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I have had my HTC Wildfire for eighteen months now and absolutely love it! I have never had a smart phone before, and have been blown away by the computing power I have in my pocket. I use it all the time to check my email, surf the Internet when away from home, read ebooks in pdf form, and listening to podcasts (such as radio shows that I can automatically download and listen to whenever I want). Of course, all this can be done on any smartphone, but I found that the Wildfire makes an excellent, low cost entry level device. It is good looking, sturdily constructed, is compact enough to fit comfortably in my jeans pocket and has the 5MP camera that makes (to my untrained eye at least) bright, sharp snaps. The HTC Sense overlay is beautiful too.
Specs-wise this phone is a bit of an under achiever (and is now getting a little long in the tooth) but I have found this fairly unimportant in use. You won't be playing any but the most basic games (although it will play Angry Birds), but for most tasks the processor is up to the job, with only the occasional annoying delays. Likewise, the screen is, on paper somewhat short on pixels, but in practice is sharp, bright and very usable. A bigger problem is that is boasts only 512MB on board memory which soon fills up if you download lots of apps (this memory is expandable to 32GB by MicroSD, card but not all apps will install to it).