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Review: HTC Inspire 4G

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The Inspire 4G is the first handset to offer HTC's new Sense design in the United States. From a user experience point of view, it doesn't really bring a lot to the table. Most of Sense's features are unaltered. What the new Sense does is help the phone to boot faster and it adds several features, such as a unified inbox with labels.

Sense offers the same series of seven home screens, each of which can be populated with apps, shortcuts or widgets. HTC and AT&T have preloaded most of the screens, but these can all be completely customized. On the home screen, there are three software controls at the bottom of the screen. One opens the main menu (this could be a bigger button, by the way), one takes you to the phone, and the third opens the “Personalize” panel. The Personalize panel lets you find and adjust all the phone's settings quickly right from the home screen. This includes HTC's Scenes, wallpaper, skins, sounds and alerts, etc.

The drop-down notification shade includes access to alerts as well as recently used applications. Rather than limiting the selection to the most recent four apps, you can slide the app listing sideways in the drop-down shade to get at the full list of open or recently opened apps. The inner menus don't appear to be altered.

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The most important thing I noticed was a huge improvement in speed. I've seen Sense get really bogged down on some devices. On the Inspire 4G, Sense responded to every single touch, swipe, and poke immediately. Menus and apps all opened faster and the user interface felt much more fluid that it has in the past.

The new Sense can also access HTC's Sense.com, which can be used to create back-ups of settings and controls for the phone.


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