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HTC Gratia review

HTC's latest budget Android smartphone might look like a bargain, but it's actually a false economy as Sandra Vogel discovers.

HTC does its usual good job of adding value to Android via its HTC Sense skin, and there are seven home screens to populate with widgets. The Scenes features lets you set up distinct and separate sets of home screens for different locations or scenarios such as work, home and holiday. This standard HTC feature is arguably personalisation overkill but it's a useful extra for some.

Another standard HTC feature most people will like is the polite ringer' which can send a call to voicemail if you turn the Gratia face down, and which lowers ringer volume as you raise the handset up to see who is calling. Sadly, the Gratia is not supported by HTC's web portal www.htcsense.com. Among its handy features is the ability to set the ringer to go off to help you locate the phone if you've misplaced it and the ability to remotely wipe the contents of the phone if it's been lost or stolen. However, Exchange users should still be able to take advantage of remote wipe capabilities.

It is a pity the 5 megapixel camera lacks a flash, but the usual facilities HTC incorporates into its handsets mean it is easy to share any photo immediately after it is taken via email, MMS, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr or Picasa. One additional word of caution on photography, though like other HTC smartphones you can't actually capture an image till you have an SD card in place, and the Gratia is not supplied with one.

So what's our verdict?

Verdict

The build quality of the HTC Gratia is impressive. The optical touchpad feels like a throwback to older HTC handsets which is unsurprising since the Gratia is, to all intents and purposes, an older model that's been warmed over for the UK market. While the HTC Gratia isn't completely without merit, it's overpriced considering how underpowered it is. This is especially noticeable when compared to the similarly priced Acer Liquid Metal. It's not only more capable thanks to its more powerful processor but has a higher resolution screen too making it the better value budget Android smartphone.

Connectivity: GSM 850/900/1800/1900, 3G 900/1900/2100 Display: 480 x 320 pixels, 3.2 inches OS: Android 2.2 with HTC Sense Camera: Five megapixels GPS: A-GPS Processor: Qualcomm 600MHz Bluetooth: v2.1 + EDR Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g Memory: 384MB RAM Dimensions: 103.8 x 57.7 x 11.7 mm Weight: 115g Battery: Lithium Ion 1,200 mAh

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