HTC Desire: Lean and chiselled
Last year’s Desire mobile phone by HTC was widely proclaimed the “phone of the year” by many publications, both online and offline. The Taiwanese manufacturer’s new iteration, the Desire S, supersedes the original in many ways.india Updated: May 30, 2011 17:38 IST
HTC’s biggest departure from conventional design is conspicuous by its absence. There isn’t any physical button to be found on the phone, save for a well-designed volume rocker switch on the left side and a power button on the top. There are four touch-sensitive buttons at the bottom of the screen, for ‘home’, ‘menu’, ‘back’ and ‘search’ respectively. For connectivity, there’s Wi-Fi, 3G and GPS. Make sure you pick up a beefy micro SD card though — preferably 8GB or 16GB — because the phone only has 1GB of built-in memory.
HTC’s customisations don’t just stop at the hardware. Homescreen content can be fine-tuned via the HTC Sense user interface. Apart from placing apps and folders on the seven available screens, you can also choose from many widgets including weather, email, photos and so on. Once you’ve signed up for an HTC Sense account, you can download more directly onto the phone over Wi-Fi or via the handset’s data connection.
Additionally, HTC lets you link contacts acquired from various sources such as Facebook and Twitter to each other, creating a more exhaustive contact directory.
Owing to the phone’s 1GHz Qualcomm processor, using it is generally speedy and lag-free, regardless of whether you’re browsing the web or flipping through photo albums. Music playback on the included headset is also very good, and for once, we actually liked the ‘SRS’ audio enhancement feature, which optimises the sound for earphones. The Desire S is also very responsive to touch, thanks to its capacitive screen. Gestures like pinches, swipes or flicks can all be done with ease. For instance, you can also unlock the phone by creating a customised trace over the screen if you don’t want to use a phone code.
An unfortunate error though, is the way you answer or reject calls. This phone needs you to slide downwards or upwards on the screen to answer or reject a call. If the phone’s in your pocket, the mere action of pulling it out may inadvertently cancel an incoming call. There’s nothing you can do about it for now.
Glorious screen The Desire S has a large 3.7-inch screen with a resolution of 480x800 pixels. Resolution-wise, the display doesn’t hold a candle to the iPhone 4’s ‘Retina Display’ that has a resolution of 640x960 pixels. But HTC’s S-LCD screen edges out Apple’s IPS-based display in terms of vividness and viewing angles.
However, the five-megapixel camera and battery life are sore points. While photos and 720p high-definition videos are quite pleasant in good lighting conditions, try the same in low light and you’ll be disappointed.
Battery life will just about get you through the day with average to heavy usage comprising phone calls, text messages, social networking and multimedia.
Aluminium ‘unibody’ The most striking thing about this smart phone, which sports the Android v2.3 ‘Gingerbread’ operating system, is its chiselled finish. Using Apple’s trademark style, the phone is enclosed in a ‘unibody’ case carved out of single block of aluminium. The metal chassis not only lends the Desire S tonnes of flair, it also makes the phone sturdy and durable.
What we like
Vivid and high-res screen n Cutting-edge design
What we don’t
Average camera quality n Unimpressive battery life
Overall, the Desire S, priced at Rs 25,480, scores high on design, and is a pleasure to use. The vibrant screen makes surfing and watching videos all the more fun. There are some minor bugs that we hope HTC fixes in its next software update. But all things considered, this handset offers one a better and more streamlined Google Android experience compared to its contemporaries.