Review: HTC Fuze

Some people have really bad phone skills. You’ll ask a question and they’ll take forever to answer, or they just sit there on the line, making you think the call dropped. (Hello? Hello?) Now imagine a phone that does that. You tap a button and nothing happens. So you hit it again. After the third or fourth press, all of the commands register, taking you someplace you didn’t want to go. You have just met the HTC Fuze. This unresponsive sluggard is so laggy that all of its good qualities are snowed under by its constant reluctance to do anything.

Which is a bummer, because in most other respects, this is a pretty cool handset. One of the best features is the 3-megapixel camera with automatic focus. Few phones have it, and it makes a world of difference when you can get your subject into sharp clarity by pressing the button halfway. All it’s missing is a real flash (it just has that weak LED). The keyboard is roomy and easy to type on, making short work of e-mails and text messages, and there’s even a function that pulls up a notepad for jotting if you pull the stylus out mid-call. The Fuze comes with 288 MB of SDRAM, but you can add a microSD for as much extra space as you need. The HTC also has Bluetooth and WiFi for connectivity and faster web performance at access points.

Irritations mostly revolve around the slow response time, possibly due to the lumbering OS that is Windows Mobile. Scrolling in the browser is a pain, as your finger will often click the wrong link mid-scroll. Zooming in both web pages and photos is slow going, and it’s easy to overshoot when zooming in or out. Videos shot on the phone look OK on the phone’s sharp screen, albeit a bit quiet, but videos from other sources (such as a 320 x 240, 30fps WMV) stagger and stutter along. A minor annoyance is the lack of a headphone jack on the phone; it comes with an adapter, but that’s just another dongle that gets in the way.

But we just can’t get over the lag. If you have the response time of a sloth, you may not notice. But if you’re a human, it will drive you to drink. If this phone didn’t beat around the bush, it would be worth every penny, but as this loafer lags, it’s not worth the time to even consider.

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