HTC Imagio Review
February 9, 2010

After reviewing the Samsung Omnia II, I was skeptical about reviewing another Windows Mobile 6.5 device, but after my time with the HTC Imagio I can say that if done right, WinMo doesn’t have to be a painful, stylus filled experience. Matter of fact, thanks to HTC’s TouchFLO 3D interface and one of the most responsive resistive touch screens I’ve had the pleasure of using, the Imagio proved to be one of the better Verizon smartphones I’ve had the opportunity to use. Read on to find out what makes the Imagio stand out.

For starters, lets look at the hardware. The Imagio is an attractive phone, from top to bottom. On the exterior the phone stays true to most of HTC’s recent touchscreen devices, as it features smooth, rounded edges, along with a dimpled bezel to give the phone a very sleek face. Across the back you get a combination of plastic and the typical soft-case shell. Another feature you’ll find on the back of the phone is a kickstand that can be used to prop the Imagio into an upright position so you can enjoy Verizon’s Mobile TV service. The Imagio’s display is also an attention grabber, measuring in at 3.6” (480x800). Also on board are a TV tuner, 5-megapixel camera, video recorder (capable of grabbing (640x480) video footage), and a 3.5 mm headphone jack. The Imagio runs on a Qualcomm 528 MHz processor, 288 MB RAM and 512 MB ROM. The Imagio also boasts world-phone GSM/CDMA capabilities, and very good call quality to go along with all of its other physical assets.

On the software side of things the Imagio features HTC’s TouchFLO 3D interface, which effectively keeps Windows Mobile 6.5 hidden during most or your day-to-day interaction with the phone. When coupled with the Imagio’s surprisingly accurate and responsive touch screen, TouchFlo makes getting to and using your favorite features smooth and easy. Although TouchFLO lacks the customization freedom of HTC’s Sense (HTC Droid Eris, HTC Hero) user interface, it does offer enough flexibility and control to be a major asset. Being a Windows phone, the Imagio comes stocked with Microsoft Office Mobile, which will come in handy for business users who may need to open and edit docs on the fly. As far as messaging options the Imagio supports Microsoft Exchange, multiple e-mail accounts, and threaded sms messaging.

Multi-media features are another area where the Imagio is very strong. The Imagio includes a TV tuner and is Verizon’s first phone to utilize Verizon’s Mobile TV service, which has access to 15 channels. I was really impressed with the quality of the TV service, as the picture was very clear and channels were easily changed with the swipe of a finger. The Imagio’s camera has auto-focus built in and takes pretty good pictures in lighted settings. The camera does lack a flash feature however. Video recording also worked well during my time with the phone. Web browsing is something else the Imagio does fairly well as Opera Mobile 9.5 comes as the default browser, but after installing Skyfire my browsing experience went from average to very good. Skyfire has been a viable option for Window’s Mobile users for a couple of years now, and during my tests it didn’t disappoint, allowing me to surf at a faster pace and easily play Flash content. Rounding out the multi-media features are the phone’s media players. The Imagio comes with an HTC version and a Windows Mobile version. I preferred HTC’s as it offered the better looking and more useable interface. Audio and video sound and look great on the phone, and won’t disappoint music and video junkies.

In closing the Imagio is a powerful, feature-heavy device, in a sleek easy-to-use package. My biggest problem with the phone is it doesn’t ship with a memory card, which has become standard on most new smartphones. Minor complaint aside, the Imagio is right at the head of the class of Windows Mobile devices, and gives any open-minded shopper a serious option to consider if you’re on, or are planning to join the Verizon network. The Imagio retails for $199.99 on a 2-year contract.

Score: 8/10 (Great phone!)

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