"A Lot of Phone in a Small Package"4.5 starson by juicydrink
Pros: Small size; HTC Sense; design
Cons: AT&T, speakers, camera
Summary: I've now had this phone for 10 months. With every other phone I've owned, I've become tired of it after a year. That won't be the case this time. Quite simply, I love my Aria. I also have access to two other AT&T phones, an iPhone 4, and a Samsung Galaxy, so I'll be comparing those as well.
Design & Size
Optimum size is a very subjective thing. I happen to love small things, and my Aria is certainly a lot more pocket friendly than an iPhone or a Galaxy. When it's in my pocket, it's so light, I usually don't notice it's there.
Some people might think that the 3.2-inch screen is too small, but that's only very rarely a limitation. Speaking of the screen, the resolution is really the only place the Aria falters. I don't consider myself a resolution freak (I'm perfectly happy watching regular definition TV) but the iPhone and the Galaxy are clearly worlds ahead of the Aria.
I really like what HTC has done with the phone internals. The battery and casing are yellow on the inside, a cool touch. For new Aria owners, the battery cover can sometimes be difficult to pry open. This definitely improves with time. I suggest pressing down on the speaker grill while simultaneously pulling the cover. Overall, build quality is top-notch, as good as the Apple's, whereas the Galaxy feels a bit tinny.
Buttons are very simple on the Aria. The power switch is easy to find and the volume rocker feels solid and gives a nice click. Many complain that Android phones all seem to arrange the home, menu, back, and search keys differently. I like the way HTC has done it. Plus, the capacitive buttons work extremely well and provide good haptic feedback. The equivalent buttons on the Galaxy really don't tell you whether or not you've pressed them. The iPhone has no such functionality at all. The optical button has smooth tracking and a nice texture to help you find it by touch. I think it's better than my friend's trackball.
Camera & Speaker
The camera is decent. It takes relatively good photos, even in low light, considering the fact that there's no flash. There are the standard effects, and I have a portfolio of pretty good pictures thanks to my phone. The speaker, however, is awful. I'm no audiophile, but this is garbage, understandable for such a small system. It's tinny and distorted when played loudly. It's passable for dialogue in a Youtube video, but for music, use headphones.
I hate you. So does everyone else. I only chose you because you offer a cheaper data plan, but I still hate you. For the pedestrian Android user, AT&T is an offender because it installed tons of bloatware on the Aria with no purpose. AT&T maps? AT&T navigator? They're all redundant. Even if they provide additional functionality, they're not as well-written as Market apps. For people like me, an amateur Android developer, AT&T has failed to understand what "open-source" actually means by blocking third-party apps. I initially bought this phone to install the applications I wrote. Even after fiddling around with the SDK, it didn't work. If you really want a professionally-written third-party app on your phone, scout out a previous version of HTC Sync, which accidentally allowed users to load non-market apps before AT&T told HTC to replace Sync ASAP. AndroidCentral also has something called the Sideload Wonder Machine. Both of these shortcuts will allow you to install something like Swype without having to go through the hassle of rooting the phone. For you developers out there, your app has to be packaged as a .apk file for this to work.
I like this phone a lot. Almost everything about it is appealing to me. The only shortcomings are the speaker and AT&T, which is totally not the little guy's fault. This may be an old phone, but don't let that fool you. This is still a great package, and now, it's great value too.
Design & Size
Optimum size is a very subjective thing. I happen to love small things, and my Aria is certainly a lot more pocket friendly than an iPhone or a Galaxy. When it's in my pocket, it's so light, I usually don't notice it's there. Some people might think that the 3.2-inch screen is too small, but that's only very rarely a limitation. Sense (more on this later) packages everything so neatly, that I can always see everything I need. I really like what HTC has done with the phone internals. The battery and casing is all yellow on the inside, a cool touch.