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Jun 13, 2010

MobileSpoon's Impressions of the HTC Desire

HTC-Desire-Mobilespoon 

The Mobile Spoon loves to review mobile devices, especially when they are hot.

HTC Wildfire, Desire, Legend, all of them are out there running Android OS, holding great specs and some cool HTC customizations to the OS. Still, one can get lost in that jungle of phones HTC are releasing every month.

HTC Desire Gets Reviewed by the Mobile Spoon:

No. We didn't get the HTC Desire from Google. We haven't got it from HTC as well…
In fact, I would think that after our review of the Nexus One, low chances that one of those companies will ever send us a device for review…

Still, that doesn't stop us, and last night we got the HTC Desire for a 48 hours impression.

htc_desire_2

First, the form factor:

The HTC Desire is without a doubt HTC's twin brother of the Nexus One, but while Google invested a lot in marketing the Nexus as the high-end Google Phone manufactured by HTC of course, the same HTC was working on creating pretty much the same model with the Sense UI… Hey, that is not a nice thing to do!

Similar look and feel, similar cover material, same 3.7-inch WVGA AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, same camera with 5-megapixel and LED flash, but with the Sense UI.

Oh, and the buttons area is a bit different, the capacitive buttons (which I really don't like) were replaced with more practical push buttons and there's that optical joystick that the Desire has which is different than the Nexus traditional trackball (looks a bit better, but the trackball operates better to my opinion).

The Desire feels very good in the hand. Comparing to the Nexus, it has more of that rubber-like back cover which improves the grasp.

Technically speaking, the Desire has more RAM – 576MB comparing to the Nexus One’s 512MB. It also comes with a bigger microSD card (8GB instead of 4GB)

Android OS:

Android is great, but it's not yet amazing. It's strong, robust, but not yet polished.
Some of the finger gestures don't feel as smooth as the iPhone (almost every iPhone owner I talked with said the same thing), the home menu is disorganized (but that can be solved using folders), the keyboard is very good but not yet as perfect (to me) as the iPhone keyboard – probably a matter of getting used to it.

But, there are few things that are really great about it:

1. Performance is so good it makes you forget you are using a smartphone. There is almost no lag time when opening applications and most of the features are working very fast.
2. Google apps integration is smooth, for people who use a lot of the Google tools it's a perfect fit. The Nexus also has a nice list of mobile apps such as Maps with navigation, Voice to Text, Google’s Listen, Shopper, Goggles and SkyMap. Great stuff.
3. The Android openness is so refreshing, especially when coming from the restricted iPhone and limited BlackBerry. Without really looking, I managed to find apps to download free music, free movies, youtube videos, porn (seriously, it's all over the market…), cracked apps – everything which is forbidden and dirty. Not sure I would give it to my kid, but still…
4. Nice Camera – a bit slow to take the pictures but a very decent one.
5. Elegant multi-tasking – probably the second best to the BlackBerry – mostly because you do not have a simple way to close an app from within the app itself.
6. Over the air updates - Do I need to explain?
7. Emerging community – it's enough to wander around the blogsphere to see that there are just so many great sites and resources for Android. The platform is very strong, and the popularity is increasing every day, which makes it fun, and definitely a big promise for more improvements and innovations (see next bullet as a good example)
8. Google's Gestures Search – I just love this app. It's one of the greatest ones, I just wish they had something like that for the iPhone.

Sense UI

No, this is NOT the same Sense UI the HTC Touch HD2 includes. It's much more basic but very well integrated with the standard Android Home shell, which means you do not get to see those customized tabs, only customized content inside widgets, and some different home/menus UI controls in the bottom of the home screen.

The result is wonderful, highly customizable and in my opinion – much better than the standard Android home screen of the Nexus One.

The only tradeoff with the advantages of the Sense UI is that it will probably take longer time to get the Android OS updates as the Desire is running a customized version of it.

Desire vs. Nexus One:

There were a few things that bothered me in regards to the Nexus One, which as a result, made me dump this phone: the out-of-focus hardware buttons, the bad reception, and the short battery time.

The first 2 issues do not seem to exist in the HTC Desire, but as for the battery issue, I couldn't really test it. Digging in some spec documents I found that the battery life was stretched for the desire for none-speaking activities (Internet and alike) which may mean that for my kind of usage it will supply a longer working period, but when it comes to actual talking, the battery is actually lasting longer for the Nexus One.

What I could say after 2 days is that charging the phone takes FOREVER. Come on, when it comes to realizing your battery is about to end, you must have a way to charge it 20-30 minutes and make it last for the evening. With the Desire (and the Nexus) – 20-30 minutes do not really help. You need a few hours.

The Sense UI can really be a game changer, especially if you are not going to unlock your phone and flash it like most power users end up doing. It also adds some classy look to the standard Android widgets which are somewhat basic.

Summary:

It's nice, but it's not amazing. This is what almost every Android phone makes me say.

Not sure the problem is with the OS, maybe it's just me who got a bit too old to get excited about every new feature. And in addition, there is little "wow" features in the Desire to make me really impressed.

If you are into the "openness" and do not want to unlock an iPhone, this can be a good phone for you. Otherwise – I would definitely wait for the iPhone 4.0.

Other Reviews by the Mobile Spoon:

MobileSpoon Reviews The Nexus One
Samsung Omnia 2 – The Magic Is Gone
Review- One Night Stand With HTC HD2
Review- HTC Touch Pro 2
The Truth About The BlackBerry Bold
One night stand with BlackBerry Storm

History of PDAs - Part #1
History of PDAs - Part #2
History of PDAs - Part #3



2 comments:

Parrotlover77 said...

I messed around with a friend's HTC Incredible last week and I can say, Android has arrived.  When it first came out, it was pretty crappy - a pale WM immitation by Google.  With MS tossing out old WM and designing the Zune Phone of WP7, Android has suddenly turned into the only mobile OS that's left that isn't dictating how you are supposed to use your devices.  Sure, you can always jailbreak the iPhone and I'm sure the same will be said for WP7, but you shouldn't have to.  I'm not sure which pisses me off more: (1) the fact that companies are not just locking us out of the system for some DRM purpose, but are telling us how we should use their device from power on to power off, or (2) the fact that so many people don't care!  This is 10x worse than the Internet Explorer bundling antitrust debacle of the 90s.

steven webmaster said...

Thanks for providing great information.I used with friends HTC which is very much better. and just now Android has received. the first palm immitation by google. it was so pretty.There are all kinds of widgets and programs that come standard so you can get a good jump on customizing your experience. The ones that are available in Android have provided everything.

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