HTC Eris

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Reviewed by tsayguy (Previously owned)

I owned this phone for the better part of two years. The Eris was released soon after the OG Droid on Verizon, and it soon became apparent that I should have chosen the Droid instead of the Eris. Verizon released the Droid Incredible, its handsomer, stronger, more capable older brother soon afterwards and basically left the Eris for dead after the Eclair update. Until I eventually rooted it, it got nary a whiff of Froyo.

The phone performed admirably enough before software demands completely outpaced the processor and available RAM. Chief among the offenders was SenseUI, which had a nasty habit of hanging and restarting at will, rendering the phone uselessly stuck at a black screen emblazoned with "HTC" while SenseUI rebooted itself. I came to hate this screen and soon thereafter the entire SenseUI experience. Eventually, as the device became older and older, it would begin to randomly force quit and ultimately randomly reboot before we sent it in for replacement. And the replacement would follow this same path of self-destruction, only at a faster rate, as if to keep pace with the unit it replaced.

Fittingly enough, it was actually the SenseUI look and feel that attracted me to the Eris over the OG Droid in the first place; I was previously an iPod Touch user, and I thought that SenseUI was a fairly small leap for my wife and myself to make coming from using iOS devices. But the skin stifled both user customization as well as remedies for its own misbehavior.

I had no quibbles with the phone's overall design. While I fully acknowledge that the plastic materials don't compare to aluminum et al, the Eris seemed rugged, and my unit(s) withstood a fair amount of abuse. The trackball was also an underrated feature. It's too bad it's fallen victim to sleeker design. I kind of like hardware buttons.

The camera quality was about what you would expect from an early version smartphone 5MP shooter- nothing special but nothing atrocious, either. I wished that the stock camera app provided an on-screen shutter button rather than forcing you to press the trackball- too often, I felt that the last second jarring of the phone by pressing the trackball knocked photos out of focus.

The battery life was also nothing to write home about, though I think this was a function of the software- I often suspected that the OS was allowing certain apps or service to drain battery whilst the phone was supposed to be asleep; between this and the drain of cell standby, the battery was never quite enough.

Overall, the Eris was a competent daily driver that had potential to be an adept daily driver. Had it received better support from Big Red and HTC (still waiting on that Froyo update or the ability to disable Sense), it could have been better. For being the second Android phone released by Verizon, it deserved much better.

The Breakdown

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • Design 6
  • Display 7
  • Camera(s) 6
  • Reception / call quality 6
  • Performance 4
  • Software 3
  • Battery life 5
  • Ecosystem 3
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