The HTC Tattoo is a decent inexpensive phone that offers the Android platform along with the HTC Sense user interface. It is slightly let down by the small resistive screen, which takes some getting used to if you've been used to a capacitive screen. Although it's not at as attractive a price point compared to the T-Mobile Android based Pulse at £180, it's still a darn sight cheaper than the SIM Free Hero at £370.
Budget Android phone; HTC Sense; 3.5mm audio jack.
Virtual keyboard too cramped in regular mode; small resistive touch-screen can be unresponsive.
£ 279.99 SIM free
Android, 2.8in touch-screen, 3.2-megapixels, 3.5mm audio jack, ExtUSB, quad-band, 3G, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPRS, GPS, GSM, HSDPA, Li-ion battery, microSD.
HTC has been a great pusher of the Android operating system on mobile phones, dating back as far as October 2008 with the first Google OS handset, the T-Mobile G1. Since then it has produced most of the world's supply of Android phones, with only a few others throwing their hats into the ring thus far.
HTC has now brought out its third Android phone of the year, the Tattoo. This phone is not an all singing, all dancing mobile to top the last handset. This is for the more budget conscious user who wants the Google OS experience but does not want to remortgage their house to afford it.
From the appearance of the Tattoo, HTC looks like it has gone retro by moving away from its Android designs for the Magic and Hero, and instead producing a design much closer to its first Touch handset of early 2007. Instead of going for the moleskin feel of its original touch-screen mobile, the Taiwanese phone maker has opted for a flush metal casing, although different designs are available for the handset and even personalised, custom-made fascias are possible.
The Tattoo is quite similar to the Touch. In fact, the Touch handset's overall dimensions of 99.9 x 58 x 13.9mm aren't too far off those of the Tattoo. The Tattoo's form factor measures 106 x 55.2 x 14mm, with only 1g in weight between the two of them. They also share the same 2.8in touch-screen with QVGA 240 x 320 resolution, such that one might think the HTC Touch has been crossed with the HTC Magic.
HTC has cut some corners with the Tattoo to reduce its overall manufacturing costs, therefore making it much cheaper to build. This is evident straight out of the box, as the touch-screen is resistive, not capacitive. This means that the Tattoo doesn't support gentle screen touching to select and execute OS functions and applications, and a more forceful approach is needed. This isn't too much bother, but it could take some time to get used to if you've been spoiled by capacitive touch-screens.
At times the Tattoo's touch-screen is a tad unresponsive, and you need to be precise with your fingers. This could all be down to the smaller screen size of this mobile, as the touch-screen area is much tighter than on other phones.
There were also some bothersome issues with the smaller screen with regard to text entry. On the HTC Touch of yesteryear the portrait keyboard on the Windows 6 OS phone took up a good deal of the screen, whereas on the HTC Tattoo it's really small and cramped, and struck us as not as useful due to its small size. The only manageable way to enter text on the Tattoo is with the keyboard in landscape mode where rather deliberate, careful typing is needed due to the smaller screen.