There's a lot of negative connotation out there when one says "female phone," but the HTC Rhyme is aiming to change that (even if it doesn't want to do so officially). the 3.7-inch Verizon smartphone arrived at my doorstep and I couldn't wait to slip right into its
purple plum packaging. Even if you're not swayed by the feminine touches, this phone has some compelling accessories right out of the box that are definitely worth your attention.
The first thing you notice when you pick up the plum-colored Rhyme is HTC's typically solid build quality. Make no mistake: despite the more dull affairs that used to mark the sub-category, the Rhyme is a quality device that stretches into the upper ranges. A year ago this would have qualified as a "superphone" with its 1GHz processor, and it's got the performance, fit and finish to prove it. The phone comes in other colors like grey, but ours is extremely... plum.
The phone itself features Android 2.3 Gingerbread (yes!) with HTC's Sense 3.5 running on top. There's no surprises here if you've checked out one of HTC's branded devices lately, but the additions are quick, unobtrusive and generally useful. A single Micro USB port hangs out on the left side, covered with a plastic protector. Slide off the battery cover and you can see that there's no room to spare in the device, and HTC has provided users with an 8GB MicroSD card for music, video and photo storage. The 3.7-inch, 800 x 480 Super LCD screen is flanked by a 5MP camera on the back and a VGA camera on the front.
But what really sets the Rhyme apart is its included accessories. Of course you've got the basic charger/USB cable combo inside the slick packaging, but HTC has also included some custom earbuds, a desktop charging dock and the brand new Charm extension, which lights up upon receiving a call, text or email. Since I usually carry my phone in my pocket, I won't get much use out of the Charm, but I can see how it would be handy for a constant purse or bag-totter who wants to remain unobtrusive. It seems like a solution for a very, very specific problem, but it's a solution nonetheless.
The dock is the real star here, at least for me. It's made out of a stiff cloth material that's pleasant to the touch, even if it does feel a little cheap. When you drop the Rhyme into the dock (provided you've got it plugged into a computer or power outlet) it immediately begins charging via the flush electrical contacts on back, just like the Nexus One. It also establishes a Bluetooth connection with the surprisingly loud speakers in the dock, immediately turning the whole thing into a speakerphone and music player. Nice.
Check out the unboxing video below:
While I can't speak for the fairer sex, from a gadget hound perspective I'd say that the HTC Rhyme is a solid choice without immediately seeming spectacular. But the inclusion of a wide range of accessories in the $199 price tag ($439 off-contract) makes it worth a second glance, especially if you like to keep your phone docked on your desk or nightstand. Be sure to check out Android Community's in-depth review, coming in a few days.