The HTC Rhyme review model has just landed in our laps and we’ve given in our usual unboxing treatment. The Rhyme is a phone that’s apparently aimed at ‘the ladies’, or more fairly, anyone after a plum-coloured phone with matching accessories (far be it from us to be heteronormative).
Much has been made about that twinkling charmbracelet accessory in particular. This is a (literally) flashy notification device that you slot into your Rhyme’s 3.5mm audio jack. You’ll know about any messages or missed calls you’ve had when the cube-shaped jewel at the end of the cord starts flashing.
Useful if you’re in a dark club and you’re waiting for that important call or text, or if you need to fish your phone out of your cavernous, Tardis-like shoulder bag; hey presto, you’ve got a flashing, twinkling lifeline. No more digging around old train tickets, receipts and half-empty packs of chewing gum.
The other key accessory of the HTC Rhyme is the dock charger/stand that’s covered in a stretchy fabric and allows the phone to act as an alarm clock/music player.
The HTC Rhyme itself is a pretty solid, nicely designed smartphone. That’s saying something, given than HTC places a premium on design with all of its phones. But the Rhyme is pretty lightweight all the same.
Given HTC’s usual sculpted and swirly metal unibody pieces the Rhyme’s looks are comparatively conservative; it’s a straightforward oblong with evenly rounded corners with a back cover that doesn’t take half of the phone off with it. It’s a something of a far cry from the curvaceous HTC Sensation with its pillowed glass screen cover.
Spec-wise the HTC Rhyme is a nippy little thing; it’s got a 1GHz CPU and 768 MB of RAM. This is plenty enough to handle the everyday tasks, but maybe not enough for petrolheads out there who’ll want dual-core this and quad-core that. Still, we’re expecting that the Rhyme will be more than enough to keep most happy. It’s also running the latest version of HTC Sense (3.5) which we’ve had a quick play around with.
HTC Sense 3.5 has a definite sense of consolidation about it; it feels like HTC has kept all of the good bits, improved on them, and stripped away some of the unnecessary parts. What’s immediately noticeable is that those weather animations and effects aren’t as ostentatious as they were before. The clock widget too has been scaled down and it’s not as in your face as it was previously. The menus have been given a respray (they’re in a smarter, more fetching grey on the Rhyme) and the rotating tombola of the widgets from HTC Sense 3.0 remains, as does the custom lock screen.
There may be some more treats and easter eggs lurking in Sense 3.5. We won’t know until we have a proper dig during our review. While we get on with that, do have a look at our pics.
Sense 3.5 on the HTC Rhyme scales down on the screen real-estate that the widgets of old took up. This allows for a less cluttered look and feel, allowing more of the wallpaper to shine through.
Two softkey shortcuts for the app launcher (on the left) and the phone dialler (on the right) remain with you whichever of the seven homescreens you’re on. The new Shortcuts & Clock widget allows you to add five customisable shortcuts to the left-hand side of a screen.
The weather widget has also been reigned in. You still get the trademark uber-dramatic weather animations but they’re sensibly moved aside to the weather app itself instead of invading your homescreens.
The HTC Rhyme has a 5-megapixel main camera with a single LED flash and a VGA camera round the front. The camera records video at a not-at-all shabby 720p HD. Note the three connections there just underneath the camera lens.
Why else would there be three connections just lying there? These of course allow the HTC Rhyme to connect to the dock accessory. Like all good docks, this one allows your Rhyme to charge while it acts as a replacement alarm clock.
When your HTC Rhyme is firmly docked and charging it can also act as a music hub of sorts; we’ve not yet had the time to load up our Craig David Greatest Hits to see how the sound quality fares.
The HTC Rhyme’s micro USB port is tucked away behind a dust-proof cover. It took a little work to get the cover off at first. Thankfully, you won’t need to open it up to charge the Rhyme in the dock.
What you’ve all been waiting to see; the HTC Rhyme’s jewel-shaped notifier lighting up. This little gem flashes whenever you’ve got an incoming call, missed call or text message. You get some rather nicely shaped headphones (not Beats Audio sadly) with swappable buds to boot.
Last but not least in the HTC Rhyme’s resume of accessories is this leather slip case. The case comes lined with a suede-esque material, presumably to help rub off unsightly finger marks the touchscreen has picked up.
The back of the HTC Rhyme with its battery cover torn off. The micro USB port is visible there just beneath the microSD slot. As with the HTC Radar, you can’t seem to get at the battery but popping the cover back on after you’ve turned the phone off seems to turn it back on again.
The SIM card slot of the HTC Rhyme is over on the left, opposite the microSD slot. An 8GB microSD card came bundled with our review model, but this could vary depending on where you get your HTC Rhyme from. That’s your lot for now; sit tight for our review coming soon.