The HTC Rhyme is media-enabled the way most mid-range smartphones are these days…definitely capable, but by no means the defining feature. Arriving with an 8GB MicroSD card, the Rhyme is particularly media-ready.
The music player is a functional rather than beautiful beast (i.e. there's no iFlow-like Album view), with the choice to display the library list by Artist, Albums, Songs, Playlist or Genre.
Tap-and-holding a song title will pop up a list with several play or playlist choices.
Music player widgets are also available for home screens. You're also able to access them from the lockscreen without unlocking the phone, which makes for changing tracks easily.
The external speaker is located on the back of the chassis, which makes it too easy to cover when holding in your hands, but makes complete sense when the Rhyme is placed in the provided dock. Instant stereo sound.
The provided ''no-tangle'' Beats-esque earphones are interesting too. Following HTC's teaming with Dr Dre's Beats these are precursor earphones, so aren't actually the excellent Beats Audio earphones included with the HTC Sensation XE. You can buy these separately, though.
The sound is good quality, the balance is good and the volume is just loud enough to make it possible to watch a good film on the tube, but their flat, tape-like cord causes them to sit oddly in the ear. That said, they're more comfortable than most to wear… when you can get them to stay in your ears for more than five minutes.
Supported music file types include MP3, M4A, MID, WAV and WMA.
For the video player, a good range of codecs are supported including 3GP, 3G2, MP4, WMV, AVI, and XVID. It's a great little phone to watch video on, with the soft-touch casing and rounded shell sitting nicely in the hand, though, if you're using the external speaker as we previously mentioned it's a bit too easy to cover it up with your fingers.
One frustrating thing about video playback on the Rhyme though is the way full screen mode will slice off the top part of the film you're watching, but watching it in normal mode squishes in the view. That's a bit rubbish, we must admit.
But otherwise, the colours are beautifully rendered, even with only 252ppi and the 3.7-inch screen is a just-about-acceptable size for watching. It's also possible – in theory – to stream via DLNA to a laptop or TV using the 'output' tab, but we couldn't get our device to find our laptop.
Most of the media playing apps – music, photo galleries, FM Radio – are all reachable via home screen shortcuts and dedicated widgets.
An FM Radio is included, with a pretty cool interface (for an FM radio), though disappointingly it doesn't work when docked; that would have been a great feature.