It seems as if AT&T has finally decided to join the Android game with a handset that’s more than the butt of many jokes around the community (read: better than the Backflip, Flipout, Flippy-Floppy, whatever). Enter, the HTC Aria… and I was lucky enough to get a few minutes with it at the HTC Seattle event this last Thursday.
My first impression of the Aria is that it’s small. Small and very solid. It has the traditional build quality of an HTC handset (think Nexus One, Desire, etc.) and feels heavy in your hand. It’s only a half inch thick and easily fit in the palm of my hand. I found typing on the soft keyboard to be somewhat difficult given my larger hands and it’s smaller stature, but my better half (who is much smaller in stature than I am) felt that it was a good fit for her size hands. The screen itself was nice and bright in the dimly lit room, and the physical controls on the handset itself were easy to reach and responsive.
Software-wise, the Aria is running Eclair with HTC‘s Sense UI over it. I’ve noticed when I got to play with the HTC Incredible some lag when using the optical trackpad. Not so with the Aria. I found navigating around the UI to be snappy and very accurate. The screen registered my finger touches very well, and actions were very responsive. Personally, I am not a fan of Sense UI on Eclair for Fryo. But, in this case, it doesn’t hinder the Android experience that much. Given that this little dude has a 600Mhz processor, it runs Eclair and Sense very well with no real discernible lag. If AT&T decides to upgrade the OS to Froyo in the future, this thing will scream. One other note: the handset I played with has the full Google experience on it. However, the ability to install third party apps was not supported.
In conclusion, this is a great Android handset for someone making their first purchase on AT&T… if you’re a woman or a man with “delicate” hands. The hardware is far too small for the average man to comfortably use. But, it is perfect for a lady. The Aria would very easily slip into a purse or a back pocket. The AT&T customer who must stay on their network and is a power user will instinctively go for the Nexus One. For someone who wants an Android phone on AT&T and doesn’t care much about the hardware… it’s a great offering.
Just the facts:
Network: 3G, EDGE, GPRS, GSM, HSDPA (3G)
Service: 850, 900, 1800, 1900
Bluetooth: v2.1 with A2DP
USB: MicroUSB v2.0
Display: Color TFT capacitive touchscreen
Display Dimensions: 3.2 in.
Display Resolution: 320 x 480 pixels
Internal Memory: 384MB
Battery: Standard battery, Li-Ion 1200 mAh
Standby Time: 372 hours
Talk Time: 6 hours
Camera: 5 megapixels
Max Resolution: 2592×1944 pixels
Other Features: Android OS, v2.1 (Eclair), Qualcomm MSM 7227 600MHz, Dedicated search key, A-GPS support, 3.5 mm audio jack, Accelerometer sensor auto rotation, Proximity sensor, Optical trackpad, Touch sensitive controls, HTC Sense UI, Geo-tagging