HTC Status Review

8
Introduction and Design
Introduction:

Have you updated your Facebook status recently? Now you don’t have an excuse with the new HTC Status, which is available from AT&T. The Status is nearly an exact duplicate of the HTC ChaCha that is sold overseas, as both come with similar hardware, and don’t forget about the handy Facebook button on the front. Thanks to its low price of $49 with a 2-year contract, the HTC Status is a welcome addition for those individuals looking for an Android smartphone with built-in social networking that won’t break the bank.

Included in the retail package is the HTC Status PH06130 smartphone, 1250mAh battery, wall charger with detachable microUSB cable, SanDisk 2GB microSD memory card, and user guides.

Design:

The HTC Status fits comfortably in the hand and is remarkably thin at 0.42” and lightweight at 4.32oz. The youthful color scheme of white, silver, and blue may not be for some, but it is refreshing from the deluge of all-black smartphones that can be seen everywhere.



You can compare the HTC Status with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

The display on the Status is just 2.6” in size, which is on the small side, but with its HVGA resolution, images are clear and most text is sharp, except when you use the web browser (more on that later). We can expect that some people will be turned off by its lower than average screen size, especially when other phones sport a 4.3” display, but the HTC Status isn’t a high-end phone for a power-user, as it is designed for the teen-20’s audience. The 2.6” display worked fine when using the HTC Sense user interface, desktop widgets, and the Facebook app. The only real issue arose when using the web browser, as text on web pages is too small to view, thus we had to often zoom in to make the text large enough to read. The screen can also be a bit dark when viewing in direct sunlight, so you may have to shade it with your hand.



Below the display are the four capacitive buttons, send and end button, and a full QWERTY keyboard that is laid out in four rows. They keys do feel a bit small, and larger fingers can easily press down more than one at the same time, so you have to be careful about which letter you want to press. The one thing that we do like about it is that each key is curved up in the center, giving a nice tactile feel, and that they provide a noticeable click response when pressed. At the bottom right is the dedicated Facebook key, which will take you directly to a screen where you can type in your wall post, upload an image from the camera or gallery, and even send a message to a Facebook friend. Located on the left edge of the phone is the one-piece volume rocker, which can be tricky to use if you press near the center.




HTC Status 360-degrees View:





Interface and Functionality:

With the HTC Sense 2.1 user interface re-oriented for the landscape screen, the HTC Status contains a host of device specific peculiarities. Starting with the positive, the lock screen is actually borrowed from HTC Sense 3.0, as you can set four shortcuts to access directly from it, though no live updates are visible on the lock screen. Now onto the not so good: for starters, there's no pull down quick settings functionality in the notifications tab, just the standard Android notifications. On top of that, you can only access your apps drawer from the first out of the 7 homescreens. So if you are on screen seven for example, you would need to return to screen one to get to the apps drawer. Alternatively, you can access it through the capacitive menu button, but this is still a two click process which we feel should have just been one. Otherwise, the landscape oriented Sense UI operates predictably, with a nice selection of HTC Sense widgets on board, as well as 5 different scene modes and 2 desktop skins, which add plenty of customization to the Android experience.



Facebook integration on the HTC Status is in the form of the dedicated Facebook button and the Chat app. When the button is pressed, it interacts with whatever's going on on the screen, and pushes it to Facebook. When you’re in the main desktop homescreen, short press the Facebook button to update your wall or long press it to update your location using Facebook places. In the music app, you can share the track you're listening to straight to your profile with a single click, and when you’re in the gallery app, you can send images straight to your wall. The button also acts as a “Facebook shutter release” for the on-board camera - focusing, shooting, and uploading an image in a single step. One element that stands out about the Facebook integration is that it easily allows contacts to be tagged in images.


The implementation of the Chat app is quite good and is one of the high points of the phone’s Facebook integration, as coupling the app with the QWERTY keyboard makes it incredibly easy to start gossiping away with friends. The Facebook Chat comes in the form of a desktop widget that sits on your homescreen listing all your available contacts, or you can open the application to manage all conversations at once.



Running on Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread, the HTC Status comes with all the additional software and features you’d expect from a smartphone, such as a calendar where you can save and view events, calculator, world clock, email, and Google Maps with Navigation. AT&T adds a few of their own apps, including Code Scanner for UPC and QR scanning, Family Map that displays your family member’s phones on a map, AT&T Navigation and U-Verse LiveTV, both of which are subscription services.



Camera and Multimedia:

For a low-priced phone, the HTC Status does quite well with its 5MP autofocus camera. Images that we took outside on a sunny Florida day were sharp, in-focus, and produced relatively good color accuracy, through some images did show a tendency to be over-exposed, as bight areas were washed-out. Inside pictures looked fine, as long as there was plenty of light, but using the flash in a dark room doesn’t turn out so great. Videos can be recorded up to 720x480 resolution, but they look a bit choppy at only 22 frames per second, so don’t expect to use it to film your next vacation.






HTC Status Sample Video:



For playing back your own ripped videos, you are limited to 3GP and MPEG 4 H.264/263 formats, as DivX and XviD are not supported. We could play our own MPEG4 videos up to 800x480 resolution without problem, but higher resolution videos would not play.



You also have HTC's nicely laid out music app and desktop widget on board, though there are no extra perks like an equalizer or DLNA connectivity. Audio quality is pretty good though the wired headphone jack or when using a Bluetooth stereo headset; not so good with the small built-in speaker on the back on the phone.



Internet and Connectivity:

The HTC Status supports GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850/900/1800/900 MHz bands), 3G UMTS/HSDPA (850/1900 MHz), as well as Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 3.0 connections.

Navigating around websites is a little cramped due to the small display, but fortunately having HVGA resolution means that most content looks good, but small text will require you to zoom-in to make it readable. There are also directional arrow keys on the bottom right of the QWERTY keyboard if you want to bypass using the screen. Multi-touch works well and pages load up quickly, with text being reformatted to fit the page.



We used the Speedtest.net app to measure our connection to the closest service in Miami and got a nice download speed of 4.53 Mbps, but the upload speed was limited to only 0.34 Mbps, and the ping time was quite long at 504 ms.



For acquiring a GPS lock, such as when using the Google Maps app, it took a reasonable 8 seconds, which is faster than some more expensive phones.




Performance:

Even though the HTC Status comes with an 800MHz processor, the re-worked HTC Sense running over Android Gingerbread gives the interface a nice speed that never feels like it is dragging behind.

Call quality was adequate, as voices on our end were full-sounding, though the earpiece volume isn’t that loud, and we could hear a background hiss at all times. The speakerphone could use some work as the volume wasn’t loud. We were pleased with the signal reception in our area, as the phone showed 3-4 bars on average and actual signal strength was -81 dBm.

The included 1250mAh battery is rated to provide up to 6.5 hours of talk time or 26.6 days of standby time (yeah right). In our real-world testing, we were able to get up to 5 hours of continuous talk time on a full charge, or about 32 hours under mixed usage – which includes some talk, standby, web and app use.

Conclusion:

When it comes right down to it, the HTC Status is a good choice and at the right price for those who like to stay connected to Facebook, but being an Android device, you have all the extra benefits that come along with it. The QWERTY keyboard is very useful, though it can feel a bit cramped with large hands, and the 2.6” display is about as small as you get on a smartphone without being too small, though it does work well – we just wish is were a bit larger.

Software version on the reviewed unit:
Android: 2.3.3
HTC Sense 2.1 for Messenger
Software: 1.23.502.1
Kernel: 2.6.35.10-ge234b5c
Baseband: 47.17.35.3033H_7.48.35.14_2

HTC Status Video Review:





Pros

  • Compact and easy to carry
  • Android 2.3 with HTC Sense UI
  • Good Facebook integration
  • Usable QWERTY keyboard

Cons

  • Web page text can be small and requires zooming
  • Rear speaker not loud enough for music or speakerphone
  • Video recording isn’t that great
  • Styling may not be for everyone

PhoneArena Rating:

7.5

User Rating:

5.3
3 Reviews

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