One of the handsets that the Android community in India has been eagerly waiting for is the Desire. It’s officially here now.
The handset is comfortable to use and carry. But it comes with limited on-board memory and no hot swap for the MicroSD memory card. The optical trackball adds versatility to menu navigation and gives you the option not to smudge the screen. I much prefer the tactile buttons to touch sensitive versions on HTC devices. The display is clear and crisp (except in direct sunlight, where you’ll need to adjust the brightness level) with a 480 x 800 pixel resolution.
The USB/ charging port is placed at the bottom with the 3.5 mm handsfree at the top near the screen lock/ power key. Volume keys are on one side. I’d have preferred a dedicated shutter release button for the camera instead of having to use the trackball, but I got over it.
HTC’s Sense UI runs smoothly. There’s no lag while navigating the menus, accessing heavy apps or the accelerometer when it switches orientation. Multitasking was also seamless. I had about 5-6 apps running at a time and still got speed. The integration between your social networking accounts and the phone book contacts is better than most other Android operating systems. Linking contacts to their social networking ID is automatic.
The OTA update to Froyo adds quite a bit of additional functionality to the device. However, don’t expect any seriously outstanding additions.
I think it’s about time HTC collaborated with one of the companies that develops or provides audio engines for mobile handsets. The native player is just about adequate. I have no issues with the quality of sound, but the decibel level should have been louder. I would’ve also liked to adjust the audio to my personal preference. Thankfully, the Android market does have a few alternatives to the native player. Videos look superb on the well-lit display. The black levels are brilliant and viewing is very comfortable from any angle. HTC should tie up with DivX and spare us the effort of having to convert videos. The FM radio also functioned adequately. Reception was not too bad in most places but almost zero while commuting. The voice recorder on board was quite an asset.
The Desire is well equipped for connectivity and thanks to Froyo, one more addition was provided — 3G sharing via Wi-Fi so your handset becomes a Wi-Fi hot-spot for your laptop or any other device. Bluetooth with A2DP and USB 2.0 are the more standard options. With Flash capabilities and Flash Player 10.1, the Web experience has been upgraded. The browser performs brilliantly. Social networking in the way of Facebook for HTC Sense, FriendStream, Peeps for Twitter and Plurk are on board. Updates can be viewed directly from the phonebook.
Emailing from an Android handset is quite an easy task. Photos and videos also have a share option that will allow you to send media directly to any of your social network accounts or email addresses.
For GPS you’ll have to suffice with Google Maps or download/ install a third party application. Places, Footprints for geotagging images and Google Latitude have also been preloaded.
The App Sharing application is a handy feature to have. It allows you to send applications via Bluetooth to other handsets. All basic applications like a stopwatch, world clock, timer, alarm, calculator and a calendar that syncs with Facebook for birthdays and other events and your Google account are present.
The 5 MP camera comes with an LED flash. Its features include touch focus, face detection, a few scene modes, brightness, contrast and sharpness adjustment, white balance and geotagging. The lack of a dedicated shutter release for the camera can sometimes make capturing images uncomfortable. It can focus on its own and you have to press the optical trackpad to capture. Image quality is quite impressive but the camera did seem to have problem focusing with Macro photos. Thanks to the Froyo Update, you’ll now get 720p video recording as well.
The battery life is a problem! I had to charge the handset practically every day. After watching a single movie (2 hours) on a full charge, the battery was bone dry. Perhaps it’s an issue with this particular piece. The phone also heated up when I used it for long periods.
I chose the Reader over the Samsung Galaxy S because of its metal casing (much sturdier than the Galaxy). It’s also sleek and easy to hold, has a great screen with vibrant colours and good responsiveness. — Deb
At the heart of this powerhouse is its 1 Ghz Snapdragon processor which supplies the unit with great prowess. It's got amazing usability with HTC Sense UI, no lag in changing screens or opening applications. — Meethal
Connect a good pair of earphones and you get great quality music. — Prakhar