HTC Amaze 4G review: Upping the ante

Stefan Vazharov, 18 October 2011.
Pages: 12345678»

Tags: HTC, Android, Touch UI

Introduction

HTC Amaze 4G is joining the über-smartphone ranks in the United States at a time, when the competition has reached its peak. The device is part of the first wave of smartphones, capable of reaching 42Mbps on T-Mobile’s HSDPA network. It was launched simultaneously with the Samsung Galaxy S II for T-Mobile and shares quite a few internal components with it.

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HTC Amaze 4G official photos

When the HTC launched the Amaze 4G, we couldn’t help but wonder why would T-Mobile offer yet another top of the line HTC smartphone, given the fact that the magenta colored carrier already has the Sensation 4G on its shelves. It turns out however, that the newcomer has quite a few extra tricks up the sleeve.

Starting with the new Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 chipset, a gig of RAM and an improved 8MP snapper, which offers the whopping two hardware buttons, there is a lot of new kit in the Amaze 4G, compared to the Sensation. The camera alone is loaded with features, including a handful of shooting modes which can put a lot of point and shoot snappers to shame. All in all, there are plenty of novelties in the smartphone to spark our interest, so we’re not going to waste time, and hop straight on its key features.

Key features

  • Quad-band GSM and dual-band 3G support
  • 42 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA
  • 4.3" 16M-color capacitive LCD touchscreen of qHD resolution (540 x 960 pixels); Gorilla glass
  • Android OS v2.3.4 Gingerbread with HTC Sense 3.0
  • 1.5 GHz dual Scorpion CPUs, Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 chipset
  • 1GB RAM and 16 GB built-in storage
  • 8 MP autofocus camera with LED flash; face detection and geotagging; 2 camera buttons
  • 1080p and 720p video recording @ 30fps
  • Wi-Fi b/g/n and DLNA
  • GPS with A-GPS
  • Stereo FM radio with RDS
  • microSD slot up to 32GB
  • Accelerometer, proximity sensor and an auto-brightness sensor
  • Front facing camera with video calls
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack (SRS enhancement)
  • microUSB port (charging) and stereo Bluetooth v3.0
  • MHL TV-out (requires MHL-to-HDMI adapter)
  • NFC connectivity with a dedicated app
  • Smart dialing, voice dialing
  • Active noise cancellation with a dedicated secondary mic
  • DivX/XviD video support
  • HTCSense.com integration
  • HTC Portable Hotspot
  • Office document editor
  • Superb build quality

Main Disadvantages

  • Screen performance is not on par with the best offerings
  • At 173 grams, the device is downright heavy
  • microSD card slot is located under the cover
  • No headphones enclosed in the retail package
  • Battery life is questionable

As you can notice above, the HTC Amaze 4G shares some components with the Sensation 4G, while improving its main weaknesses such as adding a camera shutter, more built-in storage memory, NFC connectivity and finally, doing away with the notorious death grip issue. This is not a surprise. HTC has a good record of listening to its users’ feedback.

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HTC Amaze 4G live shots

The big question with the latest smartphone offering from Taiwan is how it will fare against the rest of the competition. There is an iPhone 4S out there, and it’s selling like hot cakes. Samsung has not one, but three Galaxy S II versions in the United States, including one on T-Mobile with the same chipset as the Amaze 4G. With so much competition out there, the margin for error is small. Let’s see how the metal-clad handset will fare on our test course. As always, we’ll kick things off with an unboxing.

Editorial: You might notice that this review is shorter than usual and doesn't include all of our proprietary tests. The reason is it has been prepared and written far away from our office and test lab. The HTC Amaze 4G is a US-only phone, so it will probably never get to the shores of the Old Continent. Still, we think we've captured the essence of the phone in the same precise, informative and detailed way that's become our trademark. Enjoy the good read!

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