The HTC Arrive was one of the most anticipated Windows Phone 7 devices of early 2011. When it was released, eager consumers were ecstatic about the slide-out keyboard and CDMA connectivity that the handset offered.
Now that I've had a week to play around with the device, it's time to issue a final verdict. How does HTC's long history of quality designs and hardware live up with the HTC Arrive? Find out with the rest of the review.
The HTC Arrive is Sprint's first WP7 device. It brings a 3.6" WVGA screen with a resolution of 480×800. Driving the device's performance are a 1GHz processor with 576 MB of RAM. A 5MP camera with LED flash completes the camera system, and you have pretty much all day to take pictures because of a 1500 mAh battery inside.
Design and Quality
The front of the device is an elegant combination of glass and metal. In fact, it's actually quite utilitarian: the glass for the screen is used for durability, and the two metal strips above the top and below the bottom of the cutouts of the glass are used for the device's earpiece and microphone, respectively. This keeps a very clean design for the front.
As you can see in the picture above, the back is also very clean. Up top, you have the 5MP camera sensor and flash, and to the right of the camera lens is your speaker. The metal is actually the battery cover, and it combines nicely with lovely soft-touch plastic.
My only gripe with the back is that hideously out of place screw. And since it has nothing to do with actually taking the battery cover off, I think it's a silly move.
The Arrive's 3.6" display is at a miraculous resolution of 480×800. Colors pop, video looks great, and the high resolution makes the device feel even more high quality than it already does. Granted, it's not of Retina Display quality, and the screen is a little bigger than an iPhone's, but when I compared the screens side to side, I barely even noticed a difference.
In daylight, however, the display didn't stand a chance. The glass that covers the screen isn't coated with an oleophobic coating like the iPhone 4 is, and all of the smudges showed up very well in the sun.
One of my favorite things about the keyboard is the way the screen tilts upwards. It makes the device seem much more professional, and since the Arrive was known as the 7 Pro for the longest time, it does a good job of it.
Of course, my other favorite thing is the way it types. The keys are easy to push down, without giving up sturdiness. This, for me, meant that I could type much more accurately at a faster rate than on the LG Quantum. It was also easier because both the shift and fn keys were located by the keyboard.
Software (HTC Hub)
When you take a look at HTC's Android lineup, you see basically one thing: Sense UI. But since Microsoft locked down the UI of WP7 to all of its manufacturing partners (excluding Nokia), HTC wasn't allowed to put Sense onto the Arrive or any of its other Windows Phone devices. So they made a live tile instead.
Once you tap the tile, you are brought to a very Sense-ish application, in which you can figure out the time and the weather for where you are currently located. The service works very well and in my opinion looks fantastic while doing its great job.
However, I think that most of the consumer-level users of the Arrive (or any HTC device, for that matter) won't find this app very useful. In fact, I believe most users won't even open it. Since the tile has the words "HTC Hub" on it, I'm sure there will be some users who simply ignore the app because it sounds technical.
In fact, if you look at the picture on the left, then you can see that it won't even load Pocketables.
I found this to be true with a lot of sites; the progress bar would load up all the way, but the actual site and its content would not. I didn't experience this behavior with the Quantum, and I haven't heard of it with any other Arrive units, so this could've been just my unit. But still, it's worth mentioning in case any of you were planning on buying an Arrive. It probably won't show up on your unit, but if it does, then you know that you're not alone.
Let me know in the comments if it does happen to affect your unit in any way, even if it is just a website or two. Complaints from you guys and myself can help to get issues resolved more quickly, and I will forward every complaint from down below to my Sprint and HTC contacts.
In my normal day-to-day testing, the Arrive achieved a full day of use. The speaker was all the way up and WiFi, Bluetooth, and 3G were on all day. I would also use email and web continuously for hours on end without a significant impact. The display was set to medium brightness, as well.
This doesn't mean that the Arrive is without its issues.
The biggest of its issues is the slider mechanism. While I absolutely love the look it gives, it's just simply too hard to get the screen to slide out. In fact, my unit started to scratch both the keys and the back of the display because the space between the two is too small. Then, when you try to get the display to do its tilting, the hinge that supports the back scratches the piece of metal it touches.
The phone also gets incredibly hot. While I was listening to Sprint's Radio app, the metal back got hot enough to be very uncomfortable in my hand. I would expect this from a demanding application, like a game or watching HD video, but not from a radio app.
HTC makes great hardware. The Arrive is yet another quality example, even though it does have its share of shortcomings.
Windows Phone 7 still isn't fully mature, but the recent copy and paste update helped quite a bit. Once the Mango update hits later this year, a lot of WP7's remaining wrinkles will be ironed out. Until then, the Arrive is really the best device running Microsoft's operating system right now.