Jan 06 AT 9:47 AM Sean Riley 43 Comments

The HTC Rezound is a powerhouse of a phone. While other devices in Verizon’s lineup might have garnered more attention, the Rezound (by the specs) is the best device currently available for Verizon. Do all these high-end specs actually add up to a positive experience, though?

1. Call Quality

The Rezound performed well as a phone throughout my time with it. Callers were loud and clear on my end, and in test calls to a land line the Rezound sounds just as good on the receiving end. If pressed I would still give a slight edge to Motorola in this department, but that’s only due to Motorola’s radio performance in areas with marginal reception. If you rarely leave an area with solid reception, you won’t have any complaints with the Rezound.

2. Display

I’m sure you won’t be shocked to hear that a 1280×720 resolution on a 4.3-inch screen looks phenomenal. The extra space that it provides when browsing the web, reading email, or doing basically anything on the Rezound was more useful than I imagined it would be. If you load 720p content on there, it’ll blow you away. I’m sure many people would like to see a Super AMOLED+, but I’d be shocked if anyone could look at this screen and walk away disappointed. The one caveat here is that many apps are not yet designed with a 720p phone in mind, which usually will result in a lot of white space in the app or elements appearing smaller than they should be. This problem should be short lived.

3. LTE

The 4G LTE radio is doing its thing as always with the Rezound. I consistently saw download speeds of 13-17 down and 3-5 up, which is in line with all my LTE devices here. Obviously your mileage will vary based on your location, but I can confirm that the Rezound managed to hold an LTE signal as well as anything else Verizon has to offer at the moment.

4. Build Quality/Appearance

The Rezound may not be RAZR thin or have the gentle curves of the Galaxy Nexus, but I’m a big fan of its look and feel nonetheless. The Rezound is one of those phones that just fits perfectly in the hand (or at least my hand). I suspect this will carry over to the majority of users, though, as it’s a combination of a slightly narrower form factor with curved edges and soft touch back. The familiar Verizon red accents are a little stronger than they have been on other devices, but in my opinion, it doesn’t cross the line into garishness. The splash of color and varied textures are a welcome break from the sea of black slabs, but I’m definitely ready for someone to break from that design aesthetic at this point. (And for the record that doesn’t mean a purple phone.)

HTC Rezound 4G Front HTC Rezound 4G Back Angle HTC Rezound 4G Back HTC Rezound 4G side HTC Rezound with iBeats earbuds

5. Audio/Beats Integration

I believe I’ve confessed in the past that I am not an audiophile. (If not, then I’m doing so now). I listen almost exclusively to podcasts and audiobooks with music only entering the equation when I’m working out. So I’ll give you my lay opinion on the Beats experience, and if you want a more detailed look at the audio side of things, you might want to check out the review done by Sound and Vision.

It’s important to know that Beats isn’t integrated throughout the OS. You will need to use the HTC Music app in order to enjoy the benefits of the Beats audio profiles with your music. For video, the Gallery is your lone option. With the prevalence of 4G and the rise of streaming audio and video in the past year, this will force you to take a step back and load up your device with content again. Now those of you who really care about the quality of your audio experience on your phone will probably be willing to do that. But I’m afraid I’m a denizen of the cloud at this point, and I just don’t see myself managing content like this anymore. Another important point is that the Beats integration is only fully available to Beats branded earbuds/headphones, such as the included iBeats. With all of that out of the way, I’ll get to whether Beats actually makes things sound better when you’ve got it up and running. In my opinion, the answer to that question is a definite, “Yes.” The Rezound using the HTC Music app and the Beats earbuds was honestly the best audio experience I’ve had on an Android device; whether that’s worth the compromises is something you’ll have to decide for yourself.

6. Android 2.3.4/Sense 3.5

HTC has vowed that the Rezound will see an upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich, but for the time being it is running Gingerbread. That, of course, features the Sense overlay. There was a time that I could say Sense made things easier for the novice Android user. But that hasn’t been the case for awhile now, and it’s just going to become less relevant with Ice Cream Sandwich. I’m resigned to the fact that they aren’t going to give up on Sense, but HTC would be wise to continue scaling it back and perhaps concentrating more on their services and apps, such as HTC Music or Watch as their differentiators.

7. Battery Life

This was by far my biggest complaint with the Rezound. Depending on your usage and needs, this could be a deal breaker. I was never once able to make it through a full work day (9-10 hours) with what I consider to be normal usage. Normal in my case involves a lot of email, a few phone calls, Twitter, Google+, and downloading/listening to podcasts. Obviously it’s those last three habits that are particularly hard on the phone. If you avoid any or all of them and aren’t replacing them with a massive Facebook or Netflix habit, then you probably would see 10-11 hours of battery life on the Rezound. Fortunately, unlike the RAZR, you could always just buy an extra battery if you’re particularly concerned with making it through the day.

8. Performance

The Rezound is powered by a Qualcomm 1.5GHz dual-core processor, an Adreno 220 GPU and a full 1GB of memory. It’s a good thing, too, as I’m sure it needs it to push all those pixels on that beautiful screen. Occasionally these super phones seem to have every spec under the sun and yet still bog down at times. I’m happy to say that isn’t the case with the Rezound. I never experienced any stuttering or slowdowns when launching apps or switching between screens. I tried several graphics intensive games on it, such as the included demo of Need for Speed, and it handled them all with ease.

9. Cameras

You’ve no doubt detected a theme at this point: the Rezound doesn’t skimping on features. The cameras are no exception. With a rear facing 8MP and front facing 2MP, the Rezound sits comfortably in the top echelon. Fortunately HTC didn’t just throw any 8MP sensor in there, either; they went with the same back-lit sensor at f/2.2 that can be found in the HTC Amaze. While the Rezound can’t quite match the shot to shot speed found on the Galaxy Nexus, it is plenty fast and capable of pretty sharp images — even in questionable lighting. That rear camera is also capable of capturing 1080p video for those concerned with capturing true HD video with their phone.

HTC Rezound 4G Camera Sample 1 HTC Rezound 4G Camera Sample 2 HTC Rezound 4G Camera Sample 3

10. Bundled Items

Alright. So we aren’t exactly looking at a cornucopia of extras here, just a 16GB microSD card and a Beats headset. But that’s more than you get with the average device, and considering the prices that Verizon is charging,[1] it’s nice to feel like you’re getting something “extra” for your hard earned cash. The iBeats (I know, an “iProduct” packaged with your Android phone) retail for right around $100. While I’m more than willing to listen to a discussion of whether that’s an appropriate price or not, the fact is that’s what they go for. They have a mic and a three-button remote with pause/play, forward and rewind. As a headset I would say they are mediocre; the lack of a clip means the mic is a bit wayward and can end up not being in an optimal location to pick up your voice. As far as earbuds go they aren’t the best I’ve used by any means, but they are far better than anything I’ve had packaged with a phone previously. So if you’ve never splurged on earbuds, these should be an upgrade for you.

Final Thoughts

HTC Rezound8 / 10

The Galaxy Nexus has certainly garnered the most attention and interest from our community. But for the average user, I think the HTC Rezound could easily still be the best option available on Verizon. The form factor alone goes a long way to selling the Rezound; its smaller dimensions (versus the Galaxy Nexus) and rounded edges (versus the Droid RAZR) make it a better fit in hand for a wider audience. The 720p screen is a thing of beauty, and the camera in the Rezound seems to outperform the Galaxy Nexus in many situations.

Again the one real concern I had was with battery life. For the most part, that’s just life with a 4G phone at the moment. A second or extended battery is an easy and relatively inexpensive solution. I should also note that the Rezound doesn’t have NFC natively, which is disappointing. But with the utility of NFC still being fairly limited (in some cases deliberately), I don’t consider that to be a significant negative for the average buyer.

All in all, HTC hit nearly every major check mark with the Rezound. While specs don’t always make the device, I can comfortably say after my time with the Rezound that with this device they all come together into a very compelling package.


  1. Keep in mind that new customers can get it for half what Verizon is charging at Amazon Wireless
Sean has been with Android and Me for over 8 years and covering mobile for the last 9. He occasionally muses about gadgets and tech outside of the Android universe at Techgasms.

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  • damambt

    i wish htc would bring more of these fancy models to at&t. The verizon guys get all the fun.

    • Jeff Pan

      Seriously!! Is there a reason Verizon get all these phones?

  • amgala

    I played with a friend’s Rezound for a while. It is definitely a solid, fast phone. HTC makes great handsets and my old Droid Incredible will always be one of my favorite phones.

  • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

    I really enjoyed the Rezound, even though I only had six short days with it. The display is simply amazing! The Beats headphones are great for listening to music, but I wouldn’t recommend them phone making phone calls since their snug fit blocks out all the sound around you – even the sound of your own voice. I found myself speaking a lot louder than I typically would and I was getting weird looks from the people around me on the street.

    • Angie Wimberly


  • thekaz

    I looked long and hard at this before going with the Nexus.. I don’t mind Sense, but after 2.5 years of using Sense on my smart phone, the possibilities with ICS (without having the do any work to “disable” sense) just seemed to great.

    I am a fan of having tech which feels solid, and the Rezound has that. However, once I added the extended battery to the Nexus, it felt a lot better in my hand.

  • bellken

    spot on review, I am enjoying my Rezound, and, can’t wait until I get ics on it.

  • falltime

    Bought a Rezound after a week with the Nexus and I am extremely happy.
    In terms of the software – I frankly think ICS is a mess and I don’t know what the hype is about. (ex. side to side scrolling is totally inefficient, why are the widgets in the app tray?, why am I scrolling through recently used apps with useless screenshots?, where is that menu button?)

    And in terms of hardware there is zero comparison. The screen on the Samsung is lousy, the camera is worse, the feel is terrible (it is like trying to grab a wide bar of soap), the wifi gets lousy reception and the battery cover – Oy Vey!

    The Rezound is a tad too thick and battery life could be better (but I found the same on the GN) but otherwise it is a terrific phone and given what ICS looks like now (honeycomb on steroids) I think Sense is more necessary than ever.

    • http://www.technogasms.com Sean Riley

      Glad to hear you’re enjoying your Rezound and I definitely can see that ICS has caused a bit of a rift for folks. For whatever reason I’ve just never clicked with what Sense offers, but I tried to keep in mind for the review that there are many that do appreciate what it brings to the table and that contributed to my recommending it over the Galaxy Nexus for some users.

    • thekaz

      To me, these seem more like minor inconveniences/things to get used to rather than ICS being “a mess” … the menu button hopping around can take some getting used to, but now that I am used to it and all these other things, I am enjoying my ICS.

      Keep in mind, I am coming from a Droid Eris, so ANYTHING would be 10x better. I did come very very close to picking the Rezound. It is a really nice phone.

      • falltime

        The menu button is the least of it (but it is annoying)

        The bigger issue to me is things like the widgets moving away from the home screen (long press) and moving it to a menu in the app drawer. Having the app drawer only scroll side to side – trying going to an app or a widget starting with z…its like a hundred swipes;
        Or dedicating a button to recently used apps and then giving you screenshots (which arent standard and often unhelpful) which require more scrolling (since only a few apps can show at a time) – sure you can get used to that -but its frustrating and makes no sense since “old” gingerbread didnt have the objective flaws.

        And it isnt that I love sense (although their contact app is far superior to anyone elses) its that at least sense (like other launchers) give a coherent theme to an otherwise disjointed stock experience.

        • thekaz

          I hear ya… to me, these things just don’t seem as bad. Guess we’ll have to agree to disagree :)

  • wyngo

    I love my Rezound and agree with just about everything in this review (including battery life, unfortunately). Three things I would add:

    1. My headphones did come with a clip, so I don’t know why yours didn’t.
    2. The red/black color scheme makes the capacitive buttons hard to see in the dark when they aren’t lit up.
    3. I hear a slight hissing noise whenever any media is playing. Some other Rezound users have reported the same, but not all. Anybody know if HTC is working on a software fix for this?

    That being said, this is a fantastic phone and I don’t regret choosing it over the Nexus.

    • http://www.technogasms.com Sean Riley

      That’s good to know regarding the clip, it did seem like an odd omission to me as it rendered the mic fairly useless.

      Interesting note regarding the capacitive buttons too, I guess I adjusted pretty quickly to where they were, but I did notice that when I first stared using the phone.

      I never experienced the hissing issue with my review unit. I’ve certainly seen that pop up on forums though. To my knowledge HTC hasn’t acknowledge it yet, but I can try to follow up and see.

    • R.S


      I notice a hissing on my Galaxy S II as well when using headphones at the lowest volume setting.

      Since I rarely use headphones, let alone at the lowest setting, the hissing hadn’t bothered me enough to check if others are experiencing the same thing. However now that you mentioned it, I’m curious to see if it is normal, common, or just my phone.

  • smeghead68

    Looks nice. I wonder if this is or will be available in Canada.

  • Nathan D.

    Good review but I just want to know what took so long for the review just out of curiosity.

    • http://www.technogasms.com Sean Riley

      That would be my fault, I was away for most of December and wasn’t able to wrap it up. We’ll definitely be more timely in the future.

      • Jake Gall

        It’s all good no worries here ;-)

  • droilfade

    I’d have liked it better if it DID NOT come with beats! Beats is all hype! It’s overpriced, the bass is accentuated, the music does not sound how it is supposed to…..but I do think this is a good review.

    • Tarwinia

      While I agree that beats is overpriced and quite a bit of hype ,it is still better than a pair of $10 earbuds. The bass IS accentuated which can actually sound good for some types of music/songs but definitely not for all. The good thing is that you don’t have to use them, you can switch them out for a different set and with a different set the beats eq setting won’t even be available. The bad part is they are most likely charging a premium. Personally, if the premium isn’t too much I prefer to have the option.

      • R.S

        Not only is it better than a pair of $10 ear buds, it’s a heck of a lot better than no ear buds especially when buying a phone priced close to or the same as the Resound.

        Provided that the spec and performance of the phones were similar, I’d be more apt to choose a phone with “over hyped” ear buds than a similar priced phone with cheap or no ear buds.

  • yankeesusa

    Its a great looking phone. But again the battery life is not so good. When are they going to fix that? Maybe its because of the 4g part but cmon do something with it already. I wonder how the batter on the gnexus is when running lte? I”m looking forward to an lte htc phone on sprint or even the nexus depending on when it comes out and if they add couple tweaks to it.

    • Gary B.

      Concerning the battery life, I bought the ‘extended battery’ which is a 2750 Mah. It lasts all day, depending on what you use on the phone. I have gone 3 days without charging, and used it kinda sparingly during that time. Talked several hours. Most days, I have to charge after 2 days of use. As far as ‘hissing’ in the phone, using my Beats buds, I’ve not noticed that at all.
      Really love my Rezound.

  • BigCiX

    As popular as Android is I’m surprised there’s only one headphone brand that supports it (Klipsch)

  • alexanderharri3

    Compared to my Thunderbolt, the Rezound (one buddy has the Rezound and I used it for a few hours) is a very nice phone. The screen..well your review got that down pat. The accents of red and the ribbed back is nice compared to the flat and black/gray Thunderbolt….though a kickstand would still be nice. His battery is a full day with 4G connected (area with good 4G coverage) compared to my T-Bolt’s switch-to-3G-to-get-a-day battery life.

    3D-like sense is getting too much…they could improve performance above what it is if they took out the gimmickey fancy home screen and other Sense features. Sense 2.1 on the Thunderbolt is preferred by me (minus camera app features).

  • Conduitz

    Used to be the only issue I had with this phone was the locked bootloader/no perm root. This problem being resolved by HTC and their wonderful stance on “its your phone, do what you want (mostly, at least).” I easily agree that its Verizon’s best handset option, currently.

  • SGB101

    if this is the sensation XE, that is over in the uk, my son has it , and it overheats, and randomly reboots while off charge.

    ive read this isnt uncommon

    • eallan

      It isn’t, it’s very different.

  • redraider133

    If verizon did not have the nexus this would be my choice. i played with one in store and it felt great in hand and much better than the thinner razr. HTC makes some nice phones just need to tone down sense a little and then they will have a real winner.

  • Jake Gall

    As a tech wiz myself I learned to never buy first gen technology, This goes for the G Nex. First gen tech is always buggy and still experimental. Though I feel sense does need a complete overhaul or to be removed, I have had an HTC device since the HTC Ozone, Droid Eris (sense was introduced to verizon) to the Droid Inc, now the rezound, I love htc devices but sense is aged and sadly not well, they need to learn from moto on updating thier UI. But gotta say I love htc over all others.

  • Richard Yarrell

    Honestly the time has come for people to broaden their horizons. This review was nice and definately on point i applaud htc for one of their best devices yet. Regardless the future is (ics) stock android has grown and the need for skinned device NO LONGER EXIST PERIOD. I have been an staunch htc supporter and have had the htc hero, htc evo 4g, and htc evo 3d that was then and my Galaxy Nexus is now and trust me the Galaxy Nexus PIMP SLAPS all the devices i ever had. And for the record stock ice cream sandwich SLAPS sense silly not even a comparison. Anyone thinking there is a device made by htc that is better than the galaxy nexus is only FOOLING THEMSELVES and they need to WAKE UP and smell the coffee. Android NO LONGER needs skins on top of it. Plain and simple folks get with the program google worked very hard for ics and in some ways sense was their guide to ics. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED GOOGLE……..

    • falltime

      Sorry but what is so great about ICS? What about it is more intuitive or easier to use? Roboto font?

      ICS app drawer =sucks (requires way more swipes b/c you cant downward scroll)
      ICS Widget menu = sucks (went from a long press to another whole menu with swipe after swipe after swipe)
      ICS Camera app = sucks (having 4 settings is not an improvement – when you are dealing with limited phone based camera more settings are required for various situations)
      ICS Recently Used apps = sucks (went from one simple press with 8 easily selcted icons – to an entire button where you can only see 3-4 apps at a time with illegible confusing screenshots)
      ICS Button situation = sucks (sometimes you get a ellipses, sometimes you dont, sometimes its on the bottom, sometimes its on the top – sometimes you get icons, somertimes you get dots)
      ICS contacts – inferior – no facebook sync, pictures are distorted
      ICS Setting menu = sucks (where is it? Not on menu button b/c that is gone, swipe down and then hit some weird slder icon?? that makes sense – to who?)
      All of the above plus missing basic features that FREE launchers have
      No Landscape Homescreen
      No resizable widgets
      No notification bar widgets/toggles

      Look I am an android guy, I got a GN the very morning it was released, I wanted to and expected to love it – but I am not going to say its better when it isn’t.
      You can point to almost no ICS change that is objectively more user friendly or more intuitive (except maybe the settings menu itself – if you can find it)

      • eallan

        Objectively better? That’s going to be hard, seeing as almost the entirety of interface usage is subjective.

        I’ll try though:

        The people app is much better.
        The dialer is better looking.
        The notification shade and ability to clear individual notifications is much better.
        The interface is actually coherent and seems to have a “plan” or a goal.

        Some of yours are massive nitpicks as well. The first time you use the settings icon in the shade, you learn it. It’s literally a one time adjustment. The button situation is a growing pain form a change in OS, the widget menu doesn’t “suck” it’s just in a different place. There has never been a stock landscape screen, there ARE resizable widgets.

        • falltime

          Yes – if an action takes more swipes than it is objectively worse.

          As to the rest

          The people app – doesnt sync with FB and pictures are blurry – how is that ‘better’ than Sense (for example)

          Better looking dialer – ok I dont agree but whatever

          Clearing individual notifications is nice. CM7 has that though

          A “goal”??? meaningless marketing drivel

          Sorry settings menu makes no sense there – will I “learn it” yes – do I want to – No

          Dedicating a button to an action that used to only require a simple long press (recently used apps) isnt a ‘growing pain’ – its the loss of a limited resource – buttons

          The widget menu does suck – it is placed in a spot that makes no sense and requires a million swipes to get through

          Every launcher has landscape homescreen – no reason for being left out of ICS

          Only a couple of ‘google’ widgets are resizable – again every FREE launcher allows near universal widget resizing.

    • squiddy20

      Apparently you still don’t understand the subjectivity of the phrase “the best”, even after almost 2 whole years of my correcting your sorry ass. What you think/feel is “the best” is not what everyone on the face of the earth thinks/feels is “the best”. Sure the Galaxy Nexus *might* currently be “the best” in terms of hardware, but I can guarantee you that within 2 months, something higher quality will be out. It’s just the way Android is.
      As for “the best” in terms of software, It’s purely personal preference. Some people might still prefer Sense or Touchwiz on top of ICS. Some people might even prefer Froyo or Gingerbread over ICS. It’s THEIR CHOICE. Not yours. Go take your self important, self centered views somewhere else.

      I would also like to mention that, according to all your previous posts, your first Android phone was actually your beloved Evo 4G, NOT the HTC Hero. Or were you lying all those times in the past when you basically stated this? It’s a shame you can’t even keep your story straight.

  • Richard

    My objection to the earbuds is that I cannot use with my unique air canals. Wish there was option to buy phone without buds. Tested four phones at Verizon kiosk at Mall,Razr, Rezound and Nexus Iphone 4s. Was blown away on how sharp the zoom image was on camera. Rezound was easily sharpest of all four.

  • sylar

    Yea my friend had one of these and returned it several days later, its a nice phone but the battery life is horrendous even if you don’t use it very much.

  • spazby

    This is a great device but I would still go with pure google..

  • flamesbladeflcl

    It looks like a great sequel to the thunderbolt but is completely overshadowed by the release of the gnex. I do like it though, quite a bit.

  • kimminer1

    nice ph., still like stock android

  • Bob

    I have had the Rezound for almost 2 months. The battery life exceeds any on of my friends android phones. I listen to music with the Beats headset through an 8 hour shift at work and still have over half of battery life. The Beats headset is far better than any headset that I have listen to, giving music clarity. The video is great, even better is the fact that it does slow motion video to.

  • Kurt

    Spot on review, Sean. I don’t understand why most reviewers knock the Rezound for its “massive” thickness. Why does thinner = better? Besides, I find that there is sweet spot regarding a smartphone’s thickness. What’s important is how it feels in your hand. The Rezound fits in my hand perfectly and the “rubbery” texture feels good and solid. The new super-thin offerings like the Droid Razr and Galaxy Nexus feel like cheap plastic toys in my hand and are dimensionally uncomfortable to opearate. One word: ergonomics.

    Some folks really like Gingerbread/HTC Sense. It’s very stable and reliable. The initial version of Ice Cream Sandwich is a buggy clusterf*ck.