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HTC Imagio wields multimedia prowess

The HTC Imagio's design and feature set truly makes it a great multimedia smartphone from Verizon.

If you took away the keyboard from the HTC Touch Pro 2 and boosted its multimedia features, you would get something very similar to the HTC Imagio. Indeed, they both have a 3.6-inch WVGA touch screen, HTC's TouchFlo 3D interface, Microsoft Office Mobile productivity apps, and once Microsoft rolls out the Windows Mobile 6.5 update to the Touch Pro 2, both of them will have the same OS as well.

But the Imagio is very clearly the multimedia-focused handheld here, with a 5.0-megapixel camera and camcorder, access to V Cast video streaming and V Cast Music with Rhapsody, and it is the first Verizon smartphone to support V Cast Mobile TV, Verizon's live mobile television service. The latter actually uses the MediaFlo network for its broadcasting signal, not the cellular airwaves, so you don't get buffering issues at all. In fact, we experienced great video quality with nary a second lag when changing channels. Of course, it's not available nationwide and it does cost $15 a month for the Basic package, so it's not for everyone. Still, we like it quite a bit, especially since the Imagio even comes with an antenna that doubles as a kickstand, so you can set it on a flat surface for hands-free viewing.

Our overall experience with the Imagio was positive. The touch screen felt responsive even without a stylus, the phone feels like it has a solid construction, and we really liked that the Imagio has both WiFi and EV-DO Rev. A. Perhaps our biggest complaint is the rather choppy call quality, which can vary depending on location. Also note that the Imagio is a world phone, with a dual-mode CDMA and GSM chipset. It comes with a SIM card and the phone supports quad-band GSM in addition to CDMA. It even supports 2100Mhz HSPA so you can use 3G data abroad as well. Just be careful of Verizon's roaming charges overseas.

The HTC Imagio is $199.99 with a two-year service agreement and a $100 mail-in rebate. Check out our full review of the HTC Imagio for the whole story.