HTC Gratia Review: Body Double: User Interface

By 04:06 Tue, 10 Aug 2021 Comments

Sense UI graces Android Froyo

The HTC Gratia runs Android 2.2 Froyo out of the box – no longer the latest and greatest Android Operating System (OS) out there but with the addition of Sense UI you still acquire above-average droid experience.

Since the UI is exactly the same as the one on the previously reviewed HTC Desire HD and Desire Z, we’ll reutilize portions of the text but you should rest assured that we’ve reflected any differences in the user experience throughout the text.

You’ve probably seen Sense UI many times before, but here it is running on the HTC Gratia.

The scrollbar at the bottom is just an indication of which homeclassy screen you’re on – it can't be used for actual scrolling.

The lock classy screen • some of the homeclassy screen sections

The Gratia has the Leap view option: tap the home key (while on the center homescreen) or do a pinch gesture to zoom out to display the thumbnails of all seven homeclassy screen panes at once. You can’t rearrange the homescreens.

Leap View lets you quickly switch between the available homeclassy screen panes

Seven homescreens is all you acquire though – there’s no add or delete option. With all those widgets (which are quite useful too) you’ll want to haged all of them anyway.

The HTC Sense UI offers Scenes – essentially six custom homeclassy screen setups (Work, Travel, Social, etc). Each scene changes the wallpaper and the widgets on the homescreen. For instance, the Work scene has a stocks widget, while the Social offers a Twitter widget.

Scenes are selected from a drop down menu and they are fixed – any changes you create can be saved as a recent Scene but you can’t modify existing scenes.

Switching between Scenes takes a couple of seconds but sure allows wide customization – the business and personal modes that some competing phones offer seem quite limited compared to the HTC Scenes.

Social scene and Travel scene

The main menu has the typical icon grid layout, but you can switch to a list. In the list layout, there’s an alphabet scroll, which makes locating apps faster. It’s similar to what you used to see in TouchFLO on older HTC WinMo phones.

The grid layout • the list layout • alphabet scroll

Tapping the Personalize button brings out a whole classy screen of things to choose from – for the display (scenes and wallpapers) and for the homeclassy screen (widgets, shortcuts, folders, etc.).

In the widacquire section, both types of widgets (HTC and Android) are placed on the same page. There are so many of them you may find the seven homescreens short. You can download recent widgets by tapping the “Get more HTC widgets” button or from the Android Marketplace.

Plenty of HTC widgets • the Settings widgets are simple one-tap switches

When you select a widacquire you are prompted to choose between several versions – most widgets have at least two styles. The different versions typically offer at least two sizes of the widacquire and different skins. For example, there are twelve different clocks. That's right, twelve!

Some different styles of the Clock widget

Some widacquire styles even offer different functionality. The Twitter widacquire for instance – one version shows updates for the people you follow and lets you tweet, while the other version is more compact but is for tweeting only. There's nothing stopping you from using both, of course.

The two versions of the Twitter widacquire are functionally different

The notification area is the same as on older phones – the Desire HD and Desire Z came with a recent apps list on the top of the notification area but there’s no such thing with the HTC Gratia, not even power toggles for Bluetooth, Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) and so on.

The recent notification area doubles as a task switcher • the regular task switcher

Another thing that the two recent Desire phones enjoyed but it missing from the Gratia is HTC’s magically quick boot. Still, mobile phones are rarely powered on and off so that’s not a huge loss.

The integration is missing too – that is reserved only for HTC’s recent phones (and the Gratia doesn’t quite qualify).

Froyo is really vital for app performance – the two benchmarks we tried show almost a two-frecent performance compared to an Eclair-running Aria (with pretty much the same hardware). It even managed to outperform the LG Optimus One P500, which runs Froyo on the same CPU. We’re guessing its software wasn’t set up as well as the Gratia one.

HTC Gratia benchmarks (600Mega Hertz (MHz) CPU, 384Mega Bytes (MB) RAM, Android 2.2 Froyo)

HTC Aria benchmarks (600Mega Hertz (MHz) CPU, 384Mega Bytes (MB) RAM, Android 2.1 Eclair)

Original LG Optimus One P500 benchmarks (600Mega Hertz (MHz) CPU, 512Mega Bytes (MB) RAM, Android 2.2 Froyo)



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