HTC is the outstanding brand when it comes to Android phones, not least because of the company’s compelling Sense interface that improves on vanilla Android. The Tattoo can even change its casing so you can customise its outside, too. It’s a budget smartphone with slightly cut-down specs. Cheaper then, but is it as appealing?
What we like
HTC Sense makes a good system better. The icons are neater and the main home screen looks great with its large clock and weather information. There are seven home pages to scroll between, all configurable so you can show contacts, program shortcuts, emails and so on. You can set it so Twitter updates are shown automatically when they arrive. It also puts photos from Facebook contacts into the address book gleaned from your Gmail account.
If you’ve found smart phones tend to be too big to fit your hand or pocket, the smaller dimensions of the Tattoo will please. And even though it’s more compact, the virtual keyboard is still good – thanks to the HTC error correction you can type reasonably quickly and accurately. Despite the small size, HTC has still squeezed in Wi-Fi and GPS, not to mention a proper 3.5mm headphone jack and a decent but not outstanding 3.2-megapixel camera.
What we don’t like
The camera doesn’t have a flash, which limits your photographic options and although the smallness of the overall package may suit, the Tattoo’s 2.8-inch screen can feel a little cramped when you’re surfing the internet or watching YouTube.
Unlike the HTC Hero or the iPhone, the Tattoo has a resistive touchscreen – that’s the cheaper, pressure-sensitive kind. Instead of the slick, effortless responsiveness offered by the Hero’s capacitive screen, here you have to press a little harder. That may not sound much but it’s just not as enjoyable. To be sure that you’ve done it, it takes just a little more care and time with each press, which can slow you down annoyingly. Additionally, there are a few apps which won’t work with the Tattoo as they’re designed for capacitive screens.
Smartphones are highly desirable and if you’ve been waiting for one small enough that won’t weigh you down, this is the best you’ll find: a great operating system improved by HTC, lots of features and programs in a diddy shell you can customise with different cases. But the resistive screen leaves a lot to be desired and you may not feel the other benefits and the low price outweigh this.