HTC's Tattoo, a low-cost Android-powered Smartphone

Following on from the success of the Hero, HTC's latest Android-powered device is aimed at the lower end of the market, making Android handsets more accessible to the masses. Enter the HTC Tattoo, possibly the most customizable handset ever. With a range of artsy covers to choose from online and the ability to create your own covers, there's a world of possibility for creating a phone that represents your personality. Not only this, but HTC have included their 'Sense' user interface, which is also hugely customizable. Read on to find out what else the Tattoo hides under its inked skin.

Physical Aspects
The HTC Tattoo is a nicely built handset and feels very sturdy indeed, with no creaks or squeaks from its covers. The front of the handset features a 2.8-inch QVGA (240 x 320 pixel) resolution resistive touchscreen display, with an earpiece and notification LED above it, and most of the device's hardware buttons beneath it. These hardware buttons comprise a home key, menu key, back key, search key, and call send and end keys. The Tattoo is also the first HTC Android device in the UK to come without a trackball, instead featuring a 5-way d-pad. Personally, although I like the trackball, I think the d-pad actually makes the handset easier to use in some ways.

The rear of the handset is very rounded at its edges, which gives the Tattoo a pleasant feel in the hand. Top left of the rear cover is the camera lens, next to the centrally-positioned loudspeaker grille. The texture of the front and rear covers feels odd, but in a good way. The surface is smooth, with an almost soft-touch feel. The right edge of the handset is bare, and the left is home only to the volume rocker. The top of the handset features the Tattoo's 3.5mm headphone port and a lanyard fixing. The bottom features just HTC's miniUSB port for charging and data, and a microphone pinhole.

The icing on the cake for the Tattoo is the ability to change its covers and for users to design their own covers on HTC's website. This makes the phone delightfully customizable, and HTC's online cover creator is fantastically easy and fun to use. Our handset came with the bog standard grey/silver cover, which is pretty nice as well. The bottom of the handset is a gunmetal grey color, which fades slowly into silver as it moves up the phone. The HTC logo is printed on the back, as is a little Android character, cheekily popping its head up from the split in the rear cover. The upper part of the rear cover can be removed to access the battery, SIM card slot, and microSD(INFO) slot. Removing the front cover and bottom part of the rear cover is also pretty easy, and they pop off without requiring too much effort.

The HTC Tattoo measures a respectable 106mm x 55.2mm x 14mm (4.2in x 2.2in x 0.6in) and weighs in at a fairly weighty (for its size) 113 grams (3.99 ounces). This weight adds to the handset's sturdy feel, making it a pleasure to hold.