Hands-On With The HTC Rezound For Verizon: Fat And Fast

With leaks galore and this afternoon’s announcement, there’s not much reason to rehash HTC Rezound deets. So I’ll just cut to the chase and hit you guys with some first impressions.

As you must already know, the Rezound touts a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, and was snappy enough to prove it. Combined with 1GB of RAM and Verizon’s 4G LTE network, that speedy little processor offered up one of the smoothest experiences I’ve had with Gingerbread. And even better, the Rezound will ship Ice Cream Sandwich-ready, with an update to be released “early next year.”

I never experienced any hiccups, though there was a very slight slow down with a handful of apps running at once. HTC’s Sense UI happens to be one of my favorites (if forced to choose between manufacturer skins), but many of you may still want to ditch HTC’s UI for something a little more vanilla.

The 4.3-inch 720p display is just the right size, as HTC clearly isn’t concerned with the “giant screen” trend we’re seeing from its competitors. But that’s good news. If resolution and pixel density is up to snuff, there’s no real reason for a 4.5-inch screen, unless of course you’re a hardcore gamer. In that case, you may need a tad more screen real estate than the Rezound offers.

Speaking of ignored trends, the HTC Rezound is much heftier than some of the smartphones it’ll be lined up against in-store, including the world’s thinnest smartphone, the Droid RAZR. That said, it’s still a pretty slick phone, especially for those who lean toward the HTC design style. Super similar to the HTC Droid Incredible 2 in design, the phone sports a nice soft touch back panel, with a little textured patch in the middle for a better grip. Just like the HTC Rhyme sports a female-friendly purple casing, the Rezound seems to aim itself at the male demographic with a hefty helping of red on black.

As far as the camera is concerned, the Rezound’s 8-megapixel shooter can get the job done, whatever that job is. We shot a little 1080p video and snapped a few shots with one of the tester units at HTC’s media event in New York City, and quality was right on par with what the specs promise. Sense also brings some fun into the camera app, offering up Action Burst, Instant Capture, and Panorama options, along with other cool effects and photo editing tools. In fact, you can even shoot video or pictures with the effect already applied in the view finder, just to make sure you don’t miss that special moment by applying the wrong effect. Oh, and if that weren’t enough, the Rezound’s camera can play back 1080p video in slow motion.

Thanks to the deal between HTC and Beats by Dre audio, the Rezound packs Beats audio support which includes a pair of Beats earbuds and a special Beats profile that boosts bass and volume when toggled on. To be honest, I was a bit skeptical over whether or not Beats would make a big difference, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the Rezound and its audio quality. I was really able to hear those low notes in a way that’s lacking on my iPhone and other phones I’ve tested, and anyone who’s all about the tunes will surely appreciate Beats integration.

The HTC Rezound will be available on November 14 with an on-contract price of $299.99.