If you're buying this phone strictly on the basis of its superior sound quality, you may want to reconsider. Any comparable smartphone will be able to step up to this same sound quality with an investment in some high-grade headphones, which you'll probably end up buying anyhow, since the included headphones use a cable design that seems designed to fail.
The HTC Rezound ships with Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread, which brings plenty of user interface improvements to Android 2.2 Froyo before it. As with all Android phones, the Rezound has support for Google's array of apps and services, many of which are preinstalled on the phone. They include Gmail, Google Talk, Google Search with Voice, Google Maps with Navigation, Google Books, Places, Latitude, and YouTube. Essential smartphone tools are also present, such as the usual phone and PIM tools like a calendar, an alarm clock, a calculator, a task manager, a to-do list, voice command support, and a speakerphone.
In addition to the Rezound's support for 4G LTE (which we'll get to in the Performance section), the phone has other connectivity features like Bluetooth 3.0, GPS, and Wi-Fi. You can use the Rezound as a mobile hot spot for up to 10 Wi-Fi enabled devices, but bear in mind that the mobile hot-spot option costs around $20 extra per month. As we mentioned earlier, you can use an MHL-to-HDMI adapter to hook the phone up to an HD television. The Rezound also supports 5.1 surround sound and SRS Wow HD surround when hooked up to your home theater. You can also send your media wirelessly to a DLNA-compatible television.
HTC and Verizon have packed the Rezound with plenty of preinstalled apps, which some might characterize as bloatware. They include Amazon.com's Kindle app, Blockbuster, Facebook, Footprints, Friend Stream, Hot Pursuit, Let's Golf 2, Polaris Office, Scan (a QR code scanner), Slacker radio, Video Surf, NFL Mobile, My Verizon Mobile, Mobile IM, V Cast Music, V Cast Videos, and VZ Navigator. There's also Visual Voicemail, which costs $2.99 a month. Unfortunately there's no option to uninstall these apps.
Like other HTC smartphones, the Rezound ships with HTC Watch, HTC's video download and rental service. You can rent or purchase TV shows and movies. Rental prices range from $2.99 to $3.99, while purchase prices range from around $8.99 to $14.99 for movies. We weren't able to check TV show prices with our review unit.
The HTC Rezound ships with the standard Android music player, which isn't a bad thing. The music is sorted via artist, album, and genre, and you can create and edit your own playlists. The phone comes with 16GB of onboard memory along with a 16GB preinstalled microSD card for you to store your music on. It supports up to 32GB cards if you want even more space.
Another notable feature of the Rezound is its 8-megapixel camera. It inherits the camera of the T-Mobile MyTouch 4G Slide, with its f/2.2 and 28mm wide-angle lens with a BSI (backside-illuminated) sensor. The BSI sensor is there to improve the camera's performance in low-light conditions, and purports to improve the image's dynamic range. There's also a dual-LED flash for the darkest conditions. The camera has tons of features like automatic face detection, panorama mode, and burst shot. You can read our review of the T-Mobile MyTouch 4G Slide for more on the camera's features.
Picture quality on the whole was very good. Images of the great outdoors were crisp and bright, with vibrant colors. Low-light photos were sharp enough, but they seemed a little dimmer than we would like. Shutter speed was a bit inconsistent--at times we would get no shutter lag, while there were times when it would hesitate a little before snapping a photo. The camera can also record 1080p HD video. We weren't able to give the camcorder a full spin, but the short video clips that we captured looked good--we noticed very little blur or pixelation.
We tested the HTC Rezound in San Francisco using Verizon Wireless. Call quality was average. On our end, callers sounded decent enough, with good volume and clear voice quality. We did detect the occasional static hiccup in the background, but it was not distracting.
Callers could hear us loud and clear as well, but they said our voice quality was heavily distorted, and did not sound natural at all. They also heard odd audio fluctuations in the background at times. In speakerphone mode, callers said we sounded distant and soft, and we had to speak up more often than not.
HTC Rezound call quality sample
We were very impressed with the data speeds exhibited on the HTC Rezound. Using Ookla's Speedtest.net app, we averaged download speeds of around 18Mbps and upload speeds of around 9Mbps. We loaded CNET's mobile page in 6 seconds and the full CNET home page in 14 seconds. We streamed YouTube videos in high quality with almost no buffering. The 1.5GHz dual-core processor resulted in zippy navigation, and we launched most apps without lag. The accelerometer took barely a second to kick in, and multitasking felt seamless.
The HTC Rezound has a 1,620mAH battery. We'll have to run more tests to judge its actual talk time. Anecdotally, however, the battery seems to drain fairly quickly after a solid few hours of playing music, surfing the Web, and streaming video.
According to the FCC, the HTC Rezound has a digital SAR of 0.427 watt per kilogram.
The HTC Rezound definitely holds its own against the other two Android superphones from Verizon. It has an amazing HD display, an impressive 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 4G LTE speeds, a great camera, and plenty of multimedia features, and it ships with a nice pair of earbuds even if they don't seem the most durable. The Beats Audio software does boost the sound quality, but we're not sure if that should be the sole reason for purchasing the Rezound. We're also suspicious of its battery life, and its hefty build might put off those who want a slimmer handset. Yet, its powerful features and unique design could be enough for you to drop $299.99 after a two-year agreement for it.