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Turn up the heat

This HTC Android phone offers you the latest features, but not without its share of quirks. Read on.

india Updated: Aug 31, 2010 13:42 IST
Shayne Rana

In the land of the Android Mobile the competition is fierce. But HTC has a high vantage point. One of their latest devices to the hit the Indian market is the Wildfire, which caters to the mid-range segment.



Form

The device is well balanced and lightweight, making it comfortable to use with one hand. The 3.2-inch touchscreen has a resolution of just 240 x 320 pixels (16 million colours). Nevertheless, the large screen with multi-touch support, touch-sensitive controls and optical trackball help compensate for it.



A standard 3.5 mm handsfree socket is strategically placed at the top and so is the power/ screen lock button. Volume keys are on the same side as the micro USB port for PC connectivity and charging. A microSD hot swap (2 GB card included) is located under the rear panel. There’s nothing to dislike about its built.



Features


Sense UI is the best interface there is in Android mobiles. From the moment you start the device, you’re guided through simple steps that include setting up email and social networking accounts to setting the date and time. There are plenty of handy widgets for the multiple desktops. The first time, the UI was extremely sluggish even with its 528 MHz processor. But it got better after a reset.



The social networking


integration with contacts is well designed. Other handy preloaded applications include Application Share, which allows you to transfer downloaded apps with other Android users, and also the Transfer Data function which is similar to Nokia’s version of the same. HTC has made this interface as colourful and easy as possible.



Media


The native music player is all you’ll need although there are other options you can avail via the Android market. The player is loud and tones are crisp. The FM radio’s reception in most places is good.



One disappointment is the video player. It reads only standard MPEG4 and 3GP file formats scaled down to a 320 x 240 pixel resolution. Still, the large display makes watching them easy.



Connectivity


The Wildfire is a 3G enabled device which also supports EDGE/ GPRS and Wi-Fi. From social networking with FriendStream, HTC’s Twitter application Peep and Plurk, Gtalk, YouTube to Push Mail, Microsoft Activesync and Exchange support, the Wildfire is well equipped for all kinds of net connectivity.



More apps can be downloaded off the Android Market. Images and videos can be quickly uploaded to your Facebook, Flickr or YouTube accounts or emailed or sent via Bluetooth. The Wildfire is A2DP compatible and offers USB 2.0. A News app allows you to add feeds from your favourite news sites so you’re always updated.



GPS is also a built-in feature to be used with Google Maps or any third party GPS application. HTC’s Footprints application lets you take images with geotags, locate it on the map with the coordinates, get the address, and add it to a contact as a voice memo. The camera, too, does geotagging.



In terms of basic features, apart from an Alarm Clock, Calendar, World Clock and calculator, HTC has included additional goodies such as a flashlight app which allows you to control the intensity of the LED which is actually the camera’s flash. A Java application allows you to add Java apps. A read-only version of Quick Office is preloaded and so is a PDF reader. Like all other Android handsets, the Wildfire also does text to speech once you’ve downloaded the module.



Camera

The Wildfire is equipped with a 5-megapixel autofocus camera with a single LED flash. The features include touch-focus, white balance and self timer, colour settings, brightness, contrast, saturation and sharpness adjustment, and ISO adjustment up to 800. It also comes with face detection.



Image quality isn’t at all bad. Even in low light conditions, outdoors pictures are quite focused so long as you remain steady.



Battery


The battery is the biggest disappointment. It seemed like I had to charge the handset on a daily basis. With the same amount of functionality that a MILESTONE has, the Wildfire’s battery was just not able to cope. On a single charge with calls, messages and emails, no video, a little music and no auto sync or Wi-Fi, I got just a little over a day’s usage. Talk time averaged in at about 2 hours and 40 minutes. The handset would heat up considerably if any function like uploading an image or video was running.