Re: More metal kit that blocks and thus drops more calls.
I have never had a single issue with call quality, signal quality (O2) is fantastic except in the middle of nowhere.
Regarding the grip of the sleek bit of kit, I agree. I went for a Trident Aegis case as I had one on the Sensation. Adds a fair bit of clunk and you lose the phones poncy wow factor but it's an excellent, sturdy case with added rubber for grip.
I love HTC, last three phones have been theirs and I hope they don't go down the toilet as I imagine I will stick with them.