This cellphone review covers the HTC Status smartphone from AT&T.
The HTC Status is described as the first phone in the United States to have a dedicated share button for Facebook. Although it certainly delivers with its Facebook-centric features, the Status has much more to offer as well. The smartphone is available for $49.99 after a two-year contract with AT&T.
The Status runs on the Android 2.3 operating system, which is more affectionately referred to as “Gingerbread.” The OS offers some nice improvements to enhance the overall user experience, such as an upgraded interface, faster text input, easier copy/paste functionality, better power management, an applications manager, a downloads manager, internet calling, and more. Besides those nifty features, Status’ distinction as an Android phone means you get access to various Google applications, such as Google Maps, Latitude, Places, Gmail, Google Talk, YouTube, Google Search, and more. Another major Android-based feature you can enjoy is access to the Android Market and its wide selection of apps.
Google is not the only company to make its presence known on the Status via apps. HTC offers pre-installed apps in the form of HTC Hub and HTC Likes. Pre-installed apps from AT&T include AT&T Navigator, AT&T Family Map, AT&T Code Scanner, AT&T Shop Music, and AT&T U-Verse Live TV. Of course, some of these apps will require a subscription.
The Status’ Facebook-friendliness is its highlight and main selling point. Thanks to a dedicated Facebook share button that resides just below phone’s keyboard, you get direct access to all of your favorite Facebook features. Through this single button, you can post a quick status update, write something on a friend’s wall, or check into a location. Want to upload a photo that you’ve just taken with the phone’s camera? It’s possible directly from the camera application. The Facebook integration even comes into play when browsing the web, as you have the ability to share links in a snap. The varied functionality that’s accessible from just the press of a button is very impressive and makes the Status a real eye-opener for Facebook fanatics. As a bonus, HTC lets you enjoy Facebook Chat through an entirely separate app. Many users who are not exactly fond of Facebook’s built-in chat functionality will likely welcome the Facebook Chat app with open arms.
The basic features of the HTC Status begin with a speakerphone, call forwarding, conference calling, and voice commands. As far as call quality is concerned, the phone offers plenty of clarity and volume on both ends, even when using the speakerphone. Multitasking is supported so you can use voice and data features simultaneously. Standard organizational tools include an alarm clock, calculator, calendar, voice recorder, and more. There’s also plenty of room for your contacts. You can store various fields of data per contact, as well as add a photo and ringtone for each.
Beyond the basics, we find GPS for turn-by-turn directions with the aforementioned AT&T Navigator and Google Maps applications. The Status is a quad-band world phone, so you will be able to use it on overseas networks, if necessary. Bluetooth 3.0 is included with support for hands-free car kits, stereo headphones, and other profiles. Internet connectivity can be had via integrated Wi-Fi or 3G. Once connected to the net, you can browse with ease using the phone’s web browser. Using the 3G connection offers rather fast loading times for web pages and streaming videos through sites like YouTube is also accomplished with little trouble. If you are looking for enhanced internet connectivity while on the road, you can convert the Status to a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to five devices for an extra monthly fee.
Besides the integrated Facebook features that have already been mentioned, the Status offers a handful of other options to keep in touch with others. There’s standard text and multimedia messaging, as well as instant messaging through popular IM clients. Gmail is the phone’s preferred email avenue, but it also supports Microsoft Exchange and POP3 or IMAP accounts. If you have a Twitter account to supplement your social networking fix, there’s an app for that as well that comes pre-installed. For total integration between your social networking accounts, HTC pre-installed the Friend Stream app that combines information feeds from Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr into a consolidated format.
When Facebook isn’t filling up your free time on the HTC Status, there are other entertainment options to enjoy. The built-in media player will be familiar if you’ve owned a HTC smartphone in the past. It offers basic functionality. You can create playlists, listen in shuffle and repeat modes, view album art, and more. There’s also FM radio as an alternative to listening to your own tracks. Video options are offered via the aforementioned YouTube app and AT&T U-Verse Live TV. Plenty of downloadable games and other apps from the Android will help to keep you busy as well. To create entertainment of your own, the Status comes with a 5-megapixel camera. The camera comes equipped with 2x zoom, flash, autofocus, and various adjustable settings to help make the most out of your Kodak moments. The camera is also capable of recording video. The phone’s front-facing VGA camera is useful for taking self-portraits. In terms of quality, both the photos and video clips taken with the Status’ cameras are surprisingly good.
The HTC Status has an appearance that should definitely appeal to the Facebook crowd and a younger demographic. The white/silver color scheme is a departure from the norm and adds a youthful, hip aura to the phone. The Status is streamlined in its format, measuring 4.5 inches tall by 2.5 inches wide by 0.4 inch thick and weighing 4.3 ounces. Despite its slim profile, the phone feels very solid and sturdy.
The 2.6-inch touch-screen has a resolution of 480 x 320. While the screen is very responsive to the touch and produces vibrant graphics, its size is its major downfall. Using the touch-screen feels cramped, and you will also have to scroll quite a bit to get where you want to go. Another negative aspect of the screen is that it’s in landscape mode by default. This causes problems with apps that normally run in portrait mode, as you will find yourself having to rotate the phone back and forth.
While the touch-screen has its troubles, the Status’ full QWERTY keyboard is another story. It features large, raised keys that are a true joy to type with. There’s plenty of room between each key, so even users with large fingers are accommodated. A small directional pad resides in the bottom-left corner of the keyboard for added navigational functionality, with the Facebook share button just beneath it.
It’s a shame that the HTC Status suffers from its small screen woes, as the smartphone is quite impressive in all other departments. If you are not a Facebook fanatic, the phone may not center on your needs. However, if you find yourself constantly checking your Facebook profile and messaging frequently, the HTC Status is an excellent choice.
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