|The HTC Gratia is the European twin of the HTC Aria (an AT&T only device launched exclusively in the US). The Gratia was first launched in Europe, and subsequently worldwide. It is positioned in the midrange segment; its target market being phone users who want a relatively cheap and cost effective alternative to other Android heavyweights.
The Gratia runs Android 2.2 Froyo, which is impressive considering that other droids in its range typically run Android 2.1, including the Aria. The differences between the Android 2.2 and the Android 2.1 will be highlighted later on.
Powering the Gratia is the Qualcomm MSM 7227 600 Mhz processor with 384 MB of RAM; another impressive feature for a phone with its price tag. Multitaskers will certainly be pleased with its efficiency. It can support up to 32GB microSD cards.
The Gratia comes loaded with the popular, well-designed 3rd party user interface shell, the HTC Sense UI. HTC users familiar with the Sense UI will recognise the large clock which also provides weather forecasts occupying a huge portion of the main homescreen. Users get seven homescreens, all of which can be populated by an array of widgets of their choice, such as Stocks and Twitter widgets. Furthermore, the Android Marketplace offers a wide variety of downloadable HTC widgets to fulfil users’ needs. The Sense UI comes with 6 custom Scenes – which are basically preset homescreen setups. Each Scene comes with different homescreen widgets and wallpaper. The Leap View option allows users to view the thumbnails of all seven homescreens simply by pressing the home key, or by “pinching” the screen. Combined with the Sense UI, the Android 2.2 provides top-notch App performance and a fuss-free android experience.
With the Gratia, social networking has never been easier. Keeping abreast of the latest updates by your contacts is a breeze, be it via widgets, apps or the remarkable “People” tab, which is actually the Gratia’s contact encyclopaedia – its phonebook. The various phonebook tabs hold almost every single detail of each of your contacts; from the basics such as email addresses and numbers, to their latest events and updates from different social networks, to their online photo albums.
The Gratia has a 5 megapixel built-in camera with an image resolution of 2592×1952 pixels. Additional features are autofocus, face detection and support for photo geo-tagging. However, photo quality is nothing to shout about and continuous auto focus is draggy. Combine that with the lack of flash assistance and a dedicated shutter key, and you get a less-than-enjoyable shooting experience. The camera is also capable of recording VGA resolution video, which is not one of the Gratia’s strong points either. Avid video-makers will notice that the videos only manage a surprisingly low bitrate. Users who are into video calling will also be disappointed to know that the Gratia does not come with a secondary camera. All in all, the Gratia’s fails to impress in this department.
Although the Gratia may not be the best camera phone in the market, it certainly delivers on the connectivity front. It supports 2G (quadband GSM/GPRS/EDGE) and 3G (HSDPA – up to 7.2mbps; HSUPA – up to 2mbps). Local wireless connectivity comes in the form of WiFi 802.11 b/g and Bluetooth v2.1 with AD2P. It also comes with a microUSB cable which connects the phone to the user’s computer to enable battery-charging, access to the phone’s disk drive, phone syncing and USB tethering. A highlight of the Android 2.2 platform is its ability to turn the phone which runs it, in this case, the Gratia, into a portable WiFi hotspot that supports up to 8 encryptable connections.
Users who enjoy browsing the web will be pleased to know that the Gratia comes with a powerful flash-enabled browser. The flash support is a welcome addition, but is unfortunately only ideal for basic flash games. The browser itself is easy to use, and allows for smooth, hassle-free web browsing that users have come to expect from Android devices.
Pros and Cons