The external speaker, which lies flush among the texturized rubber ridges that decorate and add grip to the back of the handset, is surprisingly powerful. Mids are bright and crisp (as long as the phone is face down) and bass response is better than that of most other smartphone speakers. But of course, the real Beats magic lies within the headphone jack and accompanying iBeats, not the speaker.
The iBeats are pretty stellar as far as reasonably priced in-ear headphones go. Highs can get a little harsh as they compete with the upfront mids and strong bass, a common criticism of every product in the Beats line. But overall, they toss out some good sound — way better than you’d get from the cheapies that come bundled with most phones. (If Beats brand isn’t your thing, we’ve got a few other suggestions under $100 that may fit the bill.)
The iBeats earphones are good by themselves, but they are meant to be paired with the Beats audio features inside the music player app that comes preloaded on the handset. The player app applies a volume boost and some EQ tweaking, and the feature can be enabled or disabled inside the player. Also, the Beats audio tweaks only work within the Rezound’s music app, and can only be applied to tracks you’ve loaded onto the handset. The features can’t be applied to other music apps like Rdio or Google Music.
But inside the Rezound’s player, the audio experience gains new life. I listened to a wide range of songs to check out how this feature fared, and found that most tunes benefited from the overall sound boost and EQ-ing that Beats provided. When I switched on some U2, it sounded like Bono was crooning into my ear thanks to the midrange boost. But of course, Beats’ strong point is the bass, so I kicked up the 4D3D3D3 and really got my jam on.
The call quality on the Rezound is nice too, with noticeably strong background noise cancellation. On a call with my parents, I had no idea my dad was eating popcorn while he was on the line until my mom said something about it. However, the complete silence between spoken phrases on the other end can make you think your call might have been dropped.
If you plan to spend a lot of quality time with your headphones in-ear and music on, the HTC Rezound is an excellent phone for you. It provides a good quality smartphone experience overall, but has the added benefit of extra audio love from Beats by Dr. Dre which pushes it a notch above the competition.
The price tag, unfortunately, is quite steep. The Rezound costs $300 on-contract, the same price as Verizon’s other high-end LTE offering, the skinnier and much lighter Motorola Droid Razr. We can only guess how much those iBeats headphones inflate the Rezound’s cost, but no matter what premium features you’re after — super-thin case, the best display, fancy headphones — $300 appears to be the new standard for top-of-the-line Verizon devices.
Photos by Ariel Zambelich/get-gadget
- HTC Rezound With Beats by Dre
- Buying Guide: Choosing a Smartphone
- Dre Sells Out to HTC for $300 Million
- HTC ThunderBolt Launches on Verizon’s 4G Network With a Bang
- Verizon’s 4G Network Leaves Other Carriers in the Dust
- Verizon Expanding 4G Coverage to 145 Markets by 2012
- So Long, WiMax: Sprint Confirms LTE Rollout by 2013
- Droid Bionic Review: A Shape-Shifter With Some Baggage