With a customized Android experience combined with its Sense UI in tow, the HTC Aria might seem small, but its slim figure may be hiding something impressive. Is your curiosity piqued? Read on to find out.
While the Aria closely resembles the HTC Droid Incredible with its distinct circular optical pad, it actually borrows some design styles of both the Incredible and the HTC HD mini. We like its miniscule size that slips inconspicuously into any pocket without much hassle. The soft touch coating all around the handset gives it a solid feel while not attracting much smudges. However, we were somewhat surprised by how heavy (107.7g) the device feels when you hold it, since it looks deceptively lighter from afar. Regardless, the handset feels well-constructed enough to survive from the normal everyday usage.
With some tight corners to work around on the handset, the HTC Aria offers a decent 3.2” TFT display which has a resolution of 320 x 480 pixels and support for 262k colours. The colours appear to be vibrant but reading texts are a problem as they are tiny. Viewing angles outdoors on the phone are decent.
The volume up/down control and dedicated power button that offers a decent response when touched. The phone also allows for a natural grip without the need for your fingers to travel far. The four touch-sensitive buttons are found directly below the touchscreen which may irritate some users when typing on the on-screen QWERTY. The usual 3.5mm audio jack is located on the top while the bottom side contains the microUSB port, microphone and a small hole for a lanyard. The back of the phone has the distinctive four screws similar to the HTC HD mini with while the 5MP auto-focus camera and speaker phone are found squarely near the top part. Under the back cover lies its access to the battery, SIM card slot, and microSD card slot.
The home screen can host various widgets, shortcuts, and folders up to seven pages. Some widgets come with compact versions that do not fill up much screen space but certain ones like FriendStream require a whole page. It provides the latest updates and also allows for simultaneous Facebook and Twitter status updates. We would say it was innovative if it weren’t for the close resemblance to the Happenings widget of Motorola’s MOTOBLUR interface.
Home screen page settings can be saved in the form of themes called Scenes or by using one of the preloaded ones made by HTC. You are also able to set up several email accounts but will only be able to use one at a time. Although the HTC Aria offers automated email setup if you are registered with a popular service provider, it seems like only Blackberry devices can automatically handle the task without the need for manual entry for settings relating to specific servers.
The HTC Aria’s processor gave the web browsing a more than acceptable experience as pages loaded quickly, render properly while taking advantage of Flash Lite support. The web browser also automatically resizes text with each zoom.
The HTC Aria is a quad-band GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) device which will enable you to make and receive calls worldwide, however, it’s dual-band UMTS (850/1900 MHz) connectivity only allows it to receive 3G speeds domestically. It also offers 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi to allow data connectivity when abroad while the Bluetooth 2.1 may be used as an alternative.
Photo quality with the HTC Aria’s 5-megapixel auto-focus camera is unexpectedly pleasant and satisfactory which produces sharp looking images, provided you have a steady hand, but colours do have a harsher tone to them. Outdoor shots with good lighting came out the best as expected but the quality was quite bad for indoor conditions as they were more fuzzy looking. The interface is similar to other HTC Sense UI phones whereby you simply tap an area to focus and press the optical pad to take a shot.
The VGA (640 x 480) videos that the HTC Aria captures may not contain the most details, but they’re more than sufficient for most individuals who want to preserve some candid moments. Videos were pretty smooth with its 29fps capture rate but its audio had some slight static noise in the background, but it was still distinct enough to make out conversations that were recorded.
Since it uses a 3.2” display, the HTC Aria provides an acceptable video playback experience. It was able to play a movie trailer encoded in H.264 720 x 306 resolution which didn’t stutter during playback. Although the audio wasn’t the best, it should be readily overlooked by most people.
The audio player is certainly a sight to behold. It contains various filtering options but lacks an equalizer. You can also visit the Android market for another player if you prefer. Audio was audible albeit with some sharp tones which should be okay as long as you don’t lay the phone on its back squarely as that’ll block the speaker.
Pros and Cons
The only cons we could find are its cramped QWERTY keyboard.
Although we are pleased with its performance and looks, some things obviously don’t work in its favour. The asking price isn’t quite midrange without a contract.
While the HTC Legend was almost charged as much as the Aria, the 2 major differences lie with its AMOLED screen and aluminum unibody.