Compact but capable, subdued but edgy, old but new. That’s the HTC Gratia. With Froyo greasing the cogs, the European version of the HTC Aria is more than a name change – this petite droid is getting ready to storm the Old Continent.

HTC Gratia
HTC Gratia

HTC Gratia official photos

The Android world is in a stage where big screens make the grade, which makes it frustratingly hard for people who like their droid in a small package. The compact Gratia comes with a 3.2” screen and is noticeably smaller than competing phones with the same display diagonal.

Before we go on though, here’s the gist of what’s in store.

Key features

  • 3.2″ 256K-color HVGA capacitive touchscreen with multi-touch input
  • Compact body and bold industrial design
  • Android 2.2 Froyo with Sense UI
  • Qualcomm MSM7227 600 MHz CPU and 384MB RAM
  • Quad-band GSM support with dual-band HSDPA 7.2Mbps and HSUPA 2 Mbps
  • Wi-Fi b/g connectivity
  • Built-in GPS receiver with A-GPS support
  • 5 MP autofocus camera; touch focus, geotagging and face detection
  • VGA video recording at 20fps
  • microSD card slot (32GB supported, 2GB included)
  • Office document and PDF viewer
  • Optical trackpad
  • Standard microUSB port and Bluetooth v2.1 with A2DP
  • Standard 3.5mm audio jack
  • Stereo FM radio with RDS
  • Flash enabled in the web browser
  • YouTube client, Facebook and Twitter integration
  • Very good audio quality
  • Excellent loudspeaker performance
  • USB tethering; Wi-Fi hotspot

Main disadvantages

  • Screen has poor sunlight legibility
  • Patchy Flash support in the browser
  • Card slot under the battery cover
  • No DivX/XviD video support out-of-the-box
  • No secondary video-call camera
  • No dedicated camera key, no lens cover and no camera flash

Despite the clean, simple lines, the Gratia is recognizable enough thanks to the signature screws on the back. Some might confuse it with the HD mini, which originated the look, but Android’s explosive popularity means that the Aria/Gratia phones have far surpassed their PocketPC cousin.

HTC Gratia
HTC Gratia
HTC Gratia
HTC Gratia

HTC Gratia live shots

HTC have put their magic touch on the HTC Gratia interface – the Sense UI is elegant and highly usable, with special focus on social networking. The speed boost from running Froyo rather than Eclair is a major advantage and Flash support in the browser is relatively rare in the midrange.

The Gratia software is certainly one of the highlights but the hardware deserves praise as well. The phone is solidly built and feels sturdy in the hand, without being bulky or heavy.

Okay, enough warm up – time to jump into the review. On the next page we start with opening the box and examining the contents. After that, our tour of the exterior begins.

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