The Rhyme is being marketed by HTC as a phone for women. It seems strange that a company would choose to discard half of its potential customer base for a handset, when what both women and men want from their phone is broadly the same. And when said phone is hardly styled so as to offend masculine sensibilities.
Yes it’s plum coloured, but that’s not so bad. When you have to plough through piles of black handsets as we do, a bit of colour is a refreshing change. There’s one accessory in the box that is female-friendly, an LED charm whose long cord attaches to the phone’s 3.5mm headphone jack, and lights up when you’ve got incoming messages, and is designed for those who carry their phones in bags rather than pockets.
But the other three accessories that round out a pretty nice package – a slip case (that, bizarrely, feels just a touch too small for the phone), a pair of tangle-free headphones, and a desktop dock – are most definitely unisex.
Maybe HTC feels it can afford a female-focussed handset because it has already launched enough products into the market this year, and needs to start differentiating them a bit more. Especially when the Rhyme bears a striking similarity to the Desire S the company launched more than six months ago.
They don’t share the same chassis – the Rhyme is a tad longer and wider, and a touch thinner – but in sharing broadly similar key specs (1GHz processor, 768MB RAM, 5 megapixel camera, 3.7” screen) it’s hard to tell them apart – plum notwithstanding. The main difference is the introduction of HTC Sense 3.5 on the Rhyme.
This latest version of the popular custom skin continues HTC’s drive to make Android more polished. 3.5 actually marks a significant moment in the development of Sense.
The trademark flipclock is no longer part of the default setup, replaced instead by a new full-screen widget that sports a minimalist clock, tiny weather icon and five further app icons.
The app icons double up as trays. Tapping on a supported app will see a tray slide open to reveal thumbnails of your photo gallery, or what song you’re playing. If you add non-supported third party apps to the widget, they become more traditional shortcuts instead.
The other notable change to the look of 3.5 is the removal of the clunky dock at the bottom of the screen in favour of simple app screen and phone shortcuts. These look much tidier but are not customisable.
The Rhyme is the kind of phone that HTC excels at producing. It looks nice, is well built with a combination of plastic and aluminium, has a great screen, is fast, has an okay camera, and battery life that we wish were a little longer. It does nothing new, but what it does it does well. And its purchaser, of whatever gender, will no doubt be satisfied with it.