Six hardware keys and a circular D-pad with a huge confirm button make for a crowded navigation panel below the screen. The top buttons are rocker styled; accommodating Home and Menu left, and Back and Search right. There are dedicated call keys below and the big round D-pad-like center.
The keys are slim and small but are well defined and solid to press. The D-pad can scroll both vertically and sideways but you’re not likely to use it much on a full touch phone.
Unfortunately, even though they look metallic, they are plastic and we've heard some user reports of some keys metallic finish peeling off. Let's hope it's not a widespread issue.
On the left side of the Tattoo is the lonely volume rocker, while the right side is completely bare. It would've been nice to find a camera key there. Not essential perhaps given the fixed-focus camera, but wouldn't have hurt.
At the top of the HTC Tattoo you can find the standard 3.5mm audio jack and - right next to it - the lanyard eyelet. There is no protective cover on the audio jack, but no biggie. Just remember to clean it from time to time.
The bottom features the miniUSB port for connecting the data cable and the charger. Right next to it is the mouthpiece.
The HTC Tattoo rear features the 3-megapixel fixed focus camera lens and the loudspeaker grill. No flash whatsoever on this one.
Opening the battery cover reveals the 1100 mAh Li-ion battery that powers the HTC Tattoo. The talk time of the Tattoo is quoted at 7.5 hours, with 520h of standby. Here, you'll also find the microSD card slot.
The location of the card slot might not be good news to those of you that like using the card for transferring data.
There is a bright side though: the phone has microSDHC support and handled our reasonably full 16GB microSD card trouble-free.
The build quality is impressive given the exchangeable covers. We feared creaks and wobbles, but there is no weak spot on the HTC Tattoo. The covers hold firmly in place. Yes, they’re hard to replace but the good news is the handset feels rock solid.
The Tattoo is quite comfortable to use too – compact and pocket-friendly. The custom-designed panels earn it a lot of street cred of course. The Tattoo is the perfect phone for the young – and a smartphone too. We guess most of its target audience will be more than willing to forgive the screen size and resolution.