megabytes of RAM and 256 megabytes of ROM and the capacity to expand up to 8 gigabytes. The Android operating system is fast and efficient and the touchscreen is very sensitive and responsive. The Dream also features a 1150mAh battery which lasts for 24 hours while being casually used but will drain a lot faster if used heavily.

Verdict (3 out of 5)

The HTC Dream is a powerful Android mobile device that features enough additions and extras to be considered a great professional smartphone. Its design is plain as it concentrates more on function rather than style. Even so, the features of the phone, QWERTY keyboard and vivid display screen add up to a great mobile phone although its battery life is rather abysmal. It comes with Android 1.6 although if you root the phone you can install a custom ROM to get Android 2.2. There’s a reason the HTC Dream sold over a million units and it is a decent cheap Android option even now.