HTC Rhyme Review

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Right from the time the Rhyme was just a rumour doing it’s rounds on the Internet (it was known as the Bliss, back then), it was categorized as a phone for the fairer sex, owing to its pastel trim and the fact that it would ship with a ‘charm’, an accessory popular with women. Once HTC launched the Rhyme though, they’ve steered clear from any categorization. You won’t find any words like ‘women’ or ‘feminine’ anywhere on their site as they’ve kept it as gender neutral as possible. Now, since we aren’t exactly fashionistas over here at Tech2, we’ll go about doing what we do best, reviewing products and telling it like it is.

Design and Build
HTC have done what they do best, making really good chassis for phones. Like its predecessors, the Rhyme also features a unibody design with plastic bits near the camera and the battery cover. The build is excellent and the plastics used seem durable enough to survive the bumps and bruises of everyday use. While there are different colour trims, India will only be getting the ‘Clearwater’ shade. We also won’t be getting any of the accessories like matching Bluetooth headset and the charging dock.

A well built handset

A well built handset


We quite liked the design of the phone - it’s fairly slim and light at 130g.  It’s not designed for shock and awe and that’s what we like about it. The buttons are ergonomically placed with a large volume rocker on the right and the power/sleep button on the top. There are a row of capacitive buttons at the bottom, just where they should be along with a bunch of sensors for ambient light and proximity placed on the top near the front-facing camera. It also packs in a G-Senor and Digital compass inside. The 3.7-inch S-LCD screen is bright and crisp with sharp sensitivity.

A solid 5MP shooter

A solid 5MP shooter


Round the back, we have the 5MP auto-focus shooter along with a single-LED flash. The speaker is also placed right next to it. This should have been on the side, since when lying flat on a table; the sound is much muted, so you could miss some calls. The three golden spots are the leads for when you connect it to the dock. The SIM and microSD card can be inserted directly, since the battery is not removable.

HTC offers you nothing, but the best as the Rhyme comes pre-loaded with Gingerbread 2.3.5 and Sense v3.5. We first saw this in the Explorer and thought that it made the 600MHz processor seem faster and the same effect can be found on the Rhyme as well. The 1GHz Scorpion CPU from Qualcomm (MSM8255) is plenty for this phone and the entire interface just feels fluid and snappy. There is a noticeable performance jump between v3.0 and v3.5 of the Sense UI. It’s better organized and less cluttered.


Just when you thought Sense couldn't get any better


The notification bar has the same number of toggle switches like before, just arranged a bit differently, this time around. You can now delete home screens, something that was missing from Sense 3.0. Apart from a bunch of new wallpapers and themes, there’s a new option added to the settings menu for the charm. You can basically use it for just three events, incoming messages, incoming calls and missed calls. You colour of the charm matches the phone and cannot be changed. The idea behind it is if you have the phone in your hand bag (we’re talking about women, here) , then you keep the charm dangling out so you know when you get a call. I, for one found this absolutely useless mostly because you can’t listen to music at the same time, since the charm plugs in to the 3.5mm audio jack.

The charm in action

The charm in action


To find out what sort of focus groups HTC used when coming up with this concept, we asked a bunch of women between the age group of 20 to 30 years and here’s the feed back we got. While most of them found the idea interesting, none of them found it practical, while one cringed at the idea of it. The ‘Clearwater’ colour didn’t go down too well, either with most of them as they all eyed the purple one. So, HTC, if you’re listening, get the purple one over to India, if you plan of selling any at all. The charm then comes off as nothing more than a gimmick, which doesn't seem to be working too well.

The revamped music player is nothing short of brilliant. The Rhyme supports the following media formats - .aac, .amr, .ogg, .m4a, .mid, .mp3, .wav, .wma, which is a good list. A lock screen widget is present; giving you basic controls along with album art and similar option are available for the home screen as well. The player is dead simple to navigate and we now have the option to update the album art or you can choose to stream it to another device through DLNA. Sound enhancements, include SRS and Equalizer presets. Unlike most bundled ear-phones, which never make it out of their packaging, these are very good and fit snugly in your ear, despite the odd shape. The hands-free also comes with line-in controls for media and a mic for phone calls. HTC have used flat-type cables, which is tangle free and more durable as well.


Excellent music and video player


The video player is also a real treat. While it’s no match for Samsung’s TouchWiz video player (MKV support out-of-the box) on their phones, this one’s pretty close. Video format support goes beyond MP4 to include AVI and Xvid as well, which is a good thing since you’d be missing out on the audio enhancements. Along with SRS, we also have HTC 5.1 Surround effect, which didn’t sound as good as the SRS. You also have the option to trim the video. Unfortunately, the stock player doesn’t handle 720p MP4 too well. While the video plays smoothly, the audio wouldn’t play and if you try to skip ahead, it crashes. Besides YouTube and FM Radio, that’s all the media apps present.

Like all new Android handsets, the Rhyme is quad-band GSM phone with full HSDPA and HSUPA support. It also packs in Wi-Fi ‘n’, Bluetooth 3.0, but no video out support. The Rhyme does come with 4GB of built-in memory, but only 1GB is actually usable and that too, only for apps. The stock browser does a decent job of rendering web pages as well.

Good for browsing webpages

Good for browsing webpages


Other Internet related apps, include Facebook, Dropbox, News and Weather. HTC also bundles their own suite of apps like HTC Hub, HTC Likes and HTC Watch. The latter doesn't work in India as it keeps showing you old trailers.

Misc. Features
The Rhyme comes with a fitness apps called Endomondo, which let’s you keep track of your workout. Polaris Office is a productivity app for working on Word or Excel files.


Some handy apps built-in


Reader app comes with a bunch of classic titles. Finally, we also have the very addictive game, Teeter.

The 5MP shooter works brilliantly in almost any lighting conditions. The new camera interface is amazingly slick, with plenty of option for customizations. There’s a new Panorama mode, but unfortunately, it only stitches three pictures and not five or six like the Samsung phones. The stitching is done well though with only very slight anomalies creeping in.

The new camera options are fun to use

The new camera options are fun to use


The time taken in opening the camera app snapping a picture is extremely less, which means you won’t miss those precious moments. With ‘Effects’, you can get creative with different colour tones and fun filters. The flash complements the camera well in low-light conditions. It can even illuminate a small area in pitch dark conditions quite well. Optionally, you can choose to upload the captured pictures directly to Facebook or Flickr.

Macros look really good

Macros look really good


Video recording does not disappoint either. 720p mode works well with very slight stutter present intermittently, which makes us believe it’s not 30fps.

Can capture good amount of detail

Can capture good amount of detail


Nevertheless, it works well and there’s even a slow motion mode, which is nice addition. You can also add some ‘Effects’ to the video before recording and touch-to-focus is also present during recording.

Battery Life
Shoving a big 1600mAh battery into a 3.7-inch sized phone can only lead to good things. In our loop tests, we managed to get a total of 9hrs of battery life, which included 1.5hrs worth of calls, 2hrs video, 4hrs of music and 1.5hrs or audio streaming over Wi-Fi (using Digitally Imported app). Our video drain test gave us a battery life of 7hrs and 30min. What this proves is that the Rhyme should easily last you two days without needing to charge it.

HTC has tagged the Rhyme with an MRP of Rs.29,999, but you can find it in shops for Rs.27,500 or maybe even a bit less online. The problem is that, it’s arrived to the party a bit late, since there are more powerful phones priced above and below it, forcing one to think twice before buying it. Your other choices are the Xperia Arc S, which sits at 29K, the Xperia Pro which is 26K and HTC’s own Incredible S, which is cheaper at 25K. All these phones are superior in terms of screen size (except for the Xperia Pro) and bigger 8MP cameras and they are available in colours that would appeal to everybody, so why would you buy the Rhyme?

There’s no denying that it’s a great phone, as far as Android phones go and the new Sense 3.5 interface simply makes the experience better. But I don’t think I could live with it knowing very well that that if I had spent just a little bit more (or less), I could have got a much better phone. At about 18K-20K, we’d say it makes a good buy, but not at the current pricing. Now, come on HTC, release Sense 3.5 for the other handsets as well.


Sleek and slender unibody design makes the stylish seem effortless: Simplicity is true luxury. HTC Rhyme offers a smart, elegant design. Every detail has been carefully crafted to deliver a unique and seamless experience. Its exquisite unibody design is truly different from other phones. HTC Rhyme is light, sleek, and slender making the stylish seem effortless. Keeping with current color trends that draw inspiration from nature, HTC Rhyme adds style and class to your look whether you're dressed up or down. *Only “Clearwater” colour available in India. Accessorize to an easier life: HTC Rhyme offers a range of in-box and optional accessories that add an elegant simplicity to your whole experience. Listen to your favorite music with the stylish wired headset. Never miss a call with the HTC Rhyme Charm, which attaches to your phone and emits a soft glow when you receive a call or text message. •• Only “Clearwater” colour available ; The box pack includes "charm" and "tangle free headset", other accessories as shown in the pictures/videos are not available in India market. Memorable moments captured perfectly. Every time.: Inspiration can occur at any time. HTC Rhyme offers a unique camera with instant shutter and a great lens to capture those memorable moments whenever they arise even under low light conditions. The Action Burst Scene automatically takes five shots of a scene, so you can choose the best one or even all of them before you share online. And Portrait mode adds a beautify skin effect that makes your skin appear smoother when you take the shot. Instant capture camera: Remember that time you pressed the shutter button and had to wait while your camera phone finished taking the picture? With the instant capture camera, the moment you press the button is the same moment the photo is captured. Never let a great shot slip away. Richer Internet experience: Surf the web in style with multi-window browsing, a quick lookup tool for jumping to Wikipedia or YouTube and the latest Flash support for smooth video playback.


Form Factor Bar
Screen Type S-LCD capacitive touchscreen
Screen Size 3.7 inches (~252 ppi pixel density)
Screen Resolution 480 x 800
Number of Colours 16M


Processor Qualcomm MSM8255
Speed 1GHz


Internal Memory 4GB storage, 768MB RAM
Extendable Memory microSD, up to 32GB

Camera Features

Sensor Resolution 5 MP, 2592x1944 pixels, autofocus, LED flash
Video Recording Yes
Front facing camera 0.3MP

General Features

OS Android
Version 2.3
FM Radio Yes
Bluetooth Features Yes, v3.0 with A2DP, EDR
Messaging SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Email, IM
GPS Yes, with A-GPS support
USB Connector Yes

Carrier Networks

2G GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G HSDPA 850 / 900 / 2100


WiFi Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n


Dimensions 60.8 x 10.85 x 119 mm
Weight 130


Media Player Music formats: aac, .amr, .ogg, .m4a, .mid, .mp3, .wav, .wma (Windows Media Audio 9)|#|Video formats: 3gp, .3g2, .mp4, .wmv (Windows Media Video 9), .avi (MP4 ASP and MP3), .xvid (MP4 ASP and MP3)
Alert Tone Vibration, MP3, WAV ringtones
Speakerphone Yes
Audio connector 3.5mm


Type Li-Ion
Capacity 1600
Talk Time with Standard Battery Up to 620 (2G) / Up to 480 (3G)
Standby Time with Standard Battery Up to 295 (2G) / Up to 340 (3G)

Miscellaneous Features

Built in Applications Google Search|#|Maps|#|Gmail|#|YouTube|#|Google Talk

After Sales Service

Warranty Period 1 Year


Warranty Period 1 Year

Published Date: Dec 16, 2011 05:57 pm | Updated Date: Dec 16, 2011 05:57 pm