CNET First Look
HTC Aria (AT&T)The HTC Aria is a solid, midrange Android smartphone, but it's a shame AT&T restricts you by blocking Android's capability to install third-party apps.
[ Music ] ^M00:00:02 >> Hey, everyone, I'm Bonnie Cha, Senior Editor at CNET.com. And I'm here today with your first look of HTC Aria for AT&T. This is the second Android phone to be released to the carrier. The first was the Motorola Backflip, which wasn't all that great. But so far, the Aria is a huge improvement. Let's take a look at the design first. As you can see, it's quite small, especially when compared to something like the EVO, but it's cute and definitely easier to slip into a pants pocket and more comfortable to hold as a phone. And even though it's small, it feels quite solid and has a soft touch finish here on the back. One kind of cool, but totally superficial thing, is that when you take off the back cover, you'll see that the inside of the phone is yellow. Now, the one downside of the smaller size is a smaller display. The Aria screen measures 3.2 inches diagonally, and it's got an HVDA resolution, so it's not the sharpest. But I have to say, overall, the smaller size didn't bother me too much. It's got pinchtozoom support, so you can easily zoom in on webpages and photos. The only real issue I had was with the keyboard. It's pretty cramped, particularly in portrait mode, but you can rotate the phone and use the landscape keyboard, which is slightly better. Featurewise, the Aria is pretty well stocked. It's running Android 2.1 with HTC senses user interface. HTC also hasn't announced any Android 2.2 upgrade plans for this phone yet, so fortunately we don't have much news there for you. You do get all the standard Android applications, though, like Gmail, Google Talk, Google Maps Navigation. And HTC and AT&T also throws in a few extras, as well. What's annoying, though, is that AT&T has blocked the ability to download third party apps onto the Aria, just like it did for the Motorola Backflip. This means you can't install any apps that aren't approved to the Android market, which is unfortunate since there are some great third party apps out there, like Swipe. It's also frustrating, because all the other carriers allow you to do this on their Android phones. Aside from that, though, you're getting all the wireless options and a full HTML web browser. It can also handle video and music and has a 5 megapixel camera. But there's no flash, so it didn't take the best indoor shots. The smartphone is powered by a 600 megahertz Qualcomm processer. While obviously not as powerful as a 1 gigahertz processer, it's actually very responsive, and I didn't experience too much lag on this phone. Overall, I think the HTC Aria is a great midrange Android phone for AT&T customers. Definitely better than the Motorola Backflip. The power users might want to wait for the Samsung Captivate, which was just announced for AT&T. The HTC Aria will be available starting June 20th for $129.99 with a twoyear contract and after a $100 mailin rebate. I'm Bonnie Cha, this has been your first look at the HTC Aria.