The HTC Velocity has the distinct honour of being the first 4G smartphone available in Australia through the Telstra network.
Naturally most of the attention has been on the impressive download and upload speeds of the network.
This review will reflect the performance on Telstra’s 4G network as well as the device itself.
When it comes to technology, millimetres matter as much as metres in other industries.
We’ve already seen how competitive companies can be to shave thickness off their products.
Now 11.27mm might not sound big but it is noticeably thicker than devices like the Samsung Galaxy S II, the iPhone 4S and the Motorola Razr.
In the case of the HTC Velocity it is packing something the others don’t – a 4G radio – and this has no doubt added to the size of the product.
The HTC Velocity has an excellent 4.5-inch qHD display with a resolution of 540 x 960 which made viewing content and browsing the web even easier.
It has no physical buttons on the front of the device – just the touch sensitive home, menu, back and search keys.
On the right edge is the volume up and down keys. On top is the lock/on/off key beside the headphone jack while the mini USB port is all users will find down the left side.
On the back is the 8-megapixel camera and dual LED flash. The front camera is 1.3 megapixel.
While much of the attention for the aptly-named HTC Velocity will be about its speed on Telstra’s 4G network, the device itself is also quite fast.
This is all thanks to the dual core 1.5Ghz processor which means the Android-powered device will open and close apps and navigate the operating system quite quickly.
This is also seen with the operation of the Velocity’s camera with hardly any shutter lag and the ability to snap off a number of pictures within a few seconds.
The speed of the 4G network when we were inside its radius around capital cities, airports, regional and metropolitan centres was very impressive.
Tech Guide conducted a number of speed tests around Sydney and Brisbane and download speeds averaged around 30Mbps. Our highest speed was recorded at Brisbane airport where we achieved 36.49Mbps.
Even on the upload side it was usually in the mid-teens with our highest at 18.37Mbps.
Of course this made things like browsing the web, using connected apps and accessing YouTube lightning fast.
Sharing content like videos and images was also a much speedier affair thanks o those faster upload speeds we mentioned.
Business users will also appreciate the added speed to send and receive files and achieve broadband-like speeds in their hand.
But what about speed outside 4G coverage? It performed above average thanks to the built-in dual band HSPA+ – in other words it has two 3G radios.
Another advantage of owning the HTC Velocity is the ability to utilise its fast network connection with other devices by turning it into a wi-fi hotspot.
We did this on a number of occasions during our testing and reached incredible speeds in the high 20Mbps mark on two devices – an iPad and a laptop – connected to the HTC at the same time.
The main downside of the device is the battery. We exhausted a full charge in less than a day.
This was mainly due to the battery-draining use of the device as a wi-fi hotspot but also because we never had our hands off the device whether it was calling, surfing the web, viewing YouTube or running speeds tests.
Another thing to keep an eye on is your data usage. Having a device like the HTC Velocity is a bit like having a Ferrari on a race track – you’re going to want to see how fast it can go.
With that in mind we used up 800MB in a week. Something to keep an eye on considering Telstra’s plans offer 2GB per month. Users can monitor their data usage on the device and also buy more data if needed.
The standout features of the HTC Velocity 4G are the huge screen, the built-in HTC sense software layer and the 8 megapixel camera.
The 4.5-inch screen makes browsing web pages, viewing YouTube and your own content a rewarding experience.
HTC Sense was also a highlight and adds more logical functionality to the Android operating system including FriendStream which puts all of your social networking feeds into one easily accessible place.
On the camera side, the HTC Velocity’s 8-megapixel camera is excellent. Pictures are sharp and clear with accurate colours which are warm and natural.
Full high definition video recording was also above average.
And with 4G on board, sharing these pictures and videos directly to friends or on social networks is quick and easy.
The HTC Velocity is a historic device that will usher in a new era in mobile communication in Australia.
The speed of the Telstra’s 4G network and the high quality of the HTC Velocity device is a winning combination.
HTC Velocity 4G
Price: $0 on $79 Freedom Connect plan
Four stars (out of five)