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Handset Review: HTC Desire

Desire, the first handset in India that runs on Android 2.2 Froyo, is a great combination of good looks and performance. It is available at a market price of Rs 29,000.


Android 2.2 Froyo OS 1 Ghz Snapdragon processor


Disappointing battery back up Non hot-swappable memory card

Desire comes true
HTC’s Desire is the first device in India to be powered by the latest version of Android, 2.2 Froyo. It is a great combination of good looks and performance and we think it will make a lasting impression.
To start with, the front panel is dominated by the 3.7 inch capacitive AMOLED touchscreen that is capable of displaying WVGA resolution, or 480 x 800 pixels. The screen is highly intuitive and the resolution is dazzling. It’s possible to zoom in on a part of the screen by pinching it but the display isn’t very legible in the sunlight.
Below the screen are hardware keys with an optical track pad in the centre. The home and menu keys are on the left of the optical track pad and a single key for going back or initiating a search is on the track pad’s right. The optical track pad is pretty responsive, but it seldom needs to be used unless you’re taking a lot of pictures.
The earpiece, flash LED for notification, and are situated above the screen.
The left panel sports a volume rocker, while the right one has been kept empty. The power key and 3.5mm jack are on top of the phone.
At the back of the device is a 5.0 megapixel camera with flash and a loudspeaker. The charging slot is at the bottom.
The microSD card slot is placed below the battery cover so that one needs to remove the battery to access the memory card.
User interface
With a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor, the phone runs smoothly even when it runs multiple applications.
The Desire integrates HTC’s Sense user interface with OS. There are seven screen panels, each of which can be customised by adding folders, widgets, applications and shortcuts.
To switch between panels one can either scroll horizontally or pinch in to view small thumbnails of all seven desktops.
HTC has also included its Scene function which comprises six customisable homescreen setups such as work, travel, social networking, and play using which it’s possible to change the widgets and wallpaper of the home screen.
Pressing the home key for a long time takes the user to the task switcher which lists eight recently accessed apps. On phones running Android 2.1 (Eclair) OS, this number was limited to six.
For typing in messages and emails, the phone comes with a full Qwerty keyboard that appears on the screen and is quite comfortable to use in either portrait and landscape mode.
Connectivity and apps
The HTC Desire supports 3G, with A2DP, WiFi and USB connectivity etc.
As far as internet browsing is concerned, Android has always been associated with a great web browsing experience and HTC’s Desire is no exception. The default web supports Flash 10.1 and comes with multi touch support.
HTC Desire comes loaded with some useful apps and brings with it the option of downloading more from the Android market.
The device also has full Google suite and supports popular email clients along with Microsoft Exchange. Also loaded is a PDF viewer and Quickoffice software which supports Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents. Other pre installed apps include Facebook, Places, Twitter, News and weather, Footprint, Friend Stream etc.
The phone has a built in GPS receiver and Google Maps for navigation.
The Desire comes with a 5 .0-megapixel camera with LED flash. The highest resolution that one can set is 2592 x 1552 pixels. The phone does not have a dedicated camera key and the optical track pad doubles up as a shutter release key.
The camera produces high quality pictures and the LED flash comes in handy while clicking photographs in low light areas. The LED works while recording video as well.
It is possible to add effects such as gray scale and sepia to a picture while taking pictures and also to adjust brightness and contrast by using the shortcuts on the main camera screen. To access white balance, ISO settings, self timer, geo tagging, face detection or auto focus, one needs to use the settings tab.
Recorded video is also of good quality at 1280 x 720 pixels, and output can be in H.263, H.264 or Mpeg 4 formats.
Due to limited on board storage, however, the phone’s camera does not work without the microSD.
The HTC Desire produces good sound though there are no sound enhancement features. Songs in the music player gallery can be sorted by artist, album, genre or composer.
The phone comes with a 3.5 mm jack which lets you use headsets of your choice. It has an FM radio and although reception could have been better, the phone scans the available stations to let the user select his favourite frequencies. The device also comes with RDS support.
The phone’s battery was the only thing that failed to please us. Although it is a 1400 mAh battery, it discharges pretty quickly and takes a lot of time to recharge. A single charge would last a day with an hour of calling, an hour of WiFi use, and an hour of listening to music and playing games.
A feature called Battery Use which is accessible through the settings menu makes it possible to check what the battery has been used for.
The Price
The retail pack of the HTC Desire includes a charging adaptor, USB cable, stereo headphones, 2 microSD card, user manual and CD. Desire is available at a market price of Rs 29,000.
Other phones that one can consider as alternatives to HTC’s Desire are the Motorola Milestone XT 270 and Samsung Galaxy S. Both run on Android 2.1.



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