Mobilicity has been on a tear lately. Launching device after device, at every price point, they recognize the value in having strong products to go behind their no-contract price plans.
And CEO Dave Dobbin has not hid his love for Android. When I met him in January 2011 he was sporting an unlocked T-Mobile myTouch 4G, the spiritual predecessor to the HTC Panache. Obviously enthralled with it, he praised its design, its speed and its fluidity.
The HTC Panache is launching at the edible $499.99 price point, and its premium feel somewhat justifies the cost. Taking cues from the BlackBerry Bold Touch (or is the other way round?) the thin, curved body is made of a hardened plastic topped off by a robust aluminum battery cover. The 3.8″ screen is a healthy 480×800 pixels and while not of the same Super LCD quality as its Incredible S cousin, is bright and sharp.
Performance is akin to the Incredible S, too. In fact, the specs are almost identical but for the included cameras — 5MP back and VGA front — and may even be a bit faster due to the updated Gingerbread software loaded onto the device. If you’re familiar with Android, and Sense at all, you’ll feel right at home here. HTC has included little visual flourishes to smooth out the rough edges of Android (for better or worse) and the whole experience is about as fluid as you’re going to get. You can view recent apps in the drop-down notification bar, and you have easy access to toggles such as WiFi and GPS without delving into the Settings menu.
An added bonus to the Panache is the dedicated camera button, handy when trying to expediently snap a photo. HTC’s camera software is the best in the business, and I’m happy to report the results are good to great depending on the lighting conditions.
So far, battery life has been excellent. Like the Incredible S, the Panache sips power from the Snapdragon processor and lasts over a day with typical usage.
I’m still working on a full review of the HTC Panache, so sit tight, but here’s a couple benchmark photos to hold you over in the meantime.