HTC Arrive Review

As the rising fad of smartphones bumps up the rivalries between the manufacturers, new and fresh technology now powers our latest handsets. Apparently, Android has swallowed a major chunk of mobile market giving other mobile operating systems a stiff contest. While Nokia’s Symbian has lost its charm just like the company’s smartphones, Blackberry and iPhone have still managed to keep up a good rapport in the market with their intuitive interface and enhanced features. Out of the lot, one company that has been testing waters against its rivals is the software goliath Microsoft, currently with its Windows 7 phone mobile OS enjoying great attention in the market.

Windows 7 phone as most of us know was a much desired rebranding of Microsoft’s old mobile OS Windows Mobile and came in February 2010. The software has managed to lure quite a few manufacturers since then becoming the much chosen mobile OS for many new models. While sadly it hasn’t been able to escalate its market share to two digits inspite of its strategic partnership with Nokia for being the primary OS in its smartphones, there is no doubt that its new interface and nifty features have pulled Microsoft back into the league it had been shunt out from by eminent players.

Back on wheels now, Windows 7 phone powers some of the most sophisticated smartphones like Samsung Omnia , LG Optimus 7, HTC 7 Trophy and many others, with the HTC Arrive being the latest star of the industry. Wearing the HTC moniker, Arrive marks Microsoft’s return and Sprint’s incursion into the CDMA universe, and fills the slot of the long-awaited successor to the HTC Touch Pro 2 in Sprint’s lineup. Strictly a 3Gdevice, the phone has recently hit the showrooms and is yet to leave it impression in the highly volatile and demanding smartphone market. Will this new kid survive the battle of the fittest, read on to know what HTC Arrive has to offer to its buyers.

Design

HTC Arrive isn’t much of a delight as for the design of the phone is concerned. Nevertheless it manages to keep our interests with its subtle curves and streamlined design and its gray metal and soft-touch plastic body. The power button takes the top place like always with the volume controller on the left side accompanied by the microUSBPort. The camera and flash have been pushed to back side while a metal battery door adds a nice feel. The front exhibits the standard Back, Menu, and Search buttons, very typical of all Windows Phone 7 phones. The camera button is placed on the bottom right side of the phone, which could have been worked over. Also, the owners will have to do with the 16GB built-in storage only as there is no card slot for expanding the phone’s memory. The phone stays bulky, credits the slide out keyboard, with the phone weighing a total of 185g (6.5oz). Also measuring 4.63-by-2.32 -by-0.61 inches, Arrive is definitely a piece not easily slithering in your pockets.


Hardware

Sprint’s inaugural venture into the new world of Windows Phone 7, HTC Arrive is a phone that keeps up the good name of both the provider and the manufacturer. Curved stature of the chunky phone manages a fair amount of sleekness in the looks. Powered by Qualcomm 1GHz Snapdragon Processor, Arrive offers optimum performance and speedy experience to the users. Coupled along is 576MB of RAM and 512MB of ROM and a 1500mAh lithium-ion battery that carries the load of all your activities on the phone for sufficient duration. For the connectivity on the go, thank CDMA 800/1900, Wi-Fi b/g/n, aGPS, and Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR, features that one will also find in the EVO Shift 4G. The sliding QWERTY keyboard is one of the worthy mentions on the phone (more on that later).

Box:

The box carries all the essentialities namely the wall charger, HTC branded stereo headset, a micro USB sync/ charging cable, and a bunch of guides for your easy tour through the mechanics and features of the phone. Additionally, Sprint provides a postage paid envelope in the box that must be used to recycle a device you wish to discard.

Display:

HTC Arrive sports a 3.6-inch WVGA capacitive touchscreen with multi-touch capability. While Super LCD display offers a resolution of 800×480-pixel, the screen exhibits bright colors and sharp edges. The three buttons that take onto the bottom of the screen are Back, Windows Home, and Search (Bing). Extremely responsive, the phone does not lag while swiping through the menus while the screen gives optimal display in most lighting conditions. What makes HTC Arrive stand out from the crowd is its tilting screen that stands inclined at almost 30 degrees when slid upwards to reveal the QWERTY keyboard.


QWERTY keyboard

Arrive’s QWERTY is very much a standard 5-row keyboard found on many HTCs. When slid out, a small spring pops the screen up for a better angle. The keys are too flat, barely standing out from the surface, but have been evenly placed with enough distance between them. The backlit buttons are smooth and very receptive while the extra dedicated buttons like the dollar and pound sign and emoticons and diacritical marks add more fun to texting and mailing.

Camera

The HTC Arrive will be able to capture your valuable moments perfectly with its 5 MP camera and an LED flash. It is also capable of recording videos up to 720p resolution at 30fps as well allows focusing on objects to around two inches (5cm). The camera button can also snap photos fast, when phone is in the locked mode.

Software

HTC Arrive as has been discussed so far runs Microsoft’s latest mobile operating system, Windows Phone 7. Both Sprint and HTC have preloaded their hubs on to the phone. A total of six Windows Phone 7 Hubs assort the content from the web, apps and services at one place for an easy access. Photos and live feeds from social networks to accessing  Microsoft Office, OneNote and SharePoint Workspace, playing games for the first time with an official Xbox LIVE experience on phone to enjoying your favorite tracks from the Music + Videos Hub, the phone is one stop solution for all your needs. The Sprint Hub on the other hand assimilates all data related to Sprint like the sponsored apps, news, tips and even lets you pay your bills.

The phone bags additional admiration for the much awaited feature of copy/paste. For using the feature, all you need to do is just tap a word on a Web page or in a document to display tags, drag a finger to select the desired text and tap the copy icon. Swiping to the right restores that has been pasted from the clipboard in order to paste the text again.

Sadly, HTC Arrive fails to mark a niche in the internet arena. Not only is the Internet Explorer hub too basic, there is no flash support in the browser. Inspite of all these drawbacks, the navigation is fast and the browser is minimalist.

Conclusion

HTC Arrive is now available  for $199.99 with a new two-year service agreement and after a $100 mail-in rebate (taxes not included) in all Sprint retail channels, including the Web (www.sprint.com) and Telesales. Sprint’s Everything Data plans starts at just $69.99 per month plus required $10 Premium Data add-on charge that offer unlimited Web, texting and calling to and from any mobile in America while on the Sprint network. Without a contract, the full purchase price is $449.99.

Here are a few highlights on the HTC Arrive:

PROS:

1.)    Copy/Paste

2.)    Improved search with Hubs

3.)    Responsive QWERTY keyboard with great layout and a tilting screen

4.)    Solid battery life (Lasts a couple of days)

5.)    Good call quality

6.)    Speakerphone

7.)    SRS enhancements

 

CONS:

1.)  Lacks removable storage

2.) No 4G WiMax support

3.) Heavy and bulky

4.) Image quality and camera could have been improved

5.) No Flash support

6.) Slow internet

7.) All the screens do not work in the landscape mode

8.) No front facing camera

9.) Battery heats quickly

The configuration that the HTC Arrive ships in with seems more like one year old, fairly stale for a so called fresh product in the market. When pinned against its rivals, the phone fails to stand out because of many of its missing features. The potential opponents include Sprint’s and HTC’s very own EVO Shift 4G and Samsung Epic 4G that has the open sourced Android running on the device with a bunch of other features like front facing camera, 4G support, flash support and lots more offered at a very slight price variation. Arrive definitely exploits completely the flashy interface much expected from a Windows 7 phone, a friendly angled keyboard and a good call quality. Hence on the whole, if you are on Sprint and are desperately searching for a new option, HTC Arrive isn’t a complete deal breaker. A 3.5/5 is all that this new kid on the block deserves.