The HTC Status has a form factor you know well. Measuring 4.5 inches (114.4mm) tall and 2.54 inches (64.6mm) wide, it's a touch larger than your run-of-the-mill 9700
, but at 0.42 inches (10.7mm) narrow, it's thin where it counts. Like the Nexus S
, it has a gentle curve -- or bend, depending on how you look at it -- a design quirk that tilts the screen ever-so-slightly toward the user. At 4.37 ounces (124g), it's relatively light, although we immediately noticed that the weight isn't well-balanced, as the top half is appreciably heavier. Fortunately, it felt very comfortable when held securely.
On the inside, the Status packs a Qualcomm MSM7227 Turbo SoC with an 800MHz CPU and an Adreno 200 GPU. It supports quadband GSM and features HSPA connectivity over the 850 / 1900MHz bands. There's a wide assortment of goodies here, including 512MB of memory, WiFi (up to 802.11n), mobile hotspot functionality, Bluetooth 3.0, AGPS, and FM radio, along with a compass, accelerometer, and proximity and ambient light sensors. Users will find a 2GB microSD card pre-installed, but much to our frustration, the expansion slot is buried beneath the anemic 1250mAh battery.
The first thing you'll notice is the full QWERTY keyboard stretching across the bottom half of the handset -- that and the dedicated Facebook button, which we'll talk about more in a bit. In many ways, the Status takes its design cues from the HTC Flyer
. The face of the phone is largely blanketed in a metallic silver coating, save for the chrome speaker grille up top, a curved white strip along the bottom, and a thick black bezel surrounding the display, which contains four haptic navigation buttons. The silvery finish extends around the back to form a broad strip that showcases an engraved HTC logo and separates the camera pod from the battery cover.
Oddly, these upper and lower sections are composed of two distinct white plastics. While the upper portion has an outstanding look and feel that's reminiscent of ceramic, the lower part is woefully thin, which cheapens its attractive satin appearance. To make matters worse, the battery cover is very, very difficult to remove. While the user's manual suggests it can be popped free with two thumbs, we tried this method for ten minutes without success. Instead, HTC should have written the instructions as such:
Sandwich the phone face-down between your palms, squeeze tightly, then push forward without abandon -- the cacophony of key tones is normal, so don't be scared -- just keep forcing it until that
damn securely-engineered cover pops free.
Aside from the poorly designed battery door, the Status is well-assembled. It even survived an (unintentional) drop on the hardwood floor completely unscathed. Maybe next time...
Hidden within the chrome speaker grille, you'll discover a green / amber notification light that indicates new messages or a low battery, and there's also a front-facing VGA camera nestled in the bezel. Along the left side of the phone is a short, narrow volume rocker that runs nearly flush with the phone, and while you can press nearly any part of the button to adjust the volume, the rocker feels stiff, with poor tactile feedback. Below that you'll find an exposed micro-USB port. A 3.5mm stereo mini-jack is located up top, positioned to the left of the power / lock button. Around back, a 5 megapixel autofocus camera is paired with an LED flash and a dedicated loudspeaker.
The 2.6-inch (480 x 320) Gorilla Glass touchscreen features approximately 221 pixels per inch. While this is a step below the norm, we still found all but the smallest of text to be quite readable (albeit, marginally blurry). The TFT LCD screen is decently bright, which allowed us to comfortably view the display in direct sunlight. Granted, it wasn't ideal, but we didn't need to run for shade either. While the color saturation diminishes when angled beyond 20 degrees to the left or right, it's significantly better than the EVO Shift 4G
we used for comparison.
As for the all-important keyboard, it's quite good. Unlike the never-ending sea of buttons you'll find on the BlackBerry, the Status' island layout allows each domed key to stand separately, and the typing experience is both comfortable and accurate. The buttons are reminiscent of small pebbles, and each key press feels firm and tactile, resulting in a rewarding click
. Unfortunately, the underlying panel creates a mushy sound that detracts from an otherwise ideal typing experience. The keyboard integrates a numerical keypad for dialing, along with a dedicated ".com" button and four directional keys that help position the cursor.
Performance and Call Quality
Provided you're not looking to play graphically demanding games, you'll be pleasantly satisfied with the Status' performance. Seriously, you weren't really planning to on honing your Fruit Ninja skills on the little screen, were you? Sure, its 800MHz CPU is no speed demon, but it's doubtful you'll start begging for an upgrade, either. When it comes to the things this phone was meant to do -- browse the internet, play music, poke through galleries, and yes, update Facebook -- you're likely to have a satisfying experience. Unfortunately, the Quadrant benchmark software wasn't able to complete the requisite CPU test, but we've got a host of other benchmarks for your careful scrutiny
After enjoying outstanding call quality on the Wildfire S
-- also on AT&T's network -- we had high hopes for the Status. Unfortunately, those hopes went unfulfilled. While voices sounded clear, an inescapable hiss emanated from the phone as soon as we started a call. Even during calls to landlines, our friends' voices seemed distant, hollow, and muffled. Worse yet, calls would frequently cut out, forcing friends to repeat what was said. Fortunately, no calls were dropped, and our friends perceived us very clearly and seemed quite satisfied with the depth of our voice.
Given the small display and relatively pedestrian CPU, we'd hoped the 1250 mAh battery would provide sufficient longevity for web browsing, chatting, check-ins and status updates. Unfortunately, any social-savvy user is likely to overwhelm the lithium-ion cells. One day, we enjoyed an hour of music, and three half-hour blocks of web browsing, Facebook messaging, and good ol' voice chat. During this time, we took approximately a dozen pictures, checked into three establishments via Facebook, and sent a smattering of emails, Facebook status updates, and picture uploads. Ten hours later, we were scrambling for a wall outlet. While the battery will certainly carry you through the day, don't expect it to deliver you through the evening, too.
In our standard battery rundown test, we started with a full charge and fresh boot, enabled GPS and WiFi (without connecting to an access point), set the display to 50 percent brightness, configured one push email account, and set Twitter and Facebook to poll every 15 minutes and one hour, respectively. When playing a movie on a continual loop, the handset kept pace for just three hours and thirty minutes, while average runtimes for Android smartphones are nearly twice that
The five megapixel AF camera is an admirable performer under ideal lighting conditions, and is able to capture a respectable amount of detail, especially when coupled with HTC's tap-to-focus feature. Overall, we were quite pleased with the picture quality, but the camera isn't without setbacks. Unfortunately, if you shoot in direct sunlight, even vivid colors will appear somewhat muted, and bright areas will be frequently overexposed. Meanwhile, pictures taken under artificial lighting appear overly saturated, and proper white balance is often difficult to achieve. The camera also produces an appreciable amount of noise indoors, even at low ISO settings.
As you might expect, the sensor performs poorly in low light situations, and creates an unnatural (though vaguely artistic) effect of overexposing lit areas while underexposing dark patches. There's no macro shooting mode either, and we found that you'll need at least four inches of distance between the lens and your intended object for the shot to be halfway usable. The LED flash is certainly capable of illuminating an indoor scene, but you'll need to be cautious of reflective surfaces, as the built-in bulb can easily overwhelm the sensor. Video resolution goes up to 720 x 480, and while the frame rate can't properly convey fluid motion at this setting, it should be adequate for capturing embarrassing situations that are bound for Facebook.