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HTC Gratia review

Andrew Williams

By

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR

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Summary

Our Score:

8

Pros

  • Great screen
  • Cute design
  • Android 2.2 OS

Cons

  • Poor camera
  • No Flash 10.1 support
  • Limited internal memory

Key Features

  • Android 2.2 OS
  • 3.2in 320x480 pixel display
  • Capacitive touchscreen
  • Bundled 2GB microSD
  • 5-megapixel camera
  • Manufacturer: HTC
  • Review Price: free/subscription

The Android 2.2-powered Gratia is HTC's latest mid-range smartphone. Its name, which can roughly be translated from Latin to "grace", sounds a lot less bold than its older siblings the HTC Desire, Hero and Wildfire, but there's a lot to like about this friendly-looking Android phone.

Last year, HTC produced several of our favourite metal-bodied phones, including the HTC Legend and Google Nexus One, but the Gratia takes a completely different approach. Aside from the hard glass front, the phone's body is almost completely covered by a single oversized plastic battery cover. The exposed screw heads on the phone's back suggest you'll need to get out a screwdriver to get anywhere near its battery but it's a rouse - all you need to do is pull the cover off, using the fingernail recess on the Gratia's top.

This cover balloons out from the sides of the touchscreen a little on each side, stopping the Gratia from seeming slim in spite of its svelte 11.7mm thickness, but these curves also increase the handset's comfort factor. Next to HTC's bigger, bolder, brasher phones, there's something almost excessively friendly about the Gratia. That said, it's not quite as slick as the mid-range unibody HTC Legend.

A squeeze of the phone's middle causes a creak as the plastic cover flexes - the plastic used isn't as hard or thick as that used in the HTC Wildfire, but build quality is otherwise very good. Still, we imagine its looks won't impress as many people as quickly as the Wildfire or Legend did. It comes in either a black or white finish, and while both look smart those exposed screws introduce an element of quirkiness that not everyone will love.

Although these disruptions of the phone's lines are deliberate, its sides are otherwise simple and unadorned. On the top is the power button, also used to wake the Gratia up once the backlight times out, and the 3.5mm headphone jack. The left side is home to the volume controls and the microUSB slot is on the handset's bottom, used for charging and transferring data. There's no physical camera shutter button and, thanks to the design of the battery cover, no seam that runs down these sides.

In something of a throwback to yester Android devices, the HTC Gratia uses an optical trackpad. This is used to scroll through the interface, and as a "select" button, but can easily be ignored in favour of all-touchscreen navigation. The soft keys are touch-sensitive pads that sit just below the main touchscreen, and thankfully they feel nice and responsive.

Lift the battery cover off completely and the true design of the Gratia is revealed. It's an almost entirely non-curvy rectangle, a little like an iPhone 4 that's been beaten with the ugly stick. Of course, you're never meant keep and use the phone without the battery cover on, so it's a moot point. Underneath the cover are the SIM and microSD card slots - and as the battery doesn't have to be removed to access this slot, card hot-swapping is no problem.

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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