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printed August 21, 2014
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Review: HTC Amaze 4G

Form Basics Extras Wrap-Up Comments  4  

Is It Your Type? Body The Three S's  

Screen

The Amaze's 4.3-inch piece of glass rates qHD resolution, which means it packs in 960 by 540 pixels. That's a lot of pixels. It looks truly fantastic. Even when held close to my eyes, I had a hard time picking out individual pixels. Text, icons, graphics all look smooth, clean, and crisp. Colors are bright and cheerful. As with most large displays, it isn't as amazing outside, but I found that the Amaze 4G was at least readable under a bright, sunny sky. It's a great screen.

Signal

The Amaze 4G performed very well in signal tests. I tested it in northern New Jersey, New York City, and San Diego. It performed best in parts of NJ and NYC, where I knew with certainty that I was under the fastest HSPA+ network available from T-Mobile. Keep in mind, this bad boy can use T-Mobile's HSPA+ at a theoretical 42 Mbps. In Bryant Park in midtown, I hit a maximum download of 11.7 Mbps, which is blazing fast. When under lower-speed HSPA+ variants, the Amaze 4G still performed well in NJ and NYC. It was always connected to the network, never dropped to EDGE, and was consistently fast.

(San Diego was an altogether different story. T-Mobile's network was iffy the entire four days I spent there, and it showed on two different T-Mobile phones I had on me. There, the Amaze never reached download speeds higher than 2.1Mbps, and dropped to 2G EDGE a few times. Obviously, this is more related to T-Mobile’s San Diego network than the device.)

Sound

Call quality was a bit of a disappointment. The earpiece produced plenty of volume, but calls had a persistent hiss and often voices came across as garbled. Rarely were calls free and clear of noise. Voices never sounded warm and present. Instead, they sounded scratchy and far away. As for the speakerphone, it barely has the audio power of a pair of headphones. It simply did not produce enough volume -- even when set to the max setting -- and was as crummy in the quality department as the earpiece. This is not a great voice phone. Ringers and alert tones could have been louder, too. Set to the maximum, they were barely audible in a room with the TV on. The vibrate alert, however, is plenty strong.

Battery

With the huge display, fast 4G access, and dual-core 1.5GHz processor, the Amaze is anything but amazing when it comes to battery life. Most users will need to charge it every night. The Amaze made it through my standard "day" (7AM - 11PM) with little trouble, and most often had enough charge to last through the night. It was fully dead within 24 hours, though, so a nightly juicing is required. If you barely use the Amaze, you might get more use out of it, but a phone like this is meant to be used and the battery has trouble keeping up.

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