HTC’s Gratia is designed to fit in the space between high-end Android smartphones such as the HTC Desire HD, and entry-level models such as the Orange San Francisco, a rebranding of ZTE’s Blade handset. But to call it ‘mid-range’ is to inadequately describe that part of the smartphone sector that hovers between these two bookends.
The mid-range is vast, covering a wide landscape of prices and including plenty of smartphones. The Gratia includes some definite compromises in specification that help it reach its price. Whether or not they matter to you will depend on how you intend to use your smartphone.
So what are those compromises? For starters, the Wi-Fi doesn’t support 802.11n connections, limiting itself to b and g. And there’s no flash to accompany the handset’s 5-megapixel camera. More importantly, the phone has very little built-in storage. Of the 512MB built into our review device, only 164MB was free for storage.
You can expand on the internal memory with a microSD card, but the slot is under a hard-to-remove backplate. We actually had to resort to a knife to get the backplate off, so you might not be planning to swap microSD cards very often.
With an overall size of 104x58x12mm and weighing just 115g, you won’t be surprised to learn that the Gratia’s screen is small. At just 3.2 inches, it’s not ideal for media-intensive activities like video watching or web browsing. And the resolution of 320×480 pixels is a little behind the times, too – though we found the screen perfectly fine for activities like reading email and looking at photos.
The Gratia’s processor might sound underpowered at just 600MHz, but we didn’t experience too much of a problem with it. If you want to do a lot of processor-heavy activity such as watching video, you’re probably going to want a larger screen than the one that’s on offer here, so you’ll be looking elsewhere anyway.
It’s great that HTC has built its optical trackpad into the area below the screen. This comes into its own for choosing web links and for other finer movement around the screen, as it is really tricky to be accurate with a fingertip.
The small screen makes text entry a bit of a challenge, and the larger your hands the more problematic you may find it. The capacitive screen is responsive enough, it’s just that the on-screen qwerty keyboard is cramped, even in widescreen mode.
In the end, all the bases are covered here – but some are restricted such that the more multimedia-rich, processor-intensive activities – or those that benefit from a bigger screen – aren’t much fun to do on the HTC Gratia.
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If you want a smartphone for occasional use of the web, Google Maps, video watching and so on, the HTC Gratia might just suit. If, on the other hand, you plan to indulge in those kinds of activities regularly you'd be better off with a larger screen and more powerful processor.