We review Australia’s first 4G phone: HTC Velocity

Speed thrills

With 4G internet, mobile web browsing from a handset is faster than it’s ever been. Websites and videos load almost instantly, and everyday browsing is super-zippy – certainly faster than the ADSL2+ fixed line connection used at the Gadget Group offices.

The handset also allows tethering, meaning the Velocity’s speedy 4G goodness can be shared with devices such as computers and tablets.

We tested this by enabling the phone’s WiFi hotspot option and making a connection to our tablet.  Using a speed test app ­– appropriately named “Speed Test” – we recorded 4G speeds in excess of 26 Mbps downlink as we travelled via bus throughout central Sydney.

We later ran the speed test on the phone itself, achieving as high as 36.14 Mbps down and 15.25 Mbps upstream. That’s roughly 4 megabytes downloaded per second, a figure that becomes more significant when you consider how much data you could potentially chew through watching videos and surfing the web without the wait.

Overall, the speeds achieved via HTC’s Velocity are easily on par with the 4G mobile broadband dongle that Telstra released in 2011, effectively putting a level of performance available previously only to PCs into your pocket-sized smartphone.

The speeds experienced were up to three times as fast what we achieve at home using a fixed-line connection. With ADSL2+ capable of a maximum of 21Mbps, Telstra and HTC are delivering speeds that most home users can only dream of.

Also noteworthy is that 4G will be available to both prepaid and postpaid Telstra customers via the Velocity. As before, though, prepaid customers should keep a close eye on their data caps.

The dark blue represents 4G coverage, and as you can see, high-speed 4G coverage isn’t everywhere yet. Not in Sydney? Telstra offers a larger coverage map.

Where 4G isn’t available, the dual-channel 3G modem kicks in automatically. It’s good too, with us achieving speeds of 15Mbps down and 1Mbps up – that’s faster than every other 3G smartphone we’ve reviewed.

Equipped with a dual-core 1.5GHz processor, the Velocity performs well with these snappy download speeds, running multiple windows of websites without problem. We only had one issue where lag cropped up, and that was fixed by flipping to standby and back again.

Our only other gripes are to do with the Velocity’s plastic construction. With its premium feature set, it would have, we think, been more deserving of the aluminum body found on many other HTC models.

Then there’s the battery cover. While this is difficult to remove on other HTC models, with the Velocity you merely need to push up against the back plate for it to come off.  This may be of no consequence at all, but the design doesn’t impress like the HTC Sensation XL or Evo 3D.

Like that Sensation model, the Sense overlay exhibits some curious keyboard quirks. This includes failure to run the word suggestion feature outside of message and email apps unless HTC’s Skype-like “Trace” technology is used. It’s still a curious oversight and one that surely needs a patch.

Battery life is fairly average, offering a little more than a day of use. You’ll need to recharge nightly, something that’s becoming a common occurrence in premium smartphones.

We were also surprised to discover that HTC does not include Beats Audio in this handset, a technology that aims to make music sound “the way the artist intended”. This is integrated into the HTC Sensation XL and XE models, which launched in 2011, and we’d expect this new top tier handset to provide it as well.


If you want internet access speeds well in excess of fixed lined ADSL2+, and you want them on your phone, the HTC Velocity is currently the only game in town. This won’t last for long, though, with more LTE capable phones scheduled to arrive from mid-year.

Until then, HTC’s Velocity provides an impressive Android smartphone experience on top of a unique point of difference.




Reader Rating0 Votes
The fastest mobile phone data performance ever; Large high-resolution screen;
Battery doesn't last more than a day-and-a-half; Plastic body cheapens the experience; No Beats Audio technology;