Emerging Technology

GADGET WATCH: HTC Velocity 4G

Patrick Stafford /

If you’ve been paying attention to the tech industry these past few weeks, you’ll know Telstra has switched on its 4G network and is now offering the first smartphone in Australia to run on that same network.

 

This means download speeds closer to what you’d find in a landline connection, well above and beyond the capabilities of existing 3G networks. Although 4G has been available in America for some time, now is the first time Australians can connect on 4G.

But is the device itself worth getting? As the first gadget on the market the HTC Velocity has an advantage, but it may not stand up to the test.

Hardware and features

The HTC Velocity comes powered with the Gingerbread software, a dual-core 1.5Ghz CPU and 1GB of RAM. It also comes with 16GB of internal storage, although this can be expanded through the microSD slot.

The rear camera is eight megapixels, with a dual LED flash, while the front camera features 1.3 megapixels. The display is 4.5 inches made with Gorilla Glass.

The device itself also features an ambient light sensor, a digital compass, G-sensor, Gyroscope and a proximity sensor.

What’s the consensus?

First thing’s first – there’s plenty to like about the device’s construction. Over at Gizmodo, reviewers praised the device for being sturdy despite being heavy on the plastic.

“At 4.5 inches the HD 960×540 screen on the Velocity 4G is a bit smaller than the one on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, but it feels quite a bit larger and heavier thanks to a raised back. We love that it feels solid and heavy in the hand.”

ZDnet also said the LCD display was bright and sharp, naming it a “pleasing screen to use”. However, it did note that users have to set the brightness at a lower setting.

And at PCWorld, the publication said that even though it’s a larger phone, it’s still easy to carry around due to the tapered edges.

It also praised the software, noting the ability to remove entire home screens if you don’t want them, and praised the ability for users to access the last eight used applications, along with quick settings toggles.

ZDnet said the software runs quite smoothly, noting only minor lags. However, it did say battery life will be an issue for some users as the software-heavy device will drain a lot of power.

“Battery life will be a concern for heavy users, but not so much otherwise. We found in our tests that 4G connectivity did have a detrimental effect on battery life, but that the phone helps counter this with excellent standby battery usage.”

“It is entirely possible to chew through 30% of the phone’s remaining charge in an hour of solid use, but when left in standby, the battery drain is only 1-2% each hour.”

The big surprise is the camera. All the reviewers noted this was a big positive for the device, with the camera delivering crisp and clear photos from the eight megapixel lens.

“The HTC Velocity 4G has an excellent camera. It’s an 8-megapixel, backside-illuminated sensor that promises better low light photos,” PCWorld said.

“We found the dual-LED flash washed out many of our photos, but colour reproduction is a highlight. The camera app starts almost instantly and is quick to snap successive photos, though it’s admittedly not as quick as the shutter on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.”

Who’s it for?

This is a clear winner. If you’re after a 4G capable phone, although this is the first on the market it’s an excellent choice. Don’t be thrown off by being an early adopter – if you’re willing to pay, this is a great starter for a 4G connection.

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Patrick Stafford

Patrick Stafford is a freelance journalist and a former deputy editor of SmartCompany.

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