If you’ve been waiting to buy a new 4G smartphone, now’s your chance to get one at an excellent price. AT&T is selling the HTC Inspire 4G cell phone for just $99. This Android 2.2 smartphone is loadd with plenty of connectivity and multimedia features and all the good stuff that you can expect from an Android cell phone, including powerful email and web browsing, access to the Android Market and Flash video on your mobile browser. Of course, there are some downsides to the HTC Inspire 4G, most of which have to do with AT&T, but we’ll get to those later. For now, let’s take a look at some of the key specifications.
Weighing in at 5.78 ounces and measuring up at 2.68 x 0.46 x 4.84 inches, the HTC Inspire 4G is pretty hefty and thick for a cell phone. You may have trouble squeezing it into the pocket of your skinny jeans. But that extra size isn’t for nothing—you get a gorgeous 4.3-inch WVGA touchscreen. In terms of performance, the phone is quite speedy with its 768 MB of RAM and its Qualcomm 1 Ghz Snapdragon processor. It also supports Bluetooth 2.1 abd WiFi 802.11 b/g/n. As mentioned above, it runs Android 2.2 Froyo with HTC Sense built-in. HTC Sense adds a number of enhancements to the phone, including faster boot time.
The HTC Inspire 4G’s camera is very high quality. It’s 8-megapixels and has an LED flash. The phone is capable of recording HD video and takes sharp stills and clips thanks to its auto-focus.
The HTC Inspire 4G is fairly fast on AT&T’s 4G network. But it’s important to note that this phone currently runs on the HSPA+ 850/1900 MHz network, rather than the LTE network , which won’t be rolled out to AT&T customers until the middle of 2011. As such, your HTC Inspire 4G won’t be as fast on AT&T’s 4G network as the comparable HTC Thunderbird 4G will be on Verizon’s 4G network. Still, it’s an improvement over 3G. AT&T says it’s four times faster, but your mileage will definitely vary.
The other big limitation of an HTC Inspire 4G, or any AT&T Android phone for that matter, is that AT&T bars you from installing third-party Android apps on your phone. This shouldn’t be confused with the Android Market, which is the Google equivalent of the iOS App Store. Rather, it means you can’t load up homebrewed third-party apps that have been saved on SD cards and transferred to your phone. This likely will only matter to you if you’re a geeky power user.
With that being said, it’s not all bad over at AT&T. The HTC Inspire 4G is a true world phone—you can use it overseas, where most countries use a GSM network. The same can’t be said for Verizon phones. You can also browse via the 4G network while you are currently in a call, which can’t be done on Verizon phones.
Overall, the HTC Inspire 4G is a worthy phone. Compared to other HTC smartphones, it’s definitely an improvement. Be cautioned, though—dual-core smartphones that use the LTE network are on the horizon. These phones will be faster in terms of video playback and running apps and accessing the mobile web. If you can wait six months or so, you might be rewarded for your patience.