Note, this review is based on a modified version of the HTC Dream. Two of these phones live at our place, the other which is the HTC Dream White can be seen here ( Phone skins ) and was purchased for a measly $33.00 just a few months after the phone I'm reviewing was purchased. Currently our service provider which is Rogers AT&T has a special on these particular phones if you purchase it with a new contract. They also currently have an upgrade program if your hardware (phone) meets the criteria for this - you've had your plan for at least a year and you've not upgraded your phone within that year - in which case you can obtain this phone for about $60.00. The idea behind the drastic price change is that this phone as I understand it, is attempting to do battle with Apple's IPhone at some point.
This phone is a G3 world phone so will work on the fast G3 network almost anywhere in the world and when that isn't available, you have access to the slower Edge network. It comes equipped with a wide range of applications pre installed and numerous others that can be purchased or obtained for free.
Now.. believe it or not I have basically just scratched the surface of things this phone has to offer its owner and I haven't even touched on many standard features...so as you read this, I realize and empathize that this is a lengthy review but the phone more than warrants it.
What's its best feature?
The Keyboard! Skip right past the gorgeous looks, the touch screen appeal and the apps and concentrate on the one thing that makes me a texting guru! With unlimited texting and generous data plan you can literally out text most of your friends with this phone in no time and love every second of it. The Qwerty keyboard is hidden from view until you want to use it and then you simply turn the phone horizontal and slide the phone upwards while sliding the keyboard downward - easily managed with just one hand, the keyboard slides out and reveals a full, easy to work with keypad. The keypad is very easy to use, very responsive and very familiar. No need to go hunting and pecking for the letters, no need to accept or select certain letters before your message includes them - nothing! Just type and send! Beautiful!
If you have small hands, this phone's keyboard can be kind of frustrating because you have to be able to extend your reach slightly over the side of the phone when it is in keyboard mode while typing. Bigger fingers might find the keys a little small to navigate.
A Gmail account is necessary for initial set up as this phone uses the Android Operating System. Once you've set your phone up however, you can then access email accounts and other services other than Gmail and have them pushed to the phone in the same way you would via Gmail.
You have access to texting, email, Internet including watching all your favorite Youtube or other site videos, images, numerous social networking apps like Facebook, MSN, MySpace, etc., and all are crisp and easy to view on the screen which runs almost the full length and width of the phone itself.
Reception with this phone has always been crystal clear and thus far, the phone has never lost reception in any locations including elevators, basements or steel buildings. You have access to the best in high speed connectivity and although I'm not certain if it's simply due to our provider but we've never had a single dropped call with this or any other cell phone we own.
You can easily sync your phone and your computer in order to transfer data of almost any kind back and forth with the USB cable supplied with it or you can do so with the bluetooth feature if your computer is equipped with that feature as well. While traveling you have access to a very accurate GPS system which even allows for monitoring the speed at which you are traveling (although I'd not recommend you drive and monitor together!) and pin points locations you may need to get to with great accuracy combining the service with Google Maps. Even when you don't have the GPS activated, the phone triangulates via cell tower locations well enough that Google Latitude and Maps will usually pin point your location with relative accuracy.
The HTC is a beauty from top to bottom, inside and out in my opinion! The touch screen is extremely easy to use and very responsive to touch - the slightest movement with your finger across the face of it and the features available on this phone are accessible immediately. Scrolling is responsive and under the stock configuration of the phone there is no noticeable delay to go from one feature or screen to another. Display colors are crisp and true to life.
The one draw back to the display is fingerprints on the screen - lots of 'em but Screen protectors are available that may help to reduce this. This phone is fully screen operable so fingerprints are inevitable.
The loudspeaker in this phone is in my son's words "crap". The sound from it isn't very loud and sounds quite tinny so the ability to play movies, Youtube, mp3's etc solely with this phone isn't the best for listening, but the screen's clarity makes up for the lack of sound amplification in my opinion.
It also has wi-fi which you can use as your home internet connection if you wish, to provide you with a mobile laptop of sorts, blue-tooth, video recording, 3.2 mp Camera (although the phone doesn't have a flash so pictures can only be taken in good lighting conditions). The phone comes standard with 1 gig memory but accepts mini-SD cards for limitless possibilities. In regard to pictures you can obtain apps that allow you to really boost the image capabilities of the phone from the camera perspective. You can also produce your own videos which will produce video lengths that are not restricted to a 45 second clip but instead will capture as much as your memory card will hold! That's cool. Apps for this phone are literally overwhelming and in no time you can have installed hundreds of gadgets, doodads, PMS (personal management systems) and a plethora of tools from the mundane to the can't live without! Word of warning, the collection of apps one will find themselves gathering becomes an obsession - so ensure you have a good data plan if you decide to do OTA (over the air) installations.
With this phone, like the Blackberry, you have a little mobile office that does just about everything but dishes (cells still don't like water). No matter where you are you can have access to the data and information you need and hotspot locations are a breeze as well.
In Canada on Rogers HTC Dream you cannot access paid for applications on the marketplace without first modifying your phone and to modify the phone you risk "bricking" it (rendering it inoperable). There are steps being taken apparently to have this changed so that Canadian users can view and access paid apps without risking problems with their phones but so far this hasn't taken place. So, if you are located in Canada and are intent upon having all the candy that this phone can offer you, be prepared to have a few near heart attacks...and yes, this is a warning straight from experience.
Battery life is extremely low with charges required every day and this is under conservative usage. A power user for this phone would likely have to recharge this phone more than a few times per day, but hey, the magnificence of this little toy is worth every moment you have to sit waiting for the recharge.
With this phone the ability to modify it is the biggest overall plus - things like the Bar code scanner, voice location (if you want to find out where the nearest Pizza delivery is to your local you simply say "Pizza" and the phone brings up all the locations in relation to where you are at the moment and displays them via Google! (I love these two apps). Other apps such as a Stop Smoking app, weather which places an icon on the screen that changes as the weather does and is tapped into your location's weather station for more accuracy ....Google Latitude is another of my faves and....no, hold it...I'll let you find out about the rest on your own!
Are we done here!?
I could go on and on about this snazzy little play toy but I recommend if you love phones that are super adaptable, flexible and work very well and are considered one of the better ones on the market today - get yourself one of these gems. I have it from an insider that these particular phones are fast becoming known as being one of the best on the market alongside Blackberries for reliability, adaptability and durability. Get one... I don't think you'll regret it but be warned, you could find yourself obsessed!