Product Type: HTC Smartphone
Newest Review: ... make no difference to her. Her main problem with the "brick" phones was the keys were to small for her, but she found the touch s... more
In Perspective: An Excellent Smartphone
Member Name: Goonerette89
Date: 10/11/11, updated on 10/11/11 (27 review reads)
Advantages: Stylish, cheap smartphone, overall price-to-phone ratio is excellent.
Disadvantages: Short battery life and its poor screen resolution.
~ Introduction ~
When I got this phone I knew it was a budget version of HTC's even bigger and better Desire model, so putting it in perspective, it is really a great value phone when I bare in mind what it offers me. I just want to make a point that although not ridiculously cheap, this is a budget smartphone and at less than £200, what you get at this price is excellent. This is basically the HTC Desire's little brother and at a fraction of the price, with the typical personal digital assistant features as well as a great phone, it is a very attractive prospect especially to those on a limited budget or those who are holding back their spending but need an efficiently trendy smartphone.
I was switching to a touch screen from an old-fashioned buttoned phone which I liked very much so I was worried about how I would adapt to this particular one. In many ways it took me quite a while to work out how to do one or two of the more basic things: store friends' numbers and even send text messages but as with anything, you do get used to it and it becomes a doddle after a while. If you've owned a phone like this you probably won't have any problems but I was slow to catch on!
I cannot compare the Android market to the Apple one personally but I've heard it can be inferior. I can only put that what I've seen has been really good and some of the apps are either great fun or very useful indeed. There are also a lot of useless apps on there but hey, we ignore them.
~ Price ~
I got this at about £160 (with £10 airtime) at a well known high street store and at this price, it is a bargain considering most smartphones are much more expensive. I bought this in springtime so I'd hazard a guess that the price has decreased somewhat since due to the popular demand of up-to-date phones in such a competitive market.
~ In the box ~
- HTC Wildfire phone
- Adapter and plug
- Helpful guide and a safety booklet
- SIM card / airtime (obviously this depends on network; mine is T-Mobile and I also got a T-Mobile starter guide)
- USB cable
~ Basic ~
This phone's design is mainly grey and silver with a few main buttons built in including the menu and home button. At the top of the phone you have the power button, volume bar down the brim of the phone to the left, battery charger socket and menu button. LCD power light is at the top left of the phone and everything is simple to locate.
It can take a while to load and fully turn on but once you're there, it takes you to the main screen.
Its main screen is divided into seven screens (central one and three to the right and three to the left) and you're able to oscillate between them by dragging your finger across the screen right and left, depending on what way you want to go. Your main wallpaper is placed across all the screens; you can move its app buttons, clock, music and other main screen features to your heart's desire and place them in the positions you want, across all screens.
I have got a big clock on the centre screen with a battery charge symbol (battery amount is given in percentages) and to the left I have shopping apps and my photo, video and gallery buttons as well as two smaller photos and an Internet Movie Database news feed / shortcut; to the right of the central screen I have got a general news and sports feed as well as a quick link to my Hotmail account and my text messages. If you prefer, you're able to have your emails or texts on a feed as well. I also have a compact version of my music player to the far right so my songs are only ever a few taps away. Of course you don't have to have all these features clogging up your screen and blocking your wallpaper but the Wildfire has a nice personal touch so you can really decorate it your own way - some people may only want a clock and their text messages. Everything is accessed via the main menu button anyway.
When you're not using your phone but it is switched on, you have got a lock screen which has an entirely different wallpaper on it if you wish and the the date, time and your network details. This lock screen locks the phone if your phone has been sitting dormant after a while and can be unlocked simply by pressing the power button on the exterior of the phone and sliding the lock upwards to reveal the main screen again.
To turn off the phone, you press power and then select from the options to turn it off.
Inserting the battery and SIM card is simple but I did have a small difficulty in removing the back of the phone at first attempt (broken nails are a possibility here!). You have to use the little tab at the top of the phone to lift the whole back off and firstly remove the tape on the battery when you first buy your phone Then you add the SIM card and battery and once you click the back back into place, the phone is very solid. It's a thin and stylish phone: not bulky but big enough to watch videos, take photos and browse the internet with ease. In fact it's a really cute phone.
~ Games / Miscellaneous ~
I'm not really a game player but there are one or two already stored games on the phone and of course others are available to download, both free and at a charge. I know there is one game whereby you have to control the marble around a grid and make it to the end, with Angry Birds available and I have got a geography quiz app should you require something more intellectually challenging when you need to procrastinate!
It does have a torch which you can use at a choice of three brightness levels. This is such a useful addition and as a young girl, a phone in its own right is a security ally but a torch is very handy indeed.
I also have a couple of optional add-ons like dice (shake the phone gently and voila.. two dice have been thrown) and horoscopes as well as the usual administrative extras: maps, alarm, calendar, stopwatch, office clock, calendar, personal reminders etc.
~ Communication ~
Text messages are a little like the Facebook setup; your previous messages are all stored together under each individual friend's name so old messages are simple to find and read or delete.
It's very easy to transfer your social networking acquaintances' information to the phone's details and you can put Facebook or Twitter on the main screen, providing you with easy access should you want to update your status or view a friend's latest statuses without logging in via the internet sites. Email access is very simple. News feeds are available to have on your main screen as well meaning quick and easy updates from news and sports broadcasters as well (which can be narrowed to a personal feed depending on what sort of news you prefer, using keywords or services - e.g. BBC, Eurosport, Blackburn Rovers etc.) MSN Messenger is available as well with an app and again, very useful.
Contacts are simple to install and you can include a personalised photo and ringtone to each. You can also import contacts from your social networking sites like Facebook along with a link to their profile and their photo. Plenty of information is available to add to each contact and they can be stored under different departments like friends, family, work etc. which makes life a little easier.
I have read of problems with the actual phone itself. In my own experience I haven't had any difficulties with the phoning aspect at all. Although I did have problems with my previous phone (replaced three times) as it was from a faulty batch and these things can happen with even the best products available.
I particularly like how the digit buttons and the 'phone' button are very large. This says that the phone is not disregarding that it is a mobile phone above anything else and not just a little fancy gadget with bad phone facilities.
~ Internet ~
This is available via Wi-Fi or a data connection.
I found personally that surfing the internet, downloading Apps and taking photos/videos were very simple indeed and the usual ones are there: radio, shopping, film (IMdb, Rotten Tomatoes etc.), wallpapers, games, internet extras, TV, music, news, sport, barcode scanner etc.
Access online is very easy and the touchscreen keyboard is small but easy enough to use. It takes up about half the phone's screen, naturally, but it is easily removed when browsing. I have watched a few YouTube videos on this phone and the quality is not bad at all. Just like on a computer, a video can be extended to the whole screen if you prefer, albeit my tilting the phone, and it has a decent sized screen so videos are very watchable in that layout. I will come to the screen resolution later but because of its poor quality, you do have to zoom in sometimes to read writing on the internet pages.
Internet-wise I am able to achieve far more on this phone than on my previous, dated Nokia. When I was not able to complete certain aspects of online shopping on my previous phone (such as grocery shopping with Tesco), on this phone it is as easy as anything and I haven't had any hurdles to overcome. Amazon, Tesco, eBay etc. are all usable and some have their own applications making it easier to use and saving you the hassle of finding them via their web address online.
~ Music ~
Exterior sound quality is fine by digital standards and earplugs come as standard. The music player is easy to use and play songs on. I'm not really a fan of downloading music so I cannot say about this but I do know the apps are very easy to access and use. I am very happy to transfer my music on my Wildfire and not bother with an iPod again, actually. It does more than what's needed and it's very simple to put the USB cable into your computer/laptop and put your song library on the Wildfire.
Radio plays well on this phone as well and there are a number of radio apps available depending on your personal taste. I have got a general one with access to all the major national radio stations, a genre-based one where I can choose a station based on everything from the blues to metal or oldies. I also have a jazz one which has every sort of jazz imaginable such as contemporary, vocal and swing; all advert-free. This phone does not become boring and good to have with you on bus or train journeys.
~ Camera / video ~
I really like the 5 mega pixel camera itself but the screen resolution is one of the phone's major flaws and the wallpaper on the main screen often looks of poor quality. I personally like to have some kind of camera in my bag with me everywhere I go, even the most mundane trips, and the HTC Wildfire does a decent job. I have taken a couple that are nearing professional quality but it's quite rare as the image quality isn't brilliant so it won't entirely replace a digital camera or obviously an SLR but it takes good, basic snaps of friends, family etc. Photos are quick and simple to upload straightaway from your Wildfire to your Facebook account. Flash, sepia, zoom, negative, cropping and black & white features are all there. Video is easy to use as well and of good quality, both in picture and sound.
Playback is simple and all your photos and videos are stored safely in one place as you'd expect. You're also able to view them full screen and as a slideshow, or perhaps use one of them as either one of or both your lock screen or main screen wallpapers.
~ Screen and Resolution ~
As mentioned, one big problem with this phone is its screen resolution which is not particularly brilliant and it does show on the phone's wallpaper - the quality is a little unclear. I think that is where the relatively cheap price tag comes into play. Although this is only a real problem if you want to watch videos or play games, generally speaking. Pre-stored wallpapers are very gorgeous though and lovely taken professional photos. Not a fan of the six pre-stored songs myself but what it does say to me is that HTC are modern and trendy and attempting to appeal to the broad, young consumer because they're all very summery and belong to modern genres such as dance, techno and hip-hop.
Wildfire's screen can be a little sensitive to the touch sometimes and you only have to tap it lightly to travel to where you want to go. The screen is also sensitive when it turns sideways which can be a little annoying when you're trying to show someone one of your photos.
~ Battery, Charging, Mains ~
My other problem is the battery life. It drops quickly but the positive is that there is a feature under the 'settings' part of the phone that tells you, in percentages, what it is that's taking up the battery life. It does run a lot of programmes at once so this does help you to understand what it is that is sucking the life out of it. I do have to charge the battery an awful lot, though, to keep it going and if you are a consistent user of your phone and need it every working minute, this may not be an ideal phone to you. You do have to charge it just about everyday. It doesn't take an awful long time at all to charge via mains. I was charging the other day and in fifteen minutes, two thirds of it was charged. It is chargeable via your computer mains but as you'd expect, this isn't recommended if you need a quick battery fix because it takes all day. Literally.
Wildfire's mains is easy to plug in and fix to the side of your phone and it is very light (much more so than the phone itself) so should you be travelling with the mains plug, it won't take a lot of room or weight in your bag.
~ Protection ~
I have bought a cover to protect this phone as it is a thin phone which I don't think would bounce well if dropped and would possibly be prone to scratches if it were rattling around in your handbag. I bought a lovely pink, specially fitting HTC cover on Amazon at £5. Other cheap covers, of which there is a relatively vast range of colours and designs, are available online to protect your phone should you require it (which I think you more than likely will).
~ Round-up ~
My favourite thing about owning an HTC is you feel as though you are in the underdog tag. Not as famous or praised as iPhones or other phone brands yet still as stylish. They'll never be as big or innovative as Apple but they have created the ideal budget or beginner's smartphone. My only gripes are the poor screen resolution and the low battery life but putting everything into perspective it it is excellent value if you cannot or are not willing to pay the standard, expensive smartphone prices.
Summary: This phone is a very useful, stylish phone when considering its price and that's its a smartphone.