Back in June when the HTC Touch Pro news was dropping all over web, all the buzz was when and if AT&T would get the phone and call it whatever they were going to call it. Turns out the name was the HTC Fuze. There was a rash of incorrect dates for launch hit the web too, and we posted them in hopes as well. In the meanwhile, Sprint was planning a CDMA version launch of their own. Sprint didn’t beat AT&T by many days either. Now a little over a week later, it’s time for the HTC Fuze on AT&T. I want to thank HTC for providing this evaluation unit. Unfortunately, I didn’t receive the retail packaging, but I am pretty sure that this one comes with all the same accessories. (Check out the 20 minute 1st Look Video soon)
I used the AT&T Tilt as my go to device for about 6 months on/off and it served me quite well. Without much tweaking, it was an excellent phone. With some tweaking, it was a stellar phone. Just like the Dell Axim, it shouldn’t die in the ashes of a new device. Unless you are a fiend like me, I would think twice before upgrading to the Fuze. Read on for my quick review and photos of the AT&T Fuze.
WHAT’S IN THE BOX
- HTC Fuze
- 1340 mAh Battery
- Mini USB Sync Cable
- AC Charger
- Spare Stylus
- 3.5mm Audio Adapter
- AT&T User’s Guide/CD (not included in my unit)
Select Pre-Loaded Services
- AT&T Mobile Music Service
- XM Radio Mobile™
- AT&T Navigator
- Push To Talk
- AT&T Video Share
- Processor: Qualcomm MSM7201A 528 MHz
- OS: Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional
- Memory: 512MB ROM, 288MB RAM
- Memory Expansion: SDHC capable microSD card slot
- Dimensions: 4.0” x 2.0” x .7” (HxWxT) Weight: 5.8 ounces (with battery)
- Display: 2.8” TFT-LCD VGA touchscreen
- Battery: 1340mAh LiIon
- Network: HSDPA/WCDMA 2100/1900/850 MHz / (384 kbps uplink/ 3.6 Mbps downlink) / GSM/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900 MHz /
- Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR and A2DP stereo
- WiFi: 802.11 b/g
- Camera – 3.2 megapixel autofocus camera with flash / Video capture
- User Interface – HTC TouchFLO 3D
- 5-row QWERTY backlit keyboard
- Operating Times – Talk Time: Up to 6.6 hours (WCDMA)Up to 7.4 hours (GSM) – Standby Time: Up to 19 days (WCDMA)Up to 15 days (GSM)
One thing that stood out 1st and foremost when taking the HTC FUZE out of the box was it’s size. You can look at pictures, you can check out size charts and the actual dimensions, but you can not describe the way a device feels in your hand in words. The FUZE just amazed me, it’s not much smaller than the Tilt on paper, but when you hold it in your hands, it feels much smaller. It’s not any lighter feeling and the bulk from the thickness is the same, but the feel of the FUZE in hand is quite awesome.
I really like that the FUZE looks very much like the actual Touch Pro on the surface. This look is quite sexy, not to mention the fact that Touch Pro accessories should work with the FUZE, including cases. The Sprint version should as well, but I don’t like the exterior look changes made there. (You can click the images to enlarge)
The 1st thing you will notice when looking at the FUZE is a look as if there are no buttons on the phone. The front of the FUZE is flush except for the recessed center button. The 2.8″ 640×480 touch screen is also flush with the device on the front. The rear of the FUZE has the diamond like beveled surface that give the phone a definite flair. On the rear, you only have a speaker, a 3.2 Megapixel camera lens, and a flash. The back cover slides up to reveal the battery, sim slot, and MicroSD slot.
In the photo below, you can see the front controls up close.
There are no soft keys on this phone, but the screen is so easy to use that you don’t really need them. The controls are all on one solid surface that can be pushed in near the icons to activate the buttons. In the upper left, you have your home button that brings you back to the main TouchFlo tab or the Today Screen if you choose to turn off TouchFlo. In the upper right, you will find the back button. Below those two are the call and hang up buttons. The center has a center select button that is actually recessed into the surface and surrounding it is the zoom wheel that works similar to the iPod controls. The zoom wheel also allows for left/right/up/down control too, but they are really difficult to operate for me.
One thing you will notice as well is the lack of LEDS. Where are the indications? They are in the zoom wheel. The backlighting behind the Talk/Send and End buttons as well as the navigation control (zoom wheel) light with white lighting in different patterns to indicate various scenarios.
The bottom of the FUZE has the mini USB jack for sync/charge as well as for the headphone adapter. Just below the headphone icon is the soft reset button. Above the Charge/Sync port is your microphone as well.
All we have on top is the power buttons. The only issue I have that sometimes when I try to power on, the keyboard slides out, but this is just me trying to use it one handed with the same motion as other devices, another week and I’ll be used to it.
On the left side, you will find the volume controls and the Push to Talk Button. With my unit, the Push to Talk button did not show up as mappable in the button settings and it’s really annoying when pushed.
The keyboard is one of only two big gripes that I have about the FUZE. I had been using the T-Mobile G1 a bit before picking the FUZE up and it has a dedicated row of numbers along with 4 rows just like most QWERTY sliders. Those that have the AT&T Tilt still will be right at hope with the number pad within the keyboard, but I have grown to like the top roll full of numbers. What this keyboard did that I also don’t like is they did make it 5 rows instead of 4 on the Tilt. They filled most of the top row with symbols. They also moved the Function key to the middle of the left side. I can’t tell you how many times my fingers hit the ok button instead of FN. The keyboard is much more cramped than the Tilt, but still quite usable. There are plenty of hotkeys to common functions on this keyboard on the bottom row too.
The FUZE is packed with features that you expect in a modern Windows Mobile Smartphone. You have your WiFi, A2DP Bluetooth, AGPS, 3.2 Megapixel camera, and TV Out. One thing that isn’t much of a “Feature” is the screen on a phone, but this one is worth listing as a feature. The 2.8 VGA Screen has a resolution of 640×480 and is absolutely stunning.
Yes. All this and the FUZE is a phone too! I know, it’s hard to believe, but it’s true. As with most Windows Mobile Phones, the wireless signal seems weaker as indicated by the bars than a regular old phone. This holds true with the FUZE too. I am not surprised with this at all. I had no issues getting a strong enough signal to have quality conversations though. The call clarity on my end was perfect and I got not complaints from the dozens of people I talked to with the FUZE, including one of the most critical callers, Matt Miller.
Bluetooth and WiFi
Non scientific tests show great range and simple setup. Not one bit of trouble getting on 3 different WiFi networks and my Bluetooth headset was paired in a jiffy.
The 3.2 Megapixel Camera does a great job really. Here are a couple of snapshots I took. The one of the left is in low light and the one on the right is super lighting. (Click the image for the full raw photo)
The HTC FUZE runs on Windows Mobile 6.1 with heavy UI modification courtesy of HTC’s own TouchFLO 3D. The FUZE comes packed with extra software added for AT&T including a ton of trials and paid services. There is the normal compliment of Windows Mobile standard applications as well. One thing that is missing is Windows Live Services though. I found that to be quite odd. Below are various screenshots from the FUZE.
The 1st Screenshot above shows the TouchFLO 3D homescreen. Next over is the “People” tab where you can setup some of your favorite or most called contacts. The 3rd screenshot over shows us a new tab in the TouchFLO UI put in for AT&T with links to all their services (paid and free). Next over is the Internet Tab. This tab has quick links to your shortcuts and launches Opera. In my opinion, this tab could have been left off.
From left to right you have the Music Tab, Programs Tab, All Programs sub menu of the Programs Tab, and the Photos and Videos Tab. The Music and Photos and Video Tabs are interactive and quite useful. You can swipe your finger through album art or photos. Each of the tabs have more to do by using the softkeys too. A submenu of the Programs tab lists all the programs in a more “Androidish” look, even though TouchFLO came before Android.
Here is the settings tab with the Communications sub menu. I really dig the indicators for on/off conditions. Again, comparing this to other phones, these menus look iPhone – ish. The right hand screenie shows the HTC Task manager app that has taken away my need for SPB Software House’s “X” function of Pocket Plus.
When the slide out keyboard is open, the display rotates to landscape and the left hand screenshot shows what the TouchFLO does. It doesn’t matter what tab you were in, it goes here. On the right is a screenie of Teeter, the game that uses the internal G-Sensor.
HTC has also skinned up the keyboard to make it prettier as well as added some enhancements. Not sure why you’d want it, but you can also swap the keyboard to T9 format. AT&T has taken control of your signature too. Notice on the left, I didn’t put that there. Nice touch though!
Just like other Windows Mobile Phones, Exchange server was a snap to get rolling on the FUZE. SMS/MMS messaging using the TouchFLO UI is a tad different, but I like Palm’s touch better here. There is an included multi messaging application that supports MSN, AOL, and Yahoo.
The FUZE is sporting a Qualcomm 528 MHz processor with plenty of RAM, but the problem is that the TouchFLO UI runs a tad sluggish despite the power. The screen rotation lags about a second, applications think a bit too long. All these things are not unique to the FUZE though. This is quite prevalent as most of us know with Windows Mobile when we load it up. Despite the sluggish nature, the phone is quite usable still. I could easily live with it and I will.
Oh Boy. I go from the Epix with a massive battery that took me multiple days without a refresh to this meager 1340mAh battery. I am scraping by to get home to charge each evening with moderate usage. I don’t live in a 3G area, so add that and/or some heavy WiFi usage and this may not make it through a day. I suggest an extra battery for those road warriors.
Overall, I am very pleased with the FUZE. I will be purchasing my own, but not 100% sure that it will be my daily driver right now. The battery life has me concerned since I work my phones pretty hard during the week. I honestly do not suggest frugal shoppers to jump ship on their Tilts for the FUZE, but if you like to have the latest and greatest, you won’t be “losing” anything going from the Tilt to the Fuze. Well, you will lose the “TILTING”, but that’s about it.
- Screen, Screen, Screen. Beautiful VGA!
- Sexy Design / Quality Build
- Very Nice Size and Feel
- Despite the TouchFLO complaint, the FUZE is faster than most phones
- Something not emphasized often, the G-Sensor
- Extra row on keyboard makes it a bit more cramped.
- Battery Life
- Price is harder to justify with other stellar devices out there cheaper, even on AT&T.
Price and Availability
The AT&T FUZE is available now at AT&T for $299 with 2 year contract and $50 mail in rebate.