HTC Amaze 4G Review

October 10, 2011
32

Say hello to the new HTC flagship device over on T-Mobile, the HTC Amaze 4G. This smartphone takes everything we love from the popular myTouch series at T-Mobile and blends it with the fancy design of the HTC Sensation. Combine those together and we have a powerful smartphone that has both the speed, and the looks to impressive most people. With T-Mobiles brand new HSPA+ 42 network speeds and an improved dual-core processor from Qualcomm on board, this surely is one speedy smartphone. Head on down below for all the details, pictures, and hands-on video of the new HTC Amaze 4G from T-Mobile.

Hardware

HTC is very well known for their exceptional build quality and hardware and as usual, this is no different. The Amaze 4G seems to even take it up a notch from recently released HTC smartphones because the build quality is truly stellar. This is one solid feeling phone in your hand, it's actually a bit heavy if you ask me, especially since I've also been enjoying the extremely lightweight Galaxy S II for T-Mobile.

HTC Amaze 4G hands-on and unbox video:

So, the Amaze 4G, we have a 4.3" qHD (Quarter High Definition) Super LCD display with a 960 x 540 resolution, 8 megapixel camera around back with dual LED flash and 2 MP front for video chatting, all on a device sized around 5.1 x 2.5 x 0.46 thick weighing in at 6.0 oz. The screen sticks out in a weird manor but more on that below. The back is covered in a soft-touch matte coating on the top and bottom, split and wrapped neatly with an aluminum frame and bezel just as the HTC Sensation before it. All of this is powered by a dual-core 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 1GB of RAM, and comes nicely with 16GB of internal storage. Here's all the info from our hands-on coverage.

One unique thing about the Amaze 4G is HTC's decided to go with a dedicated camera button, something the Sensation didn't offer. Not only that but we also have a dedicated hardware camcorder (video) button, they've provided both with the Amaze 4G to give us easy access to use the amazing 8 MP camera -- a camera T-Mobile claims as "the most advanced camera of any smartphone".

For a tour around the device I'll start with the left side. We have nothing but the single micro-USB port from HTC. This is a proprietary micro-USB port from HTC, but it also works with all regular micro-USB ports and MHL adapters both. Its not shaped like most micro-USB ports but doesn't make any difference I've seen thus far. Then around to the right we have the volume up/down rocker, and both of the dedicated camera buttons mentioned above.

Then up top as usual we have a 3.5mm headphone jack and the power button. The power/wake button here is at a slight angle and pretty far to the right edge, and its a big squishy and I find myself missing and having to hit it twice at times. I'm sure it'll be fine once I'm used to it. I mentioned above that the display was a little different. The Amaze 4G's entire aluminum body is in a frame and detaches from the screen and innards of the smartphone, just like the HTC Sensation. Only the change here is the display actually sits above the frame and is not flush. I'm not sure why HTC decided to go this route but you can clearly see what I mean in the images below. Not a con by any means, but just a hardware aspect I wanted to point out.

Around to the front of the Amaze 4G we have the usual light and proximity sensors, the earpiece grill, and then that front facing camera. On the bottom it features the standard four capacitive Android buttons that we all know plenty about so they aren't worth mentioning.

Flip things over you'll see that special 8 MP camera that does all the magic, the dual LED flash, speakerphone grill and some noise cancellation pinholes. Here is the soft coated matte rear and aluminum that wraps around the device giving it a very solid and durable feeling while in the hand. As I said before, it is a little heavy but nothing that should concern users.

Software

We have Android 2.3.4 along with HTC Sense UI 3.0 (no 3.5 here) and just as you'd expect things are completely smooth and fluid as always. HTC prides themselves on their exceptional user interface overlay we all know as Sense UI and we have nothing new here. Sense 3.0 has been around for a little while and we should all be plenty familiar with it. The overall experience is butter smooth and everything runs great, no lag or issues here but that's never really been an issue for HTC Sense UI to begin with (hello blur).

As far as bloatware is concerned, as usual with HTC phones we have HTC Watch, Hub, Music and a few other things, the rest are all T-Mobile's doing. The list is pretty short so that is nice -- we have 411 & more (really guys, ever heard of Google), Lookout, More for Me, T-Mobile My Account, My Device, Polaris Office, T-Mobile Mail & TV, TeleNav Navigator and Zinio Reader. We do have a "tags" app for NFC but it appears to not fully function for me.



Performance

As usual we've ran a few benchmarks as well as speedtests. We wanted to test performance now we have an upgraded 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, and T-Mobile has enabled their fastest 4G network yet -- HSPA+ 42 in select cities and the Amaze 4G is one of the few new devices to take full advantage of the faster network speeds. Initial impressions are highly favorable and T-Mobile seems to keep up with Verizon 4G LTE surprisingly.

First up here is our Quadrant results, the HTC Amaze 4G only scores a 2800 give or take. This is higher than most stock NVIDIA Tegra 2 devices running at 1.0 GHz, but sadly is no where near what the Galaxy S II gets in benchmarks, although the Amaze 4G does have a lot more pixels to deal with being qHD vs standard 480 x 800 on the SGSII.

We also tested Vellamo Benchmark as it tests the devices overall performance and how the hardware and software work together as one. Developed in part by Qualcomm, this shows page rendering, browser load times, JavaScript performance and more and is a great way to gauge performance. The Amaze 4G scored higher than any smartphone lately out of the gate, at stock results.

Speedtest

T-Mobiles new HSPA+ 42 improvements to their 4G network seem to really be blazing along quite well. I've ran multiple tests at home, and in different parts across Las Vegas and I'm getting great performance. I'm getting comparable download speeds, and often times beating that of Verizon 4G LTE and their new DROID Bionic -- well done T-Mobile. The Amaze 4G has averaged around 7-9 Mbps download speeds, often peaking around 10 and 11. Upload speeds are a bit worse and rarely went above 1 Mbps for me, that is one area where Verizon 4G LTE still beats T-Mobile.

Here you can see I've ran multiple tests a few different days and at different locations and have experienced optimal speeds throughout. I'm loving the faster T-Mobile speeds so far and am very impressed with the stability in general. With 4G LTE from Verizon it often drops to 3G then back to 4G LTE and you have moments where you must wait for the connection to resume video playback or streaming of audio. With T-Mobile I've had solid speeds consistently here in Vegas.

Camera

We must talk a little about the camera especially because T-Mobile insists this is the best camera on any smartphone. So far I'd have to completely agree. It is either one of the best, or right at the top along with the Samsung 8MP camera on the Galaxy S II. The Amaze 4G has one of the best cameras coming in at 8 megapixels. We have excellent low light performance with a wide aperture lens that snaps quickly. Face detection, dual led flash, zero shutter lag, smart shot (takes 5 in a row and you choose the best one), ClearShot HDR when you need high-contrast lighting and more.

Like mentioned above -- the Amaze 4G has a dedicated buttons for both pictures or video, just push and hold even if the phone locked and it instantly enters into camera mode for the user to capture that perfect moment on video or with an image. We also have full 1080p video capture and here is a quick demo video showing just how impressive both the Amaze 4G and the Galaxy S II really are with 1080p video recording thanks to our pal Vincent from SlashGear.

Amaze 4G vs Galaxy S II: 1080p recording and audio quality

While the audio quality is much louder from HTC, the Galaxy S II seems a bit more natural and easy to listen to but both are great with 1080p video capture as seen in the video above. HTC also looks warmer and more natural if you ask me.

Now for some images I've snapped a few photos with the Amaze 4G and its 8 megapixel camera and here are a few test samples below. (Isn't my puppy cute?)

Battery Life

Battery life is pretty subpar actually. We have a 1730 mAh battery with the Amaze 4G, when comparing it to the Sensation 4G and its 1520 mAh battery the Amaze 4G seems to actually not last as long. I've used both all weekend and my Sensation lasted a few hours longer each day. This could be that powerful 1.5 GHz processor, or maybe the faster networks speeds, either way I wasn't as impressed as I thought I'd be. Then if we really want to talk battery, I also have the Galaxy S II for T-Mobile here with me and it outclasses the Amaze 4G across the board. Here is both devices after about 9 hours of moderate to light usage, the Galaxy S II was actually used more and had the screen on much more than the Amaze 4G yet battery life was twice as good. I don't even need to explain, just look at the image below.

The Galaxy S II has the same 1.5 GHz dual-core processor and actually a bigger display yet lasted longer. Even though it has a larger battery at 1850 mAh I still find the HTC results a bit worrying. Although for the average user we did achieve 9 hours of usage and that should last through any users day with a top off at night to get you through til morning.

Wrap-Up

It's wrap up time and even though I mentioned the Galaxy S II a few times (hard not to) the Amaze 4G is a pretty stellar offering from T-Mobile and HTC. I only mention the SGSII here because they are both available from T-Mobile starting Wednesday, October 12th so I felt I needed to mention the competition at least a little bit.

Obviously smartphone purchases often come down to user needs and preference, I simply state what I see and give a few awesome photos for everyone to get a second look at the awesome hardware. Many readers already have their mind made up and just like to look. Some might want the exceptional and unrivaled build quality of HTC along with their awesome UI, others may want something thinner and lighter in the upcoming Galaxy S II. Both have awesome screens, powerful dual-core processors and the latest Android 2.3 Gingerbread, so the choice is yours. While I've always loved HTC build quality and use a HTC Sensation 4G for my daily phone, the extra weight from the Amaze 4G was a little bit of a concern for me. However, if you want to feel an extremely durable smartphone in your hand that both looks and feels like it's worth more than a few bucks -- the Amaze 4G is for you.

HTC doesn't cut any corners and uses some of the best hardware around and it clearly shows with the Amaze 4G. We'll chalk this up as another awesome, powerful, and delightfully well rounded smartphone from HTC. You can pre-order the HTC Amaze 4G starting right now for just $259 over at T-Mobile.com and it starts shipping on Wednesday, October 12th.

Now enjoy all the photos in their full sized glory in the full gallery below, then check out the detailed spec sheet at the end thanks to our http://device.ac android device database.

[device id=1659]


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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paul-Reed/1530570047 Paul Reed

    Hey, i need to know one thing about this phone compared to the Galaxy S II. One qualm i have had for the longest with HTC devices is the horrible headphone amp that they include with the phones, so I am always wishing for louder music. The galaxy s II i had on sprint on the other hand, blew my socks off and i was unable to listen to the loudest setting, similar to an iPhone/pod. 

    Can you compare the two’s volume through headphones?

    • http://www.androidcommunity.com Cory Gunther

      @facebook-1530570047:disqus Yes I have them both sitting here and will give it a try later tonight after I get some dinner, feel free to check back and I’ll comment

      • Pusjdrops

        How about the external speaker on the Amaze compared to the Epic Touch? I was surprised that the ET had such a loud speakers for podcasts and ringtones compared to the Charge and Nexus S.
        Lately all HTC phones such as the Thunderbolt and evi3d I’ve found to have super low volume weak speakers.
        Wondering if the Amaze is at least as loud as the Epic Touch.
        Thanks

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paul-Reed/1530570047 Paul Reed

        yeah, thats also an issue with mostly recent HTC handsets. I had the sensation and the g2 before it,..the g2 was much better with regards to speakerphone volume. They both had sucky headphone amps though

      • http://www.androidcommunity.com Cory Gunther

        The Galaxy S II speaker for ringtones and speakerphone is definitely louder than the Amaze 4G, but I’ve not tested audio out with headphones and 3.5mm headphone jack yet guys.

        Isn’t that why HTC partnered with Beats? lol

      • Lordmanic88

        Wondering what volume from the headphones on the Amaze is like?  

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paul-Reed/1530570047 Paul Reed

        Ok, I’m back. How’d it sound? Specifically, volume level and bass clarity, something that HTC units  seem to lack

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1586820069 steadymobb

    What kind of pup is that

    • http://www.androidcommunity.com Cory Gunther

      @steadymobb:disqus that is a golden doodle. Mostly Golden though

  • Anonymous

    Wow, awesome review Cory.  I’m really looking forward to this phone.  I have a Galaxy S Samsung Vibrant.  And while I’ve been very happy with the performance, the aesthetics and build quality are lacking.  I’m excited to get a sexier, better built, and heavier phone in my paws.  I know it’s strictly opinion and a lot of people like lighter phones, but I like to know i’m holding something premium.  The one thing I never liked about my phone is how plasticy and light it is.  And man, HTC makes a great looking phone!

    • http://www.androidcommunity.com Cory Gunther

      Thanks! Yes HTC makes some durable and well build phones that is for sure.

      The Galaxy S II headed to T-Mobile is coming up next, it is a great phone too and build quality is much better than the original S but they’ve kept that lightweight and almost cheap feeling, but it doesn’t feel cheap by any means.

      I’m glad you enjoyed my review

  • Anonymous

    That pitcher (32) was taken at rainbow and warm springs. The 4G signal in this part of the valley is pretty dismal. The tower right after the one at this intersection behind the housing development is EDGE only, the next one has a weak 3G signal and the towers that are all near or in Mountains Edge have no backhaul and only run on a single T1 it seems. These have all gotten 3G this part of the year, so.. but, it’s disappointing. I’m assuming you didn’t get the results you got on these towers (Blue Diamond/Durango/Buffalo)

    The tower at Rainbow and Warm Springs has HSPA+ but the ee53 sector pointing towards the shopping center is running at severely reduced coverage. It used to cover the entire EDGE signal, now it drops out as soon as you turn off of Arroyo Canyon. All in all, I’m suprised you got 10Mbps because without 42Mbps the speeds are 1-3Mbps at this intersection

    • http://www.androidcommunity.com Cory Gunther

      @watbetchh:disqus Hmm.. you are close.

      That picture is actually Stephanie and Arroyo Grande to be completely accurate and those speeds were actually achieved in that general location. I’ve lived in that general area for more than a few years and have always had 4G with T-Mobile since my Nexus One.

      Almost all of las vegas and Henderson I get full 4G even out on the lake. Up by blue diamand and Red Rock I don’t.. I take Verizon phones with me when I go to Red Rock. lol

      • Jimmah555

        I live on Tenaya between Robindale and Windmill and I never get above EDGE (sometimes only 1G), even if I go outside. My old house was behind the Smith’s shopping center on Rainbow and Windmill and had the same results. T-Mobile coverage blows in most of Las Vegas. I will be somewhere and it says I have 4G, I run a speed test and get 0.75MB down and 0.51 up. This is a consistent result no matter where I go other than downtown (5-6MB down average) or near the CSN campus on Charleston (2.5-3MB down average). 4G coverage in most of the town is spotty at best and really is terrible. I’m seriously thinking about switching to someone else, but I love their phones and don’t want to pay for new ones at higher priced carriers.

      • Jimmah555

        FYI I have a Sensation 4G. I’ve been with T-Mobile for over 7 years here in Las Vegas and I’ve been an Android fan since I owned the G1 on it’s release day. I’ve had the G2 (now the Wife’s), and now the Sensation 4G. Any 4G device I’ve used with T-Mobile has been severely disappointing most of the time unless I’m on WiFi. I’d love to be able to have good data speeds with T-Mobile, but it’s just not possible on a consistent basis. Even when I lived at Cimmaron and Spring Mountain the coverage was terrible. I really hope they get their act together with coverage for the entire town, or I’m going with VZW for pure reliability and the Nexus Prime.

  • sberry

    So my husband and I both got these yesterday (his last phone died and mine got run over by a garbage truck).  Anywho, I love this phone, except that we can’t get ‘qik’ to work for the life of us.  In terms of size, it doesn’t really feel like much of a phone to me, but rather a small tablet (no complaints, just a thought). Other than that, it’s so easy to use and I love it!  I just wished ‘qik’ worked!!!!!!!! 

    • http://www.androidcommunity.com Cory Gunther

      @88a207d4a23731dc7e8c5e88b8ee0fd9:disqus Use Google Talk. The Amaze 4G has Google Talk and will allow for video calling.

      It will be listed as “Talk” in the app tray, sign in and call your husband. Enjoy!

    • Donnellc27

      you should download tango another video chat app. pretty similar to qik

  • http://techsmash.in/ Techsmash

    Is it worth me leaving my Evo behind on Sprint? Decisions, decisions…….

  • Zamand1987

    Htc makes great looking phones Thats why i love HTC but …….. j hare the fact that they are stuck with this LCD screen hope their next phone Will come with amoled …

    • Zamand1987

      And uf anyone could tell me how to get right to left fonts such as Arabic ??? My current phone is galaxy S2

  • jack yang

    If you want to buy the good and cheap product. I recommend you to shopping to totobay.com. The china largest shopping webside.

  • Kalum Fernando

    greatest phone from HTC, I love it …
    here is another good review

    http://www.hotbestproducts.blogspot.com

  • http://MobileGenius.wordpress.com JM

    I read this review again wondering whether I might be better served by switching to the Amaze versus the Galaxy S II that I currently have.  I am not inclined to do so now.  However, I was wondering about the battery like on both devices.  Can either truly make it through a full day with the 4G radio ON?  

    I am looking up at the photo you have of the battery use graphs of each phone and my GSII resembles the one on the Amaze rather than the one for the GSII used here.  In fact, the only way I can manage battery longevity similar to what is depicted in your photo above is by turning the GSII to EDGE only data.  With 4G on it has never made it past 7-9hours.

    I only sync GMail, Google+, and my Exchange server. Nothing else. 

    Did you turn off the 4G radio on the GSII for the comparison? 

  • http://www.trafficbuilder.biz/ seo service provider

    greatest phone from HTC, I love it …

  • Fahad

    I ‘m wondering if anyone else has this issue with this phone. I don’t hear it ringing if I am outside the room the phone is in. The speaker is on the back of the phone, if the phone is laying on it’s back it decimates the sound from the speaker, I’ve noticed. The speaker as it is is not very loud. My old I-phone speaker was much better. Not to mention the battery life on this phone like you mention is horrible. But the main issue for me is the sound, why would you have the speaker on the back of the phone? Or is that normal?

    • Seti73

      bad speaker?  I have mine set on “Old Phone”, and I can hear it several rooms away.

  • http://twitter.com/wwwel7lcom yasser

    Good posting, im subscribing to your rss. Many thanks once more
    http://www.el7z.com/
    http://www.el7l.com/

  • Taskerdon

    my amaze does not stay charged. any suggestions

  • Gabriel

    Anyone who is a gadget freak like me will love this phone, I just got it yesterday. The battery is the only question mark in my mind.How in the world can I get it to last longer?

  • Paws

    This may be a bit late news but if you turn the recording audio “Stereo” to “Off” the sound will be much more clear.