The HTC Aria offers an identical set of connectivity options as its aluminum-clad sibling, the HTC Legend. And this is a pretty decent package to have on your phone.
There’s worldwide roaming-ready quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and dual-band (900/2100 MHz or 850/1900 MHz) 3G with HSPA. Download speed is quoted at 7.2Mbps and uploads can reach up to 2Mbps.
In terms of local connectivity, the Aria offers USB v2.0 via a microUSB port, Bluetooth v2.1 with A2DP support and Wi-Fi. Now that they’ve enabled Bluetooth transfers, there is very little more to ask for.
Internet tethering is also available over USB and it’s as easy as it gets to use. Just select tethering when prompted to choose computer pairing mode and you are good to go. HTC have also thought of people without a data plan and allow you to explicitly forbid the handset to use mobile network data.
Synchronizing your data couldn't be easier - it's just that you mainly sync with the Google services. For those of you who prefer desktop syncing, the HTC Sync comes in handy. It is a nice tool for quick syncing of your contacts, calendar events and web browser bookmarks with PC (Outlook or Outlook Express). With its help you can also easily install third-party Android apps on your smartphone, and transfer photos, videos, music and playlists as well as documents.
Finally, we have to mention that the built-in microSD card slot can also be used as a data transfer tool. Card-readers are going for peanuts these days so having one around is quite likely and they give some pretty impressive speeds.
Solid web browsing has been an inherent part of the Android deal since day one. Now that we are at version 2.1, things are even sweeter with the intuitive user interface even more polished and the functionality reaching new heights.
The user interface is pretty much nonexistent at first sight. With pinch-zooming enabled you don’t even need the +/- zoom buttons that we have seen on most other Android handsets.
The address bar is docked at the top of the page so you can scroll down and get it out of the way too. However you don’t need to scroll to the top every time you want to tap a new address – just press the menu button and bring it up anywhere on the page.
The Aria browser also supports double tap zooming and text reflow, which make it extremely easy to read even longer texts on the phone display. Without text reflow you will either have to zoom out until the text fits (but then it’s too small to read comfortably) or scroll sideways to read each line.
The minimalist UI is still quite powerful – hit the menu key and six keys pop up. You can open a new tab, switch tabs, refresh the page, go forward, open bookmarks. The final button reveals even more options (text copying, find on page, etc.).
The bookmark list shows a thumbnail view of the bookmarked pages and you get a “most visited” list in addition to the regular history.
And to further sweeten the deal, HTC Aria has Flash support in its web browser. The performance is far from spectacular but it’s better than nothing. You should definitely pick simpler Flash games, but it’s good at least those run just fine.
Flash video support is also dodgy enough with the Aria failing to open the Vimeo and Netcafe videos that we tried. YouTube works fine but it uses the preinstalled YouTube application so it doesn’t really count.
Mind you, the Android 2.1 browser has support for HTML5 and its video tag but since that is a few years (at best) away from becoming the norm we won’t be crediting it with extra point on that account.
The HTC Aria comes with the usual set of organizing apps. It also has a preinstalled document viewer, which handles office files just fine.
That’s the Quickoffice app, which has support for viewing Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, including the Office 2007 versions.
For editing, you will need to get the paid app though. There is also a PDF viewer to handle PDF files.
The doc viewer integrates with the Gmail app, which makes viewing attachments a cinch. You can’t download them to the phone’s internal memory however. Attaching saved files (and we mean all kind of files) is possible though.
The calendar has four different types of view: daily, weekly, monthly and agenda. Adding a new event is quick and easy, and you can also set an alarm to serve as a reminder.
The Agenda view shows a list of all the calendar entries from the recent past to the near future. It’s a very handy tool when you need to check your appointments for the next few days.