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Review: HTC Freestyle

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The Freestyle's main operating system may be Qualcomm's BREW MP, but you wouldn't know it. It's been fully customized by HTC and looks and acts just like any other HTC Sense phone. Almost.

It has seven customizable home screens that offer many of the same software options available to HTC's Android phones, including weather, Friendstream, photos, messages, and so on. All seven of the home screens can be customized, though it isn't as drag-and-drop friendly as on Android devices. Instead, users have to use a weird, text-menu-based system for adjusting what's on each of the screens. Also, the screens only support one type of content, so you can't put weather, Friendstream and messages on the same home screen.

The home screen also offers a pull-down shade a la Android, though it isn't used for system alerts. Instead, the shade offers links to the different themes on the Freestyle for quick theme changing.

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The menu button is context aware, and offers different options for each of the seven home screens. For example, the full settings tools are available from the central home screen, but when pressed on the weather screen, the menu button only lets you interact with the weather application.

The main application listing is accessed via one of the software buttons on the central home screen. The apps are spread across three screens that users swipe left and right to access. Apps here look like they would an any normal feature phone.

Last, the settings menu steals its look directly from Android. It's white text on a black background and offers most of the same categories and controls for the Freestyle.

Bottom line: anyone who's used an HTC Sense device will feel right at home with the Freestyle.


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