I use a pretty standard cellphone with a slideout keyboard for easy texting. Some of my kids have ipads and iphones and smartphones. They rave about apps for this and that, and compare notes with each other on the features of their devices. But I just couldn’t see the need for a smartphone. Really, I only use my phone for texting and calls. I would like to use it as a camera, but the quality of the photos is not that hot. I wish it could do video. However, two weeks with an HTC Rhyme smartphone has won me over.
HTC enabled a group of us bloggers to “testdrive” a Rhyme smartphone starting at a Disney Fantasy cruise. My first morning on the cruise, I wanted to shoot a video of the sunrise over the ocean. I grabbed my digital camera and set it for video, only to realize the card was not in the camera. I rushed to get the card installed, went to shoot the video and up flashed the Low Battery light. Utterly disappointed to miss that great shot, I suddenly realized I had that new smartphone in the box from the night before. I opened it up and figured out the camera settings in a matter of minutes and shot a WONDERFUL video of the complete sunrise in all its glory. I even played it back to be sure I got it. Oh, I was one delighted woman, let me tell you.
To have this lightweight, high-resolution digital camera at my beck and call for the weekend was heavenly. This was my first cruise and I didn’t want to miss a minute of it to share with my family back home.
I got photos of the ship, of the restaurants, of the decor. And I got video of the ocean, of the beaches in the Bahamas, of the activities on the ship. It came with an 8Gb SD card and I really used it. Unfortunately, my photographic skills were lacking, so many of the photos were not really usable. It was a learning experience. I found out I could adjust settings for various light levels, and could even zoom my video with a cool touchscreen-slider.
The battery life on the smartphone is quite impressive, and the docking station doubles as a music player (with a great speaker) or it runs a slideshow of the photos on your card. The earbuds that came with the Rhyme are a sweet bonus, and there is the absolutely CUTE thing called a “charm” that you plug into the phone when you don’t want to be audibly disturbed by a ringtone. That cute little cube will light up and flash, letting you know you have a call coming in. It’s a VERY impressive piece of electronics and I am HOOKED.
On the way home, I was able to turn on the phone and data features and experiment with setting up email and using it to access the web and Twitter and Facebook, and see weather forecasts along our drive home (10 hours). I could hardly keep my hands off the Rhyme. It was mesmerizing! I could send an email along the road, attach some photos, even chat with my kids using a Trillian app that connected me to all the instant messaging programs from AIM to Skype and back again. I shot video of interesting things along the way home, and even used the cellphone and got a clean signal with a clear conversation.
At home, I uploaded my favorite music and experimented with the music player, finding the sound quality really great. The images on the screen when I tried the slideshow were crystal clear. I still don’t tap into all the things this little device is capable of doing, but I have thoroughly enjoyed it as a camera, taking some beautiful video of the springtime flowers and birdsongs here in the Blue Ridge. The audio quality in the video is really great. The only thing I could really wish for is some sort of place for a lanyard or wrist strap. I am forever afraid I will drop it, because it’s so thin and smooth! I would feel much safer if I could hook it to my wrist or around my neck when I want to use it!
Sometime this week HTC will be sending us mailers to return our smartphones. And I fear I will be without Rhyme, but now I have a good reason to look into getting one!