AT&T is finally (slowly) getting into the Android game. You might think that I’m wrong there since the BACKFLIP is an Android device, but 1.5 and a weird hardware device does not make a good Android attempt. With the HTC Aria AT&T finally has a decent Android offering. You’ll read other reviews and a lot of people think that it isn’t because of a few things, but other this is a nice device. There are others coming, but for now this is the little Android that could.
First off the HTC Aria is quite a nice looking device. From pictures it only looks ok, but when you see it in person, it is another story. The Aria is small (feels great in your hand, just fits), slim, and feel sturdy. There is no loose parts here. The screen is sharp and crisp. Now I don’t know what is up with HTC and their to have a trackball of some sort on their device, but at least on the Aria it is a optical one, so it doesn’t take away from the device. I find it useless though, as I just use the screen for anything I need. There are four buttons on the bottom of the screen, but to my liking they are not physical keys. I like this. The back of the device has that nice smooth rubberized feeling to it, which is great at helping me keep a firm grip on the phone. The camera doesn’t stick out like the EVO, it is slim to the device which is very good as well.
[singlepic id=614 w=320 h=240 float=right]Software:
I say this is the first decent Android device on AT&T, because it is the first one to have Android 2.1 on it. The BACKFLIP had 1.5 I believe it was and that hardly was the DROID I was looking for lol. One of the major reasons why I wanted an 2.1 device was because of Google Maps Navigation Beta. If you remember when the Motorola DROID came out, it was the first to have this sweet edition to Google maps. I love the navigation beta. I’m always telling me I wish my car GPS device could have Google Maps on it. This is just nice to have. Beyond Google Maps Navigation, Android 2.1 is much nicer than the 1.5 days.
On top of Android 2.1 there is HTC’s Sense UI as well. I’m still on the fence with the Sense UI. I mean yes it does look good, but I kind of like vanilla Android as well. But having Sense UI on the Aria didn’t take away from the device, and I’m kind of getting use to it now, so it doesn’t bother me as much.
A couple reviews mentioned that the fact that it has a 600Mhz processor as a negative. I disagree, performance has been great so far for this phone. Switching screens has been quick and smooth with no lag time. Launching applications quick and pain less. I have yet to have a problem with the performance on this device.
[singlepic id=616 w=320 h=240 float=left]Battery Life
Surprisingly battery life has been really good on this phone. I’m used to any smartphone getting maybe almost a full day. the Aria fair very well in my batter test. Once test I did was have it unplugged from 7pm one night, until the battery was close to dying. I got all the way until the next day late afternoon. I was going to a event, so I charged it maybe about 15 minutes, but that carried me all the way until 11pm ish. So really that was very impressive.
Then I did a more real world test where I actively used the phone through out the day. This last might from disconnect at 7:30am all the way until bedtime around 11pm ish. This is very good by my accounts as this represents my normal routine with my use of phones throughout the day. Mind you this was on 3G all day, no switching to EDGE, and limited time connected via WiFi. So I would have to give batter life a plus mark!
Overall the HTC Aria is a great device, it had gonna some bad press due to the no side loading of apps (which I hope will be solved once it is rooted) and it being compared to devices like the Nexus One, EVO, and soon the DROID X. But truthfully this is AT&T first Android device that even has some relevance in the Android space. Although there is the Samsung Captivate coming, the Aria is still a device worth purchasing, I like it!