The Verizon HTC Ozone (Cedar) is the answer to the aging Motorola Q9 series and fits in nicely with Verizon's revamped and full-featured Windows Mobile lineup. The phone is a sister device to the HTC Snap but differs from that model in significant and beneficial ways.
I've had the chance to use the device extensively ever since the quick hands-on report weeks ago. In short, Verizon customers are very lucky to have such a great WM Standard device. Packing WiFi, EvDO Rev A and a GSM radio with a cozy keyboard, the HTC Ozone sets the bar for non-touchscreen devices and breathes new life into this series.
Read on for the full run down!
- 524mhz CPU
- Available Storage: ~72mb available (256mb total)
- Available Memory/RAM: ~70mb available (192mb)
- WiFi (802.11 b/g)
- GSM Radio (850/900/1800/1900 MHz)
- 1x/EvDO RevA
- BT 2.0
- 1500mah battery (~5hrs talk time)
- Visual Voicemail
- 3.7 oz
- WM6.1 Standard
It is almost odd to see a WM Standard device packed so with so much technology. Usually such specs are reserved for the more "high end" WM Pro devices.
What is even more revealing is how Verizon is offering this new on contract for the low $49 — nearly 2/3 less than the $149 Sprint is asking for the inferior Snap (you can get the Sprint Snap for $49 at Best Buy/Radio Shack though).
HTC has been building these devices for years, but dare I say ... only now are they really hitting their stride, having found what works and what doesn't in these devices. (FYI, I blame the Snap on carrier interference.)
The Ozone has a great feel to it: glossy in the front, a nice two-toned soft touch back. At 3.7oz, it is very light and easily slips into a pocket with ease. The front, feels a little "plastic-y" and at first seems sort of cheap.
However, it is much nicer than the Sprint version and you quickly adjust to the way the button click and respond. The angled cuts on the device also add a nice touch.
Just gorgeous. Granted, we are dealing with a 2.4" 320x240 non-touchscreen--hardly cutting edge, but I'm happy to report that they have improved the screen clarity, brightness and sharpness greatly. It's no VGA screen but for being a dedicated phone/messenger device, it really gets the job done.
Unfortunately there is no sensor to adjust brightness automatically, something which I've learned to greatly appreciated on the Touch Pro 2.
The keyboard is small and the Q9c still edges it out (at the cost of being wider). The Ozone's keyboard is very good though and is leaps and bounds better than the Sprint Snap's (which I've never adjusted to even after weeks of use). For once Verizon changed things for the better.
With ample spacing between the rows, a normal QWERTY layout and keys that are higher in the center than their sides, typing on the Ozone is a breeze. With a nice clicky sound, the keyboard is a highlight.
Clocking in at 524MHz and running WM6.1 Standard (and perhaps eligible for WM6.5?), the Ozone flies. Granted, WM Standard has always seemed faster than its Pro sibling, so adding that extra horsepower here pays off when running apps over WiFi or larger programs like Skyfire.
The device multi-tasks very well and you'll have no problem managing multiple apps.
HTC has finally started to do its custom work to WM Standard, which is a welcome change.
On this device they have their custom Camera program, which is so much better than Microsoft's — basically it adds more controls, streamlined menus and speed. To complement the camera, they have their own HTC Album, which offers full-screen viewing with slide-effects, updated transparent menus and ability to zoom/pan.
Other notable additions are Audio Boost, which is a graphic equalizer featuring pre-set profiles for headphone use; RSS Hub, which is a full featured RSS reader; QuickGPS that offers offline-aGPS; Bluetooth Explorer for file transfers; Comm Manger for working your radios; MP3 Trimmer for making ringtones; and Voice Recorder for sending sound files.
Finally, they have their own custom 'HTC Home' Sliding Panels theme, which includes access to the weather with gorgeous icons. The black color scheme melds nicely with the device's--no need to change it.
Bottom line: all of those apps really add to the experience of the device, making it more media-friendly and filling in the gaps left by Microsoft.
Hopping to the radios is very easy on the Ozone: push FN + Space Bar and it brings you to HTC's Comm Manager. From there you simply toggle which you want on/off, including Airplane mode, Data and Direct Push. WiFi connects up easily enough when turned on and doesn't hammer the battery too badly.
Speakers (both ear and rear) are very good. Ample sound from both with no distortion--there's even a nice resonance to the device.
Once again, HTC has wisely pushed the rear speaker to the side slightly, meaning when the device is on its back, the speaker is unobstructed. Near the earpiece, you have an LED for alerts/charging on the left side (one could imagine a ambient light sensor going on the right side-tsk!).
Yup, GPS in unlocked on this device which is crucial for a World Phone, eh? It works very well, especially with QuickGPS which downloads satellite data good for 1 week and assists with locking in on start up.
The Ozone also features Microsoft's VoiceCommand, which is one of their best technologies. It comes pre-assigned to the Green button: simply hold it down and wait for the little Mic to appear on screen.
VoiceCommand greatly simplifies functions such as getting your battery life, reading your next appointment, play a song or to call someone. It's an under-appreciated feature that not many phones come with pre-installed, so kudos to Verizon to making it so accessible.
Battery life is very good for such a device. It seemed to last for ever, though of course it will depend on your usage--but lets say it is on the high-end for longevity.
Not many on this phone, but if I had to nitpick:
- No 3.5mm headset jack
- No roller ball/side scroll wheel
- No ambient light sensor
- Could use more storage space
None of those are deal killers, unlike perhaps the Sprint Snap's keyboard.
At 70mb for storage, it will be fine for most folks, but if you install many apps you'll quickly run down to helps manage battery life and improve usability by adjusting the screen for you according to current lighting conditions.
The headset jack issue is well known--the Ozone just missed the revamped position of HTC. Too bad, but they do throw in a a very elegant adapter for 2.5mm/3.5mm/USB headphones. I always complain about the lack of a side scroll wheel, because when reading emails or websites, I find them useful for reading.
It should be obvious at this point: I really like the Ozone. I could violently shake the other carriers for not getting this version. It has all the radios you'll need, great design, nice KB, looks sharp (when doesn't black and green look good together in technology?) and the phone JUST WORKS. WM Standard is a very reliable OS and is so easy to work with. Because of that, it is nice to see it melded with such great hardware from HTC and their added software tweaks.
For $49 this is a steal. If you are new to smarpthones, need a solid messaging device or want something for your romps around the globe, look no further. And Sprint/T-Mobile? Learn from this.