The Verizon HTC Ozone review

Coming out fresh from Verizon’s factories (or is it HTC’s?), is a phone which you could call “today’s generation”.

The HTC ozone is cousins to the HTC Snap family of phones which sprint offers. The ozone is also a cousin to the T-mobile dash 3g. All three of these devices are similar – though the ozone does not have a feature called inner circle, which could place important e-mails by contacts into groups. Many reviews site this as a missed feature.

The ozone features a 528 MHz processor, 128 MB of ram, 256 mb of rom (read-only memory which stores the operating system files and any programs/files you may install), wi-fi 802.11b/g capibilities, bluetooth 2.1, both a gsm and CDMA phone radio, and GPS. Quite impressive. You could take this phone to europe and use it, provided that you unlock the device to accept other sim cards (this you can do by calling verizon’s global support number listed in your contacts list).
It features windows mobile 6.1 with a qwerty keyboard.

While I’ve had my ozone for about a month now, my reviews of it are mixed. We have a good processor, a good GPS, and amazing wireless. But the fact is, while the device might look awesome in the inside, it is not-so-quaint on the outside.

The ozone’s keyboard is easy to use – and it took me a few days to adapt to the new layout, since this phone has a comma key after l, something my Q didn’t had. We also have q, w, e representing 1,2,3 instead of w, e, r – which makes life all that more confusing. Worse yet, a,s,d don’t represent 4,5,6. Rather, s,d,f do – and this offsets your numbers by a space.
The actual device, though, is very cheaply made. When I hold it in my hand and put my thumb on the back of it to text with one hand (I text by putting my thumb on the back of the phone and pushing buttons that way), the phone creeks with each key press. Wow.
Recently, I dropped the device and noticed a piece of tape coming off the back. Thinking that it’s probably something that got stuck on it from the ground, I removed the tape – only to find to my horror that I cannot get any signal coverage anymore. The tape, which is irreplaceable (I attempted to replace duck tape and regular cellux/tape where I removed it) serves as a method of improving your signal strength somehow. When I place my finger on the back of the device, my signal strength returns. Of course, in areas where service is better (such as in a verizon store), there is coverage on the phone. Since I live on a rural area, however, I can only get 17% or 5% signal coverage by default – all of which is now gone. Of course, taking the phone back to Verizon wouldn’t work, since most stores have full coverage, which of course would be detected by the phone.

Aside from this cheap design, the ozone is the fastest device I’ve seen thus far, and I know I will miss it now that I’m back with my older Q9m model. It’s processor is great – and so is the battery life. After a full day of school, I still have around 40 to 50% battery left – while on the Q I generally ended up with 25%. The speakers aren’t bad quality, either – they can closely match the volume of the Q. Although, I wish there were two speakers like in the Q – it nevertheless is not too bad.

While texting, I have found that the phone freezes a lot. I send anywhere from 200 to 400 texts a day – and it appears that xt9, which is a word completion feature of HTC phones (not windows mobile), slows the phone down. XT9 basically keeps a dictionary of all the words you have used and tries to predict your next one. Since Mobile speak has no compatibility with xT9, I have no use for it. From the settings dialog, however, turning off xt9 is impossible. It always turns itself back on, like an undestructable machine.
I’ve found that accasionally unloading the messaging application (after about 3 texts) will improve typing speed. This gets quite tiresome after a while. I’ve never had to unload my text messaging application this much on the Q.

Data speeds on the Ozone were amazing. The phone features evdo rev. a, and even around my rural home, I could get well around 30KBPS speeds and stream 128kbps radio without any interruptions. Internet Explorer in the phone is very snappy and works great. (I’m assuming that this is due to the processor of the device)

I also noticed that there are two microphones on the ozone – one on the front and the other in the back. When putting someone on speakerphone, the phone sounded very clear and the other person could not hear their own voice often.

GPS is also a quality feature. I used Mobile geo and went out for a walk to my nearest intersection. While it took some time to find points of interests near me (up to 30 seconds), accuracy was pretty good. I had maps for Ohio and Michigan loaded on my storage card. The actual GPS antenna is a long “stick-like” shape located just to the right of your battery with the cover exposed – while the shorter, snubbier antenna is your phones. When placing the device in your pocket, you generally lose signal both in call and on the GPS.

In loud cafeterias, the speaker delivers ok sound – however it is, again, not as loud as the Q. Still, over 100 people’s screaming and shoving in the lunch line, I could read and reply to texts just fine.

The bottom line:

While the ozone has great communication features, it is very poorly designed. I won’t take my ozone back to verizon (they’d think I’m mad since it will detect a signal and there is no way to proove that at my home there is none). I guess it’ll be good as a personal … gps and music device. 🙂 The phone stands out as a messaging phone – and most will find the keyboard easy to use, although I can see how transitioning from a previous smartphone can be difficult at times.

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