HTC DESIRE REVIEW
The HTC Desire may be the first legitimate threat to Apple’s domination of the smartphone market. Almost identical to Google’s Nexus N1 in terms of specification, the Desire manages to offer a more complete overall package than its Google competitor and possibly even Apple’s iPhone.
Like the N1 the HTC Desire has a 3.7” WVGA AMOLED screen, 1Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor (great for quick mult-tasking), Android 2.1 operating system and a 5 megapixel LED camera. But differs to the Nexus One, purely superficially; an optical joystick that replaces a trackball, no noise cancellation, dualband HSPDA instead of triband (meaning you’ll have to use WiFi outside of Europe and Asia).
The optical joystick is very nice to use, replicating the sensory feel of a touchscreen but offering that bit more precise control for when it is needed.
The other buttons offer quick access to settings, the home screen and searching, which seems limited but actually means that you are only ever one swipe, tap or press away from doing what you want to do.
HTC Good Sense
Where the HTC Desire really comes to life is HTC’s own interface for the Android OS called ‘HTC Sense’
HTC Sense provides you with 7 homescreens to customise. The range of widgets and shortcuts available leaves you with just about as many options as there are apps in the Android marketplace. There are some very cool widgets, both in looks and usefulness. Whether it is quick toggle boxes to turn on and off various power saving functions, the animated weather app or a detailed calendar that you can synch and live update with your google account, you will quickly realise just how intuitive and accesible the Desire is.
The aforementioned 1Ghz Snapdragon means browsing the Sense UI and wigets is lightning fast (except the weather widget, which has always been sluggish on HTC phones and for some reason hasn’t yet been addressed). Possibly one of the coolest parts of the Sense UI makes use of the multitouch capabilities of the HTC Desire. If you pinch the screen on any of your homepages, it brings up a mini display of all 7 screens, any of which you can then tap to zoom straight to them. Very cool, and surprisingly useful.
Social Networking Friendly
The contacts display has been improved from previous HTC phones and integrates Facebook and Twitter too so all your social network friends will feel right at home within your Desire handset. There is a nice touch that allows you to link your contacts. This means if you have someone’s details as a phone contact, a googlemail contact and you’re friends with them on facebook, you can tap a ‘link’ button on any of these contact screens and they will become linked into one page. This means you get social updates streamed into your contacts, which again is very cool but also useful for keeping up with your social life.
And Much More…
The rest of the features are all well above average. The music player has also been drastically improved in the Sense UI and now you can simply slide through artists, album and songs. The camera is a safe 5 megapixel camera which is standard for smartphones now but with just a single LED flash. Some nice touches with the camera include face detection, and the ability to choose where the camera focusses by touching the desired area of your touchscreen viewfinder.
Web browsing is quick and easy, and as the HTC Desire has Flash 10.1 capability it means no more error boxes where a flash movie should be.
The HTC may be the first phone since the iPhone that can be described as practically perfect. The user interface is the most intuitive I have ever used, and the powerful processor meant I was hardly ever waiting for screens to load. With the Android marketplace rapidly expanding and the versatility of the Sense UI, you will never be wanting for functionality.
With similar design, but just better overall delivery, I can only see it blowing the Nexus One swiftly out of the smartphone market and moving on to post a serious threat to the iPhone.