Review: HTC Aria
Though it packs fewer pixels than some of its larger cousins, the HVGA display on the HTC Aria looks great, thanks to its smaller size. Text looks sharp and icons are detailed and colorful. Inside, the screen is plenty bright and contrasty, thanks to HTC’s exceedingly dark Sense interface, which relies heavily on white text on a black background. Outdoors, this backfires a bit. I could still read the screen under bright, glaring sunlight, but it was difficult, especially at a slight angle. It wasn’t unreadable, like some AMOLED screens, but it did fade considerably.
Calls on the HTC Aria sounded very good. On my end, through the phone’s earpiece, calls sounded nice and clear. My only problem was properly aligning the earpiece with my ear. On their end, callers reported an equally clear sound with no static or drop-outs.
The speakerphone should be much louder. It couldn’t reach a useful volume outdoors or in a fast moving car, and when I cranked it up all the way, I heard lots of distortion. Even for ringtones, the phone just wasn’t loud enough, and even the pre-loaded rings would distort at high volumes.
The HTC Aria would always report a strong signal, usually four to five bars of service on AT&T’s 3G network. This didn’t always translate to a fast network connection. Even with a full signal, some calls never went through, and some were dropped inexplicably. The browser would occasionally stall, as well. Some of this is par for the course on AT&T’s network in my area, especially the dropped calls. But this could also mean that the Aria is exaggerating its signal strength a bit.
The phone did a better job with Wi-Fi, though, finding my home network easily and keeping a strong connection with my wireless router.
My test unit would occasionally turn off the phone’s data network access. Even though the phone reported a 3G signal with four bars, it was unable to connect until I dug through the settings menu to enable the Mobile Network connection option.
Battery life on the HTC Aria is pretty good, better than many other Android phones. I was able to get more than six hours of talk time out of the phone. Better yet, the phone lasted through a couple day’s of testing without needing a charge. If you’re going to be doing a lot of navigating or streaming videos, you’ll want to charge every day, but most people will be able to get by if they forget to charge the phone overnight.