Build quality has always been a strong point of HTC mobiles, and the Tattoo is no exception. Weighing in at 113g (including the battery), it feels satisfyingly robust in your hand and the reinforced glass display is crisp and clear. We were also impressed by sleek dimensions of the handset.
Measuring 106 x 55.2 x 14 mm, 'compact and bijou' is the very much the order of the day with the Tattoo, which is the smallest Android phone so far.
With cute rounded edges and a glossy plastic finish, it’s also a real looker. Naturally, the Tattoo's reduced dimensions means that the screen is smaller than on HTC’s other Android powered phones. But at 2.8-inches, this ought not to prove much of a problem.
Buttons are kept to a minimum, with the scant exterior controls as there are neatly and discreetly positioned beneath the touchscreen. These allow you to answer and reject calls, revert to the homescreen, go back a page and search.
If you’re not sold on the minimal black appearance of the phone, you can swap the fascia. Our review copy came with a natty cycling-themed number, but if you’re not the Tour de France type, fret not. HTC is also offering the chance to customise fascias via an online service.
As with all Android phones, the Tattoo comes with all key Google apps (think: YouTube, Facebook and GoogleMaps) pre-installed. And, of course, you’ll also be able to download plenty more from Android Market. The phone’s expandable memory of up to 16GB via microSD support, plus onboard memory of 512MB, means there’s plenty of storage space.
The Tattoo is also home to 3.15 megapixel camera with autofocus, an FM radio and digital compass-augmented GPS for easy navigation. Additionally, the phone offers a satisfying mobile internet experience thanks to HSDPA support.
The beauty of Android phones is the sheer range of software available, with over 1,000 free and paid-for games, apps and diversions currently available from the Android Market. In terms of pre-installed software, the Tattoo employs the 1.6 version of Android, which adds an improved search facility as well as full text-to-speech abilities in English, French, Italian and Spanish.
Ease of use
The HTC Tattoo employs the Taiwanese company’s patented widget-based HTC Sense interface, which allows you a really impressive array of options through which to customise your phone’s homescreen and layout. This makes social networking a breeze, thanks to the facility to integrate voice calls, emails, texts, photos and status updates into a single view.
Some users may find the lack of a slide-out QWERTY keyboard a problem. But we found the touchscreen just fine for composing everything other than lengthy e-missives. We were similarly impressed by the fast response times the Tattoo offers, with the 528 MHz Qualcomm CPU ensuring minimum lag.
HTC Sense user interface
3.5mm stereo headset jack
Overall mark: 8/10