The real review: HTC Desire

From left to right: Pyro, Engineer, Spy, Heavy...

Image via Wikipedia

This isn’t my last post on the phone but just the full-on ‘proper’ review.

Will have a retrospective Day with the Desire log up soon but here’s a post written for the people who want to know the answer to the burning question: Should I get the damn phone?

Because most tech reviews are, seriously, bloody boring, I will do this review in the style of…Team Fortress 2.

If you haven’t heard of TF2, it’s only the most fun multiplayer shooter on the planet. I’ll do the review from the viewpoints of various classes in the game. So let’s bring it on!

icon_scout.jpgDESIGN: Surveying the territory

“Well, first impression of the phone: SWEET! OK, you have to admit it kinda looks like the Nexus One. The Nexus seemed lighter, though and the Desire has dedicated physical buttons as compared to the Nexus’ and swaps out the girly ‘nipple’ for an optical trackpad.

That suede back makes the phone easier to grip and the front portion show some great design of real estate – dedicating most of it to the SWEET AMOLED 3.7-inch screen. Good placement of ports – volume controls on the side, headphone jack on top neatly spaced from the power button. microUSB port on the bottom for quick connecting of charging cable.

But man, that back cover. Hell on the nails, know what I”m saying? And not making it easy to hotswap your microSD cards out by having a side port is insane. I have to take out my battery and the back cover just to switch microSD cards? Only good if you’re scared of losing your data.

UI-wise, if you love the HTC Sense UI, you’ll love how polished your Android experience is compared to Motorola’s kit. The purists who want to run Froyo, well stick to the Nexus One. For those who would great eyecandy and super usability, the HTC UI makes sense even if it means getting the latest Android updates a bit later.

So after surveying the terrain, the HTC Desire ain’t sexy (though the screen is, hell yeah), it is a nicely made piece of kit. Slim, easy to carry but make sure you get a nice big microSD for the phone as replacing it is a fiddly, annoying endeavour.”

icon_heavy.jpgSPECS: Is the Desire packing enough ammo?

“Ain’t easy playing tank so I need all the firepower I can get and it had better be enough to kick the other team in the teeth. So does the Desire deliver? Well, the innards speak for themselves: 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 576MB of memory, 512MB internal storage, 5 MP camera, 1400mAh battery (up to 340 hours of standby time) and support for up to 32GB of microSD storage. That’s quite the arsenal if you ask me.

The bad: 512MB is hardly enough if you want to get your fill of apps. If the internal storage isn’t going to be much, then make it easy to upgrade your microSD card for chrissakes.

480 x 800 WVGA is pretty decent resolution for the screen but AMOLED makes it unusable outside in harsh sunlight. You’ll just be looking at your face reflected right back atcha.

But it’s a great multitasking taskhorse. Screens are zippy, loads fine, OS very much stable. With minimal usage (read: no surfing/gaming), it can go over 2-3 days without charging. But with heavy YouTube usage, Tweeting, surfing or IM, battery can go down to 6-7 hours. Hope HTC’s planning optional higher capacity batteries.

I say the Desire’s got the goods under the hood all right.”

icon_engineer.jpgFEATURES: Can the Desire prove a great workhorse?

“Well, the Heavy’s got a great summary of the power the HTC Desire packs. Like the Scout says, the Sense UI is pretty sweet. Customising screens is a dream compared to the iPhone’s fiddlyness. You can pick and choose as many icons as you want. There’s so much more flexibility at your fingertips.

The camera? Eh. It takes great pictures outside, but it’s not going to be the ideal replacement for your pocket camera. Video could be better – someone figure out how to hack the Desire to shoot HD too, please? They managed it on the Nexus One after all.

You have to say Google’s Market does the job where apps are concerned. Not as informative or as fun as Apple’s App Store but definitely pwns Nokia’s pathetic Ovi Store.

Music player is rather boring, iTunes does it better. The headset that comes with it isn’t particularly stellar and the speakers? They’re loud, I’ll give you that.

But as a multimedia machine, I have to say watching video on it is great, with a decent set of headphones, sound is decent and browsing on it? Sure beats Safari on the iPhone or any Nokia browser. Though I like the native YouTube app, the syncing is a little off. Hope they fix that in an update.

If you, like everyone else on the planet, have Google accounts, this syncs perfectly with your contacts and Gmail. The iPhone doesn’t come close to doing mail as well as HTC’s Android does – IMAP, POP, native Gmail accounts – this is top-notch stuff.

As a regular phone, reception’s all right and a tad better than the HTC Legend (what the heck persuaded them to put the antenna in the bottom rubber attachment? Morons). Call quality is clear and not as wonky as the Nexus and its dual mics.

I have to say the specs make the touchscreen probably one of the most responsive ones I’ve used. The touchscreen keypad is very usable though you’d probably want to turn the autocorrect feature off. Damnably annoying.  Texting and making calls with it has a slight learning curve but practise makes perfect. Give it half an hour or so.”

icon_demoman.jpgCONCLUSION: Is it worth it?

“You bet your pansy ass it is! If you gave up on Nokia, don’t want to be associated with the iPhone fanboys, find Sony Ericsson
etc etc boring and want a real Android phone…the HTC Desire is the IT-phone.

Sure, it could do better but the niggles are tiny. It’s very usable, has a hell of a great UI, can beat any phone to the multitask crown (I’m looking at you, N900) and you can’t call it mediocre in any aspect. This is probably the best Android phone on the market, period.

Granted, this isn’t for the pussies who can’t be bothered to learn how to stretch battery life or really master using this sweet piece of kit (sorry, Scout) (wait, I’m not sorry) then you don’t want an Android phone. But out of the box, it works great.

You want a good phone? YOU WANT A GOOD PHONE? This is a good phone. “

Team Fortress 2

Image via Wikipedia


 (Disclaimer: Team Fortress 2 is the property of Valve and is just being abused by me for the sake of not boring myself to death. KTHKSBAI)

 

 

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4 Comments


  1. ·

    Hahaha Erna i love this review and much more interesting for sure. The only thing i’m not crazy bout the Desire is that it’s slightly too big for my hand. And wasn’t it 8MP?

    Reply
  2. Erna
    ·

    Haha, thanks Linora!
    Nope, camera is 5MP only.

    Reply
  3. feicipet
    ·

    @Aronil: isn’t the Desire exactly as big as yer Nexus One?

    Reply
  4. BawangMerah
    ·

    I’ve been thinking of changing my phone recently, and the choices aren’t easy as they used to be. Desire comes up for recommendation quite a number of time. It’s either Desire, Legend or wait for the Iphone 3GS to get lower prices once the Iphone 4 enters the market. Frankly I’d prefer the Iphone, mainly because I have an Ipod touch and I suppose it would just be easier to use because of my familiarity with iOS4. But the task manager sucks. Secretly, it’s because I just love playing Football Manager on it.
    But the larger screen and better specs of Desire is quite enticing. If I do get it though, I’d probably use it to replace my Ipod Touch. Not sure if it’s possible because the music player better be good. And the battery life. My current ancient monochrome phone lasts a week without recharging.

    Reply

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