AT&T has begun expanding its phone assortment to include Android phone. The HTC Aria is the carrier’s second Android device and the only one that has the HTC Sense UI on it. The Aria runs version 2.1 of Android so it doesn’t have all of the features of the 2.2, like Adobe Flash support. However, the phone will be getting the 2.2 update later this summer. While many phones are expanding their size to maximize screen space, the Aria took a different approach and made a relatively small device.
When comparing the HTC Aria to other popular smartphones, like the DROID X or HTC EVO 3G, it is immediately evident that the Aria is much smaller in size. This is not necessarily a bad thing for certain consumers. However, with smaller size comes a smaller screen to play around with; the Aria has a 3.2-inch capacitive touch screen display. The phone is also lighter than many of the other smartphones on the market, weighing in at 115 grams.
The hardware itself is very sleek and industrial. HTC keeps the phone real simple by making the entire phone black with silver spots for text, the camera, and screws. Wait, screws? There is a screw in each corner on the back of the phone. These screws look as if they can be taken out to get inside the actual phone (mind your warranty). We are assuming that HTC chose to expose these screws through the back case to give the phone a sort of industrial look. And to be honest, we think the screws add a cool look to the phone. On the front of the phone there is a round trackpad and four touch sensitive buttons that help navigate around the phone. The front of the phone looks simple, yet clean.
The 3.2-inch capacitive touch screen display is very responsive to different movements and touches. We found that even when moving up and down the menu, the screen seemed to follow our finger’s movements immediately.
So how is the build quality? We aren’t sure if it is just our unit, but the back cover seems to creak pretty easily when playing around with the phone. We think it might be how the case snaps onto the back of the phone, but either way it is annoying.
The HTC Aria runs Google’s Android operating system with HTC’s Sense UI over it. With Android version 2.1, the Aria is missing some interesting features that Android version 2.2 bring along. The big one people are talking about is Adobe Flash. We haven’t heard a release date on AT&T releasing 2.2 for the Aria yet.
Android as an operating system works great and has a pretty big following. The Aria has a 600MHz processor that works allows applications to open up quickly without much lag. While it may not be as fast as some of the new Android phones like the DROID X or EVO, it does have the power to support this phone. Android has great features like the Android Market with over 70,000 applications in it, Google Maps integration, and FriendSteam that comes with HTC Sense. HTC Sense is a great UI on Android phones and really makes the operating system shine. HTC Sense runs on many other popular phones like the HTC EVO 4G and the DROID Incredible. The graphics on Sense make the phone enjoyable to use and not seem as bland. There are give different customizable home screens that users can place shortcuts on or place a widget that will allow for easy access to different features of the phone.
Since the Aria is an AT&T-branded phone, the company has loaded some of its own software into the phone. We found that a lot of software just cluttered the phone menu and we never seemed to use a lot of it. For example, AT&T Hot Spots will locate your nearest AT&T Wi-Fi hotspot. Other AT&T applications incliude AT&T FamilyMap, AT&T Navigator, MoviTV, AT&T Radio, Mobile Video, Mobile Banking, and YellowPages.
With no physical keyboard, the Aria utilizes the Android on-screen keyboard. The on-screen keyboard on the Aria is accurate and guesses what work you might be trying to type. We found it easy to use and type on in both landscape and portrait mode.
The HTC Aria has a 5 megapixel camera packed inside its small body. It works nicely and takes good pictures in well-lit areas; however, not so much in dark areas because the Aria lacks a flash. Check out our sample shots:
The Aria packs a 1300 mAh battery that HTC says can give you 6 hours of talk time. We found that the battery will last the full day for moderate users. On heavy use days we had to plug in for a recharge when we got the low battery warnings.
The HTC Aria is a great choice if looking for an Android phone on AT&T. Its small size will be a plus for many customers in a time when big phones are taking over the market. Those looking for a huge screen may want to avoid this one, but its small size is great for carrying around in the pocket.