Hardware review: The HTC Desire smartphone
There is an alternative to the Apple iPhone. Though the iPhone 4 is in a class of its own and it’s hard to match in some respects, Android-based smartphones are selling more than iPhones around the world and there are reasons for this.
One of these reasons is the HTC Desire. This smartphone comes with the Android 2.1 operating system and all the goodies that come with it. HTC put that in a stylish shell with good hardware and created a gadget that lives up to the high expectations of most avid smartphone users.
This review won’t fall into the trap of comparing the Desire to the iPhone 4, but as a smartphone, the Desire is designed to do almost everything you can throw at it. In some respects it outperforms the Nexus One and provides more features than its smaller sibling, the HTC Wildfire.
True, Android 2.1 Éclair is not the latest version of the operating system, and does not allow the installation of software outside the limited phone capacity, but this could be rectified with the upgrade to Android 2.2 Froyo.
Android is still a geeky operating system, but it is stable, and the Android Market has thousands and thousands of free apps that cater for virtually all your needs. The only limit is the storage capacity of the phone. We downloaded such apps as the BBC News, IMDB, Shazam (which gives you the details of a track you are listening to on some other speaker system), and Winds of Steel game, and the performance of both the apps and the hardware was flawless.
The powerful 1GHz Snapdragon processor can be appreciated most with applications that need intensive processing, such as games. The 3.7 inch high-res AMOLED screen is very nice and clear, also providing excellent response to the touch, especially on the virtual keyboard.
This smartphone also has excellent synchronisation features, letting you transfer contacts and information from other apps such as Facebook and e-mail contacts.
As an MP3 player the Desire performed well, and the screen provided good property to watch videos. The 5-megapixel camera takes nice photos but has no flash.
The GPS function also works fine, finding our location immediately and pinpointing it on Google Maps instantly.
You need to remember that after all, the Android is made by Google, so Google-made services such a Gmail, YouTube and Maps are at home in this operating system. Furthermore, Android plays Flash in the web browser.
We also liked the FM radio service, something which you don’t find often on smartphones. It will save you a lot of data used to access radio online streams.
Making and receiving calls and sending/receiving SMS was ok on 2G and 3G. Wireless access was also good.
Battery life is one of the very few weak points of this otherwise excellent phone. Its strong performance drains the batteries quite fast.
In conclusion we can say that the HTC Desire is a very desirable smartphone for those who want performance from a gadget they really depend on.
The HTC Desire model under review was provided by Vodafone Malta.