HTC Tattoo (unlocked) review: HTC Tattoo (unlocked)

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.0
  • Design: 6.0
  • Features: 8.0
  • Performance: 7.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The HTC Tattoo is compact, but still offers Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and a 3.2-megapixel camera. The Android 1.6 device is enhanced by HTC Sense.

The Bad It has a small, low-resolution screen. The smartphone also doesn't support North American 3G bands.

The Bottom Line The HTC Tattoo is a fair entry-level Android device with a cool customization feature, but there are better options for the North American market.

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As many of you probably know, there are many cool cell phones and smartphones launched for the European and Asian markets that never make their ways Stateside. However, sometimes we get lucky and get a sample device to check out, and this time around, our friends at eXpansys USA hooked us up with the HTC Tattoo. The Tattoo is an entry-level smartphone running Android 1.6 and HTC Sense, and offers a cool personalization option to custom design your own cover and make your phone one-of-a-kind. It's also aimed at budget-conscious customers, as you can get the device for free with some carriers, but you also sacrifice some features, such as a high-resolution screen--and, of course, that discount only applies if you live in Europe or Asia. At around $300 unlocked, we don't think the HTC Tattoo is really worth it for North American customers. You can get something like the HTC Droid Eris or the Motorola Cliq XT with more features without breaking the bank.

Design
Measuring just 4.17 inches tall by 2.17 inches wide by 0.55 inch thick, the HTC Tattoo is quite a petite handset. It reminds us a bit of the HTC Touch, though slightly thicker and heavier, and we wouldn't call it the sexiest device in the world. However, what makes the Tattoo different from most phones (and also sheds light on the meaning of its name) is that you can customize the cover with your own design. You just head on over to the HTC Tattoo salon where you can either select from one of many predesigned covers or create your own. Just be aware that these custom covers cost around 11.99 euros (around $16 U.S.) each.


You can personalize your HTC Tattoo with custom covers.

To keep the overall cost of the phone down, there are some trade-offs, the most notable being screen quality. The Tattoo's display measures 2.8 inches diagonally and has only a 240x320-pixel QVGA resolution. The smaller size and the lower resolution definitely don't make it easy on the eyes. Text can be pretty minute and images look quite pixelated, with dull color. The onscreen keyboard is also difficult to use, since the small screen creates a cramped layout.

It's a far cry from what we've seen lately from such models as the Motorola Droid and the HTC Droid Incredible, but we also understand that the Tattoo isn't meant to be in the same league as those devices.


The controls beneath the display enable easy one-handed operation.

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Where to Buy See all prices

HTC Tattoo (unlocked)

Part Number: 4710937333329
Low Price: $290.00 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Talk Time Up to 360 min
  • Service Provider Unlocked
  • Weight 0.4 lbs
  • Technology GSM / 3G