Calling, Contacts, Messaging and Internet
The Contacts/Dialler interface has been a long standing strong point of HTC handsets. The app lets you either jump straight into scrolling through your contacts, or just type a number, but the best bit is that if you start typing a number or spelling out a name the list of contacts is whittled down to only those that match – it's such a quick and neat way of finding someone. Jump into a contact entry and you can also see their pictures and updates from Facebook and Twitter. It's simply the best interface for managing your contacts that we've ever encountered on a consumer oriented smartphone.
As for the actual calling experience, it's excellent thanks to a good quality noise cancelling microphone and reasonably loud earpiece. The speaker is nothing special but is on par with much of the competition – only the iPhone and a few BlackBerrys spring to mind as being better.
As for messaging, text messages are as well handled as on any current phone while email is mostly excellent. We still find it slightly odd that you have both a gmail and an email app but once you've loaded your accounts into the main email app it generally holds up very well. The only annoyance is that you can't show emails fully zoomed out, so you can't quickly scan the whole thing at once.
You can only zoom out so far from HTML emails, meaning you have to scroll round a bit more than we'd like.
The keyboard is excellent though, providing a good layout with keys that are large enough to easily hit even at high typing speeds. We don't particularly like having the secondary functions of the keys permanently on show, as it's a bit visually distracting, but it's an improvement on previous HTC keyboards where this was even more intrusive. We do like the addition of cursor keys though. These are useful for fine tuning cursor placement when writing and editing text, among other things.
Internet browsing is quite simply excellent. We do miss the extra screen size and resolution of the HTC One X and Sony Xperia S, and the old pentile screen issue is most noticeable here but neither change the fact that it's a good web browsing handset. The speed of the handset means pages render incredibly fast and the Android interface allows you to see so much more of a page than for instance on an iPhone or Windows Phone device. With Flash support also an option you also get a full web experience. We do have one bugbear, which is the removal of the tabs button from the URL bar meaning you have to enter a menu to swap between multiple web pages.