Hands-On Review: HTC Fuze for AT&T

htc-fuze-pic-1

The all-new HTC Fuze for AT&T

This past week I was looking for a new phone for AT&T (my other phone finally died), and wanted WiFi, touchscreen and a full keyboard. Just my luck, AT&T finally decided to release the HTC Fuze this past Tuesday, and I, naturally, went right in the next day and picked one up. My thoughts? Should you get this as your next AT&T phone? Read on!

Features

The Build

  • Nice, Cool Design– This is not iPhone or Blackberry Bold thin, let’s put that out right now, but this phone does have BOTH a full QWERTY keyboard AND a touchscreen, where the iPhone is only touch, and the Bold only keyboard. Oh, and it has a sweet DIAMOND pattern on the back (got a lot of wows when I brought this to school for the first time 😉 ) The phone also feels great in the hand.

att tilt and htc fuze

HTC Fuze (on right, compared to AT&T Tilt)

  • 2.8 inch VGA Touchscreen– This thing definitely holds its own with the AMAZING screens on the iPhone and the Bold, and I actually think this is the best screen I have ever seen on a Windows Mobile phone (without a doubt beating its predecessor, the AT&T Tilt). The screen is very quick and responsive and pix and video look superb (even YouTube videos– through the hidden app; see here, then copy the app, go to Windows–> Start Menu–> Programs and paste the app so you’ll see it in your programs list)
  • Full Keyboard– I love this keyboard. Yes, the Bold also has an awesome keyboard, but the one on the Fuze is amazing. After a day of use I was firing texts off like I had the phone for months. It also has a few on-screen keyboards (full QWERTY and a Blackberry Pearl-like SureType keyboard with 2 letters per key) which work just as well for me as the iPhone keyboard would.

htc fuze keyboard

HTC Fuze Keyboard

The Cool Stuff

  • TouchFlo 3DHTC (the makers of the Fuze) did an AMAZING job with this, and this is so easy and so much fun and to use (yes I said fun). All your stuff is on the home screen. You just drag the little icon down and you are able switch between several tabs for Home, E-Mail, Texts, Music (play your music right there on the homepage and scroll your songs with a Cover Flow-like feature), Pix, Internet, Programs. To go through these menus, all you need to do is just flip through them (the fun part).
    • Check out this video (really of the original HTC Touch pro which doesn’t look exactly similar but works identically to the Fuze)

  • Accelerometer– Like the iPhone, so for pix, videos and internet, just flip the phone to its side to view in full screen!
  • GPS and AT&T Navigator– For GPS, though I would recommend Google Maps- it’s free compared to the AT&T Navigator service (check it here).
  • AT&T Cellular Video and AT&T Music– For watching video and downloading music on the go.
  • Mobile Windows Media Player 10– This allows you to sync up your videos and music with your computer’s Windows Media Player (similar to iPhone and iTunes).

The Basics

  • Windows Mobile 6.1– While this OS could be slow at times, I found it very workable, easy to use, and love the fact that there are so many apps out there that I could download on to the phone (such as Google Maps). I think this is just as good as the Blackberry OS on the Bold, but still find the mobile version of Apple’s OS X on the iPhone superior to Windows Mobile.
  • AT&T 3G– I don’t have an internet plan, so I couldn’t test how well the network worked, but the phone also has….
  • WiFi!– I love this. WiFi sets up quick and easy (though I did have a few times where I needed to retype my networks security code- very annoying), but the phone also has a FULL Opera Web Browser, which works great (without question better than the Bold’s, though I don’t think its better than Safari on the iPhone/ iPod Touch).
  • 3.2 Megapixel Camera with Flash and Video– This isn’t a killer feature, but does a nice job taking pix, and the camera is better than both the iPhone and Bold.
  • Great Call Quality– Phones need to make calls, and I was blown away by the call quality on this thing. Calls sounded unbelievably clear on my end (both on and off speaker), and the people I talked to said I sounded clear as well. Definitely good when a phone makes good calls 😉

Drawbacks

Core Issues

  • Bad Battery– While I was able to get through a full school day (about 11hours for me- brutal I know), I made it just barely- and that was WITHOUT HEAVY USE (like a lot of calls and texts). True, the WiFi was on and off throughout the day, but it was only on for about a minute (I couldn’t get on any networks unfortunately), and it was just pathetic- this phone needs more juice.
  • WiFi isn’t the easiest to connect to– Many times I had trouble connecting on first try to a wireless network, though once I did get on, browsing was awesome and fast.

Annoying Problems

  • Difficult to wake up phone- Waking up the Fuze can only be done by either pressing the power button at the top or sliding out the keyboard or stylus. While the latter is awesome (it’s magnetic after all!), I still don’t like the fact that pressing other keys like the home, or talk/end keys don’t wake up the phone.
  • Screen doesn’t turn on for a text– Also will take some getting used to. You feel the phone vibrate (which could also be better if it got a little stronger), but you have to go through the annoyance of waking it up (see directly above) to get the screen back on to view the text.
  • Screen doesn’t stay on when you tap it during a call– Yes the reason behind this is that you don’t mess up your call by accident, but with the Tilt, the screen would go off during a call, and when you tapped it, it went back on- don’t know why the same isn’t here.

The Cost

  • Could run up a quick internet bill– This phone relies a lot on the mobile web, and without realizing it you could see yourself on the AT&T internet and not WiFi (when you lose WiFi it automatically takes you to 3G). I may even find myself soon buying an internet plan for $15-$30 a month because this could be a big problem.
  • Expensive– Even with all these drawbacks, this phone is still very impressive and one I would recommend, but the price is pretty high right now: $299 on a 2 year contract. I expect this to drop by the end of the year/early next year, and I believe AT&T has this price right now because it is the launch price. However, if I didn’t need a phone so badly, I would’ve waited and saved some $$$.

Closing Points

This phone is a joy to use- its stylish, functional, and just plain cool and fun. I would recommend this without question for anyone looking for a great texting phone for AT&T. Without question this phone is better than its predecessor- the AT&T Tilt (I find it kills it in pretty much every category). But the high price and the drawbacks are somethings to think about, and you should definitely try this out in store to make sure it is the right phone for you.

What you think- this a phone you see yourself getting, iPhone or Bold more your style? How bout a different, cheaper AT&T phone like the Pantech Matrix or Samsung Propel (see here for info on them). Let us know in the comments.

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Posted on November 19, 2008, in Cell Phones, First Look/Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. so i didnt quite understand do you have to have the internet to use this phone or can you just use wi fi when you do actually want to use the internet cause i dont surf the net very often but like alot of the features let me know thanks

  2. Hey Cody,

    No you don’t need to use the internet to use the phone, but based on my experience with the phone, if you plan on using just Wi Fi you may wanna check out an internet plan. My problems came partially because I wanted to use just the Wi Fi on the phone for internet which I also didn’t use very often. The phone though randomly would switch from Wi Fi to 3G- even when I had a good connection to Wi Fi- which helped build up a nice little bill for me (sarcasm 😉 ).

    Though I will say this- minus that whole little Wi Fi to 3G problem, the phone is a really solid choice.

    Hope this helps, and feel free to respond if you got any other questions.

    All the best,
    -Eli

  3. man i want a fuze soo baddd. been researching this phone since it freakin came out hahaa. was gonna get a tilt but when i saw this come out i knew i was getting it. but the moneyy!!!! :[ quite depressing.

  4. I’m all into this phone. It is easily one of the best phones htc has released in the US. I purchased my phone almost 2 weeks ago and the only regret I have is not getting a case (my at&t had just run out of them). Besides its a phone with the windows mobile operating system, which means there will be many releases in updates throughout this year. The problem noted above with the wifi and 3g are simple. Just go to your settings tab under touch flo and click on communications. And just turn off your data connection and leave on the wifi. Hope that clears anything problems up. The phone does crash, which has come to be a fact of life for me, but you just have to take your time and remember to update your roms. Phones normally fail people when they need them most, so this must be realized.

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