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HTC Gratia - Android 2.2, HTC Sense and Apps

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

The HTC Gratia's 600MHz CPU tells you this is no high-end device. It's slightly more powerful than the 528MHz processor used in the Wildfire, but significantly slower than the 800MHz processor of the Desire Z and the 1GHz chip of last year's Desire. However, this cut corner is barely noticeable in day-to-day navigation.

Google has tweaked the Android OS in each new version, and at the grand old age of 2.2, it's virtually lag-free even when powered by this relatively humble CPU. Some credit should also go to HTC's Sense software too. Third-party user interfaces often clog-up Android, making it perform slower than a vanilla edition of the OS would. Not so with Sense - not only does it look good and add some worthwhile features, it's quick too.

HTC Sense adds a custom dock to the bottom of your home screens, and comes with a handful of widgets and social networking apps. Chief among these is Friend Stream, which aggregates updates, pictures and links posted on Twitter, Facebook and Flickr to offer a one-stop shop for your virtual social life. We'll admit we still prefer to use the official Facebook and Twitter Android apps, but it's still one of the best third-party solutions available.

HTC Sense equips the Gratia with seven home screens as standard, and you can flick through these with a swipe, or zoom out to view all seven at once in thumbnail form. HTC calls this the Leap view, and it's accessed with a two-fingered zoom out gesture. Again, this manoeuvre is very slick in spite of the middling CPU.

The Gratia gives you full access to the Android Market app store, but it only offers around 150MB of internal memory. Until Android 2.2 came around, this was the only memory that could be used to install apps on, and while apps can be installed to an SD card with this phone, not all apps support this feature. More expensive phones like the HTC Desire Z and HTC Desire HD offer around ten times this internal memory.

Another cut corner is the lack of full Flash 10.1 support - instead we have to make do with Flash Lite. This is disappointing given Android 2.2 usually packs-in full Flash 10.1 support as standard, but not unexpected. Flash content is very hard on a phone's CPU and it's common for the feature to be left out of 600MHz phones like the Gratia.

Flash Lite can still handle flash-based video, and with Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity on-board, the web experience doesn't feel compromised - as long as you have a decent connection to surf over. You can also share a mobile internet connection using the Portable Wi-Fi hotspot feature and send apps directly to other Android users over Bluetooth, Gmail or a social network.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

gnodeb

March 11, 2011, 3:08 pm

It's a nice phone but way to expensive for recommendation. While it's in the same group as LG P500, Gratia costs more then Motorola DEFY witch is on another level.

http://www.gsmarena.com/compar...

SE Neo is expected to have this kind of price... that's two levels above...

Simon 19

March 11, 2011, 3:32 pm

Just thought I'd be the first to big up the Orange San Francisco in comparison!

KultiVator

March 11, 2011, 4:10 pm

This seems to be the category of device where Android fits best - a solid but no frills SmartPhone.

A workmanlike handset for a utilitarian OS.

Andy 10

March 11, 2011, 4:13 pm

How can you review a phone and not say what the battery life was like? Especially when you spend several paragraphs discussing what the battery cover was like and what the phone looked like with the cover off!!! Poor review.

Cliff

March 11, 2011, 5:21 pm

@Andy 10, Andrew is adding that to the article now -it should have been included in the original review.

speedyg2012

March 11, 2011, 7:43 pm

@ gnodeb - Not quite, 369 quid at launch. But that and the Desire S will start at mid 300s with the likelihood of been under 300 pounds by the end of the year, while the Gratia is only 60-80 quid cheaper. It's too expensive for what it offers really, needs abig price drop in the next few months with big and fancy new smartphones coming at a similar pricepoint.

matstand

March 11, 2011, 7:56 pm

isnt this an HTC Mini running android?

probably not a bad combination, as the HDMini is an excellent phone let down by lack of apps and a poor browser.

betelgeus

March 12, 2011, 2:48 am

isnt the world sick of these htc phones yet?,i bet journalists must dread being handed one to see the same thing every time just scrolling slightly slower or faster,the clown fish was iconic for less time than htc' colour scheme.

concern

March 14, 2011, 5:27 pm

Who is this guy in the video? Why is he speaking so quickly? Why is he not enunciating or separating his words? Not a good video review. Awful, first time I've stopped watching a review on this site. Please send him to elocution lessons.

Ed

March 14, 2011, 5:59 pm

@concern: 'This guy' is Andrew Williams, the chap who reviewed the phone. It was his first go so there are a few presentation issues to iron out. We'll take on board your thoughts.

Michael G

March 15, 2011, 1:44 pm

It's actually very hard to do videos, it doesn't come naturally to everyone, give the guy a break...

Andrew_TR

March 15, 2011, 7:13 pm

@concern Video presenting is new to me so apologies. They'll get better... hopefully!

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