Jul 15 AT 9:04 AM Nick Gray 17 Comments

HTC Status initial hands-on impressions

Creating the perfect phone is an extremely hard task.  Most people can agree that a loaded spec sheet is a great place to start, but when it comes down to software and hardware design it’s extremely hard to please the subjective tastes of the masses.  While Apple aims to please everyone with a one-size-fits-all model, Android manufacturers have gone the opposite route, creating niche products for niche demographics.

Enter the HTC Status. The handset’s exterior design is a throwback to when the HTC Dash ruled the planet as one of the best Windows Mobile messaging phones.  Fortunately for us, the introduction of Android has ushered in a new era of smartphones. But I do have to say the portrait QWERTY design of the HTC Status is a welcome change in a never-ending sea of generic Android slab devices.

The specs on the HTC Status will not impress any of your friends (2.6-inch landscape touch screen, 800 MHz processor, 512 MB RAM/ 512 MB ROM, 5 megapixel camera with LED flash, front-facing VGA camera, four row QWERTY keyboard and a dedicated Facebook button) but it does have the potential to be a big success. AT&T plans to launch the HTC Status on July 17th for $50 with a new two-year contract.

The HTC Status’ main selling point is the dedicated Facebook button and the phone’s tight integration with Facebook.  The Facebook button allows you to easily share what you’re doing (listening to music, watching YouTube, browsing the web, using Google Maps and much more) with your friends with one simple button press.  But what if you’re not so into Facebook?  Well, let’s not forget the HTC Status is still an Android phone with access to the Android Market and capable of doing pretty much anything you want it to.

The HTC Status has no problem playing Angry Birds Rio, Glow Hockey or even iRunner, but if you’re hoping to play some intensive 3D games you may be disappointed.  I tried loading up Dungeon Defenders and Gun Bros, but was treated to multiple force closes before I could even start playing.  The low resolution screen (480 x 320 pixel) is most likely the culprit, but we do have a feeling the HTC Status would be able to handle some light 3D gaming.

Most other applications from the Android market worked flawlessly, but I was annoyed at times with the choices made by app developers.  The HTC Status forces most apps to display in landscape mode so that the user does not have to rotate the phone all the time.  Unfortunately many applications that have a landscape layout simply stretch the portrait layout to fit the display rather than reorganize the layout to maximize screen real-estate.

The portrait keyboard on the HTC Status felt a little cramped at first, but after a full day with the phone I’m able to type just as fast as I do with the G2.  Ergonomically, the keyboard isn’t as good as what RIM offers on their Blackberry devices, but the build quality of the handset has certainly made a few Blackberry users here in the office turn green with envy.

The HTC Status is certainly not a phone for current Android users, but it may be the perfect stepping stone for anyone who’s looking to upgrade from their flip phone or wanting to trade up from their Blackberry. The Status’ Facebook integration is certainly intriguing, but I don’t think it’s enough to make it one of the main selling points for the phone.

Let us know your thoughts and impressions of the HTC Status.  Is the phone appealing to you?  If not, what does HTC need to do to create a successful portrait-QWERTY Android device?

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Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. Nick joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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  • http://Website TWiT Commander

    This phone reminds me of the original (pre-G1) Android phone prototype, like from when the OHA was announced.

  • http://Website Foxy

    How about a G+ phone instead?

    • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

      That would be nice, but Google first needs to redesign their app to work better on smaller portrait screens. The main screen of the G+ app has some much wated space that you have to scroll down just to view the first row of icons.

  • http://Website mrben

    You said “The HTC Status forces most apps to display in portrait mode” but I think you probably meant landscape.

    • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

      Thanks for catching that!

  • http://Website Uncemister

    I really wish the CDMA version worked on Verizon here, I want this phone badly!

  • http://Website hitgeofftate

    Non-slider Android QWERTY is a rarity but why even try? The phones are always seriously underpowered.

    • http://Website DROID Sam

      I don’t think mostp people interested in a phone like this is really worried about power. Yes, they want things to run spoothly, but no one is goign to but this thing expecting it be churn through NOVA HD like the Sensation does. The main draw is the keyboard and Facebook integration. Being able to play Angry Birds or a few other games should be considered a bonus on a phone that only costss $50.

  • http://maxtechnewz.blogspot.com max

    the phone that is also a calculator

  • http://Website watbetch

    Disgraceful. I hope it flops

  • http://Website Suzi

    I’m an AT&T customer and I’m really looking for a good smart would prefer an Android phone with a keyboard, do you think this is the best bet? Or do you think AT&T has something better? I use Facebook, but I’m not a 13 year old girl who feels the need to post my every waking moment. Would this phone still be a good choice If I don’t plan on documenting everything on Facebook? Thanks!!

  • 1point21gwatts

    I have the status. A little slippery, but I like it.

  • samantha tobler

    i just bought mine to day and it doesnt work for mine

  • dave jarrard

    Although it doesnt have the power of a 4G fullscreen, the thing is solid. I dropped it down a concrete staircase in the middle of a call, and it didnt skip a beat. It has the feel of quality and is very reliable, if you know its limitations. Makes the LG bigscreens feel like tin.