What really sets the HTC Rhyme apart from the rest of the smartphone fraternity is its host of bundled accessories, all of which come free with it.
The first is a speaker dock. This holds the phone horizontally and bolsters its audio abilities considerably, giving it enough oomph to suffice for quiet bedside listening, or you could use it as a portable speaker. You could, that is, if you keep the cable and a power source nearby, as it doesn't contain a battery. Once plugged in via its microUSB socket on the back, the dock will not only charge your phone (through the gold contacts on the back of the phone) but allow you to sync it with a computer as well. Also, despite the fact that the dock actually connects via Bluetooth, you can't connect to it wirelessly. Nevertheless, thanks to a nice solid build and stylish finish, it's a nice little addition.
The same can't really be said for the second accessory; a pair of earphones. These look similar to the Dr Dre Beats in-ear sets but while they match them for style (assuming you like purple), they don't satisfy when it comes to build or comfort. Their plasticky build wouldn't concern us too much normally considering they come bundled free with the phone but when we literally pulled them apart when trying to swap the rubber tip, we knew these weren't a high class set of 'phones. Moreover, while their sonic performance is okay, the large design meant only some of us could even get them to stay in our ears properly.
So we've had the good and the bad, so is the next accessory the ugly? Well, you could say so. Called the Charm, this peculiar purple cube sitting on the end of a 30cm cable is designed to clip to the strap of your handbag and flash at you whenever your phone, which of course is buried somewhere in the bottom of your bag, receives a message or call. It's an ingenious idea that does work but we can't help but wonder how many people would really use it. It's not that many people wouldn't want to use it but that because it requires being plugged into the headphone socket of the phone, it's all so much effort that we imagine most people would forget to ever plug it in – it needs to be wireless to really work.
Finally we come to look at value and it's here that the HTC Rhyme stumbles, as opposed to falls down completely. You do pay a small premium for those accessories and given that one of them is of debatable benefit and the other is largely useless, you're not really getting your money's worth. However, the speaker dock is an accessory that you could easily pay £30 or so for, so it largely makes up for any price premium. Nonetheless, there's no one thing that truly makes this a compelling handset aside from its smart looks.
At its most basic level the HTC Rhyme is a nice handset. It's simple design is lovely, it has enough performance to get by, and the included speaker dock is a nice addition. However, the Charm accessory and headphones don't really add much to the package, and given you do pay a small premium for them it becomes hard to recommend this phone. It's a perfectly decent mid-range handset, but no bargain.