HTC Gratia review: Internet

With a Google-powered OS behind it, you'd expect the Gratia to be pretty capable at handling itself online and this usually proves to be the case.

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Web pages render quickly and accurately, while navigating with finger pokes/flicks proves easy. The pinch-to-zoom functionality is also impressive, scaling things up as well as reflowing text intelligently. This minimises the amount of scrolling from side to side you need to do, and makes it easy to read news text.

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The address bar is great, too. Summon it by swiping down at the top of a page and tap on it to enter an address. Google will even offer little buttons to take you directly to previously accessed sites, which start out as a range of possible sites, but are quickly narrowed down by what you enter.

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The input accuracy is fine, and you can always zoom in if you're struggling to hit a small button. You can also press and hold on web links to open them in a new window, or do an array of other actions, such as share, save and bookmark them.

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Once you've generated some bookmarks, you'll find them saved in handy thumbnail lists, along with your most visited sites, which are easily accessed using the menu key. It's the kind of seamless browsing usability you'd expect from a tech giant who made its name in search.

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So far, so solid, but this is where the good news ends. The headline feature of Flash support is a damp squib on the Gratia. For example, we tried watching a simple animation and it was horrible, its frames stuttering and jumping while the audio continued on in the background.

Likewise, loading up one heavy Flash-based site took so long, our handset went to sleep (as did we). Even a lighter one was far from the web 2.0 experience we'd hope for. Ultimately, then, if this is a trump card to be produced against the iPhone and Apple's shiny walled garden, colour us unimpressed.

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It should also be noted that we had little luck getting much online video to play that wasn't from the Google-owned YouTube.

Still, you're not limited to the Android Internet app – the Android Market holds plenty of alternatives if this doesn't suit for whatever reason.