There's a volume rocker and a push-to-talk button on the left side and a power button on top. On the bottom of the smartphone, you'll find a reset hole and a mini USB port which also acts as the power connector and headset jack. Once again, we're disappointed by the lack of a standard headphone jack, but there is an audio adapter included in the box. Finally, the camera and flash are located on the back and behind the battery cover lies the microSD/SDHC expansion slot, which can accept up to 16GB cards (and theoretically up to 32GB cards).
AT&T packages the HTC Fuze with an AC adapter, a USB cable, an audio adapter, an extra stylus, a software CD, and reference material. For more add-ons, please check our cell phone accessories, ring tones, and help page.
The HTC Fuze for AT&T is built for the power business user and ships with Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional Edition. It offers the standard core applications like the Microsoft Office Mobile Suite and comes with several personal information management tools, such as Adobe Reader, Sprite Backup, Remote Desktop, a Zip manager, a voice recorder, a task list, and more. The Fuze supports a number of e-mail solutions, including Microsoft Exchange Server, AT&T Xpress Mail, and BlackBerry Connect. You can also access POP3 and IMAP accounts, and there are three instant messaging clients preloaded on the device: AIM, Yahoo Messenger, and Windows Live Messenger.
The Fuze's phone features include quad-band world roaming, a speakerphone, and voice commands and dialing, and text and multimedia messaging. The address book is limited only by the available memory (the SIM card holds an additional 250 contacts). Each contact can hold multiple numbers, e-mail addresses, for a single entry as well as home and work addresses, an e-mail address, an IM screen name, birthday, spouse's name, and more. For caller ID purposes, you can pair a contact with a photo, a caller group, or one of 59 polyphonic ringtones. The Fuze also supports AT&T's push-to-talk service and Video Share service. PTT lets you instantly see the availability of your contacts before calling them and make individual or group PTT calls, while Video Share lets you to make video calls. Plans for Video Share start at $4.99 per month while PTT plans start at $9.99 per month.
The HTC Fuze is also a tri-band UMTS/HSDPA smartphone. It's important to remember that there are multiple factors that affect 3G speeds, such as where you live and how many people are on the network on one time, but you can expect speeds around 1.4Mbps (with the potential to hit up to 2Mbps). Since the Fuze is a tri-band (850/1900/2100), you'll be able to access 3G networks while abroad as well.
The HTC Fuze also has integrated Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) so you have another option for getting online. Our review unit had no problem finding and connecting to our wireless network, and like the Sprint HTC Touch Pro, the Fuze, the Touch Pro also ships with the Opera Mobile HTML Web browser (version 9.5) in addition to Internet Explorer Mobile, so you have a choice in mobile browsers.
The smartphone has Bluetooth 2.0 that supports mono- and stereo-Bluetooth headsets, hands-free kits, and dial-up networking. There is no need for accessory Bluetooth GPS receivers since the Fuze already has GPS/A-GPS. This means the smartphone will use both satellites and cellular triangulation to get a fix on your position. Plus, there's a utility called QuickGPS installed on the device to speed up the time it takes to find your position by downloading the latest satellite information via an Internet connection. For real-time turn-by-turn text- and voice-guided directions, traffic updates, local search, and more, the Fuze is compatible with AT&T Navigator, which is free for the first 30 days but then costs $9.99 per month for unlimited access or $2.99 per day.
When you're ready to call it day or take a break, you can use Windows Media Player 10 Mobile to enjoy AAC, MP3, WAV, WMA, MPEG-4, WMV, and more. If you're looking to discover new music or check out fresh, streaming media, there are shortcuts to AT&T Music and AT&T Video on the HTC Fuze. These add-on services enable you to access content, such as Napster to Go, streaming XM satellite radio, music videos, MusicID for identifying song titles and artist, and video programming from CNN, ESPN, and NBC, among other channels.
And last but not least, we come to the Fuze's 3.2-megapixel camera. It's the same as the one found on the HTC Touch Diamond and the Touch Pro, which means you get a flash, auto-focus, and video recording capabilities. In addition, you get a good helping of editing options, which you can read more about in our full review of the HTC Touch Diamond. Picture quality was OK. We would have liked more warmth in the colors, but decent compared with other camera phones we've tested. Plus, all the objects in the image were clearly identifiable. Once again, like the HTC Touch Pro, there's no dedicated camera capture key. While we always thought it was convenient, we didn't realize how useful it was until it was gone. Without it, we found that you had to have a real steady hand to get a clear shot. Video quality wasn't the greatest. There was quite a bit of blurriness and even with the flash light on, it was difficult to see objects in clips recorded in darker environments.
We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900; UMTS/HSDPA 850/1900/2100) HTC Fuze in San Francisco using AT&T service and call quality was quite good. The audio sounded rich and clear on our end with barely any background noise. We had no problems hearing our friends or using an airline's voice automated response system, nor did we have any dropped calls during our review. Friends reported similarly good results, though we got a couple of remarks about a slight echo. Speakerphone quality wasn't as pristine, since the audio could sound a bit blown out, especially at higher volumes. We successfully paired the Fuze with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset and the Motorola S9 Active Bluetooth Headphones.
Armed with a 528MHz Qualcomm MSM7201A processor and 512MB ROM and 288MB RAM, the HTC Fuze was a generally snappy device. As we already mentioned in the design section, we didn't experience quite the delay in screen rotation or even other simple tasks. There was some of that typical sluggishness that plagues Windows Mobile smartphones, but it wasn't anything debilitating and we didn't suffer any system crashes or significant errors during our testing period.
The Web browsing experience was decent, whether it was via 3G connection or Wi-Fi. However, we tried to watch some streaming videos via AT&T Video but after selecting a video, it took a while to launch and eventually the connection timed out. We were finally able to get some videos to load, which took about 10 to 15 seconds. The streaming video quality wasn't the greatest, as the picture looked very pixilated. However, we watched a couple of WMV clips from our personal library, which looked much clearer and had synchronized sound and picture.
The HTC Fuze has a 1,340mAh lithium ion battery, which has a rated talk time battery life of 7.4 hours (6.6 hours on 3G) and up to 15 days of standby time. In our battery drain tests, we were able to get 7 hours of continuous talk time on a single charge. According to FCC radiation charts, the Fuze has a digital SAR rating of 1.13 watts per kilogram.