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HTC Wildfire review

HTC Wildfire review

Even at the lower end of the market, Android is flexing its muscles and proving that having a budget blower doesn’t mean compromising when it comes to specs and skills. The HTC Wildfire aims to bear this out, offering a package that looks similar to the top-end HTC Desire while trimming out the very swankiest features to keep costs down. So, how does it fare? Read our review and find out.

Compare HTC Wildfire deals at Top10: HTC Wildfire

First impressions

Pick up the HTC Wildfire and one thing will cross your mind: the HTC Desire. That’s because this is essentially a pared-down version of the best Android phone going. We’re talking the same grey frame, the exact same trackpad down the bottom and an identical rounded design. However, the Wildfire is a tad smaller, feeling comfortable in the hand without all that extra bulk and screen real estate that comes with the Desire. It might be at the budget end of the market, but this feels like a serious smartphone the minute you grab it.

8/10

Design

The HTC Wildfire conforms to some pretty standard styling, taking its cues mostly from the Desire and the Google Nexus One. Look closely and you’ll struggle to tell the difference until you actually pick it up. However, with a 3.2-inch panel, this feels decidedly smaller and therefore infinitely more pocketable than either of those top-end devices. It’s certainly not the slimmest smartie we’ve held, but its 12.9mm frame is hardly chunky and isn’t cause for complaint. One thing is clear: this is a huge leap from the slightly ugly HTC Tattoo which it’s set to replace.

7/10

Features

For a phone which you can land for £20 a month, the Wildfire is certainly brimming with skills. It has HSDPA and Wi-Fi, beating down similarly priced competition from the likes of Nokia. The touchscreen is also remarkably reassured, although not quite as finger-friendly as the Legend or Desire. That said, it’s capacitive and can still handle swipes and strokes without excessive prodding. Nowhere is this more apparent than the virtual keyboard, which yet again proves the Android 2.1 QWERTY is the best in the business.

And yes, Android 2.1 is here, meaning that although this is supposed to be a cheap cell, it still bests the likes of the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 a phone which sets its sights on the very top.

However, the one quibble we do have is with the screen. At 240 x 320, it’s remarkable low res and it’s where the Wildfire really does cut corners. Watching back clips isn’t particularly fun and the rendering of icons leaves a lot to be desired. Even the HTC Legend’s panel trumps it, and with a slick metal design to match, it may be a better bet in this instance.

8/10

htc wildfire side-on

Software

As mentioned, Android 2.1 is what keeps the HTC Wildfire ticking. That’s impressive, even though a boost to Android 2.2 doesn’t look like it’ll happen until Christmas at the earliest, according to HTC’s own people.

However, the presence of the always great HTC Sense more than makes up for it. Leap and FriendStream are both here, as is the chance to aggregate news and content so you don’t need to dive onto the web every few minutes. Set-up, as ever, is a breeze. Just tap in your Gmail account details and you’re away.

9/10

Ease of use

Thanks to HTC Sense and a stellar touchscreen, the Wildfire couldn’t be easier to handle. Touchscreen noobs will be reassured at how easy it is to zip about, while hardened Android veterans will easily be able to scooch about and know exactly where everything is. This might not be the best Android phone out there, but if you want to taste Google’s OS for the first time and money’s too tight to mention, then this is the way to go.

9/10

Specifications

  • 3.2-inch touchscreen
  • 240 x 320 pixels Android 2.1 with HTC Sense
  • HSDPA Wi-Fi GPS with HTC Footprints Bluetooth 2.1
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • 490 mins talk time
  • 480 hours standby

Overall Mark: 8

Compare HTC Wildfire deals at Top10: HTC Wildfire

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