Tuesday, 6 July 2010

HTC Desire Review

The Desire was released by Taiwanese company HTC on the 26th of March, I purchased one from the Bristol CeX store about six weeks later. I was previously using a Palm Pre, which although I loved the phone itself there seemed to be no developer support behind the OS. That alone made the phone almost useless to me and having already had the first two generations of iPhone and gotten very bored with that OS I decided to plump for a phone running Google’s Android.

Now after that little bit of background I’m going to delve straight into the review. The phone itself feels robust and survived a few weeks in my pockets and on several drunken adventures without a mark or scratch, very admirable since I managed to crack the Pre within two weeks of owning it. I have since bought a case for the phone but only to keep it looking as nice as when I got it.

Speaking of looks it is very similar to Google’s own Nexus One, probably because that was made for Google by HTC with the exact same innards as the Desire. The difference between the Desire and Nexus One cosmetically are that the Desire has an optical trackpad instead of a scroll-ball and it has physical buttons along the bottom of the device. The trackpad is ridiculously accurate and a joy to use, much more so than a scroll-ball and it looks very cool and futuristic too. The model I have has a strange metallic purple tinted casing which it took me about a month to notice but there is a plain black version available that looks just as good. It’s a very well designed phone and fits great in the hand though the buttons on the bottom of the device are in a slightly hard to reach spot.

Moving on now to the Android OS itself, the Desire is skinned with HTC’s own version of Android which they call “Sense UI”. This was the feature that really sold me on the Desire over the Nexus One, as I’ve always found native Android to look a little plain. The Sense UI is very pretty and polished and it runs like a dream on the Desire thanks to its whip-fast processor. Moving from iOS to WebOS to Android was very easy, it only took e a couple of days to rewire my brain into the way Android works and after that I was in phone geek heaven. Within a couple of hours I had already downloaded several free apps and games and had a fully-functional Gameboy Advance emulator on there playing Final Fantasy V at full speed and in fantastic resolution. I could list all the really interesting and innovating apps on the Android Market that I use daily but then I’d be here for months, and although there’s not as many apps on there as the iTunes App Store I much prefer the more open system that Google has.

My main gripe with the Desire and it’s Android OS is that about a week before I bought my phone the latest version of Android was announced and then released for its brother the Nexus One, but I may have to wait until September according to the most recent reports and blogs. Other than that I really have had no problems with the phone at all. The battery life is over a day better than the Pre and iPhone 3G, with it easily lasting 24 hours even when I’m using Spotify and playing games. The camera and flash are very good, 5 megapixels and not struggling in any light. It also has almost no shutter lag when taking pictures which was a real problem with all the smartphones I have had in the last few years. The external speaker is very loud for those of you who like to share your music with the rest of the bus and for those that don’t the sound through a good set of headphones is fantastic.

So, in conclusion, my opinion of the Desire is overwhelmingly in its favour. Not only is the handset itself fantastic but I’ve definitely been converted over to the church of Android, and although I can no longer mock iPhone users for not having multi-tasking I can hold my phone any way I like.

CeX (UK) Contributor

Sam Harrison

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