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CNET First Look
HTC FreestyleThe HTC Freestyle is a midrange feature phone in an unusual package.
Hi, I'm Kent German, senior editor with CNET.com. Today, we'll take a first look at the HTC Freestyle. This is a new phone for AT&T. Now, you look at this, you might think it is an Android phone. It looks like a lot of HTC phones we've seen recently. It's not an Android phone, it's not really a smartphone actually. It's-- AT&T calls it a quick messaging phone so that's a term that's used a lot by carriers now to describe that midrange series of phones that's really about, really messaging with instant messaging, with text and multimedia, with a few other features thrown in like a camera, maybe a media player, but really midrange, doesn't have a third-party operating system, and really isn't designed for this high-end productivity options. Big display on the front here. It does run HTC Sense UI and it does have the Friend feed so it will look a little familiar in some ways. You do get multiple menu pages. You can scroll in between those. You have some-- you have a whole page for adding shortcuts. You do have a weather app. You have widgets for photos, for music player, so some things will look familiar on the interface. There are touch buttons down below that will take you to the menu, messaging, contacts, things like that, so you can see those there. Down below, we have a couple of physical controls. There are our Talk and End keys. And this very thin button right here brings up an additional shortcut menu. Menu looks pretty standard. It's icon-based and you can scroll between the different pages so, again, some of the things you're seeing on an Android phone, you're gonna see here. They're just a little stripped down and, of course, there is no Android but you do have a little bit of the same user experience. Here in the side you'll see there's a volume rocker, it's pretty big. A little thin but it is pretty long so it's pretty easy to use. On the top, there's a dedicated power control. You also have a 3.5-mm headset jack. And here on the side, there's a camera shutter. Here in the back there's a camera lens and a very small speaker. It is a touchscreen, of course, so to select, you just need to press the icon. Found it pretty responsive and the phone is pretty fast. Interesting thing about this phone, it is powered by Brew so we haven't seen that a lot on AT&T phones or even GSM phones, for that matter, so it has been an interesting fact, but it's really designed, as I said, for the quick messaging options, for people that don't want a smartphone, don't wanna have to pay for a data plan, but want a few more features thrown in they can use for productivity and fun. Does have a 528 MHz processor. It has a 1.3-megapixel camera. You'll see a media player, you'll see an FM radio, Bluetooth, some organizer apps, instant messaging and e-mail. One thing it doesn't have, though, is Wi-Fi so if you're looking for Wi-Fi, can't get this phone. It is a disappointing omission since Wi-Fi is on so many things these days, not sure why it wasn't added here. For messaging and e-mail, you will have to use a virtual keyboard. You can see it here in the portrait mode. There is no accelerometer on the Freestyle so to change the orientation, you're gonna have to hit that button right there, that will change it for you and then you can use it landscape mode. Not really the best thing. It would be nice to get an accelerometer on there but at least they do allow you to use it on landscape mode. It's a lot more spacious. The screen isn't huge to begin with, but it is much easier to use than the keyboard in the portrait mode. It means you also have a virtual keypad as well. You can see that there. That gives you access to your most recent calls and you can jump right to your contacts as well. So, overall, a pretty midrange phone. It is designed for someone who just-- you want a few more features, just don't wanna pay for that data plan. I'm Kent German and this is the HTC Freestyle.